Out of all the genres in anime, the only possible endings we encounter are either a happy ending or a sad ending. While a happy ending makes us feel lighter and lets us move to the next one, and we’ll eventually don’t think much about it. But in the case of a sad anime, that feeling remains in your heart for a long time, and every time you see the title of the anime, you’ll wish that it would’ve been better if the ending wasn’t so emotional. But you can’t change the very base of a sad anime because that’s how they usually work.
But it is all about the experience, right? So, it doesn’t really matter if an anime is sad as long as it keeps us entertained. Apparently, the anime creators love to make the audience cry because tons of the anime shows made are mostly to make us bawl our eyes out. And out of those emotional roller coasters, we’ve compiled you a list of 10 best sad anime and believe me; these anime just won’t make you feel emotional, they crush your heart with some shocking, sad endings. Well then, let’s get into the anime world of tears, shall we?
Best Sad Anime to Watch
10. Plastic Memories
Plastic Memories is one of those anime that’ll make you realise nothing lasts forever and brings you closer to reality. The story follows Tsukasa Mizugaki, who gets a job in SAI corporation because of his father’s connections. SAI Corporation is well known for producing androids that possess human emotions known as “Giftias.” Tsukasa obtains a position where he recovers Giftias that are close to their expiration. He falls in love with one fo his coworker Giftias and soon realises she won’t live for long. Is his decision to love her a good one or a bad one? I guess you’ll find out once you watch it.
Unlike other series, it will be clear from the start that the series is a tear-jerker. But isn’t it much emotional than experiencing only a sad ending? Well, that’s how this anime messes with your emotional status. While making you feel sad, it also includes some cute and hilarious moments that’ll make you laugh out loud. With some beautiful and sad moments, it won’t disappoint you in the least bit. So, it definitely is a worthy watch if you love sad anime.
Studio: Doga Kobo
9. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is a sort of apocalyptic anime which is a pretty interesting one. When an earthquake of 8.0 magnitude hits Tokyo, two young siblings Mirai and Yuki get separated from their parents. A single mother and a motorcycle courier girl becomes their saviours and decides to reunite them with their parents. On their long journey, the trio becomes closer as a family and helps each other. Can they make it possible in this enormous crowded and confusing situation?
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is a horrifying and realistic story that depicts the aftermath events of a colossal disaster. As exciting the story is, the emotions are no exception in this emotional rollercoaster. Sometimes characters make you feel annoying, and the rest of the time, you’ll adore them. If you feel like crying while watching this anime, it won’t let you down. Thus, we couldn’t stop ourselves from including it in the list of best sad anime.
Studio: Bones and Kinema Citrus
8. Elfen Lied
Elfen Lied is an entirely different one in the list of best sad anime. The story follows a young girl named Lucy, a Diclonius girl (special breed) who becomes the victim of a torturous scientific experiment. But she escapes from the lab by killing everyone around her and she gets an injury which leads her to have a split personality. This split personality makes her half-sweet and half-murderer. Soon she bumps into two high school girls Kohta and Yuka, and the rest is up to your imagination.
For starters, this show might seem like a horror anime. Of course, it does have some horrifying scenes, but in the end, you’ll feel nothing but sad. Right from the first episode to the very last episode, the blood continues to flow as she encounters various enemies. But it doesn’t mean the anime is distasteful. There is some strange kind of beauty, even in the violent scenes that make you sad until the very end. Overall, this is one of the best sad anime out there and if you’re thinking to watch it, go for it.
7. Wolf Children
Wolf Children is an incredibly cute and touching anime film by Mamoru Hosada. The story follows Hana, who falls in love with a werewolf and gives birth to half-wolf children. Soon their father goes on a hunt to feed them and gets killed. Now Hana has to face the world as a single mother by hiding the true identities of their children who haven’t grown yet. She somehow manages to save them from the outside world for a while, but soon she faces some extreme situations which will keep you on the edge of your seats.
In every aspect, this movie is fantastic. Despite being a supernatural theme, the story is down to earth concerning a mother raising her children who are different, and her struggles are no exception. The characters in the anime give you realistic feels. It is one of those films where you can’t stop emotions from taking over you, and no matter how strong your heart is, at the very least, you’ll shed some tears for sure. If you think in a way, Wolf Children is a true masterpiece. You wouldn’t want to miss such a fantastic anime at any cost. Thus, we brought it to the list of best sad anime.
6. A Silent Voice
If you have searched about sad anime, then you wouldn’t have seen a single post without “A Silent Voice.” And it is because this anime hits right at the feels. The story is about a girl named Shoko Nishimiya who can nor speak neither listen. Due to her disability, she was harrased continuously by her classmates in elementary school. Their parents even had to transfer her to different schools because of that. But when she moves to a school and again there she becomes bullied by Shoya Ishida and his friends. Soon she leaves the school, and the issue reaches to the principal, and he learns his mistake as his friends blame him for everything.
Some years later, Shoya and Nishimiya meet accidentally, and Shoya tries to become friends with her since he regrets his past every day. His journey of resolving includes cute and some emotional moments with Nishinoya. At one point, you’ll eventually start crying, and you won’t even know why you’re doing it. It feels like this movie doesn’t want to see you comfortable because it is quite unsettling and heartbreaking. But it is also pleasant and feel-good anime with some touching moments. This sad anime will put you through a set of emotions, and thus, it became one of the best sad anime of all time.
Studio: Kyoto Animation
5. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
If you want to watch a sad anime with lesser episodes, then you can choose Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day. Like Angel Beats and Violet Evergardern, it is a short anime, and it is also a slice of life anime. Watching a Slice of Life anime with an emotional storyline is the one everybody craves for. Surprisingly, you can count on this anime for making you cry straight for 11 episodes. Well, it wouldn’t have been in the list of best sad anime if it weren’t for its emotional storyline. Make sure you add it to your watchlist.
Jinta Yadomi is a high schooler who lives his life by skipping classes and playing video games at home. One day he meets his old friend named Meiko, who looks the same as in her school days, and she asks him to fulfil the promise they made in childhood. But soon Jinta falls in a dilemma on whether she’s a spirit or a mere hallucination. Will Jinta helps her to fulfil her wish? If you’re looking for some slice of life emotional touch, then this one is for you. After all, it is one of the best sad anime out there.
Studio: A-1 Pictures
4. Violet Evergarden
Before you watch this anime, let us warn you to put some tissue aside of you to wipe your tears right off. It’s not that it has a tragic ending or an unfortunate ending but every moment in the anime is like a pearl in the ocean. The scenes get right through your feels. In terms of visuals and animation quality, Violet Evergarden is the best work of Kyoto Animation. While you encounter specific backstories in each episode, none of them fails to surprise you. It wouldn’t be nice if Violet Evergarden didn’t secure a spot in the best sad anime of all time.
The story follows Violet Evergarden, an ex-soldier who wakes up in a hospital after a war. But all she remembers from the war is her major’s last words “I Love You.” And her major want her to live freely from now on and find meaning in her life. However, she doesn’t know what his major’s words exactly mean. She becomes an Automemorial doll and her journey of a new life blooms as she encounters various people with regrets and non-confessed feelings. But in the end, can she understand what her Major Gilbert really meant? If not for other reasons, the mere existence of Violet in the anime is enough to watch it.
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Also read: Best Romance Anime Series of all Time!
3. Grave of the Fireflies
Grave of the Fireflies is a classic among the anime films. The story takes place in 1945, where the second world war is almost near to its end. But the lands of Japan have been decimated by bombs. Amid this chaos, a boy named Seita along with his little sister Setsuko tries to survive after becoming homeless. But all they have is each other. Will they make it through the war? It is definitely one of the best sad anime and also a must-watch anime for anyone who is seeking for an emotional ride.
Certainly, the movie is sad and sometimes even depressing, but what makes it an excellent anime is its nature of being gentle and poetic. And the story is an adaptation from an actual historical event that happened around the times of world war. More than anything, it succeeded in showing the factual circumstances in a more tragic way that’ll make you bawl your eyes out. That’s how Grave of the Fireflies stands apart from other ones in our list of best sad anime. Thus, this anime ended being not only in our list but also as one of the best anime movies to date in anime history.
2. Your Lie in April
Your Lie in April follows Kousei Arima who has a great passion for music. But when his mother passed out, he loses all his willpower to chase his passion. He leads a boring life for years until a girl named Kaori Miyazono, a violinist sparks up in his life, and she totally reminds him of his old days how her mother used to teach him. Every little change or significant change in life always happens with miracles like these. But life isn’t doesn’t move in a good path always. What destiny awaits for Arima and MIyazono? Find it out yourself by watching this dazzling anime.
The greatness of Your Lie in April lies in between the vibrant animation and the heartwarming plot. It brings you a beautiful story on how one’s presence can change other’s life and with top-notch animation. Instead of only inspiring events, this sad anime shows you some satisfying relationship between both main characters. If you ever feel like giving up on your life, this anime might change your life. But get ready to cry for a whole week after watching this masterpiece. It is undoubtedly one of the best sad anime of all time.
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Also read: 10 Best Shonen Anime of All Time!
1. Clannad & Clannad: After Story
It won’t be satisfying to just include Clannad: After Story in our list of best sad anime because Clannad is the base of this emotional roller coaster. The story of Clannad follows the introduction of Nagisa and Tomoya, where they both develop feelings for each other. But in Clannad, we won’t much of their relationship, but we have some tons of pleasant moments between them that’ll keep us going on. However, you can feel a lot from the storyline of Clannad since it isn’t only about the relationship between those two.
In Clannad: After Story, Tomoya confesses to Nagisa, and they both get married. But soon Tomoya learns about the importance of the family, and they both face their troubles together. While the story seems quite ordinary, I want to use a phrase here “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover.” While Clannad is beautiful and emotional, the sequel is more depressing, and the story becomes much intense. It’s very rare to see a love story living through the lives of characters’ instead of ending in their school days. Before you watch, let me remind you that it’ll leave you sobbing in a pool of tears.
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Aired: 2007 and 2008
There you go! The ultimate list of the best sad anime of all time. We made sure to pick up the best ones so that you can experience some good anime. While a sad anime feels heavy at one point, it also gives you hope when you’re in challenging situations. The situations they face in the anime are somehow related to us in our real lives. And that’s what they want to convey to the viewers. These sad anime shows as entertaining as the other ones; rather than pacing slowing, they build up a good pace and even though its pace takes a slow route, you’ll connect emotionally with them. That’s how these emotional roller coasters work.
Well then, what do you think of our list? Is there any anime you can think of other than these? As of we know, we missed a few sad anime shows like Angel Beats, True Tears and some more. But we can’t include all of them, right? However, make sure you let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Visit the anime community of India-Anime Ukiyo for more content!