Into the war-torn world of popular mecha anime Code Geass, death awaits around every corner. The imperialist nations crush their people under their oppressive rule and their violence breeds tragedy. Protagonist Lelouch vi Britannia is intent on destroying Britain’s Holy Empire, and after receiving a Geass from the CC Witch, he finally seems to have a real chance.
But his quest and his rebellion have a price. Before creation there must be destruction and countless people are killed along Lelouch’s journey. From murderers to innocents, no one is safe, though some deaths are certainly sadder than others.
ten Dorothea Ernst and Monica Kruszewski die within seconds
The Knights of Rounds appear in Season 2 of the anime as the Empire’s fiercest and strongest warriors, working directly under Emperor Charles. After Lelouch kills his father and takes the throne, they refuse to serve a man they see as a murderous usurper. Under the command of the Knight of One, Bismarck Waldstein, they rally against Lelouch.
The Knight of Zero, Suzaku Kururugi, is sent to intercept the Lancelot Albion. Gino Weinberg is the only Rounds to survive Suzaku’s attack. Dorothea Ernst and Monica Kruszewski die within seconds, which is especially upsetting for fans who may have known the characters from the manga.
9 Andreas Darlton dies moments after recovering from Lelouch’s Geass
Britannia has many flaws, but if there’s one thing about the Empire that’s admirable, it’s the fact that its soldiers show true loyalty to their rulers. Rounds are not an isolated example of this. Cornelia li Britannia’s men are just as devoted to her, if not more so. Even so, Lelouch’s Absolute Obedience Geass is even more powerful.
Cornelia’s most trusted general, Andreas Darlton, is placed under Lelouch’s command after the SAZ massacre, and he attacks her from behind just as she overpowers Lelouch in battle. He snaps out of his trance and realizes what he’s doing, but it’s too late. Lelouch quickly kills him with Gawain’s Hadron Cannon.
8 CC dies countless times in his long life
Lelouch’s accomplice, CC, may be immortal, but that doesn’t mean she can’t die. On the contrary, throughout her long life, she is killed in various ways, many of which are absolutely brutal. She is stabbed, shot and even burned at the stake.
On one notable occasion, she commits suicide and is crushed by ocean pressure taking out Jeremiah Gottwald. His code allows him to return, but that doesn’t make his pain any less genuine.
7 Kosetsu Urabe dies to protect Japan’s last hope
One of the Four Sacred Swords members who directly serve Kyoshiro Tohdoh, Kosetsu Urabe evades capture after the First Black Rebellion. Alongside Kallen and CC, he participates in the mission to track down Lelouch and return his memories of being Zero.
When they are intercepted by Rolo Haliburton in the Vincent, things quickly go awry due to Rolo’s Geass. Urabe chooses to sacrifice himself to save Zero. His death is all the more touching and significant as he knows Zero’s true identity – that of a British student – but still believes he is Japan’s last hope.
6 Shin Hyuga Shaing and His Knight Die Together in Terrifyingly Tragic Scene
The antagonist of Akito the Exiled OVA, Honorary Briton Shin Hyuga Shaing is so obsessed with death that he receives a Geass that can only be used to kill. Believing that life is actually a curse, he even attempts to kill his own brother Akito. He almost succeeds, but his rampage is finally stopped by his own knight and the woman who loves him, Jean Rowe. Although completely devoted to him, she intervenes when Shin is about to kill Akito.
She is fatally stabbed and shoots him back. The two die in each other’s arms, with Shin finally realizing his mistakes and apologizing for his actions. It’s a shocking and tragic scene, made even sadder by the fact that Shin and Akito reconcile moments before he takes his last breath.
5 The FLEIJA annihilates millions repeatedly
While many tragic deaths in anime are individual, there are instances where the devastation is so extreme it amounts to genocide. While cases like the SAZ massacre and the destruction of the Shinjuku ghetto are notable, they are just the beginning. In season 2 of the anime, Nina Einstein invents the FLEIJA missile.
His power is first displayed during the second assault on Tokyo when Suzaku is pushed by his Live command to fire him. Thirty-five million people are killed. Schneizel el Britannia later uses it to destroy Pendragon, completely wiping out the British capital and killing all of its citizens, including many members of the British Royal Family.
4 Rolo sacrifices himself to save Lelouch from the Black Knights
A Geass Order assassin sent to keep tabs on the amnesiac Lelouch, Rolo switches sides due to Lelouch’s clever manipulations. Lelouch tricks him into believing he appreciates their bond as brothers, even though he relies on false memories planted by his father Charles. This backfires badly, as Rolo’s mistaken loyalty causes him to kill Lelouch’s friend, Shirley Fenette.
Lelouch plans to get rid of Rolo as a tool once he no longer has any use for him. After believing Nunnally to be dead, he angrily confronts Rolo about it. But in the end, when the Black Knights betray Lelouch, it’s Rolo who saves him. He voluntarily chooses to lay down his life for his fake brother who, although he used him, gave him human emotion. It’s an incredibly sad moment, and even Lelouch is mourning Rolo’s death.
3 Shirley pays with her life for her loyalty to Lelouch
As Lelouch’s classmate, Shirley Fenette often seems out of place in her Zero life. But that does not prevent him from being faithful to him. When her actions lead to her father’s death, she ends up protecting him from Viletta Nu instead of killing him.
Her mind is erased twice, but her love for Lelouch is so strong that after recovering his memories, she is just as dedicated to helping him. This is what seals his fate. Perceiving her as a threat to Lelouch, Rolo stabs her in the abdomen. She dies in Lelouch’s arms, despite his desperate attempts to keep her alive.
2 Euphemia’s tragic death changes the course of Lelouch’s fate
A truly kind and gentle soul, Lelouch’s half-sister Euphemia is dedicated to providing the people of Area 11 with a safe haven in Japan’s Special Administrative Zone. The plan serves Britannia well in the long run and damages much of the Black Knights’ support base. Lelouch decides to use Geass on her to shoot him, and in doing so, sabotages the SAZ. She persuades him to join her instead.
But Lelouch’s Geass spirals out of control and an ill-timed prank has him ordered to slaughter the Japanese. She tries to fight the horrible command but in the end, loses the battle. As the British unleash devastation on the innocent Japanese, Lelouch shoots him, recognizing that there is no other way forward. She dies after a heartbreaking conversation with Suzaku, and her fate changes the course of Lelouch’s fate.
1 Lelouch chooses to become a martyr through the Zero Requiem
The only ones who should kill are those who are willing to be killed. These words mark Lelouch’s character arc and foreshadow his destiny. Determined to atone for his crimes, Lelouch becomes the Demon Emperor, the enemy of the world. After faking his death, Suzaku takes on the role of Zero, a knight of justice.
The scene of Lelouch’s death at the hands of Suzaku shocked all viewers, and their disbelief quickly turned to tears that echoed the desperate sobs of Lelouch’s sister, Nunnally. While the Zero Requiem may have been a bad political decision, Lelouch’s tragic fate creates one of the most iconic and saddest endings in anime history. He was brought back into the movie Resurrection Lelouchbut some fans remain convinced that it was actually an unfortunate creative choice.
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