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This Isekai Hero Might Have The Most Humiliating Death In Anime History

Regardless of the method, a character's death in a story should always mean something to the viewer. Rarely can the end of one's life be brushed aside as meaningless or inconsequential. Otherwise, the story risks losing its sense of danger. Even still, death can still be shed in a positive light. It can be heroic, for instance, or even humorous. In one popular genre of anime, however, it has become something entirely different. Of all things, isekai anime has made death an initiating event.

The first isekai (meaning "other world" in Japanese) story to popularize this was the light novel "Jobless Reincarnation" (via Anime News Network). Like many isekai, it focused on an adult shut-in who is transported to another world where they can get a second chance at success in life. However, it also begins its story with its protagonist jumping in front of a moving truck to save a group of high schoolers, an event that provides cause for his reincarnation into the fantasy realm while also revealing the heroic qualities hiding within his pitiful persona. 

At the time, this was an original way to introduce an isekai character. It wasn't long before other isekai began using reincarnation as a plot device, each with its own take on the tradition. Among them, however, "KonoSuba" might be the most unique. Rather than generating sympathy for the hero through tragedy, it does so through humor by giving them the most humiliating death in anime history.

How KonoSuba's hero dies for nothing

For the most part, Kazuma Sato is your typical isekai hero. In our world, he was a loser who did nothing but play video games and read manga. He had no friends, no girlfriend, and no life. But while "Jobless Reincarnation" killed off its loser hero in a way that made his life feel at least somewhat worthwhile, "KonoSuba's" protagonist is not given the same treatment. Instead, Kazuma is kicked while he is down.

Like "Jobless Reincarnation's" Rudeus, Kazuma dies saving a high school girl from being run over, or so he thought. Upon dying, the goddess Aqua carelessly informs him that not only did he not save the girl, but the truck (which was actually a tractor) actually came to a stop before it hit her. On top of that, it didn't even hit him. He was so terrified of being run over that he passed out from shock before peeing his pants and dying of a heart attack in the hospital. All the while, his doctors and family openly laughed at how ridiculous his death really was. Ouch.

Even so, it's still a brilliant death scene

As humiliating as Kazuma's death was, it's actually a very brilliant spin on the trope. As mentioned, the death of an isekai hero is often used as a way to induce sympathy for the hero. Rudeus may not have been a very admirable person in life, but his inner goodness still manages to shine through in the end and it makes his reincarnation into a world where he can succeed feel like something he earned.

Kazuma's death, while admirable in that he tried to do something heroic, just doesn't conjure the same sympathy. It's more like pity. He wasn't a bad person, so the fact that he died a death so humiliating that his parents and the people trying to save his life can't hold back their laughter kind of makes you feel sorry for him. As a result, his reincarnation feels less like something he deserves and more like something given to him because his actual life was absolutely pointless. It is the narrative equivalent of letting your sibling get a second turn at "Super Mario Bros." because they ran straight into the first Goomba on World 1.

However, the fact that we still feel sorry for Kazuma and believe he deserves a second shot proves how effective of a device his death was. Perhaps it isn't as honorable as Rudeus', but it's the perfect beginning to a show that's built on parodying the tropes of its own genre.