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.

Note: The list isn’t arranged in a consecutive manner. Also, I’ll just put it up here before you read the list. Characters in my list are from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Berserk, Fate/Zero, Evangelion, Naruto and Code Geass. Reasons why I named them here right here and now is just to warn you-there will be spoilers in all aforementioned anime.


5. Akemi Homura (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)

All Madoka characters are all pitiful, but I would say Homura is the closest to being the most pitiful out of them. Homura had went through every timeline just to see the world gets destroyed, and her own friends dying. She keeps going back in time to see if there’s any way to fix it, for like a thousand times. Throughout all those cycles, Homura had also turned from an adorable junior to an emotionless witch hunter. The end also gets to me to this very day, if you were to regard the yuri subtext as canon (which HAD evolve into canon territory actually, due to Rebellion), then that end felt even sadder considering the separation Homura had to deal with. Time travel + repetition is honestly the strongest recipe for suffering. Granted, almost all of Madoka characters are close in terms of pitifulness-but Homura in particular just stood out for me.

Slightly irrelevant, but I want to share this spot, at least as an honorable mention of sort, with most of the characters from YuYuYu as well, less because of the way they are written I think, but more because of how the premise’s concept is, which is also an easy recipe for pitiful characters.

4. Guts (Berserk)

In order to comprehend the suffering that is Guts, you will have to read the manga (or watch the anime, though I’m not sure if it’s a good adaption since I didn’t watch it). But to refrain as much spoilers as possible-Guts is born in a twisted world where so many crap happened, which include the likes of deaths, wars, betrayal, rapes, demons and the likes. Ironically, a majority (though, not all) of his suffering was caused by a very, very, simple misunderstanding, and the devastating result of that misunderstanding is HUGE. Honestly, it’s difficult to express Guts’s suffering without revealing major spoilers, and even if I do attempt at revealing spoilers, it will be close to impossible to do it here with just one or two paragraphs-I’m going to need one, or even several full posts to detail Guts’s escapade of suffering, yes, he suffers THAT much, so just go read the manga/watch the anime since these post(s) won’t be coming out anytime soon.

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.

Honorable Mentions: 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.

Honorable Mentions: 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.

5 thoughts on “Top 5 Most Pitiful Anime Characters

  1. Good list, as far as I can tell. The one on this list that I agreed with most was Kariya (his story was the saddest for me in a long time). The one that I agreed with least was Itachi. I don’t even really know why. Everyone else I could agree with.

    At first when I saw “pitiful” I thought that you meant that the characters sucked or were terrible (one of the biggest bastards that I know of is Shinji Matou). So I was pleasantly surprised with this.

    Though I feel the need to inform you that as of the time of this posting, your link for “Badass Female Anime Characters” on your “All-Time Favorite Lists” page leads to this page.

    • That’s why Itachi is on the bottom tier of the list, I might even say that this list is just a poor excuse for me to want to express the sympathy of Fate/Zero characters lol. Though I just watched a few more dark anime and manga with similar characters – a number of them also deserve to be here, so this list is one of those lists that need some updating soon.

      Weird. I just checked the link, doesn’t seem to be a problem though. My “Badass Female Anime Characters” link just where it needs to.

      • Yeah, one dark anime that I’d suggest watching if you haven’t already is Madoka Magica. Trust me. If by the end of episode 3 you’re not remotely interested, then I’d drop it. (Though it’s REALLY good. It was made by the same director of Fate/Zero.) There’s a certain character in that series that I’d probably replace someone on this list with…

        And about the link, I checked. From the dropdown on the top of the page it works fine, so I was able to see the page :) But if you go to the page itself ( it doesn’t work. (I just checked now. Perhaps my computer’s just screwing with me or something. Tech hates me for some reason.)

        And thanks for responding quickly. I’m never responded to. I’m so happy XD

  2. Have you played visual novel Rewrite? I think the protagonist of that visual novel, Tennouji Kotarou is the most pitiful character existed. He fought all the way, sacrificed everything he have, including himself for his loved one and to avoid world destruction. In the end, though the world is saved, but he lost the person he love, his family are gone forever, nobody remember him and he doesn’t even have any memories left inside his head..

    • This is a Pitiful Anime Character list, so I didn’t include any visual novel characters. If I were to make one though, Kotarou’s definitely in consideration in the list, additionally with characters like Kong (from Kikokugai) and Takeru (from Muv-luv)^^ I think the latter takes the cake of being the top of the list atm, but we’ll see, if I’m really going to make one that is.

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