Russian Boy Commits Suicide Over a Japanese Anime Character’s Death

Who cares about “anime”? Lots of people, evidently. In 2009, the anime (Japanese-style cartoon) industry in Japan alone was worth 77.7 billion yen ($865 million) from DVD and Blu-ray sales. And though the industry seems to have peaked around a decade ago, anime have become an international cultural product that people who feel absolutely no connection to Japan consume (many don’t even realize that they are made in Japan). Just like American movies have become a worldwide phenomenon, so have anime. But anime fans the world over were shocked a few days ago by the connection between two teens who just died. One was the Japanese anime character, Itachi Uchiha. The other was the real Russian boy, Leonid Hmelev.

The Daily Mail reports:

A 14-year-old boy leapt more than 100ft to his death from the top of an apartment block in Chaikovsky, Russia, after seeing his favourite manga character killed in a cartoon.

Police say Leonid Hmelev died instantly.

The boy was reportedly devastated after seeing the death of the character Itachi Uchiha in the animated movie ‘Naruto – Hurricane Chronicle’.

He left home after posting a message on a social networking site saying he was also ‘planning an ending’.

His worried parents raised the alarm after he did not return home and a search was organised together with neighbours.

His body was found about a week ago, by his father. “I always told him he spent too much time watching the TV,” he said. “He didn’t know what was reality and what was fiction anymore.” Compounding this sad and absurd (not to sound disrespectful) death was the fact that it had been known that the beloved character, Itachi, died in 2008. The manga are released earlier than the anime, and they come out sooner in Japan than the rest of the world.

Perhaps this was not even as tragic, however, as the 10-year-old boy who in 2008 tried to recreate an apparent scene from Naruto in which a character fights by hiding in the sand. His friends, at his request, buried him in the sandbox in his backyard, but he did not come up for air. Before they realized that something was wrong, it was too late.

But what’s surprising about this case is that it doesn’t seem particularly difficult thing to prevent. That is, if we really blame it all on the TV show.

However, I suspect there’s more to this case than just the anime viewing, though there is not enough information to move beyond speculation. Speculation such as whether or not the boy faced any abuse (e.g., at home, at school), had any mental illness, or if there was a completely separate factor all together. Whatever the case, it’s clear that life imitates art – even its ugly side.

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11 Responses to Russian Boy Commits Suicide Over a Japanese Anime Character’s Death

  1. In a way, I believe this boy was murdered but the writers of the movie Naruto-Hurricane Chronicle. If they had let Itachi live, Leonid would still be alive. Seeing as how he took his own life after seeing Itachi die, I think Itachi’s death in terms of sadness was just like the death of Nephrite from Sailor Moon times over 9000!!!! As Vegeta would say.

    • Takuya says:

      look… about being murdered from the writers of Naruto-Hurricane Chronicle or better to say in japanese Naruto Shippuden isn’t right. the writer decided it to end Itachi’s life… but that doesn’t mean he killed Leonid.
      as you describe it, then when a good anime character dies there die thousand of kids and anime lovers. no it’s wrong.
      my favorite character is Itachi too, but when he died i cried for days. weird i know. but that’s the ”bond” people make with anime characters. they resemble us very much. even give us tips for our future life and such. so don’t say it’s Takegami Junki’s fault (he’s the writer of Naruto) …

  2. Leo rey Paglumotan jr. says:

    As we all know media is now the greatest entertainment of everyone to day and all traditional ways of enjoyment especially the games of our childhood. And not to mention that even in movies, drama by real actors and people get easily carried away. Now put that idea on people grow up in the era of anime.In order for the anime to get popular it needs to get the attention of people by making interesting and showing the daily lives of people, and some people can relate to it. Just imagine one person relates his story to that character and now that the character suffers deep and painful realization and his only solution to that is by suicide. In that way it is not only the character is being affected in anime but also the one watching it. As i search for the different impact anime Between male and female. the biggest factor Separates female from male is that the female express their feelings once they feel lonely, sad, and angry by crying, while on the other side; males (also me) intend to keep it, no ground to express it, and especially to what they watch because we are grown and made firm by the idea of from our parents esp. father and our peers that crying is a sign of weakness.
    Anime that rated for everyone leaves this impact “Will they continue the story?” But anime rated 15(jap) and 18(other) which contains nudity, gore, revenge, and killing always have this question what happened to him why he resolve for violence.This category is always related to reality, of our daily life. I recently read a h-manga (+18). In the story the main character (girl) suffers from severe emotional pain from his step brother who she really love as siblings but find out that his brother made a hole for her painting to be hook but instead he create a peep hole from room(his) to her room and later discovered by the girl with the painful truth that leads to the death of her brother after her brother tried to chase her in road and hit by a speeding truck. Her mother never like her and her father always at the back or her mother. In that tragedy happened to her. And many things happened. i my self also suffering from depression but trying to manage it. Not only my self but i’ve encounter alot of people post comments about how heavy their chest carrying; most of them are males as expected viewer of a h-anime. In the end i realized that although its a h-anime i m expecting about pleasure but i saw the story it self the pain, fear, emotional and psychological effects to the character that also you’ve been caring as you finish the story. Is it possible that the bond of a people to people in reality may also a keyfactor between suicides by anime “The bond of character to the people”. I’m writhing this one to express my self and free from this pain i currently carrying. Maybe there are people like me but on the edge of suicide. Only solution i can find to fight this, have time with family and friends playing outside traditional games of our childhood. Remember Time his self can heals as we forget it. Just keep on hanging my friend and time will help us to pass this emotional distress.

    I’m sorry for expressing here.

  3. Mr.Sharingan says:

    Wow this is unbelievable…
    Of course there is more to this case than anime viewing but still… wow…

  4. Ekaterina says:

    I agree there before coinmg here I read a handful of blogs and other resources over the years, and I must say some of the reactions range from hilarious to outright wrong (in the sense of the way people are treated). I feel like Japan is one of the few places left in the world that has this strong cultural and moral influence on it’s people. Because of this it is so easy to clash with other cultures for better or for worse. I mean you will get a degree of culture shock going to any country, Britain, Germany, Italy, China but Japan is one society so polar opposite of (modern) Western values. We however are only temporary observers of this radically different culture that has a lot to offer anyone if you decide to visit in your life. They just won’t offer you the same thing they’ll offer other Japanese people.

  5. Magician101 says:

    It’s not the writer,anime or the manga’s fault. Our self is to be blame because what kind of block head blame something that is not real, an less that thing provoked them to do so.

    • Zedrick says:

      I burst out laughing when he tried to copy baruta by burying himself under sand
      HAHA I’m sorry I just couldn’t help myself but that’s just funny but it’s also not a laughing matter well cheerio

      • JEFFFF says:

        i know some people who try to die like that you just have to laugh at its a rule you cannot contain thy laughter way to funny my friend (a bit off topic) was a total chuuni and he covered all of his clothes in gas and said NO MY POWER IS LEAKING OUT and he snapped him finger and ended up getting 2nd degree burns all over his body

  6. sad says:

    🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

  7. JEFFFF says:

    i get suicide over someone dying like *SPOILERS* Mine did in akame ga kill thats a whole hell of a lot more reasonable every single person i know got depressed after seeing that but this guy was a bad guy who was slightly misunderstood if Rias Gremmory from DXD ever dies in the series i would probably consider it… but thats purely because its that fucking depressing to me i dont get what was depressing about his death at all sure it was a little bit sad but… really… thats something you rant about online until your fingers are purple… i have done that alot it gets it out of your system like how i ranted for about hours typing a single comment about just WHY did the movie take so long to come out it got pushed back a whole year but just because you can consider suicide doesnt mean you should… you have to take into account the people you would hurt… and now that i think about it no one would miss me heh…. damn it now im depressed… well ima go watch more anime PEACE oh yea and dont kill yourself

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