Top 5 Most Pitiful Anime Characters

Have you ever seen an anime character who had sacrificed so much, and in the end, he didn’t even gain much? The kind of characters we can relate to, and sympathize them, to their very souls. Below are my top five most pitiable anime characters. Major spoilers up ahead.

5. Lelouch vi Britannia (Code Geass)

Lelouch may seem like an evil manipulator at first sight, but he actually has people he care about, most notably, his sister, Nunnally. He seems evil because he only wanted to create a peaceful world for his sister, using not-so-noble means, and with such a convenient power coming along at the perfect timing, he immediately initiate his massive scheme. Enforcing such a large scale goal, there is no doubt that he had to make sacrifices along the way. He bore all the sin and hatred of everyone whenever he made sacrifices and when he finally died during the end of second season, all the people’s hatred disperse within him. Although what he had done for his so-called noble goal is inexcusable, his death seems almost pitiful, bearing the whole country’s hatred together with him to his deathbed.

4. Uchiha Itachi (Naruto)

Itachi is surprisingly a pacifist, but perhaps this is ironically the reason he is being treated like a pawn. The man may seem calm and wise but his naivety makes him a subject of manipulation. Because of his love for peace, he was forced to eliminate the whole Uchiha clan who were at the time planning a coup d’état, and the orders are from the Konoha elders themselves at that too. He murdered the whole clan overnight, however, he just can’t stand to kill his brother, Sasuke, and spared him due to his attachment for his brother. He also purposely make himself as if he is the real culprit behind this, forcibly bearing all the hatred of his brother, hoping that one day, Sasuke would be strong enough to kill him. He even begged the Konoha elders to spare his brother alone, and he became an exiled ninja in exchange for Sasuke’s safety. The man sacrificed a lot, and even in his sacrifice, he is always thinking of honor and glory for his clan. The man is indeed pitiful, but the sacrifices he had made for Konoha and his brother is respectable, and honorable.

3. Matou Kariya (Fate/Zero)

Kariya is a mage of the Matou family but as he was disgusted with his family, he cut all his ties with them, only to be back few years after that after finding out that Sakura had been abducted into the family, with her body filled with Crest Worms. Matou Zonken is very cunning too, and using Sakura as an emotional springboard, he could manipulate Kariya easily. He was forced to rejoin the hated family, was forced to be filled with Crest Worms similarly and was forced to join the Holy Grail War, in hope that Zonken will fulfill his part of the bargain and let Sakura go and be free. Zonken obviously, would never keep his promise but seeing as how Kariya ultimately got defeated in the Grail War anyway, he has a good reason not to. Throwing his battered, exhausted body into a sea of maggots, he died with a satisfied look on his face, all the while having a delusion of starting a family with his love interest Aoi, together with Rin and Sakura. While in reality, Aoi was almost killed (now comatose) by the man himself due to a misunderstanding, Sakura remained emotionless throughout the end (probably due to the worms), apathetically looking at Kariya as he got devoured by the worms and Rin became pretty much alone in the Tohsaka family.

2. Ikari Shinji (Evangelion)

Ikari Shinji is one of the most relatable character in anime, in fact, he is so “human” we can relate to his fears and struggles. We can pity, we can sympathize him, because of his blandness. After all, Shinji is just a 14 years old kid, being forced upon with a task that would change the world. His choice of actions would effect humanity as a whole. Being forced with such a major role, deep down, he just wants acknowledgment from his father. Doing so much just to gain acknowledgment, it is indeed pitiable to say the least.

1. Emiya Kiritsugu (Fate/Zero)

Kiritsugu has a similar mindset with Lelouch, for a better good, he makes a sacrifice. However, because his mentality is so much weaker, it hurts just to look at him. For every people he killed, he weep and cried. He tried his best to steel his emotions but nevertheless, he occasionally still went into an emotional breakdown. At the start, he believed in his ideal steadily but throughout the middle, he continued his twisted mindset despite knowing that it’s not the correct path. By stopping, it’s as if he’s mocking the massive amount of sacrifices he made throughout the years, and by stopping, he himself might even went crazy. Ultimately, the grail, which he had sought for salvation, only extended “his method” of salvation, showing him just how wrong his method is. The thing which he had fight for all these years, the “salvation” he sought from the omnipotent wish granting device, and his ideals which he had upheld for all these years, he was forced to ditch all single one of them.

This entry was posted by Kai.

24 thoughts on “Top 5 Most Pitiful Anime Characters

  1. It’s interesting that two of your five picks are from the same show.

    I couldn’t “connect” with Emiya, though I did understand him. Unfortunately, he seemed bent on self destruction and his downfall was like watching a train wreck you were anticipating.

    Kariya I really felt sorry for. To me his Bad End was truly tragic and it hurt to watch.

    • Kudos to Gen Urobuchi for that, he is just too good at making pitiful characters. He’s like a sadist, torturing his own characters, lol.

      From the start, ever since he had been upholding his ideal, to me, he’s nothing but a broken man, with a delusions of a hero. I can certainly relate to his troubles though, since his choice with choosing lots of strangers or a beloved aquitances to save is a realistic scenario we might encounter (I sure don’t hope that happens though).

      Indeed, it hurts just to look at Kariya. He sacrificed so much and his efforts aren’t even awarded, and even got misunderstood in the end.

  2. Good to see Shinji got on the list, for some reason he’s the first one that popped in my head when I saw the title of the entry here.

    • In fact, I think Shinji could even hit #1 on the list. While Kiritsugu had certainly a big problems on his hand too, constant sacrifical and failed salvation but what Shinji experienced could even effect the whole humanity. Though in the end, I still went with Kiritsugu.

      • Shinji just was Pitifiul, I mean he had a douchebag of a father added to his misery during the whole thing…having to put up with Asuka,and Rei [she wasn’t much to deal with during the series but Asuka was for sure!]

        Still Shinji is the #1 Pitiful Character in the entire Animeverse for me and his father is the #1 Douchebag in the Animeverse [You could place Lelouche as the second one and his dad as the 2nd Douchebag in the Animeverse]

        Still Shinji got screwed over for sure…not sure about some of the other characters I stopped watching Naruto long ago….and ones I really know about on the list are Shinji and Lelouche.

        I just say the fact that both had their childhoods screwed over is the reason they turned out the way they did.

        • His father seems like he never even care about Shinji in the first place, what he wants is the end results. If Shinji managed to do what he wanted, then it’s fine, he “acknowledges” him, but if he doesn’t, then he would rather don’t see him. He’s seeing him as if he’s a tool to be used for convenience.

          Indeed, family drama is ftw D: I think Lelouch was able to take it better though.

          That means you haven’t watch Fate/Zero? Aside from the ones I mentioned, Fate/Zero has a lot of pitiable characters, the author of Fate/Zero is kinda “talented” in making these kinds of characters, lol.

  3. I’ll call you on Shinji & Kariya + will raise you Watanuki from xxxholic & Belledandy from Ah! My Goddess. Thought they were pitiful as well.

  4. Kiritsugu and Kariya are very similar in a way that they’re essentially good people driven to do bad things for the greater good. Despite that, somehow I related to Kiritsugu a lot more, probably because he at least had an idea of what he’s doing and generally remained in control of himself, while Kariya just made one stupid mistake after another to the point that I couldn’t even pity him in the end. I remember calling him “the stupidest Fate character ever”, and I can’t say my opinion changed since then. The showdown with Tokiomi is a special highlight, a true exercise in pointlessness and righteous idiocy.

    • And another significant difference between the two is the “weight” they carry. Kiritsugu was doing everything for the sake of humanity, for the salvation of human kind. As for Kariya, he is only doing what he did for this own sake. Kiritsugu is someone who would even killed his own family members just to save the greater good and Kariya for the sake of his “family”, he went through hell.

      Though in the end, Kariya did indeed made a pretty dumb choice already in the early episodes, and he kept making the wrong choices again and again. Ever since he returned to the Matou family, it had just been downward spiral for him. He has the right mindset, but his direction of saving Sakura is a bit in the wrong path I guess. Indeed, that fight feels so one-dimensional.

      • It’s not the fight in particular that puzzled me, it’s the fact that Kariya didn’t do anything but spout insults at Tokiomi, assuming that Tokiomi knew what Zouken was going to do to Sakura.
        It isn’t explicitly stated in the anime whether Tokiomi knew it or not. Most people knowledgeable in Fate canon think that he didn’t. Anyway, if he indeed knew, then Kariya’s insult barrage is more or less justified. If he didn’t, then Kariya’s barrage of insults didn’t accomplish absolutely anything.

        • Tokiomi is the one who made the decision to let go of Sakura so he is still somewhat the main cause so I guess Kariya’s insults are still more or less justified. Also, Kariya is disgusted with how his magi works, but I think it could be said that he is also disgusted with most magi in general. Tokiomi is a typical magi, he only needed one heir and willingly transferred Sakura to the Matou family.

          Though in the end, I’m also not sure myself if Tokiomi knew just what sort of “training” Sakura receives there so yea.. yay for plot holes I guess.

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