Anime has a way of attracting emotion to be felt in people. No wonder why it is so popular all over the world as it is a unique kind of art and uses a variety of different plots. The saddest anime comes from this feature although anime can be both funny and philosophical as well. But for those of you who love to cry, this is the right list for you!
10 Saddest Anime Shows And Films For When You Need To Cry
It is quite possible for animated films, anime tv series, and other cartoons to provoke emotions. Often this feature sets the overall style of construction and the main milestones of story writing. And whether it’s the content, the emotion, or the characters, it’s all wrapped up in the same sentiment. Some people can’t help but fall into pieces when it comes to anime. Some people may not get all of that but the anime has still become popular throughout the years and it will probably stay on top for a while. Maybe this is why Anime has made it big on an international stage as Japanese anime can be the most diverse genre of truly sad anime, the ones that appear in front of you like an invisible onion. The comics, the series, and the movies are so well done that people should give them a look before deciding that they simply don’t like them. It doesn’t hurt to open up to a new experience, even if it is the saddest anime.
Ready to sweat your eyes out? Let’s begin.
1. Hotarubi no Morei
One of the saddest anime that will probably leave you in tears is Hotarubi no Morei.
Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light which is also known as Hotarubi no Morei is a short story manga by Yuki Midorikawa and an anime film which is technically within the genres of fantasy and romance.
The action takes place at the Kamishikimi Kumanoimasu Shrine in Takamori-machi where six-year-old Hotaru, goes to her uncle’s every summer. The young girl named Hotaru Takegawa who one day while lost in the forest meets a mountain spirit named Gin who informs Hotaru that he will disappear forever if he is touched by a human. He helps her leave the first and wears a mask and as he can’t touch someone lest he disappear forever, he is extremely careful.
Eventually Hotaru has to return to the city but she promises to visit Gin in the summer, which she does during her holidays. As she continues to get older the Gin remains the same, not aging and in some ways growing closer to Hotaru as they continue to meet in the summer months.
Here’s how it gets sad and depressing. Eventually the two form a budding relationship that gets harder and harder to reject because as Hotaru reaches high school age, Gin takes her on a date to a festival hosted by the spirits in the forest.
But when Gin decides to take Hotaru to a festival, the night ends in tragedy when Gin mistakenly touches a young boy who snuck into the spirit festival and accidentally touches Gin.
Gin and Hotaru embrace and confess their love for one another and how she felt before she disappeared, thus ending the story on a very sad note. She has also promised him that she will always keep him in her heart and takes his mask with her.
The sexy ghostly Gin wearing a fox mask, who helps her all her life is about to disintegrate so to fulfill his last wish, the saddest moment is the hug until he completely dissolves.
2. 5 Centimeters per Second
The title of the film “Cherry Blossom” is the speed of the fall of the petals from the cherry blossoms. There are three parts in the picture, connected to each other. Each one tells about a specific stage in life. Director Makoto Shinkai’s creation reveals a chain of distant, sad love stories.
The first part, “A Quote of Sakura Blossoms,” tells the story of two elementary school students, the guy Takagi Tohno and the girl Akari Shinohara. When a child or children’s families move often, the kids have to get used to the new school and classmates. Once in the same class, they quickly became friends. Therefore, Akari’s move (Takaki’s best friend and love interest in elementary school) was a real shock for both.
The only means of communication for them were letters. They were able to come together after childhood. Teenage boy Takagi arrives by train to visit Akari. She realizes she is missing something dear and the soul partners tell each other about what should be. The story tells how the whole life changed from a single decision – a kiss ( we don’t have to give more spoilers).
The second part, “Cosmonaut”, is about high school student Takagi. A classmate falls in love with a man longing for the past. Kanae is too shy to talk about how she feels. Shortly before graduation, the girl decided to write a letter to the young man.
The “On the Platform” is the last part of the trilogy where Akari and Takagi lose contact. The man went to university after graduation, became a programmer in a large company. But prestigious work does not bring joy. She keeps thinking about Akari, their time together. The young man realizes in fear that all the time he is trying to catch something perfect, which always distracts him. But this is exactly what he lacks.
Takagi is separated from his girlfriend, quitting his job. One day, at a railroad crossing, he saw Akari. Their gazes were about to meet, but because of the trains rushing between them, Takagi was unable to call him. The girl left. Takagi realizes that it is better to go to the future, and the past will remain with him. True, the memories of sad love from this decision have never been more bitter.
3. Whisper of the Heart
It’s amazing how a relationship can develop, especially if it came from something nothing but irritation at first. When Shizuku and Seiji first met they weren’t there, but after a while and some experience they started bonding. They later find out that they have more in common than they originally thought, and at the end of the film they agree to get married someday. It’s a different kind of love story to be sure, but it’s still one of the saddest anime that most people enjoy.
4. Grave Of Fireflies
The saddest full-length anime was inspired by the events of World War II and is one of the best animated war tragedy films. The novel was published in 1967, but the anime based on its plot was shown in 1988. At the 1994 Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, the Grave Of Fireflies was awarded two major awards. The film received acclaim and accolades like the Blue Ribbon and the Japan Critics Association Special Award.
The plot of the film is based on the semi-autobiographical work of Akiyuki Nosaki. Here, the author describes the death of his own family through a teenager named Seita. With his younger sister Setsuko, he was left alone with no Mother, and a father in the war front who died. Unfortunate as war can oftentimes be, the children have to live alone.
They will be taken by a relative for maintenance. However, the woman, hardened during the war, was too rude to the children. The aunt embarrasses the child with the fact that he must earn himself money and therefore, the brother and sister moved into an abandoned bomb shelter – the sad sad anime saw some light when the siblings release fireflies into the shelter for light.
A little time passed, and the girl fell ill as she was literally starving to death. Even a doctor could not help him. Then information about Japan’s imminent surrender came to the fore. Seita falls into despair as he tries to save Setsuko, which is impossible. This is the most dramatic shot. In the last scene of the film, the spirits of the sister and brother tell their story to the fireflies and quietly look at their former hometown.
The feature film directed by Dazaki Osamu, first shown in 2005, deserves the right to be included in the saddest anime of all time. According to the plot, winged maidens lived once upon a time and these Japanese creatures were endowed with amazing abilities. Their mission is to help people.
However, the country’s leaders only used their gift as a secret weapon. Self-interest caused the sickness of light creatures and their mass death. The only representative of the former multiracial survivor was also incarcerated.
A samurai and his wife met the woman. A strong spiritual connection emerged between them. No one can break it. Many hours passed, but the descendants of man did not despair of recognizing the very winged creature that moved to heaven.
Yukito Kunisaki traveled after his mother’s death. He makes money by showing puppet shows. In a charming little town on the ocean shore, he met Misuzu. The maiden gave shelter to the stranger in her house. Yukito became the only person close to him.
The guest was surprised to learn that his new acquaintance had unusual dreams. To them, Misudzu rose to heaven, and his wings spread behind him. The traveler thinks he cannot understand if his quests are about to be completed or they are endless like heavenly heights.
In Japanese, clannad means family and this is a touching and sweet TV series spanning two seasons. The main character, high school student Tomoya Okazaki. The boy lost his mother long ago and his relationship with his father was very difficult.
A man enters the school to wander the hallways. He is reputed to be sloven and vain. Tomoya was just talking to his friend Sunohara. The man could not understand why he was living and why he had to study. One day, near the school, he met a shy girl named Nagisa Furukawa. From that moment on, the hero’s life changed. He started talking to peers.
The anime tells about the evolution, the later life of men. At first glance, everything is pretty sacred, nothing particularly thrilling. However, near the center, the message of filmmakers is starting to unfold. In the second period, the intensity of the passions reaches its peak.
The audience was saved in the beginning. Even the first season ends with a great ending. But then the feeling begins. Each character is fully revealed. They all do not resemble unbiased masks. Each has its own history and destination. This is a rarity even for atmospheric anime. The ending of the series is remarkable. It’s thanks to him that “Clannad” stands out in the sea of romantic anime. The ending is a joy that is sad because while there is still hope for a miracle, a person can suffer for them.
7. Your Name
In 2013, Mitsuha Miyamizu was a high school girl living in the rural town of Itomori, Japan but she intermittently began to swap bodies with Taki Tachibana without any reasoning.
He is a high school boy who works at a restaurant and wants to quit his job in Tokyo. The two do not know each other, but they are connected by images of their dreams.
At first she was the daughter of the mayor of a small town but now her body begins to alternate with Taki, each of them changing the lives of the other in ways that will benefit the two of them. However, it was later revealed that they were separated by three years, during which the town of Mitsuha was destroyed by a following piece of the comet. Mitsuha Miyamizu and Taki Tachibana struggle to save the home and to work together to warn those around them of impending doom.
Near the end, Taki and Mitsuha were allowed to finally meet, in the feeling that they have known each other for many years.
After the release, Your Name received critical acclaim for its plot and visuals, and, along with director Makoto and the band RADWIMPS, has garnered numerous nominations and awards in Japan and around the world, including the award of Los Angeles Film Critics Association for Best Animated Feature and 2016 Japan Academy Academy Award for Best Screenplay.
8. Wolf Children
After having children with a werewolf, a college student Hana has to struggle to raise them in a way that is beneficial for both of them. After he suddenly disappears, Hana decides to move to the country to be able to more easily take care of the two children she has had with the Wolfman – the somewhat unusual Ame and Yuki.
Moving to the countryside is not enough for her daughter Yuki, who wants to be with other people and be with them.
Hana’s son Ame, on the other hand, has a wild heart and longs to go out in the open, where he feels he is more comfortable.
Hana has to deal with keeping her children well and protected as they grow up, but ultimately inevitably feels that raising them is something like a fairytale because they are both wolf and human.
The story is about Hana and is a sad film that became 2012’s seventh best-selling film in Japanese cinemas, with just over 3 million visitors, and won the best animated feature film Japanese Film Academy’s award of the year.
9. The Girl Who Jumped in Time
Kazuko finds one day that She can jump in time in a way that is similar to time travel, and predict what will happen to the amazement of her peers. The time traveler does her best to erase all hints of her presence in the past, which include Kazuko’s memories. But still something lingers in her memory, as if she could imagine that someone was coming for her whenever she smelled lavender. It’s a forward story, more so than most, but it’s also a tragic love story that can make many people question why she smells lavender, and more.
10. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is a Japanese anime series that aired on July 9, 2009. The show is an original series inspired by a terrible earthquake. The creator of the series, Tachibana Masaki, has managed as accurately as possible to betray the feelings experienced by the people who have been held hostage by a natural cataclysm. The main character of the film, whose representative narration is conducted, is Mirai Onozawa, a high school student.
Most of his time is spent at home. The girl writes events in an electronic diary. She is not distracted by her parents: both father and mother work too much so the children (Mirai has a younger brother) don’t need anything. The girl perfectly understands what drives them, but she is still hurt by the adults.
With the arrival of the summer holidays, a robotics exhibition begins in the city. The brother really wants to go but Mirai has the responsibility. The children arrived at the planned event and would have had fun, but everyone was confused by the earthquake. The Eight level shock destroyed many buildings and small children needed to get out and find their own home.
The heroic odyssey once again shows the viewer the confrontation between the blind element and the human spirit. In the Land of the Rising Sun, such cataclysms are common.
As we know, people living in Japan are often victims of earthquakes. Not only did one director describe the natural disaster. He was able to show the people in his own heart, their tragedy. Despite everything, they all did not despair of salvation.
Other Honorable Mentions
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (2011)
Character Jinta Yadomi is a young man tormented by the spirit of an old friend who enlisted another member of his childhood club to help fulfill the woman’s last wish. The main character is the only one who sees Meiko.He lived a reclusive life, dropped out of school and actually became a hikikomori. He was acutely worried about Meiko’s death, as he said offensive words to her, but did not have time to apologize. He was also in love.
Meiko wants her friends to fulfill her last wish, but she does not remember what it is. Upon learning of Naruko’s feelings, he did not answer her, but did not refuse either. At the end of the series, he returned to school.
Classmates is a story about the first feelings of two boys who seem to have little in common. The story is told from the perspective of Hikaru Kusakabe, a laid-back and carefree high school student who, during music lessons, notices that there is a boy in his class (the school’s honor student, Rihito Sajou) is not participating in the choir rehearsal.
Later that day it turns out that Rihito Sajou (a very ambitious and quite tense boy) did not sing because he could not do it correctly. Intrigued by his newly met colleague, the musically talented Kusakabe offers him his help with music and thanks to this friendship and helpfulness, the two will get to know each other better and spend a lot of time together.
Graduates are a continuation of the story contained in Classmates. The entrance exams are approaching. Sajou, returning from preparatory school, spends time dating Kusakabe. One day, Sajou’s mother goes to the hospital. The boy, overwhelmed by visits to the hospital, household chores and exams, is physically and mentally exhausted. “I want to see you,” he says to Kusakabe, and invites you to go home, where they will be alone
When Marnie Was There (2014)
Twelve-year-old Anna is a reserved and unsociable girl. She is a sad and curious girl, who decides to explore an old abandoned mansion and meets a mysterious blonde girl that only she can see.
She has no friends and her only outlet is drawing and art. Anna is sent to a small town in Hokkaido for the summer Because of poor health. In Hokkaido she meets Marnie, a girl who lives in a large, rich house on the shallows. Gradually they became good friends which invariably helps Anna come to terms with herself and the world around her. The viewer will have to find out who Marnie really is, and what influence she had on Anna’s fate.
Plastic Memories (2015)
Plastic Memories is once again one of the saddest anime series produced by Doga Kobo and directed by Yoshiyuki Fujiwara. The story was conceived by Naotaka Hayashi, who also wrote the screenplay, with Okiura’s original character design. The series was released in Japan between April 5 and June 28, 2015 and it is also worth noting that the series was filmed according to the original script, which was written by Naotaka Hayashi.
The series takes place in the future, when the company SAI has created Giftii – a new kind of androids, almost indistinguishable from humans, which quickly spread throughout the world. The Giftias absolutely accurately copied all the most complex character traits and emotions of a person.
But Giftia are not perfect: each has its own service life of about nine years, after which the personality is destroyed and memory is lost, in connection with which a special terminal service department is created, which collects and decommissions androids, the service life of which is close to the end. Tsukasa, who failed the exam due to illness, is helped to get a job in one of these departments, where he teams up with a Giftia named Ayla. They quickly find a common language and, it would seem, something more than a simple partnership appears between them, but how will events develop when Tsukasa finds out that Isla does not have much time left?
I Want To Eat Your Pancreas (2018)
The story of the novel is narrated from the perspective of an unnamed protagonist who finds a diary in the hospital one day. The diary was owned by her classmate, a girl named Sakura Yamauchi, who revealed that she was suffering from a deadly disease in her pancreas and that she only had a few months to live.
Rascal Does Not Dream Of A Dreaming Girl (2019)
Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreamy Girl is a 2019 Japanese supernatural romance drama film written by Hajime Kamoshida and illustrated by Keeji Mizoguchi. This is one of the saddest anime ever based on the sixth and seventh volumes of the Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Senpai series.
Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreamy Girl is the story of Sakuta Azusagawa who is in his second year of high school. He enjoys spending his days with his girlfriend, actress Mai Sakurajima, who is in her senior year at the same school. However, their peaceful life is interrupted by the appearance of two Shoko Makinohara: one — a high school student, and the other is an adult, the one who helped Sakuta in the past. Sakuta discovers that Shoko from high school is suffering from a heart condition that causes her to urgently need a heart transplant. As both Sakuta and Mai begin to worry about middle school Shoko’s severe illness and think about how to help her, Sakuta eventually figures out the connection between his chest wounds and adult Shoko. The adult Shoko comes from the future after a successful heart transplant operation. Shoko’s donor heart turned out to be Sakuta’s and even his friend Futaba speculated that Sakuta’s wounds were due to the fact that two of his hearts couldn’t exist at the same time.
In the future, Sakuta died after a fatal car accident on Christmas Eve, and since he was found to have a donor card he took when visiting Shoko, Shoko received Sakuta’s heart transplant. It turned out that Shoko’s reason for returning was to save Sakuta’s life, but when Mai found out about this as well, the story changed: Mai saves Sakuta at the cost of her life, and since she had a donor card found, Shoko’s heart is transplanted.
After Mai’s death, Sakuta was shocked and devastated. An adult Shoko helps him one last time by telling him a secret: with her help, he can go back in time to change history. But because of this, the adult Shoko will disappear. Sakuta, having made a difficult and firm decision, returns to the past to save his girlfriend: he puts on a full-length suit, warns Mai of his decision and gets hit by a car himself. Before the collision, his consciousness returns to Sakuta’s body from Christmas Eve. However, saving both Mai and Sakuta implies that Shoko will be the “victim”.
What makes it one of the saddest anime is that Sakuta refuses to accept this outcome, and together with Mai, they decide to find a way to help the young Shoko, who is close to death. There is also a problem: if Shoko is saved, the memories of Sakuta, Mai, and other people around them will change. In this case, everyone will have to build everything over again. Nevertheless, the couple promises to find and love each other once again. The events move to the past when Shoko is in the fourth grade. She boldly writes down her plans for the future, which she could not write down before. All this changes the future. Time returns to the present.
As the new year arrives, Sakuta and Mai visit a shrine and later pass by a beach where they accidentally meet Shoko and her parents. Due to the memory shreds crossing different timelines, they eventually recognize each other.
Violet Evergarden (2018)
In writing letters for the underprivileged, Violet Evergarden reveals the history of her war-torn country and the hardness of her own heart. Watch as much as you want.
Steins; Gate (2011)
A group of friends created a machine capable of sending messages over time, ending with reflection on the past and present.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)
Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric search for the Philosopher’s Stone, hoping to restore their bodies that were lost when they tried to use their alchemist skills to revive their mother.
A Silent Voice: The Movie (2016)
A student with a hearing problem is experiencing bullying by peers and decides to move school. A few years later, one of the men who had harassed her decided to redeem himself.
True Tears (2008)
True Tears is a Japanese anime series which contains thirteen episodes aired in Japan on tvk between January 6, 2008 and March 30, 2008. It is produced by PAWorks and directed by Junji Nishimura.
Orange – Mirai (2016)
Orange is an anime based on the manga series written and illustrated by Ichigo Takano, published in Japan between 2012 and 2013. The TV adaptation was shown in 2016 by Japanese broadcaster Tokyo MX and garnered fans even years after its release!