Spoilers! Read at your own risk.
Among the handful of deaths in Rave Master, the one that left the most emotional impact on me (thus far) would definitely have to be Reina's. Which is surprising, because I barely cried when she died; much unlike when the two Gales kicked the bucket, and I was sobbing so hard, it was hilarious. This is probably because I've read Fairy Tail before I read Rave Master, and we all know how lighthearted Fairy Tail is. Jellal's death was supposed to be one of it's darkest moments, and wouldn't you know it? He came back and is now a major character.
Reina, on the other hand, would never comeback. She's with her father now, and while that's a good thing in itself, it's most tragic for the readers. I feel like this is Mashima's take on Romeo and Juliet. Hamrio was even willing to die with her. What makes her death more painful is the fact that they only began to trust each other. And Reina's final thoughts and Hamrio's reaction to her death made it seem like they had known each other for years; that they are destined to be together in the end after all of this. But no, this is the end of their journey; none of Reina's fantasies would be fulfilled. It's pretty ironic how her most wonderful character development yet also happened to be her last. Plot armors, why can't you work when we want you to?
I never thought the day will come when I will detest fan-service. Those last panels of Reina's fantasies really gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, she'll come out of this somehow. That she will have an a la Jellal comeback, and she will be together with the only guy she ever truly loved. But she won't. Mashima literally crushed all my hopes for the only Rave canon I have ever shipped with all my heart. That bastard.
I wonder. If I had read Rave before I read FT, will my perspective on Mashima's story line be different? Because those two works of his are polar opposites; one is is filled with hope and happy twists, the other is dark, and will surprise you with the worst situations imaginable. Both are amazing in their own rights, and honestly, what kind of reader would not appreciate a good, unpredictable story?
But for once, I wanted Mashima to be predictable. I wanted the story to turn out exactly how I imagined it would. Because the way he twisted the plot was... so mean of him. Genius, but still mean of him.
And only one thought was running through my mind the whole time Reina was dying: Fuck you, Mashima.
Never thought I'd say that about my favorite manga-ka.