Thursday, May 24, 2007

Manliest Death In Animes 2007: Fate Stay Night, Gungrave, Space Runaway Ideon

 My favourite Top Three list of impressively badass moments of deaths in animes.

Death: a word we commonly heard and understood without even needing to flip through the pages of a dictionary, yet its meanings are bold as it is powerful. In the vibrant, universally limitless world of animes, the termination of a character's life are often portrayed epically, with full honors and respect they rightfully deserve, corresponding to their significance, influence and perhaps even their popularity in the show. Here are my favourite Top Three list of manliest deaths in animes, beginning from the third position.

One does not simply talk about manly deaths without putting Archer's noble sacrifice in the list. For a character who coined and popularized the term 'gar', Archer holds true to that meaning to his very end during his fight against Berserker. Though Archer's role in the anime version of Fate Stay Night is extremely downplayed no thanks to the anime's preference to the default Fate story arc, he still nonetheless made quite an impact in Episode 14, making the latter more or less a 'special episode' focusing on nothing more but Archer's true capabilities in battle.

Fate Stay Night Episode 14A

Knowing well that his demise is nigh, Archer made Berserker's life more miserable by unleashing Unlimited Blade Works, a Noble Phantasm that temporarily creates a Reality Marble, a self-generated alternate reality which reflects the user's physical representation of his soul, where every single weapon can be forged out of thin air and limited only to the user's imagination. As predicted, Archer lost the battle against Berserker, but in the aftermath of his death, he left behind tremendous damage upon Berserker and tarnishing Ilya's pride in her Servant.

Fate Stay Night Episode 14B
Into the gates of Hell: so badass it needs to be in a separate picture.

He against all odds, withstood pain, and his hands may never hold anything, yet as we pray, Archer shall forever be remembered for his dedication as a Servant, his exclusive ability to act independently, and, unforgettably, UNLIMITED BLADE WORKS.

  • Berserker was 'slayed' five times (six times in the game).
  • Rin, Shirou and Saber escaped unharmed.
  • Shirou remembered Archer's final words and learnt Tracing, a powerful support skill which he utilized for Episode 16 onwards.

Dying in a hopelessly outnumbered gunfight with your best buddy: a particular scenario of death that would make me shed manly tears. After 13 years of bitter separation, Brandon Heat and Harry MacDowel finally met face to face in Episode 26, reunited as best friends and worst enemies. And what would be more ironic than for these men to meet up again in what used to be Jolice's diner, their former hangout where everything began many years ago?

Gungrave Final Episode

As both middle-aged men ponder their past on what they've done which led them to where they were today, gunmen from Millenion, Harry's former organization swarmed the building, forcing them to cut their chatter short and fend themselves from the assault. As more and better equipped reinforcements poured in, it became clear to them that it's futile to survive any longer, for this will be their last stand and last chance to see each other alive. Favouring to die by their own bullet, Brandon and Harry, both seriously injured and on the verge of death, reconciled and pointed their guns at each other. As they pulled the trigger, everything fades to white. After the credits rolled, a glimpse of their early childhood and how they first met were shown, as if everything went back and restarted from the beginning.

Now why won't more animes do an ending so manly, tragic ala Scarface and beautiful at the same time?

  • In the final seconds of their lives, Harry apologizes to Brandon.
  • Both Brandon and Harry shoots each other, ending their misery and the show altogether.
  • Mika's fate remains unknown, presumably adopted by someone.

Archer's fate was noble, Brandon and Harry's fate were tragic; Cosmo Yuki's fate on the other hand, was epic. Having experienced the slow death of his friends and comrades one by one, an enraged, bitter and broken Cosmo, during the final moments of the anime/movie, took the Ideon on a reckless do-or-die mission, with little or no hope of survival for the rest of the Solo Ship crew. Despite the futility of surviving any longer, Cosmo knows that he still has a mission to do: defeat the enemy. Easier said than done, but when a man is pushed beyond his physical and mental limits, breaking through obstacles a thousand times the size of Jupiter seems of little deterrence.

With only a 1% chance of success, Cosmo opts for a one-point attack, boosting Ideon towards its main target while obliterating anything that stood in its path. Cosmo finally understood Ideon's true intention: wipe out both Logo Dau (humans from earth, Buff Clan's term) and Buff Clan (humans from another earth) to stop their hatred as well as everything that exists in the universe thus far and begin the process of rebirth.

Space Runaway Ideon Last Scene

Unexpectedly, Gando Rowa, Buff Clan's trump card against the 'Giant God' itself, fired its particle beam cannon upon Ideon for the second time, this time obliterating it along with Cosmo and the entire surviving Solo Ship crew. As Ideon is considered a physical representation of God in the universe, destroying the 'creator' would mean destroying the universe itself, metaphorically speaking and at the same time, fulfilling its purpose to destroy all. Ideon unleashed its infinite powers upon the whole universe, destroying everything that exists for good. And so, the universe went back to its beginning, where this time, there will be only one earth and one species of mankind.

Unless you share a different opinion than mine, Cosmo Yuki's death in Space Runaway Ideon is perhaps the undisputed champion of manliest death ever made in the history of anime. As far as what I have in the archives of my anime collection, no other animes managed to topple Ideon's apocalyptic way of drawing its curtains down on a much underrated series/movie that should've had a bit more publicity.

  • The whole universe dies, literally. That includes everyone and every single thing in the universe.
  • Rebirth of the universe began. There will be only one human species and one earth this time.
  • Everybody's naked (I'm serious) and flying around in space. Fugly 80's retro boobs aplenty.

Got any other great examples of manly deaths in animes? Share with us in the comments below!