Anime has witnessed plenty of gutwrenching scenes throughout its myriad titles. These examples are some of the saddest.
- Anime can evoke intense emotions, including sadness, with shows featuring heartbreaking moments that leave viewers reaching for tissues.
- Each anime has its own tearjerker moments that hit a shared emotional ground with viewers, eliciting genuine, sobbing reactions.
- From character deaths to shocking revelations, these sad scenes in anime leave a lasting impact on fans, showcasing the power and immersiveness of the medium.
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Many people love anime with a passion. The emotions this medium can elicit can be quite intense, with everything from anger to joy by viewers who get immersed in these shows. Of course, the range of emotions that viewers can experience extends to sadness as well, with some shows featuring heartbreaking moments that will make any viewer shed a tear, regardless of how hardy they might be.
Anime is such a broad medium that almost every show features tearjerkers of their own. Given the sheer number of sad scenes in anime, it can be hard to choose the most emotional of the bunch. Most anime resonate differently with other people, but there are bound to be moments that hit a common emotional ground with viewers and leave them reaching for the tissue box as they weep openly at these sad scenes that hit people hard with the sheer emotions at play here.
Updated August 20, 2023 by Ritwik Mitra: Anime is a medium that can make viewers experience a range of emotions, from unmitigated anger to a bounding sense of relief as things right themselves after the odds were against the heroes for the longest time.
Some of these shows can be especially effective at evoking an emotional reaction from the audience, especially in the case of a sad event that will leave fans reeling with the consequences. It’s a testament to how immersive this medium is that viewers cry openly when a particularly sad scene in their favorite anime leaves them sobbing for hours on end!
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
18 Sasha Getting Fatally Shot (Attack On Titan)
The fourth season of Attack on Titan has gone through a major shift, with Eren transforming from a fairly generic shonen protagonist into one of the most compelling villains ever written. His actions have left viewers in shock and awe, with his plan of genocide being horrifying to witness firsthand.
His assault on Liberio was horrible, sparking a chain of events that eventually led to an enraged Gabi embarking on the zeppelin that housed the Survey Corps. She aimed at the first person who came into her view and shot Sasha in cold blood, with everyone’s favorite potato girl breathing her last soon after.
17 The Revelation Of Itachi’s Sacrifice (Naruto)
Itachi is one of the greatest characters in anime history, serving as a major villain on the show for the longest time before the truth of his intentions came to light. While everyone second-guessed this man to be nothing more than a heinous villain who had it out for Sasuke, the truth was that Itachi was actually a hidden agent of the Leaf who culled the Uchiha Clan before they could revolt and wreak havoc on the village.
It’s a heartbreaking moment, made even worse by the fact that Itachi hid this secret from his beloved brother till his dying breath. Even after his demise, Itachi didn’t want Sasuke to know the truth… but Obito managed to circumvent the safeguards this man had set in place to give Sasuke the whole truth, which finally made the surviving Uchiha realize just how strongly his brother loved him!
16 The Demise Of Maes Hughes (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Fullmetal Alchemist is considered by many to be one of the greatest shonen manga of all time, with the story of Edward and Alphonse as they try to get their bodies back making for a great time that led to many fans falling in love with the duo. The system of Alchemy is easily one of the best forms of magic in any series ever, having a well-defined set of rules that are rarely broken in the series.
Maes Hughes is one of the best characters in the series… but he also ends up fighting against enemies whom he underestimated when he tried to confirm his suspicions about a grand conspiracy that threatened the very world itself. However, before word of this could reach his best friend’s ears, Hughes was hunted down and killed by the Homunculi.
15 Setsuko’s Demise (Grave Of The Fireflies)
Grave of the Fireflies is one of the saddest anime movies and another great chapter in the illustrious history of Studio Ghibli. The movie takes a harrowing look at the effect of war on civilians, with the movie focusing on the lives of Seita and Setsuko.
They try to roam around the harsh countryside during this time, but a lack of nutrition leads to Setsuko meeting her demise, right when Seito had managed to secure some food. It’s hard not to shed tears the moment Seito realizes her younger sister has passed away. To make matters even worse, Seito himself dies of malnutrition at the end of the movie as well.
14 The Revelation At The End (Your Lie In April)
Your Lie in April is one of the most magical and heartrending anime ever made. The story focuses on the life of a boy who has lost all happiness in life after his mother’s death before a peppy violinist called Kaori Miyazono decides to cheer him up.
Unfortunately, Kaori is suffering from a life-threatening disease that ultimately takes her life when she undergoes a rather risky surgery. It’s a sad event made even worse by a letter describing that Kaori always had feelings for Kousei, but never really got to express them.
13 Ushio’s Death (Clannad)
Clannad is an anime full to the brim with devastating and sad stories. One such story revolves around Ushio, a child who is distanced from a father who was a complete mess.
Unfortunately, Ushio develops the same disease that took her mother’s life and isn’t able to fulfill her dream of exploring the world with her father. The scene where she passes away in Tomoya’s arms is hard to watch and is sure to result in more than a few tears.
12 Gin’s Disappearance (Hotarubi No Mori E)
The idea of loving someone you can never touch is hard to digest, but this is precisely what happens in Hotarubi no Mori e. A human girl named Hotaru and a forest spirit fall in love, even though Hotaru knows that she won’t be able to touch Gin since he would disappear.
While attending a festival for spirits, Gin accidentally touches a human boy who had entered the premises. It’s a small mistake that leads to Gin disappearing, although he did manage to hold Hotaru for the first time before he did.
11 Kayo Finally Getting The Treatment She Deserves (Erased)
This scene is a tearjerker for slightly different reasons. Kayo is a young girl who had lived with an abusive family for the longest time. However, she finally managed to escape their clutches and started living in another household with parents who actually cared about her.
Watching this child after enjoying the warmth of a mother for the first time is simply heartbreaking, knowing the pain Kayo had gone through up until that point. It’s one of the most powerful moments in Erased, a brilliant anime worth anyone’s time.
10 Jiraiya’s Demise At The Hands Of Pain (Naruto)
Jiraiya is one of the best characters in Naruto. The fact that people adore this character despite him being a pervert is a testament to just how amazing his other qualities really are.
Watching him trying to scout out Pain’s abilities only to meet a grisly end at the hand of his student is a heartbreaking sight. Pervy Sage was one of Naruto’s closest father figures and watching him suffer such an untimely demise was hard to digest.
9 Ace Sacrificing Himself To Save Luffy (One Piece)
The brotherly bond between Luffy and Ace was extremely sweet and heartwarming. This is precisely why Ace’s death in One Piece is one of the show’s saddest moments. Watching Ace take a fatal blow to save his younger brother is hard to watch. This, followed by Luffy’s tearful farewell, made for one of the most emotional moments in One Piece by a country mile.
8 Spike’s Poetic Demise (Cowboy Bebop)
After a grisly battle against Vicious near the end of the show, Spike finally settled his score against his rival. However, this came at the major cost of his own life.
Watching Spike utter one last bang before falling down for the last time is a heartbreaking scene. The music accompanying his death made his demise even sadder.
7 Lelouch’s Final Plan (Code Geass)
For the longest time, Lelouch seemed like an anti-hero who was forced to accomplish certain heinous actions because of how he’d been wronged. However, this perception changed near the end of the series, with Lelouch performing downright villainous actions.
The final episode of the series revealed why Lelouch was performing such actions. He wanted to become the ultimate evil force in the world, before being put down to give the people hope. It was a brilliant and tear-jerking sacrifice that established Lelouch as one of the greatest anti-heroes of all time.
6 The Death Of Eren’s Mom (Attack On Titan)
Attack on Titan is a depressing show from the get-go. This can be seen in the very first episode when the Titans attack the fallen city of Shiganshina.
The worst part of this scene is when a Titan ends up at Eren’s fallen house and eats his mom right in front of him. It’s a harrowing sight that steels Eren’s nerves and convinces him that he needs to fight against the Titans.
5 Nina Turning Into A Chimera (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Fullmetal Alchemist is an excellent anime that was so popular that it received two anime adaptations! Unfortunately, both these adaptations also feature the saddest scene in the series by a country mile.
Nina Tucker seems like a happy-go-lucky girl that would live out the rest of her days in peace, but her dad had other ideas. He combined her and the family dog to form a twisted chimera that could never revert to their original bodies.
4 The Gut-Punch Of The Ending (Future Diary)
Future Diary is a show that’s filled to the brim with its twists and turns. While the series has its fair share of tear-jerking moments, nothing comes close to the impact of the ending.
Yuno might not be the most morally sound character around, but there was no denying the fact that she loved Yukiteru with all her heart. Watching her willing to let go of her own life so that Yuki could be crowned the winner of this twisted game is extremely hard to witness.
3 Ash Turning Into Stone (Pokémon: The First Movie)
It’s hard to believe that a children-oriented franchise like Pokemon could have a sad moment. However, the first Pokemon movie that became a worldwide success featured one such moment.
During a battle between Mew and Mewtwo, Ash tries to stop the battle only to be caught in a psychic blast and get petrified as a result. While he eventually comes back, watching Pikachu trying to revive him is one of the saddest moments in anime…especially for people who saw this movie as a kid.
2 The Slaughter At The Makimura Household (Devilman Crybaby)
Devilman Crybaby is one of the goriest and saddest shows on this list. The manner in which human nature is deconstructed to its lowest form is hard to watch at times.
The worst part of this show comes in the penultimate episode when Miki, Tare, and Masa end up being lynched by a crazy mob. It’s one of the toughest things to watch in the show, made even worse by Akira’s reaction.
1 Naruto’s Parents Making The Ultimate Sacrifice (Naruto)
Naruto is a show with plenty of tearjerkers. The main character himself has witnessed his fair share of tragedies, with the sacrifice of his parents happening on the very day of his birth.
It’s both saddening and heartwarming to see both Minato and Kushina die with a smile on their face as they bid farewell to Naruto. Their sacrifices were certainly not in vain, with Naruto’s efforts pretty much saving the entire ninja world from the brink of annihilation.