Sad anime has created numerous stories to break the heart of an anime fan. It makes you cry and look at situations differently.
Some say that a relationship drama is nothing but hype.
Maybe, but a lot of these dramas are based on real stories that are given new plot twists.
They dwell on issues about young love, unrequited feelings, mental health, death, and illness. Anime creators love making audience cry and sigh.
So, anime fans, here are 20 plus tearjerker anime shows with heartfelt dramas. Some with light but a lot have more serious stories
10 Sad Anime Movies
Anime adaptation of our favorite manga series is either movies or series. In this list, you get to read sad anime movies of all time.
1. Grave of the Fireflies
The final days of World War II had a tragic result for the family of 14-year old Seita and his younger sister, Setsuko.
After their mother died in an American air raid, both children were left without parents.
The siblings move and live inside an abandoned shelter.
Now, Seita and Setsuko must fight to survive in poverty with no surviving family and depleted resources such as food and money.
Grave of the Fireflies captures the spirit of humanity in this war story. It tugs at everyone’s heart even those who didn’t experience the war.
The first several minutes are a tearjerker already because children are dying alone and we see a series of flashbacks.
As you go along, you can see several instances where people struggle with the horrors of war. We should be grateful that right now, we don’t experience this.
Despite their nightmarish situations, the siblings were there for each other. They support each other like you should with a family.
Besides, this movie shows that war is nothing but a struggle, especially for innocent people such as children and women.
A country might have won a war but in reality, it loses because of the casualties.
2. Silent Voice
This sad anime is about a deaf girl named Nishimiya Shōko who got transferred to a new school. Her classmates including Ishida Shouya bullied her.
Because of this, the young girl transferred again. The hands of bad karma were placed at Shouya’s fate.
Now, he has become an outcast for bullying the poor girl. In the end, this young man vowed to redeem himself.
There are a lot of sorrowful moments in this beautiful story. A Silent Voice dwells on healing, forgiving, and changing one’s self.
It shows that real friendship can be a strong bond between people.
One of the saddest parts is when Ishida almost died and Nishimiya’s mother and sister said sorry for everything.
Honestly, the whole movie is light, except in the climax.
The build-up of emotions can really make you cry and feel what the characters have felt. Although this is a sad anime, it ended on a good note and left you with a good feeling.
Moral of the Story
What goes around comes around! Also, you can only forgive others if you forgive yourself first.
It doesn’t mean you have to forget everything bad that happened. Instead, face the past with a renewed hope.
3. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
This movie tells the story of an ordinary girl, Makoto Konno, who acquires the power to leap through time.
Her decisions lead her on a journey that will change everyone's future.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is actually a sequel of the original story with the same title. Makoto here is the niece of the first adaptation in a live-action movie.
While this film may not be suitable for all audiences, it has been lauded by critics as one of Studio Madhouse's best works.
Her reckless time-traveling takes its toll; a powerful climax in which one of her friends pays with his life.
The movie does have drama in it which could make viewers sad or tearful.
Overall, the film was a masterpiece because it had an emotional impact on those who watched as well as its breathtaking visuals that are still considered high quality even by today's standards.
Lessons to Remember
To leave for the moment because you won’t have the chance to change the past. Even if you do, it has grave consequences.
4. Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light
This anime is a romantic-sad film about a six-year-old girl named Takegawa Hotaru who gets lost in a forest.
Gin found her. Unbeknownst to her, he is a human-like entity. When a human touches him, he will disappear forever.
Despite this problem, the handsome youkai manages to lead the girl out of the forest. Before she left, the young girl promised to go back every summer. Hotaru fulfilled her promise.
Their constant summer rendezvous created something magical and beautiful between the two. Hotaru and Gin start to fall in love with each other.
Touch, which is the very essence of showing your feelings to the person you love, is something they can’t do.
Every passing day is torture for the two lovers. But, this didn’t faze them in spending more time with each other.
Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light is a masterpiece. It has everything you could want in an anime, with sadness and heartbreak to make it more than enjoyable for all audiences.
It tugs at your heartstrings while still entertaining you!
Observations on the Story
The Light of a Firefly Forest to some people might not be unique, or exceptional but it will leave you reflecting and remembering that very special person to you.
5. Wolf Children
Nineteen-year-old human girl Hana falls in love with a college classmate who is secretly a werewolf and can change whenever he wants. The two had children, Yuki and Ame.
Following the death of her children’s father soon after Ame's birth, Hana has raised two wolf children, Yuki, and Baby Ame.
She takes them to the countryside, away from prying neighbors.
The children are unable to control their transformation, and the young mother struggles to make ends meet while dealing with her children's choices.
Tearjearket Anime Moments
Wolf Children is a Japanese anime about the mentally and physically demanding nature of motherhood.
It tells the sacrifices, struggles, and rewards of maternal love.
This beautiful anime is a coming-of-age story about Hana, not only as a mother but as an independent person finding her own way in life.
Showcasing the power and influence mothers have over their children's lives long after they are gone.
The story focuses on finding yourself and moving on, even if that means letting go of what you love the most.
It's not always easy to let go but sometimes it’s necessary for new beginnings. That doesn't mean it hurts any less though.
Wolf Children depicts the struggles of being a single parent in an unforgiving modern world. We know there are a lot of mothers like Hana worldwide.
Salute to these mothers who do everything for their children.
The DC Mini has the power to delve into the deepest desires and repressed memories of a person.
Atsuko Chiba and Kosaku Tokita have been relentlessly exploring the idea of using this technology to help cure patients of their psychological disorders.
Then, someone stole the device. The two knew they’re in a serious problem. Enlisting the help of Officer Konakawa, they search both the real and dream worlds for their mental terrorist.
This film explores the effects of a device that reads people's minds like an MRI machine.
But these scanners also have the power to delve into deep repressed memories and desires. The DC Mini is very invasive and the results can be quite disturbing.
We see Atsuko Chiba struggling with what to do when she discovers a patient's deepest darkest thoughts; someone who has truly lost themselves in their mental illness.
She considers whether or not it would be kinder to kill them than trying to save them.
Observations on the Story
The anime Paprika is a strange blend of sadness and creativity. It features interesting characters, some heartbreaking moments, and many surreal scenes that make the viewer question reality.
It may not be the most action-packed anime that has ever been made but it’s an enjoyable watch nonetheless.
7. Omoide no Marnie
Produced by Studio Ghibli, this beautiful story is about Anna Sasaki. She is a withdrawn girl with severe asthma who grows up in foster care.
Her anti-social behavior bothered her foster parents. So, they bring her to a seaside town to recover after getting ill.
The twelve-year-old girl spends her summer days living with her aunt and uncle in a small town near the sea and uses it as an opportunity to engage in her passion; sketching.
During her stay in France, Anna meets Marnie, the mysterious girl in the Marsh House. The two become friends, but there’s more to their encounter than meets the eye.
This story is about friendship and making up with your past self, so you can be whole again. It is about dealing with a loss.
Thoughts on the Story
The movie Omoide no Marnie is a beautiful and heartbreaking one.
The protagonist’s journey through her past memories was interesting to watch as she grew up with each memory.
This anime will stay with you after it ends- if not for its beauty, then at least for its sadness or emotional impact.
If you haven't watched this yet, do yourself a favor and give it a try!
8. Whisper of the Heart
Shizuku Tsukishima enjoys reading and writing poetry. In fact, she is in the process of translating a song that her class could use.
Every day, she would look at the library book cards. Soon, she discovers that a boy named Seiji Ameasawa also reads the same books she borrows.
Being a teenager, curiosity struck her and she wanted to see the boy in person. So, she succeeded.
The summer vacation is a time to relax, have fun and enjoy. It's also the perfect opportunity for love stories to bloom.
When Shizuku meets Seiji again after he moves away, she falls in love with him even though they've only met once before.
In order to spend more time together, she starts writing her own novel about their story so that when it becomes published one day, they will already be happily married!
It is a beautifully sad anime movie that captures all of the magic and innocence of youth while reminding us how heartbreaking life can sometimes be.
Insights on the Story
Let this tale remind you what it means to live your best life now - because some people never get another chance at happiness like we do every single morning!
9. Byousoku 5 Centimeter
As they grow older, Takaki and Akari each start to wonder about their feelings for one another.
Although they keep in touch over the course of time, distance always separates them.
A life-changing moment forces them to confront the truth of their relationship, but will it be too late?
Byousoku 5 Centimeter is a relationship drama about the usual yet painful aspects of long-distance relationships.
Takaki and Akari hold on to the idea of seeing one another once again. They are imprisoned in the past and therefore unable to create new memories.
This estranged couple goes through life half-heartedly, causing harm to themselves and everyone around them.
Statements on the Story
The sad anime film portrays a relationship that is progressively ripped apart as the couple drifts apart in heart and home.
Its underlying themes of getting older, letting go of an unreal past, and taking charge of one's own life are masterfully woven into the tale.
10. Kimi no Na Wa
Kimi No Na Wa is the otherworldly and fantastical story of two people.
Mitsuha lives in the rural countryside living an idyllic life with her family. One day, she wakes up as a boy named Taki in Tokyo.
The next morning she is back to being Taki but realizes something. It turns out they have been switching each others' bodies every night for reasons unknown to them.
Now, the people in love must discover to bridge the gap between them.
The moment where the protagonist, Taki, starts to walk towards Mitsuha is a powerful and haunting one.
It’s hard to imagine that this film could be any better.
The film's conclusion is a powerful, bittersweet moment as the protagonist finally comes to terms with her identity and reconciles herself.
It was an emotional rollercoaster about self-discovery or coming-of-age tales.
Opinions on the Story
I would recommend watching it without expectations because while some people might enjoy how predictable everything seems from start to finish, others might find themselves disappointed by their lack of surprise or thinking they could have done better if they had written the script.
11 Sad Anime Series
1. Ano Hi Mita Hana
A group of childhood friends grows apart after the death of their close playmate, Meiko Honma.
Jintan Yadomi, leader and oldest in the group when they were kids, neglects high school and lives as a shut-in until he suddenly starts seeing her ghost again.
Meiko had returned for one last request from him before she died all those years ago: fulfilling her forgotten wish that was made long ago!
The series Anohana has many emotional moments showing the different ways people cope with a loss.
Regardless of age, status in life, or predispositions, a loss can affect anyone.
Although the series is a tragic story, it tells us to deal with the past and confront it. With the help of friends and family, you can move on.
Yes, the main characters deal with painful memories. They might even blame themselves for the death of their friend. But, the fear is there.
Observations on the Story
The way the four remaining members of the group dwell with the loss is to drift apart.
This is perfectly understandable because they’re young and human. It is on how you move one, take it as a lesson and forgive yourself.
2. Clannad After Story
This sad anime sequel is a romantic drama in the slice-of-life genre. The story takes place after Tomoya Okazaki and Nagisa Furukawa graduated from high school.
This time, the two begin a new chapter of their life. They got married and Nagisa bore Tomoya a child.
However, their life was never the same again after their child was born.
It continues from where the first season left off. Although you can still get the gist of the sequel, I recommend watching the first season too.
The series focuses on family and romantic relationships, as opposed to just high school romance like many other anime targeted at teenage audiences.
It also tells an engaging story of a young man who has been unlucky in love due to his own social awkwardness.
Clannad After Story explores the sad reality that sometimes. Despite one's best efforts, one is unable to change their surroundings or circumstances.
After finishing the anime, I’m not sure what exactly to think about it. There were some really touching moments and a lot of emotional scenes.
But, the ending was confusing and I ended up with more questions than answers. It seemed as if they were trying too hard to make everything happy.
Of course, this is just my opinion. Still, I recommend you to watch the series.
3. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
Kousei Arima is a great pianist who has won multiple awards. But, when his mother died, he stopped playing and disappeared from the limelight.
He is now a sad and lonely high-schooler.
This young boy meets the mysterious, violin-playing Kaori Miyazono who helps him find again his passion and play music.
Your Lie in April has some of the most engaging characters I have seen.
Despite being a sad anime, it still contains a lot of happy moments throughout the series. This series tells their story of friendship and young romance that inspires Kousei to play on stage once more.
One of the most unforgettable moments is the music performance of the two. The two create a rhythm that is quite a sight to experience.
Even though they are trying to steal the spotlight from each other, they end up synchronizing instead.
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso series is a breath of fresh air for viewers, illustrating the beauty of music and friendships.
It also brings immense motivation to live wholly as one character deals with hardships.
Opinions on the Story
The anime series, Your Lie in April is one of the most powerful and emotional stories I have seen. It tells a story about friendship, love, and music that will stay with you for years to come.
4. Full Moon Wo Sagashite
Mitsuki enjoys singing, but she is unable to do so due to a cancerous tumor in her vocal cords.
Because of this, this pretty girl can’t fulfill her promise with a childhood friend slash love of her life.
Her life, however, is turned around when two jovial Shinigami come and provide her a brief relief from her illness–as well as a spectacular debut to her musical career.
Searching for the full moon is about first love, death, and dreams at such a young age. This is a shoujo anime but looking at the backstory, it’s more for a younger audience.
Anyway, this series has 52 episodes of an emotional rollercoaster. Although it’s a drama genre, the plot does not focus on tragedy.
Instead, Searching for the Full Moon is telling you to live for the moment. Don’t wait for an illness to help you decide what you want to do in life or fulfill a dream.
Most of all, do this for your fulfillment and not other people’s happiness.
Conclusions on the Story
Ultimately, this series has an incredible story. The characters and music are amazing. You can feel the different emotions that could either make you cry or laugh while crying.
Either way, I highly recommend this if you love drama.
5. Assassination Classroom (Season 2)
The sequel continues as the students of Class E train more on how to assassinate their school teacher.
It has lots of action, a tearjerker backstory, and villains who want the money by killing Koro-sensei.
One of the saddest moments in the series is the students’ realizations. That is one of them will do the deed.
As the days pass by, Class E has come to love Koro-sensei because their teacher has brought back their worth as students.
As you already know (if you have watched the first season), Class E is the “dumping ground” of their school where degenerate and failed students are grouped together. But, Koro-sensei thought otherwise.
Lastly, Koro-sensei’s backstory is one of the most interesting ones I’ve encountered in the series. It’s so sad and yet so inspiring.
In the first season, some episodes seem to drag on where the students' only goal is to train for assassination. But, the sequel is an improvement.
Statements on the Story
It’s packed with actions and emotions. You should see this if you like assassination as the whole theme of the story.
6. Puella Magi Madoka Magica
The protagonist of the show, Kaname Madoka, is a normal 8th grader.
Although very shy and timid most of the time, she is happy and her family loves her just as she is.
On a trip to the mall, she rescues Kyuubei from a mysterious magical girl. As a reward, Kyuubei offers up the chance for either Madoka or Sayaka to become Magical Girls.
It's through this that we are introduced to a fantasy world of witches and magic.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a story of hope, love, and sacrifice.
It follows the journey of Akemi Homura as she tries to save her friend Sayaka from becoming a witch while trying to come to terms with her own self-worth.
From all around them their friends are fighting for themselves or each other; it's up to these two girls alone who always try so hard but never seem like enough until they find what matters most: friendship and family!
This fantasy anime will leave you breathless after every episode. One moment you'll be laughing hysterically then suddenly your heart breaks into pieces.
Moral of the Story
Yes, Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a sad anime but it's also an amazing series that is interesting from the start.
Besides art and music, the story is captivating. It captures the essence of what friendship really means. I definitely recommend this one if you like magical anime series.
7. Scum's Wish
Hanabi and Mugi seem like a perfect couple to other people. But, the truth is they’ve been using each other to stave off their loneliness.
These two are in love with other persons. Mugi is in love with Akane, his tutor back in middle school.
On the other hand, Hanabi has been in love with her neighbor and childhood friend, Narumi who later became her homeroom teacher.
Yes, this is a case of unrequited love that leads the two MCs to reach out to one another and try to forget their love interest.
Because they don’t love one another, Hanabi and Mugi end up making complicated decisions.
Scum’s Wish is a great anime with amazing character development. The main protagonists learn the essence of letting go and thinking maturely despite the situations they’ve been into.
In this series, you see a different kind of romantic drama, the side where it’s not roses all around. Instead, Mugi and Hanabi are stuck and commit the same mistake all over again.
But, in the end, they realize that it’s best to give up and forget.
Opinions on the Story
It’s kinda sad and frustrating most of the time when the things you want don’t come out the way you want them to be. But, that’s life.
8. Now and Then, Here and Now
This sad anime tells about the life of a young boy who lives an ordinary life. His name is Shuu Matsutani. In his kendo match, he lost to his rival, making him dejected and sad.
To alleviate his frustrations, this young boy goes up a smokestack to watch a beautiful sunset.
His life changes when he sees a lonely blue-haired girl wearing a strange pendant. Before Shuu knows it, he is defending the little girl and has been transported to a strange desert world.
Well, his life turns upside down because he has to fight evil forces and survive living in a place wrought with war.
At the same time, Shuu wants to save the sad pretty girl from whatever situations she might be suffering from.
The main character, Shu, is not a model hero. He is the victim of an ugly world gone wrong.
He refuses to give up on the hopelessness and terror of it all, even when everyone around him has been beaten down.
Insights on the Story
This anime is not for kids even though the main characters are kids.
It only goes to show that in a world filled with war, regardless if it’s the old kind of war or the political war we are in right now, kids are the ones who suffer so much.
Two young women with the same name as Nana meet in Tokyo. One wants to start anew after a break-up and the other dreams of becoming a famous rock band star.
Each has different backgrounds and personalities but they’ve become friends. Amidst the whirlwind of emotions, sex, and music, the two find a common ground: friendship.
This shoujo anime dwells in the dreadful side of adulthood. The two characters are faced with different emotions and struggles.
Throughout their stay in Tokyo, the two Nana’s have to deal with difficult decisions in life.
Whether it’s creating a long-lasting relationship or career, the young ladies need to make the best decisions even with no happy ending.
Despite these hardships, the two friends share many lovely and funny moments, too. They know how to laugh and have a good time.
This story creates a realism that if you’re in the same situations as the characters, you can feel all the pain and relate to their self-doubts.
Thoughts on the Story
Yes, this wonderful and heartwarming story of adulting has dwelled on angst and emotional luggage. It reminds us of the imperfections of being a human.
But, Nana also teaches us that we can mature as persons if we know how to deal with mistakes and learn the lessons.
10. Boku Dake ga Inai Machi
Satoru Fujinuma has supernatural powers. He could travel back in time unconsciously!
Even though this ability confuses him, this lonely man tries to save the people who he thinks are in danger.
When Satoru travels back 18 years ago, he tries to solve the mysterious murder of his mother and one of his classmates.
This may seem impossible but this young man wants to do his best to make everything right again.
Some parts of the anime might be flawed and don’t have practical explanations. But, this dark psychological anime is a stark reminder of human struggles.
This anime talks about real-life situations despite its supernatural backstory. These situations include murder, abuse, frustrations, human tendencies, and a lot more.
As Satoru travels back, his young mind has difficulty comprehending but tries to do what he thinks is best. Sometimes, we want to go back in time to make a wrong right.
Although this is a dark anime (and sad, of course), it has highlighted some positive situations. A mother’s love for a child and a child’s unconditional love to parents are two examples.
Realizations About the Story
I recommend this anime. Indeed, some episodes may seem like repetitions and may drag on for a while. But, the overall quality of animation and story is still superb.
11. Plastic Memories
Tsukasa Mizugaki didn’t get to college after failing his entrance exams.
So, he goes job hunting instead and fortunately gets one in SAI Corp, the company that created an android looking like a real human.
These Giftias have a service life of about nine years. When they reach this, the robot becomes hostile and its memories are erased.
He was assigned to a terminal where these androids were retrieved after reaching their service life. The work seems easy.
But, this young man starts to fall for a Giftia. Since Isla has a finite life, he must do his best to confess what he feels before it’s too late.
The sweet anime Plastic Memories is a story about the adventures of Tsukasa and Isla. They're both built to be realistic, so you might find yourself asking questions like:
"Could I ever fall in love with an android?" or “What if my memories are taken away?”
It's not all sadness though! The show has some truly adorable moments that will make your heart melt - especially when it comes to our protagonist and her robot family (including one who becomes his girlfriend)!
Observations on the Story
Yes, it’s heartbreaking but has sweet moments. In this world, nothing lasts but you do your best to make the most out of every situation.
Trivia Questions on Sad Anime
There are lots of sad anime in 2020, including Silent Voice, Grave of the Fireflies, and Clannad After Story (both seasons).
If you want to watch one, I recommend you to start with the movies from this list. Then, you can start with the series.
What anime would make me cry?
Well, it really depends on your tolerance for drama. If you’re in a difficult situation right now, you can relate to the story and the characters.
Often, tears well up even if you don’t want them to be.
Our emotional well-being dictates what really makes you cry. For me, the Assassination Classroom Season 2 made me cry while watching the last few episodes.
What are the top 10 saddest anime movies?
The first 10 sad anime in this article are all movies. So, that would be my top 10. Maybe, they’re not the saddest for you or others, but they are to me.
If you don’t agree, you can always comment. We are all unique after all and the anime world provides us with various stories to choose from.
What is the saddest anime streaming on Netflix?
Well, I’d go for the movie: A Silent Voice. It’s so relatable even for young adults or middle-aged because this story reminds us that bullying has a long-lasting effect.
It’s not just the person being bullied but it’s also on the person who does the bullying.
Besides, bullying is an issue we’ve been dealing with for centuries. But, for most of us, it’s difficult to open up about it.
Whether you’re the bully or being bullied, the experience is never a good thing.
In this situation, the only thing to help us heal is sometimes to deal with the problem.
Of course, some still want to forget about it and never talk about it. Our coping mechanisms are different anyway.
I hope this list of sad anime has been helpful to all anime fans out there and that it will lead you to new series worth watching.
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