If you missed last night's Family Guy, you missed a very tragic moment for the show: the death of Brian Griffin. That's right. Da dog be dead people.
The death of any beloved character can really pull at your heartstrings, even if they're animated. They could come back, but only if there's some weird time-paradox or flashback. Otherwise, characters like Brian are gone for good.
Don't feel silly for shedding a single (or many) manly tears. Cartoon characters are some of the most loved, and I remember more than a few tragic cartoon character deaths experienced during childhood which I was simply not emotionally ready for. In memorium of Brian Griffin and his deceased animated brethren, here are MTL Blog's top ten tragic cartoon character deaths.
Mufasa (The Lion King)
Lets start things off with probably the best known, and most heart wrenching, death scene to happen in the animated world. Hell, the death of Mufasa in the Lion King trumps even most real-life death scenes. Otherwise known as the most intense piece of cinema ever, the stampede that claims Mufasa's death is high energy, stressful and straight up heart-wrenching. I still get teary eyed every time Simba paws at his father's lifeless corpse. Sad times.
Charlotte (Charlotte's Web)
There are a few potential death scenes in Charlotte's web, with Wilbur's life on the line, but only one Charlotte gets it in the end. Charlotte does die of natural causes, 'cuz spiders just don't live that long, but it's still super sad to see her go, especially since she saved Wilbur's ass the entire movie just because she's awesome and nice. Charlotte's spirit lives on in the bajillion kids she has in the end, but nothing beats the OG spider queen.
Maude Flanders (The Simpsons)
The Simpsons has been known to kill off characters throughout its 100+ year run (hyperbole) and Mod Flanders is arguably the best known. Wife to everyone's favourite neighbor Ned, Mod's death was tragic for the fact that she didn't deserve it in the slightest. A mother of two, a devout Christian, and pretty much the nicest person ever, Mod didn't deserve her early death at the hands of a t-shirt cannon. Worse still is Ned's final words to her: "No footlongs"
Bambi's Mom (Bambi)
Disney sure knows how to fuck with children's emotions. Right in the first twenty minutes of what everyone would assume is a cute story about a baby deer is a horrific murder scene. I think everyone grew up naturally hating hunters solely from this scene.
Goku (Dragon Ball Z)
Okay, so death in Dragon Ball stops being a big deal near the end of its run, since basically anyone can be revived with the deus ex machina that are the wish-granting dragon balls. Still, Goku, the series' main character, dies in like the first 2 episodes of the new series, a shock to many a fan. Not only does he die, Goku sacrifices himself so that Piccolo, his arch foe, can have a clean shot at Goku's own long lost brother. Worse still, his death is pretty much in vain as Goku + friends learn that even stronger enemies are right on their way. Thank god time moves like a snail in Dragon Ball Z, and Goku had enough time to train in the afterlife and kick Vegeta's ass later on.
This episode of Futurama rocked my emotional socks. Fry, after finding his dog Seymour from the 20th century preserved in lava, struggles with the idea of reviving him in the present-future. The episode has tons of flashbacks of Fry and Seymour loving each other, and by the end Fry decides to leave Seymour dead since he lived a long life after Fry got frozen. What Fry doesn't know, and is shown to the audience, is that Seymour spent the rest of his days waiting for Fry, dying of old age and a broken heart. What is usually a funny show went to new emotional heights with this episode.
Dinobot (Beast Wars)
The resident badboy of the 90's cartoon Beast Wars, Dinobot was everyone's favourite antihero. It came as a surprise when Dinobot, after emotionally connecting to some hominid ancestors of humanity, defended the monkey-men from the evil Predacons until his last breath. Earning a true warriors death, Dinobot was sorely missed on the show, and although was later resurrected, he was turned evil so it barely counts. Points to Dinobot for preserving humanity too.
Technically Jean Grey didn't die in the animated version of "The Phoenix Saga" in the 90's X-Men cartoon, but fans of the original story know how it really went down. After becoming a power-junky cosmic being known as the Dark Phoenix, who literally destroys a solar system, an alien empire thinks it best to kill Ms.Grey lest she lost control and destroy more living beings. The X-Men disagree and a whole gladiator battle thing happens on the moon. Jean, on the other hand, agrees with her alien executioners, and sets up an elaborate trap during the battle which essentially results in her being vaporized by a laser. To ensure the safety of her friends, family, and the universe , Jean kills herself. Don't be too sad though, Jean Grey dies, like, all the time. The first time was pretty harsh though.
God, Disney, give us a break. Well, you can blame Pixar on this one too. If you've watched the first twenty minutes of up, you know what an emotional roller coaster it is, and how crushing Ellie's death is. The movie goes from cute-as-can-be kid's couple, to happily married, to BAM dead and mourning. The movie stays entertaining, but that opening scene...damn.
Kenny (South Park)
Okay, maybe not tragic given Kenny dies all of the time, but remember when Kenny died, and it lasted like a whole season? It was the first time anyone actually acknowledged Kenny's mortality, and it really sunk in how this was an eight year old boy who was dieing, not just some cartoon character. Kenny would eventually return, of course, but his season 5 farewell really made you tear up.
Did we leave out the most traumatic cartoon death of your childhood? Make us cry in the comments below.