The 10 Saddest Anime To Cry Your Heart Out

Sometimes you just need a good cry, and what better way to encourage that than by watching really, really sad anime? As fans of Japanese animation know, these devastating and heartbreaking movies and films have been around for decades. Whether you need a refresher, are in the mood for something dark and moody, or just love heartache; this list is for you.

From brotherly sadness to tragic romance, from weirdly melancholy sci-fi to maudlin murder mysteries, we’ve got a special kind of sadness for everyone. So grab a box of tissues and get ready to watch some truly heartbreaking anime, because somehow heartbreak feels right in a list like this.

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The saddest anime to watch right now

10. Flavors of Youth

where to watch: netflix

Nostalgia can be the most melancholic of feelings and flavors of youth captures this perfectly. This charming and lively anthology deals with those exact vibes as the loosely interconnected stories explore the power of nostalgia through the lens of food. The clips from the first entry, The Rice Noodles, have been used in many aesthetic TikTok posts and will absolutely make you cry. Not to be outdone, however, the next two simply lean on the power of The Rice Noodles, delivering thoughtful, emotional, and bittersweet stories to shake your tears.

See our list of best anime on netflix for more like this.

9. Mirai

where to watch: netflix

Mamoru Hosoda is a beloved anime director and Mirai highlights his immense talent. This 2018 time-jumping family drama was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe, and it follows a young boy named Kun who begins to feel out of place with his little sister, Mirai. After running away and stumbling across a magical garden, Kun meets his mother and Mirai at different stages of their lives, allowing him to explore the world and his family in a new way. An inventive and thoughtful take on the family drama, Mirai is a sentimental fantasy that will make you cry.

8. Your lie in April

where to watch: Hulu

Coming-of-age stories that deal with the realities of growing up are much more common in manga and anime storytelling, and Your Lie in April is a prime example. A group of friends go through growing up and all the struggles that come with it after one of them has a nervous breakdown. Each episode of this slice-of-life animated series provides plenty of time to grieve, especially as you care about the characters and their journey to adulthood. Moving and authentic, it’s the kind of show we would have liked to have had when we were teenagers. But at least we have it now!

7. Clanade

where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Tomoya Okazaki is a disillusioned 17-year-old. After losing his mother at a young age, his upbringing became abusive, making him unhappy with his life and his hometown. Clannad follows him through his teenage years into adulthood as he turns his life around by helping a series of young women. It’s the kind of tragic slice of life that will bring you to tears and make you want to take care of its young cast with your life. Very big “I would die for them” energy here.

6. Your name.

where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

One of the best-known sad anime of recent years, Makoto Shinkai Your name. took the world by storm when it was released in 2016. A romantic anime story of fate, this epic blockbuster tells the story of two teenagers who mysteriously begin to switch bodies. Fantastic at best, it’s a twisty tale that will touch your heart. Plus, Shinkai is a master of the visual landscape, so it’s also a truly amazing animation feat.

5. Garden of Words

where to watch: AppleTV

This sentimental story centers on the ups and downs of an unexpected friendship. When a teenager, Takao, skips school to devote himself to his true passion – becoming a shoemaker – he comes across the beautiful Yukari, 27 years old. Both head to the beautiful Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, hoping to find solace. But instead, they always seem to keep meeting on rainy, lonely days. This is another pure vibe anime that’s super easy to rewatch and will keep your emotions in your tear ducts as you explore the weird and unexpected relationship between them.

4. Erased

where to watch: Hulu

It’s hard to make a teardrop that’s also an engaging murder mystery, but Deleted does exactly that. Satoru Fujinuma has a secret. He wields a unique power that allows him to travel back to specific moments in time, but only in relation to life or death moments. When Satoru suffers a great personal tragedy, his powers go into overdrive, sending him back to childhood where he must stop a series of gruesome crimes that turned his life upside down so many years ago. Grief, love, loss and friendship all come into play as this time travel mystery unfolds before us.

3. Aging with you

where to watch: HBO Max

The second entry on our Makoto Shinkai list, grow old with you may not have replicated the worldwide phenomenon of Your Name, but it’s an incredibly worthy successor. And as you might have guessed by our ranking, it’s even more emotionally devastating, too. Escaping from his abusive home, Hodaka Morishima finds himself on the streets of Tokyo. Soon, he starts a found family including the enigmatic Hina, a girl with strange powers. This romantic coming-of-age tale is an enchanting fable about climate change with some of the best animation you’ve ever seen.

2. A Silent Voice

where to watch: netflix

When it comes to contemporary anime, there’s probably none more emotional than A silent voice. This heartbreaking tale explores bullying, suicidal ideation and healing through the eyes of children growing up and coming of age. When a deaf girl, Shoya, joins Shoko’s sixth grade class, she quickly becomes the target of his bullying. But the tide turns after his treatment of Shoya is revealed, she is transferred, and he becomes a social outcast. Years later, the pair cross paths again as Shoko attempts to make amends for her cruel past.

1. Tomb of the Fireflies

where to watch: Vudu

the Grave of the Fireflies might just be the most heartbreaking movie already fact, so there was no other choice to top our saddest anime list. Isao Takahata’s 1988 masterpiece is a moving treatise on the horrors of war, told from the perspective of a pair of siblings in Japan during World War II. Suddenly alone after a nightmarish firebomb attack on their hometown, the sincere and gentle Seita does his best to care for his younger sister Setsuko as the couple tries to survive the wreckage of war without adults. to guide them. Their journey is one of love, heartbreak and devastating emotional heartbreak. Just as relevant and real as it was when it came out, it’s a must-watch, even if many viewers can only take one viewing because it’s so sad.

Although this film was not directed by Miyazaki, it remains one of the best Studio Ghibli films of all time.

Rosie Knight is an Eisner Award-winning journalist, author and comic writer. She co-hosts Crooked Media’s X-Ray Vision Podcastdiscussing pop culture from superhero movies and prestige TV to the best fantasy novels and, of course, comic books.

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The 10 Saddest Anime To Cry Your Heart Out

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