Anime Movies

20 Saddest Anime Movies That Will Leave You Drowning In Tears

sad anime movies

Published on April 20th, 2024

Discover the 20 Saddest Anime Movies That Will Make You Cry.

Whether you’re new to anime or a longtime fan, these films promise to tug at your heartstrings.

Anime captures emotions in a unique way, making it perfect for a good cry.

Despite what some think, anime isn’t just for kids. It covers serious topics like mental health and grief.

If you don’t have time for a long series, these movies offer emotional stories in a shorter format.

From magical worlds to real-life struggles, each movie will leave you feeling deeply moved.

So, get ready with your tissues and prepare for a journey through the emotional depths of these captivating films.

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Sad Anime Movies List

1. A Silent Voice/ Koe No Katachi (2016)

a silent voice koe no katachi amazon prime

“A Silent Voice,” directed by Naoko Yamada and written by Reiko Yoshida, is a touching drama about growing up.

It tackles tough issues like disabilities, bullying, and loneliness. The main character, Shōya Ishida, struggles with social anxiety and regrets bullying a deaf girl named Shōko Nishimiya in elementary school.

As he tries to make amends, both characters learn about friendship and forgiveness.

The film’s stunning animation and powerful voice acting earned it the Best Anime Feature Film award in 2016.

With its emotional story and deep themes, “A Silent Voice” is a movie that will stay with you long after it ends.

2. I Want To Eat Your Pancreas/Kimi No Suizo O Tabetai (2018)

“I Want to Eat Your Pancreas,” directed by Shin’ichirô Ushijima, is a poignant film based on a novel by Yoru Sumino.

It explores heavy topics like death and illness. The story follows a high school student who finds out that his classmate Sakura Yamauchi has pancreatic cancer. Despite the sad news, they form a close friendship.

The movie leaves viewers with mixed emotions, blending sadness and happiness.

While it didn’t win any awards, critics and fans loved the animation and storytelling.

With its global success, grossing over $6 million, this film is a must-watch for anyone seeking a moving cinematic experience.

3. The Wind Rises (2013)

“The Wind Rises,” directed by Hayao Miyazaki, delves into the world of aviation with a touch of reality.

Inspired by the life of Jiro Horikoshi, a Japanese engineer who designed fighter planes during World War II, the film also draws from Miyazaki’s own experiences.

Like the protagonist, Jiro, Miyazaki’s father worked in the aircraft industry, while his mother battled tuberculosis.

Despite its beautiful portrayal of airplanes, the film carries a somber tone as it explores the consequences of Jiro’s creations.

With poignant sequences depicting real-life tragedies like the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, “The Wind Rises” is considered one of Miyazaki’s saddest films.

4. Perfect Blue (1997)

“Perfect Blue,” Satoshi Kon’s debut feature, challenges animation norms and delves into toxic fan culture.

The story follows a young pop star transitioning to acting while facing the dangers of an obsessive stalker.

Through innovative animation and non-linear storytelling, Kon vividly captures the protagonist’s struggle with identity crisis and depression.

As the title suggests, the film explores themes of sadness and melancholy, shedding light on the dark side of fame and celebrity.

“Perfect Blue” serves as a thought-provoking commentary on Japanese pop culture, showcasing Kon’s unique narrative style and leaving a lasting impact on viewers.

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5. Angel Beats (2010)

Angel Beats 2010 sad anime film

“Angel Beats!” follows the journey of Otonashi, who awakens to find himself dead in the afterlife.

Led by Yuri, a rebellious group called the battlefront challenges the authority of Angel Tachibana, an enigmatic figure with supernatural powers.

As Otonashi questions the group’s actions, the true purpose of the afterlife school is unveiled.

Together with Angel, they help others who have faced trauma in life find closure and move on.

With poignant themes of redemption and acceptance, “Angel Beats!” offers a heartfelt exploration of life, death, and the human experience, guaranteed to tug at the heartstrings of its audience.

6. Your Name (2016)

“Your Name,” directed by Makoto Shinkai, follows the story of two teenagers, Taki and Mitsuha, who mysteriously swap bodies.

Initially played for laughs, the film takes a poignant turn as it delves into unexpected tragic events and societal expectations of gender.

Through its exploration of memories and relationships, “Your Name” offers a profound reflection on love and identity.

Despite some narrative flaws, the emotional depth of the film leaves viewers with a mixture of hope and contemplative sadness, making it a captivating and thought-provoking experience.

7. In This Corner Of The World (2016)

“In This Corner of the World,” directed by Sunao Katabuchi, is a poignant depiction of life during World War II.

The story follows Suzu, a young woman who moves to a port city after marriage.

Despite her struggles with domestic chores, Suzu finds solace in her talent for drawing and storytelling.

The film offers an intimate portrayal of human resilience amidst the hardships of war, poverty, and fear.

Like “Grave of the Fireflies,” it is deeply tragic yet devoid of melodrama, capturing the raw reality of survival during wartime.

8. Whisper Of The Heart (1995)

“Whisper of the Heart,” directed by Yoshifumi Kondō, is a touching exploration of life’s joys and sorrows.

Unlike the grim wartime setting of “Grave of the Fireflies,” this film captures the intricacies of happiness and sadness in everyday life.

Every frame of this beautifully crafted anime elicits heartfelt emotions, especially poignant as it was Kondō’s final film before his passing.

Based on a manga by Aoi Hiiragi, the story follows Shizuku Tsukishima, a curious girl drawn to fellow book-lover Seiji Amasawa.

While romance unfolds, the film also weaves in humor, mystery, and genuine emotions, making it a captivating and emotionally resonant experience.

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9. Grave Of The Fireflies (1988)

“Grave of the Fireflies,” directed by Isao Takahata in 1988, is a poignant anti-war masterpiece.

Based on a semi-autobiographical short story, it follows the journey of siblings Seita and Setsuko as they struggle to survive amidst the chaos of World War II.

The animation, while not visually intense, delivers a powerful emotional impact, depicting themes of unconditional love and profound sadness.

Widely regarded as one of the saddest anime films ever made, “Grave of the Fireflies” is a deeply moving experience that leaves a lasting impression on its audience.

10. To The Forest Of Firefly Nights (2011)

To The Forest Of Firefly Nights sad anime film

“To the Forest of Firefly Nights,” directed by Takahiro Omori in 2011, is a poignant tale of friendship and heartbreak.

The story follows six-year-old Hotaru, who befriends Gin, a mysterious boy she meets in a forest inhabited by spirits.

Their bond deepens over the summers, despite the tragic reality that they can never touch.

This short anime explores themes of longing, loneliness, and the complexities of growing up.

With stunning animation and an emotional storyline, it leaves a lasting impact on viewers, despite its brief runtime.

Omori’s masterful direction evokes intense emotions and delivers a tear-jerking conclusion.

11. 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)

In “5 Centimeters Per Second” (2007), Makoto Shinkai explores love and heartbreak through the stories of Takaki Tono and his friend Akari.

As they grow up, their close bond is tested by life’s challenges, leading them on separate paths.

Despite efforts to stay connected, they drift apart, clinging to memories and hope for a reunion.

The film poignantly depicts the inevitability of growing apart and the lingering impact of lost connections.

12. Wolf Children (2012)

“Wolf Children” (2012), directed and co-written by Mamoru Hosoda, tells the touching story of Hana, a single mother raising her two children in secrecy.

After falling in love with a young man who is a werewolf, Hana gives birth to Yuki and Ame.

Tragedy strikes when her husband dies, leaving Hana to protect her children from discovery in a city.

With themes of racism and prejudice, Hosoda crafts a heartfelt narrative reminiscent of Miyazaki’s style.

Through breathtaking rural landscapes, he explores the complexities of family and the emotions of fear, sadness, and uncertainty.

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13. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

“The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” (2006), written by Satoko Okudera, directed by Mamoru Hosoda, and produced by Madhouse, is a science fiction romance adapted from Yasutaka Tsutsui’s 1967 novel.

The film follows Makoto Konno, a teenage girl grappling with her future after high school.

Discovering her ability to time travel, Makoto recklessly alters events in the past to fix her problems, unaware of the consequences.

As she learns the limitations of her power, tragedy strikes, forcing her to confront the consequences of her actions.

Despite a somewhat unsatisfying resolution, Hosoda captures the essence of teenage self-absorption and the uncertainties of life with powerful emotions.

14. The Garden Of Words (2013)

“The Garden of Words” (2013) by Makoto Shinkai delves into themes of loneliness and yearning in a modern setting.

This 46-minute anime follows 15-year-old Takao Akizuki, who finds solace in a garden where he meets Yukari Yukino, an older woman also grappling with isolation.

Despite its short runtime, the film beautifully explores the taboo relationship between teacher and student, offering poignant commentary on Japanese society and generational divides.

With stunning animation and subtle storytelling, Shinkai crafts a bittersweet masterpiece that resonates with audiences long after the credits roll.

15. Elfen Lied (2004)

Elfen Lied 2004 one the best sad anime movies

“Elfen Lied” (2004) is known for its dark themes and graphic violence, making it a deeply sad anime.

Viewers are advised to approach with caution due to its intense content.

The story follows Lucy, a Diclonius with frightening powers, who becomes the subject of a cruel experiment.

After escaping, Lucy reverts to a childlike state, haunted by her traumatic past.

16. Devilman Crybaby (2018)

“Devilman Crybaby” (2018) follows friends Akira Fudo and Ryo Asuka as they uncover the existence of demons.

When a summoning ritual goes awry, Akira becomes possessed by a demon, transforming into a Devilman.

As chaos ensues globally, Akira fights to protect his loved ones and prove that Devilmen are not inherently evil.

However, his efforts are in vain, and tragedy strikes as Ryo’s true identity as Satan is revealed, leading to devastating consequences.

With themes of betrayal and helplessness, “Devilman Crybaby” is a truly tragic anime.

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17. True Tears (2008)

“True Tears” (2008) is a simple yet emotionally powerful romance anime.

It centers around Shinichirou Nakagami, who finds himself living with the girl he loves.

However, he discovers her different sides at home and elsewhere, making it challenging for him to understand and support her.

Despite its uncomplicated plot, “True Tears” evokes deep emotions and is guaranteed to leave viewers in tears.

18. “Colourful” (2010)

“Colourful” (2010) tells the story of a soul given a second chance at life after arriving at the train station to death.

Inhabiting the body of Makoto Kobayashi, who took his own life, the soul seeks to atone for past sins.

As it navigates Kobayashi’s troubled life and explores societal issues like bullying and suicide, the soul begins to understand the value of life.

This award-winning film offers a profound exploration of identity and redemption, earning accolades for its powerful storytelling and societal commentary.

19. “Chrono Crusade” (2003)

“Chrono Crusade” (2003) delves into post-World War I struggles in New York City, but with a twist.

It follows the Magdalene Order’s fight against demonic forces threatening to destroy the world.

Amidst the chaos, Rosette, a member of the Order, holds onto hope of finding her brother, who was taken by a demon.

As they battle monstrous entities, the Order faces challenging obstacles and heartbreaking losses.

20. The Dog Of Flanders (1997)

The Dog Of Flanders one of the sad anime movies

“The Dog of Flanders” (1997), directed by Yoshio Kuroda, recounts the poignant story of Nello and his dog Patrasche.

Based on the classic children’s literature, the anime remains faithful to its 19th-century Belgian setting.

Despite its simplistic animation, Kuroda skillfully portrays emotions, reminiscent of Ghibli films.

The genuine bond between Nello and Patrasche is the heart of the story, making the inevitable sad ending all the more heartbreaking.

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