The greatest anime betrayals of all time represent moments that have left fans speechless through the years the medium has existed. Each show invites us to trust in its cast of characters only to have someone stab the protagonist in the back without remorse. More often than not, it’s the person that viewers least expect would do anyone harm. The following is a collection of grueling betrayals that still hurt a bit today. Be warned that the entries below do contain heavy spoilers.
Greatest Anime Betrayals – Griffith Betrays the Band of the Hawk (Berserk)
Griffith is the leader of Berserk‘s Band of the Hawk, a highly skilled mercenary group hand-picked by Midland’s king to fight in key battles during the Hundred Year War. The white-haired hero’s fame as the “Falcon of Light” gets to his head, as he wrongfully has an affair with Princess Charlotte and gets tortured in prison shortly afterword. The Band of the Hawk reluctantly decides to break Griffith free, only to find that their leader has already activated his Crimson Behelit.
Once his team arrives, Griffith decides to sacrifice everyone so that he can be reborn as the God Hand, Femto, and initiate the apocalypse. As if that wasn’t enough, Griffith proceeds to force himself on protagonist Guts’ girlfriend, Casca, right in front of his former comrade’s eyes. He impregnates her and she gives birth to a demon child a few days later. Casca loses her mind, unable to communicate with Guts ever again.
Greatest Anime Betrayals – Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus Betray the Sailor Senshi (Sailor Moon)
For the most part, Sailor Moon is a cheerful anime that sees an ordinary high school student named Usagi Tsukino transform into the fearless leader of the Sailor Senshi. Usagi’s group of warriors become a family as each supports each other in and out of combat. Sailor Neptune and Uranus eventually join the crew, though it appears they have no intention of becoming close with the other girls.
The pair eventually betray Usagi and the Sailor Senshi to join Sailor Galaxia in collecting Star Seeds to drain the group’s power. Though it’s revealed later on that Neptune and Uranus were planning to double-cross Galaxia all along, their elaborate plan ends up costing their lives.
Greatest Anime Betrayals – Aizen Betrays the Soul Society (Bleach)
Bleach‘s Sosuke Aizen was respected by many students at Shin’O Academy and even earned the rank of captain within the Soul Society before he decided to wage war against it. The man had apparently hated the organization the entire time and decided that it was worth toppling with an army of Arrancar in tow. Aizen isn’t successful in his attempt to overthrow the Soul Society, though he does manage to almost cut the main character’s body in half.
Greatest Anime Betrayals – Bertolt and Reiner Betray the Scout Regiment (Attack on Titan)
In Attack on Titan‘s universe, humanity lives in constant fear of being eaten by humanoid behemoths known as Titans. People reside within the confines of gigantic walls designed many centuries ago to keep these monsters out. This changes when the Colossal and Armored Titans arrive in the year 845 to break down the barrier surrounding protagonist Eren Jaeger’s hometown. Eren’s mother gets eaten in the chaos, sparking a desire in him to eradicate every Titan in existence.
His crusade leads him to join the Survey Corps’ Scout Regiment. Eren and his friends meet a host of characters who share a similar desire to annihilate Titans during their stay, including Bertolt and Reiner. In turns out that that pair’s motivations are complete lies when they reveal later on in the series that they were the Colossal and Armored Titans all along and that their main goal is to bring about the end of humanity.
Greatest Anime Betrayals – Kyubey Betrays the Puella Magi (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
As evidenced in the image above, Puella Magi Madoka Magica‘s Kyubey certainly nails the role of adorable magical girl mascot. This alien from a distant planet grants everyone it encounters their greatest wish in exchange to become a Puella Magi, the likes of which must defeat evil witches before they terrorize people’s souls.
The deal sounds great until Kyubey reveals that witches are actually Magi who’ve failed to complete their heroic duties. All magical girls that the creature enlists are destined to become these brooding spirits. Kyubey feeds on the energy that these witches release when they’re defeated, thus satisfying itself with a never-ending series of lies that has tricked cute anime girls over and over again.
Greatest Anime Betrayals – Anthy Betrays Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena)
Revolutionary Girl Utena‘s titular character and Anthy become good friends after a dueling competition at Ohtori Academy. When the two get closer, Utena learns that Anthy is in a romantic relationship with her brother, Akio. The man tries his best to pit the girls against each other, eventually revealing that Anthy is really an evil witch that’s just as hungry for power as her sibling. As Akio and Utena duel, Anthy decides to put a stop to the fight by literally stabbing her former friend in the back and running away with her older brother.
Greatest Anime Betrayals – Itachi Betrays the Uchiha Clan (Naruto)
Throughout Naruto, the cool-headed Sasuke constantly talks about making his older brother, Itachi, pay for murdering the entire Uchiha clan in cold blood. Sasuke’s family was known as one of the strongest in all of Konohagakure, most notably because of their Sharingan. When the clan debated on whether or not it should stage a coup d’état against the Third Hokage, the likes of which had ulterior motives to become the nation’s leader, Konohagakure elder Danzo Shimura convinced Itachi to kill every Uchiha member except for his little brother. Itachi’s betrayal serves as the principle motivation for Sasuke to become stronger. He eventually goes on to rival the power of Naruto himself.
Be it mass murders or the apocalypse, each betrayal above showcases anime’s tremendous power to have scenes that haunt fans long after they’re finished viewing them. It’s an industry that revels in twists and turns that keep audiences engaged for time to come. The future is set to bring even more horrific betrayals to our computer monitors, mobile devices, and television screens soon. Here’s hoping that the upcoming tragedies we’re setting ourselves up for don’t induce too much trauma.