Anime is sophisticated entertainment, with elaborate stories, amazing settings, and a wide variety of interesting characters. Sounds pretty intense, doesn’t it? It is no surprise that there are several anime series that are notorious tearjerkers. So, what makes these tearjerker anime so sad?
Which of these is your favorite? Clannad Clannad After Story Angel Beats! Ano Hana Grave of the Fireflies 5 Centimeters Per Second Air Elfen Lied True Tears Kanon Chrono Crusade Myself; Yourself Kimi ga Nozomu Eien Full Moon wo Sagashite Ef: A Tale of Melodies Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru SoraSee results
The year is 1928 and the place is New York City. The economic prosperity that followed World War I cannot hide the presence of something dark and sinister: a lurking demonic force. As members of the Magdalene Order, exorcist Sister Rosette Christopher and her assistant Chrono fight demons, which will stop at nothing to disrupt the balance of heaven and earth. Rosette and Chronos are not just exorcists, they are also on a quest to find Rosette’s missing brother, Joshua. Their relationships, secrets, and fates are revealed throughout the series.
A sequel to Clannad, After Story follows the struggles and heartbreaks of a young married couple.
Nana MAL Rated 8.58, Ranked #70 | Aired Spring 2006 | Produced by Madhouse
Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica (Puella Magi Madoka Magica) is hard to explain… It is not your typical magical girl anime series. It is dark as hell. With its broken characters and a setting beyond depressing, this is a spectacular series. If you’re expecting a happy-go-lucky magical girl series, you will not find it here. Watch Madoka Magica fully prepared for the dark and sad setting. Prepare to cry!
After the death of their close friend Meiko Honma, five childhood playmates grow apart. The leader of the group, Jinta Yadomi, neglects high school and lives as a recluse. One day he begins seeing the Meiko’s ghost, which can only interact with him and no one else. She has returned to ask Jinta to fulfill the forgotten wish she made as a kid. Trouble is, Meiko can’t remember her wish and Jinta must bring all of the friends together to help. Things get complicated and emotional as each friend reveals that they feel responsible for Meiko’s death.
Do you love anime that makes you cry? Yes, I love to watch anime that’s super sad! Kind of. I like it but it can’t be too sad. No, I prefer funny anime.See results
“A half moon. A bright half and a dark half. Just like me.” – Gasai Yuno from Mirai Nikki
A few months have passed since Tomoya confessed his love to Nagisa. Now entering the second semester, he continues to meet new people and expand his circle of friends. His relationship with Nagisa is becoming more intimate and Tomoya begins to understand the meaning and importance of family. Unfortunately, as Tomoya and Nagisa begin their own family together, they are faced with many heart-wrenching hardships and challenges.
Shinichiro is a very artistic student who lives at home with his parents. When Hiromi, a popular girl from school, moves in with his family Shinichiro senses that she is sad inside despite her outwardly cheerful behavior. At school Hiromi is all-smiles but at home she treats Shinichiro coldly. Shinichiro has other problems too: His friend Nobuse teases him and a strange girl has put a curse on him.
Haibane Renmei (Charcoal Feather Federation) MAL Rated 8.10, Ranked #409 | Aired Fall 2002 | Produced by Radix
After his mother dies, a boy decides to pick up her journey where she left off.
The name comes from the German “Elves’ Song.” The Diclonius is a more evolved species that looks like humans. It is said that the Diclonius will eventually become the destruction of mankind. It has two horns and a “sixth sense,” which gives it telekinetic abilities. Because they are dangerous, they are held in captivity in laboratories.
Ever watched Angel Beats? The story focuses around a group of teenagers (of course), but the setting is truly unique. The high school serves as a place for souls of people who have passed, but can not give up lingering attachments to life and loved ones. In other words, they can not rest in peace; they have to learn to let go. Already sounds sad doesn’t it? As if the setting wasn’t enough, the characters’ constant grief and pain make the show almost unbearable to watch. The characters’ sad situations and unlikely friendships will definitely bring out those tears.
Also known as Hantsuki, this series follows the budding romance between two sick teenagers.
The anime, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April), explores life, the importance of love and friendship, and the joy of music. Arima Kousei is a young piano prodigy. His mother’s death causes intense psychological trauma that prevents him from playing the piano, or from hearing music the same way. An encounter with the talented violinist, Miyazono Kaori, begins to slowly set him back on the path to music. This one has heartbreaking illness, beautiful character relationships, and music. This series was a wake-up call from the anime industry saying ‘I’m still here, and I’m still a beautiful thing.’
Full Moon wo Sagashite (Searching for the Full Moon) MAL Rated 8.10, Ranked #407 | Aired Spring 2002 | Produced by Studio Deen
We all go through bouts of depression and we all deal with it in different ways. Even if we take solace in anime, we might watch completely different things ranging from the joyful to the horribly depressing.
A popular anime subgenre is sad or tearjerker anime. These anime make the viewer feel for the characters and even make them cry. With tragic scenarios, emotional scenes, and heartbreaking (even depressing) themes, these stories are powerful.
This movie is probably nostalgic for many viewers. Featuring the first anime appearance of Mewtwo, it tells the story of how he invites a group of Pokemon trainers including Ash to an uninhabited island to allegedly do battle with him. What follows are some of the most touching scenes between pokemon and trainer you’ll see anywhere in the series. I’m crying a little just thinking about it!
The death of your favourite character is also sure to start the waterworks.
During the winter, Yuichi is hospitalized for hepatitis. He tries to escape from the hospital but is beat up by the nurse. One day he meet Rika, another teenager, in the next hospital building. He is fascinated by her beauty, but she is very selfish. When Rika tells him about her illness, a weak heart valve, he understands why she acts the way she does: She doesn’t have long to live.
A boy who had moved with his parents to Tokyo returns to his hometown only to find the town changed for the worse and his best friend withdrawn and gloomy.
Clannad / Clannad: After Story MAL Rated 8.39, Ranked #158 | Aired Fall 2007 | Produced by Kyoto Animation MAL Rated 9.11, Ranked #7 | Aired Fall 2008 | Produced by Kyoto Animation
“Everyone bears pain in their heart.” – Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail
Fourteen-year-old Seita and his four-year-old sister Setsuko are orphaned after their mother is killed during an air-raid by American forces in Kobe, Japan. After a falling-out with their aunt, the children move into an abandoned bomb shelter. With no surviving relatives and their emergency funds and rations depleted, Seita and Setsuko struggle to survive their hardships as well as those of their country, which is on the losing end of the war. The story is told in a series of flashbacks.
This anime about the adventures of an exorcist nun and her (benevolent) demon sidekick seems innocuous at first, but this show is about so much more than just cool supernatural combat! Everything from the character’s goals and motivations to their bonds with each other will bring tears to your eyes.
Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies) was directed by the brilliant Isao Takahata. It focuses on two siblings in the aftermath of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki tragic bombings. This film is sure to bring tears to the eyes of any human being with even half a heart. The setting in a post nuclear world, the characters and their unimaginable situation brings out the waterworks during this film.
Told in three separate segments, this story follows two friends who were separated as children but who never lose touch.
They also often follow a similar formula: The first half is funny, the middle is heart-warming and romantic, followed by a tragic separation and finally (though not always) an emotional reunion.
Kiminozo for short, this series follows a boy who moves to Tokyo after a breakup only to become entangled in more romantic drama and heartbreak.
One of the most acclaimed animes of the sad subgenre, Clannad follows a motherless boy whose father drinks and gambles.
Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku (Now and Then, Here and Now) MAL Rated 7.85, Ranked #743 | Aired Fall 1999 | Produced by AIC
Tono Takaki and Shinohara Akari were inseparable as children but grow apart when one of them moves away. They exchange letters, but the distance between them increases as time moves on. Years pass and the rift between them grows ever larger, but as an adult Takaki remembers the time he shared with his friend. As life unfolds, he wonders if he will ever see Akari again. He embarks on a journey to find her and the story unfolds, from both friends’ perspective.
A young man suffering from amnesia returns to the city of his youth and begins to recall his past.
On the surface, Nana is a charming, funny show about two girls who are complete opposites, and rock music! And it is about these things, to some extent. However, it soon becomes apparent that this show digs much deeper than exploring the powerful friendship the two Nana’s share, and having an awesome soundtrack. Humans are imperfect, and everyone carries luggage of their own, and that’s what Nana highlights. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and maybe you’ll even clench your fists in frustration. Nana is a must-watch not just for music fans or shoujo lovers, but for anyone who loves great character writing.
Yuichi Aizawa returns to the city of his childhood after having left abruptly seven years earlier. Whatever it was that caused him to leave, he has blocked out the memory. On the day after he gets settled in, he tours the city with his cousin who leaves him briefly on a sidewalk. A strange girl carrying a backpack with wings on it bumps into him. Her name is Tsukimiya Ayu and she immediately confesses a minor crime she has just committed. Yuichi meets four other girls, each with their own bizarre story, and begins to piece together the memories he had lost.
A talented young girl who dreams of becoming a singer learns she is sick and may never sing again.
We have all been hit by the “feelings train” as anime fans. It’s frustrating, infuriating, tragic, sad, and heartbreaking, all at the same time. Now that we know what makes an anime series sad, let’s explore why fans and critics praise the following 20 popular anime series as both heartwarming and heartbreaking.All ranking information was taken on the date of publication.
A Tale of Melodies picks up where the first adaptation, The Tale of Memories leaves off. It tells the tale of two couples, Kuze and Mizuki and Yuuko and Yuu. Alternating between the past and present, as well as between two different twin-cities, the story reveals the connections all of the characters share, as well as their tragic past. When Himura Yuu meets Amamiya Yuuko, she seems to know him but he doesn’t know her. But he soon remembers that he knew her long ago and she shares a secret: He was her first love and her first love has not ended yet. The second couple’s story follows Shuuichi Kuze and Hayama Mizuki. They spend a lot of time together, but unknown to Mizuki, Kuze had contracted a fatal illness and has little time left to live. Kuze decides to break all romantic ties, but things get complicated when Mizuki tells him that she loves him.
Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki (Wolf Children) MAL Rated 8.86, Ranked #18 | Premiered Jul 21, 2012 | Produced by Madhouse and Studio Chizu
Yes, this anime is full of cute girls, but it’s suprisingly sad. I mean, said cute girls are Giftia robots, and they only have lifespans of a few short years. Mortality and what it means to be human are themes of this show. The main character Tsubasa Mizugaki is human, and he works in what is basically a retirement facility for run-down Giftia. He doesn’t think he’ll get too attached, because after all, they’re robots without feelings of their own, right?
Chrno Crusade MAL Rated 7.83, Ranked #761 | Aired Fall 2003 | Produced by Gonzo
Story, setting and characters combine to create an anime tearjerker. What if you have a story with a sad premise, or a dreary setting? You are destined to curl up into a sobbing ball of mush. What about the characters? If a character has a particularly sad backstory, and he spends the entire anime trying to fix his broken past, you are in for an incredibly whiny character, or one hell of a sentimental sob fest.
A group of childhood friends drifts apart after one of them dies in an accident.
Basically the (superior) anime equivalent of Adam Sandler’s 50 First Dates, One Week Friends shows the difficulties of making friends, or falling in love, when your memory doesn’t last long enough to make lasting bonds. Kaori’s amnesia affects not only her, but her well-meaning classmates as well. People who had a hard time fitting in in school will find this sad, yet hopeful anime especially relevant.
Two siblings try to survive in the final months of World War II.
10 Taboo Anime That You Would Rather Not Get Caught Enjoying
The titles below appear in no special order—each one is a great tearjerker. After the list, you’ll find plot summaries for each series. You can also vote for your favorite below!
By the director of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki starts off adorable, but really punches you in the gut with its feels. A human girl falls in love with a werewolf, and has two kids. Unfortunately, she ends up having to raise her children alone. Those with single parents or are single parents themselves will understand Hana’s plight, even if Hana’s troubles are part-canine. Aside from showing how deep a mother’s love can go, this tearjerker is an emotional coming of age film, showing how the two half-wolf children change as they mature.
Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day) MAL Rated 8.67, Ranked #45 | Aired Spring 2011 | Produced by A-1 Pictures
A boy, Yukio Kunisaki, goes on a journey to search for the “girl in the sky” that his now-dead mother would sing about when he was a child. He decides he must find the girl in order to finish his mother’s life journey. In order to earn some money, he stops in a town a performs a puppet show. Yukito meets three strange girls named Misuzu Kamio, Kano Kirishima, and Minagi Tohno, and begins to suspect that one of them may in fact be the girl he has been searching for. He quickly becomes friends with Misuzu, who invites him to stay with her. Yukito puts his search on hold, delaying the journey that his mother had left unfinished.
Twelve-year-old Kouyama Mitsuki is devastated when she is diagnosed with a malignant tumor of the throat. She had made a promise to the boy she loves that she would one day become a singer, but the illness makes singing impossible. To make matters even worse, two angels of death, Takuto and Meroko, appeared to Mitsuki and informed her that she only had one year left to live. Now Mitsuki is even more motivated to fulfill her dreams, and with a little bit of divine intervention, she begins her quest to become a professional singer.
Sana Hidaka returns to his hometown after having lived in Tokyo for five years. As he walks the streets, he feels uneasy. On a detour to his apartment, he notices a girl in a shrine-maiden outfit watching him. He finds out the next day at school that the girl is his childhood friend, Nanaka Yatsushiro, but she has changed. Once sweet and innocent, Nanaka is now depressed and sad. Sana still harbors his old crush on Nanaka but it isn’t clear that she even recognizes him.
Otonashi lost his memories when he died. When he awakes he meets Yuri, the leader of the Shinda Sekai Sensen, a group that rebels against God for the cruel fates they have suffered. Their only enemy is Angel, who uses supernatural powers to battle against the SSS. Otonashi eventually regains his memory and befriends Angel, but as students around them prepare to move on from the afterlife, Otonashi and Angel are destined to be apart.
What makes a ‘dark’ anime? It’s more than just monsters and scares. Check out the 25 Best Dark Anime for a glimpse into some of the industry’s most twisted stories.
A species of mutants is held in captivity, but when one escapes to seek revenge on humans she is injured and undergoes a personality change.
Incest, loli, extreme gore, and cannibalism are just some of the subjects considered taboo but they are not really rare in anime. Can you guess which taboo anime shows have found their way to this list?
Isshuukan Friends. (One Week Friends) MAL Rated 7.74, Ranked #936 | Aired Spring 2014 | Produced by Brains Base
AnoHana (The Flower We Saw That Day) features broken characters whose past mistakes create an unbearable burden. The story centers around a group of friends in their teenage years. A tragic accident separates them. They spend their days trying to shake off individual guilt. The characters’ intense emotions tug the core of your heart and don’t let go til the very end! After you watch this anime, just hearing the ending song will bring you to tears!
Relationships can also make an anime sad. No anime fan could forget how they laughed, smiled, and cried when they watched the growing relationship between Nagisa Furukawa and Tomoya Okazaki from Clannad, and Clannad: After Story.
Related Database Entries Anime: Hotaru no Haka, Byousoku 5 Centimeter, Clannad, Clannad: After Story, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, Angel Beats!, Fairy Tail, Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica, Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai.
, Mirai Nikki, Shingeki no Kyojin, Tokyo Ghoul, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso Characters: Nagisa Furukawa, Tomoya Okazaki, Yuno Gasai, Erza Scarlet, Kousei Arima, Kaori Miyazono, Ken Kaneki
Tomoya Okazaki is a third-year high school student who hates his life. His mother died in a car accident when he was young and his father drinks and gambles. Father and son fight and Tomoya is injured at one point, so he cannot lift one of his arms. Since then, Tomoya and his father are distant and Tomoya becomes more sullen and delinquent. One day while walking to school, he meets a strange girl named Nagisa Furukawa. She is a year older than he is but is repeating the year of school because she had been ill. Nagisa is often alone, as most of her friends have moved on. The two begin hanging out and slowly, as time goes by, Tomoya finds his life shifting in a new direction. Consider this list of relatable anime if you enjoy this one.
Plastic Memories MAL Rated 6.91, Ranked #659 | Premiered Spring 2015 | Produced by Doga Kobo
Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies) MAL Rated 8.60, Ranked #64 | Premiered Apr 15, 1988 | Produced by Studio Ghibli
Need a pick-me-up after crying so much? Check out these anime to make you happy!
Lucy is a young and psychotic Diclonius. She manages to break free and brutally murders most of the guards in the laboratory, only to be shot in the head as she escapes. Wounded, she makes her way to a beach where two teenagers discover her. Lucy has lost her memory and can barely speak, uttering only the word “Nyuu.” This becomes her name and her personality becomes more child-like as well. The teenagers, Kouta and Yuka, take her home, but the government is pursuing Lucy. Check out this review for further details.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 centers around a rare anime topic – the pain and destruction of natural disaster. The story explores the aftermath of an 8.0 earthquake and how it would affect innocent individuals. This is a depressing portrayal of real-life tragedies; a heartbreaking story about the pain and grief caused by a force entirely outside the characters’ control.
RecommendationCollectionActionCute GirlsCute GuysDespairHorrorSupernatural
While this is an action anime, there’s no doubt it’s also one of the saddest shows of all time. The Elric siblings live with one goal in life: to fix what the grave mistake they committed as children when they forgot about the ultimate rule of alchemy: you must sacrifice something of equal value in order to get what you want. Love for family, friends, humanity, and even true romance make an appearance in this show.
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April) MAL Rated 8.93, Ranked #13 | Aired Fall 2014 | Produced by A-1 Pictures
Angel Beats! MAL Rated 8.47, Ranked #114 | Aired Spring 2010 | Produced by P.A. Works
This anime is a little older, but it’ll still have you crying! Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku Is about a young boy who is transported to a different world or time period. Shu’s new world is a dystopia, where water is scarce, and females are captured for breeding (sound familiar, Mad Max fans?) The similarities don’t just end there, however. Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku also covers the same themes of morality, war, and slavery. It’ll make you think and give you the sniffles at the same time!
CollectionBrother complexDespairHorrorMonstersSister Complex
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood MAL Rated 9.25 Ranked #1 | Aired Spring 2009 | Produced by Bones
Byousoku 5 Centimeter (5 Centimeters Per Second) MAL Rated 8.18, Ranked #316 | Premiered Feb 11, 2007 | Produced by CoMix Wave Films
A sensitive boy watches the people around him struggle and tries to help, but is unable to help himself.
Steins;Gate MAL Rated 9.18, Ranked #2 | Aired Spring 2011 | Produced by White Fox
Different anime make different people cry. Some cry more. Anime has a habit of running us over with the feelings train. An anime that is not classified as ‘sad’ can still make us cry like babies! Look at Attack on Titan. It has scenes that will make us cry. Even the conclusion of our favourite series could make us cry. Watching these shows will definitely further your anime knowledge and teach you a thing or two about the ups and downs of life in general. So grab your tissues, sweatpants, chocolate, ice cream and crying pillows, and prepare to cry like a three year old with these amazing series!
Takayuki Narumi is set up with a girl but he cannot follow through with it. Later, Takayuki is planning to meet the girl again but he is delayed and she gets into an accident. She slips into a coma that lasts for three years and awakens to tell Takayuki that she wants to see him again.
5 Centimeters per Second (Byousoku 5 Centimeter) is about two close friends torn apart by life. It is difficult to stay in touch, despite their efforts. Eventually, they almost completely stop talking. Over time, their cherished memories come back. They both pray for a chance to see each other again. This story is sad because it is so common. Viewers relate to losing contact with a close friend. We can’t help but pray for the two to reunite. The story is universal and sentimental. Let the tears flow!
Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica (Puella Magi Madoka Magica) MAL Rated 8.56, Ranked #76 | Aired Winter 2011 | Produced by Shaft
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 MAL Rated 8.21, Ranked #291 | Aired Summer 2009 | Produced by Bones, Kinema Citrus
Set in New York City just before the Great Depression, Chrono Crusade follows two exorcists as they fight demons and search for a missing friend.
Set in a high school in the afterlife, Angel Beats! follows students as they learn to let go of attachments to their former lives.
The girls in Haibane Renmei resemble angels, but it’s unclear what they really are. All we know is that one day, cocoons appear in the Old Home, and sooner or later a child or young adult pops out of it. Rakka is the newest addition to the grey winged family, and through her eyes you’ll see what it’s like to be one of the grey-winged living on the outskirts of a human village. Like other shows in this list, Haibane Renmei covers mortality, guilt, and the journey of moving on from past traumas.
Why do you love sad anime? I love a good cry! They are so romantic! The big eyes are so cute when they’re filled with tears. It helps me with my own life problems.See results
All twelve year old Mitsuki wants to do is become a singer so she can see her one true love again, but she only has one year left to live. With the help of Takuto and Meroko, two messengers of death, she tries to make the most of her time on Earth. Although this is a shoujo anime, its themes about first love, dreams, and mortality at such a young age are sure to touch anyone’s heart!
Revenge: too cliche? More often than not, a good story involves people turning to drastic, even illegal measures for the sake of revenge. Webtoon characters are no exception! Check out how these characters satisfy our thirst for a cathartic release!
What better way to start our list of sad anime than with the two of the most notorious tearjerkers of all: Clannad and its highly-praised sequel Clannad: After Story. Clannad is a raw, emotionally engaging anime. It starts out typically, with a depressed guy who attends a new high school and finds himself in a harem situation. This show truly shines through its characters. They all have sad, realistic and sympathetic backstories. They begin to form strong relationships which help them all to mend. However, and this is where Clannad is unique, the characters move on. They grow up. They are thrown apart by life. That’s right. Clannad, but mainly, Clannad: After Story explores the ups and downs of characters’ lives after high school. In particular though, the growing relationship between two very special characters really makes our hearts melt.
You’ve always known that anime is a medium that breaks down boundaries. Now, we’re going to be taking a look at the best adult anime which push things beyond the limit!
Some days, don’t you just feel like crying over a good show? Why not check out some notorious tearjerker anime. These sad series have elements so heartbreaking and tragic, we can’t help but get sucked in. Let’s take a look at 15 series that are known for bringing out the crybaby in all of us.
Pokemon: Mewtwo no Gyakushuu (Pokemon: The First Movie) MAL Rated 7.65, Ranked #1104 | Premiered Jul 18, 1998 | Produced by Oriental Light and Magic
Steins;Gate is a popular suspense anime. The blossoming relationships between intensely desperate characters as they surpass overwhelming obstacles can be too much to handle! Similar to The Future Diary, it isn’t really classified as a ‘sad’ anime, but its characters and their situations have the power to bring us to tears.
Maybe they are haunted by a moral dilemma. Think about Ken Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul. What if something random happens to a character? Kaneki doesn’t deserve his fate, but it changes the course of his life forever. An anime might not be sad overall, but we can’t help but cry over the character’s misfortunes.