Which of the heroes of the three cult Japanese animation series – “Dragon Ball Z”, “One Piece” and “Naruto” – has killed the most enemies during his adventures?
If there’s one hard-to-find cliché about Japanese anime, it’s the so-called ultra-violence inherent in each of these cartoons. In his work The ras-le-bol of baby zappers (1989), the former minister Ségolène Royal described the anime of the Club Dorothée in these terms, guilty in her eyes of exerting a bad influence on the French youth of the time:
In Japanese cartoons and series (…) everyone is hitting on each other. (…) The refinement and diversity in the ways of killing (explosions, lasers, remote control, electrocutions, remote-controlled animals, various gadgets…) have been accompanied by an impoverishment of characters, a standardization of hero, whose only personality is reduced to the quantity of lined up corpses, or to the color of the panoply of the perfect little space fighter.
This judgment nevertheless seems to have been revised by a good number of parents over the years, while the consumption of Japanese manga and anime has now become part of the habits of many French people, especially with the adult public precisely from the Grendizer generations (late 1990s). 70) and Club Dorothée (early 90).
The Luffy Case
Among the three most popular series in our region, it is thus amusing to note the number of enemies killed by each of the heroes of these mangas. Let’s start with Luffy, the pirate leading the Straw Hat Pirates in One Piece! Due to its main subject (piracy) and its length (101 volumes to date available from Glénat, and more than 1000 episodes on the clock for its animated adaptation), one could legitimately think that a large number of villains have been slain by the elastic hero.
And yet! As surprising as it may seem, Luffy hasn’t killed ANY enemies since the beginning of the series. Endowed with a good background, the latter has in fact made a habit of not finishing off any villain, including the most formidable ones, because according to the author of the manga Eiichiro Oda, the young pirate wishes to give anyone the chance to be able to achieve her dreams.
It is mainly for this reason that Luffy, despite the immense power of his powers, never wanted to kill any of his enemies. However, it remains to be seen whether this promise will be kept until the end of the work, the manga still being published for at least a few more years.
Naruto and his nindō
Also animated by deep humanist feelings, Naruto has never killed an enemy either… except for a single adversary, and this in an indirect way. During the Pain arc (in the Naruto Shippūden series), the young shinobi confronts Yura, an Akatsuki spy who has become a clone of Itachi Uchiha to stir up trouble among the ranks of Konoha village ninjas.
Thinking of facing the older brother of his childhood friend Sasuke, known as much for his power as for his ruthless character, Naruto fights an unrestrained fight, using on this occasion his technique of the Giant Whirling Orb (Ôdama Rasengan). Hit hard by the wave, Yura will finally succumb to his injuries.
This death, caused by the spell of deception that forced Naruto to commit all his power in a fight that did not require it, is the only one to attribute directly to Naruto who, like Luffy, intends to do everything possible to avoid giving in to the escalation of violence.
Goku, murderer but not too much
The oldest of the three mythical heroes of Japanese animation is also the deadliest. But his hunting record might surprise you. Throughout the Dragon Ball Z series, Goku only kills two enemies. The first is Yakon, one of the minions of the sorcerer Babidi, whom he eliminates, almost indirectly: the creature having the ability to suck the power of his opponents, the Saiyan decides to deploy a maximum of energy to train the explosion of his enemy.
His second victim is Buu, the series’ ultimate villain. After a long battle, during which the entire population of Earth was killed (then brought back to life, thanks to the dragon balls), Goku defeats his enemy thanks to a Genkidama fed by the energy of all the inhabitants of the earth. But there again, the death of Buu is to qualify.
If it is quite correct to say that the latter was killed by the Saiyan, let us nevertheless remember that the latter expressed the wish that his enemy could be resurrected in the heart of a pure-hearted being, so that their fight could continue, in a friendlier form. This will be done with Uub, whom Goku will take as his disciple at the end of the very last episode of the series.
Ironically, Goku was much more murderous during his childhood. In the Dragon Ball series, which recounts the warrior’s youth and adolescence, there are a total of ten murdered enemies, including Piccolo Daimaô (aka the old Piccolo), or several members of the Red Ribbon Army.