Top 45 Saddest Anime Of All Time
Welcome to our anime list filled with the saddest Anime on Netflix and beyond that will make you cry. Explore the best Sad anime movies and series that are emotional, thought-provoking, and heartbreaking.
You’ll find here popular sad anime movies as well as some lesser-known heartbreaking animes that will surely make you ugly cry.
These anime movies all deal with different subjects (family issues, loneliness, death, suicide, mental health…) and their intensity can get pretty high. While some of them are easier to digest there are some animes below that deal with things which may open some old and painful wounds, but hey, they might as well help you finally heal them.
Here is everything you need to know about Sad anime movies & shows to find your next favorite.
You’ll find here beautiful sad animes, tearjerking animes, dark depressing animes and even action and romance sad animes so no matter what tipe of movies or shows you like you’ll find something on our sad anime guide.
We have 2 Sections:
Section 1: Top Sad Anime Movies that will make you cry
Section 2: Sad Anime Series to Watch online
We included first the saddest anime movies then the saddest anime series you should check out if you like emotional and beautiful tearjerking stories.
We update our posts frequently so don’t forget to check back.
What is the saddest anime of all time?
Good question. There are debates about it everyone has something that just really gets to them. However, Your lie in April, I want to eat your Pancreas, and Grave of The Fireflies are usually on everyone’s top sad anime movies and shows list.
What are the saddest endings in anime?
Again, it’s debatable but I want to eat your Pancreas and Grave of the Fireflies are on the top saddest anime death lists every time.
Where to watch sad anime online?
There are a couple of great places online where you can stream your favorite sad anime movies and shows. While there are “free” places where you can stream anime like the infamous Kiss Anime Site, you might want to go for something safer and legal option.
Here are our favorite places to watch anime online.
Netflix really stepped up its anime game. They not only have a great selection of old sad animes in their collection but actually started creating it’s on original anime Netflix shows and movies.
Amazon Prime is also a great place to go if you want to stream anime at a good price.
Hulu has a great growing selection it’s definitely worth checking out their list to know if you want to subscribe or not.
And of course, the two big anime streaming sites that are dedicated directly to the fans of anime and manga:
Anime Planet is probably the most famous of all the sites for anime streaming. if you’re a great Otaku at heart their subscription is a good choice for you.
Crunchyroll is another all-time favorite. It’s another magical place where Otakus can enjoy their favorites for only a few bucks each month.
Ultimate Guide to the best sad animes
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Section1: Best Sad Anime Movies that will make you cry
19| Hal (Haru) | 2013
Hal is a terribly sad romantic anime movie about Karumi losing the love of her life.
The young and beautiful girl is deeply in love with her boyfriend, Hal, but one day he is killed in a plane crash.
Left alone, Karumi is depressed and hopeless. Nothing seems to aid her aching heart anymore.
Not being able to see her like this, Karumi’s grandfather requests a robot called Q01 to support her. Taking the appearance of Hal, the robot tries to cheer the girl up. After a difficult start, they seem to be able to connect and Karumi’s vim and vigor return.
The two form a strong bond and experience life in a new light.
Hal is sad anime about a robot helping a human find love and hope again is one of the best short films you can watch. The one-hour movie will bring sadness and joy at the same time.
18| Millennium Actress (Sennen joyû) | 2002
Millennium Actress is a really colorful, engaging and surprisingly imaginative anime movie. Chiyoko Fujiwara, one of the biggest stars of the Japanese film industry has been living away from the spotlight for almost thirty years.
An admirer of hers is making a documentary and convinces her to give an interview.
This fascinating sad romance fantasy anime is going to take you many places over centuries. As the actress begins telling her story, her roles seem to blur together with her life.
Chiyoko tells about times from 500 years ago and her story ends up in the future. It is entertaining but also utterly sad. She turns out to be in desperate love waiting for the man she has rescued long ago.
The old lady is still helplessly waiting for her first love and hopes to find him, even if she has to leave the planet in search of him.
Millennium Actress is a daring sad anime with stunning visuals and a heart-aching story.
17| The Wind Rises (Kaze tachinu ) | 2013
Hayao Miyazaki’s astonishing oscar nominated and heart-breaking anime feature is just as beautiful as tearjerking.
Studio Ghibli and the world-renowned writer-director are famously great at making artistic and emotionally captivating movies.
Jiro Horikoshi’s story is no different; it is magical despite dealing with some crushing topics in the times of war.
Our protagonist has always been fascinated by aviation; since boyhood, he wanted to be a pilot. Due to is poor sight, he knows, he will never fly a plane. His role model, Italian aircraft designer Giovanni Battista Caproni often visits him in his dreams giving him valuable advice.
Thanks to him, Jiro can overcome the fact that he will never be a pilot.
He is ready for new challenges and studies to become a designer.
Throughout this sad anime movie about war, we are going to experience excruciating pain, sadness and give up on every hope. Still, Miyazaki does a great job keeping spirits high despite the terrible events.
The Wind Rises is a magical and tragic piece of historical fiction. The strong love between Jiro and Naoko that is destined to tragedy makes it a sad romance anime you are going to remember forever.
16| Cat Soup (Nekojiru-sô) | 2003
This surrealistic short comedy anime is taking you on a journey of emotions. Throughout the 34 minutes, you are going to be sad, happy, frustrated, relieved and a little creeped out.
The story begins with cat-like Nyatta drowning in the bathtub allowing his soul to enter the spirit world. Here, Nyako, his ill oldest sister’s soul is about to leave. Trying to save her, he grabs on her hand, but the girl’s soul is ripped into two.
As Nyatta’s father brings the boy back to life with Nyako’s half soul in his hand. He manages to put the soul back in the dead girl’s body, but she is not fully back.
Nyatta and the brain dead Nyako then go on an adventure to find the other half of the girl’s soul. This adventurous, often funny yet sad anime is about brotherly love.
Cat Soup is one of the saddest animes that will make you feel hopeless for a while to then cheer you up a little. You can watch Cat Soup online on Anime-Planet.
15| Paprika (Papurika) | 2006
The Paprika psychological anime movie is certainly outstanding. The visuals are pretty unique, with interesting characters and an engaging story.
Atsuko Chiba and Kosaku Tokita are two remarkable scientists, who managed to develop a machine that can enter people’s dreams.
With this invention called DC Mini, they can heal people with depression and other mental disorders.
There are others wanting to put their hands on the revolutionary machine with completely different motivations. If DC Mini ends up in the wrong hands, a new form of terrorism could ruin humanity’s existence.
Paprika It is a beautiful sad anime for adults with action and is packed with unique and mind-bending imagery.
14| The Garden of Words (Koto no ha no niwa) | 2013
Garden of words is one of the most beautiful and moving sad romance anime that will wet your eyes for sure. It is a painful story of alienation and love that can never be expressed.
Artist Takao is pursuing his dream of becoming a shoe designer. On one rainy day, he decides to skip school and sit in a beautiful lush garden to draw. There, he meets an older woman, with whom they quickly become close. They keep on meeting during the rain to share thoughts and enjoy each other’s company. Yukari, the older woman brings up her fears about current issues in society.
Takao stops visiting at the end of the rainy season, but fate brings them together again. The boy’s love seems to reciprocate but for reasons, they can never be together and Yukari decides to move away from Tokyo.
Garden of Words is a short (45 minutes) sad anime movie with love that talks about important issues our society faces nowadays.
13| To the Forest of Fireflies’ Light (Hotarubi no mori e) | 2011
To the Forest of Firefly Lights is a charming and beautiful short anime movie about Hotaru who one day gets lost in the forest as a child but luckily she is rescued by Gin, a spirit.
Gin and Hotaru develop a friendship over time despite the fact that Gin reveals that he will disappear if he is ever touched by a human.
It’s a heartfelt and beautiful sad anime about true love and friendship and it will surely make you shed more than a few tears.
To The Forest of Fireflies’ Light is one of the most beloved and saddest animes that will make you cry your eyes out. It has an emotional and beutiful story and fantastic art.
12| Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day – The Movie (2013) – Gekijouban Ano hi mita hana no namae wo bokutachi wa mada shiranai
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is one of the most successful tear-jerking anime movies of all time. It also has a series under the same name and it’s just as heartbreakingly beautiful.
It follows a group of young friends as they live their adventurous lives until one-day tragedy strikes and one of the group members the cute Menma dies in an unfortunate accident. Because of the guilt and the pain, the other four friends get further apart with each day and eventually go their separate days.
The story picks up again a few years later with Jintan, one of the male members of the group. Who is a lazy high school drop out who’s doing nothing with his life. That’s when Menma’s ghost appears to him forcing Jentan to go on a journey and help her find her peace so she can move on.
Anohana is a beautiful story of friendships that can help process the loss of a loved one at a young age. There is no doubt, Anohana is one of the top sad anime movies that will make you cry for sure.
11| I Want to Eat Your Pancreas (2018) – Kimi no suizô o tabetai
I want to eat your pancreas is one of the most beautiful and saddest anime love stories ever written. It’s also one of the most successful and beloved and saddest anime movies in 2018.
It’s a beautiful anime love story about a boy who falls in love with his classmate who is slowly dying from pancreatic cancer. The story follows as he helps her live her life to the fullest before she passes on.
It’s a tearjerker for sure but also a positive and heartwarming story about first love, the everyday beauty of life, and death. With stunning visuals and beautiful melodies, this movie hits right in the heart. Get ready because I want to eat your pancreas has one of the saddest anime deaths of all time.
Even if you’re not a huge fan of sad romance anime movies this one should get on your list. You won’t regret it.
I want to Eat Your Pancreas is a heartbreaking anime but it has a meaningful and deep story that will make you want to watch it over and over again.
10| The Girl Who Leapt Through Time – Toki o kakeru shôjo (2006)
This might not be the first anime that comes to mind when searching for a sad anime movie but still, it does the job for me every time. It’s a fun and entertaining time travel anime movie on the surface but it’s a deep coming of age story in the heart.
Learning about responsibilities and experiencing the consequences of our own acts is one of the hardest parts of becoming a functioning adult.
Growing up is one of the toughest things we all have to do at some point in our lives and this anime is
The movie differs at some points from the book and it has beautiful animation too. So, if coming of age stories are your jam you should definitely put this one on your list.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a charming and sweet sad anime movie that will both make you smile and cry.
9| Wolf Children – Ookami kodomo no Ame to Yuki (2012)
Wolf Children is a rather bittersweet family anime movie that’s able to have you going from happy to sad tears in a matter of seconds. Not to mention that it is gorgeously animated which is a big plus.
I especially loved this anime because there are no unnecessary drama or forced suspense. It all feels natural and real and that’s its biggest strength. It’s a beautiful story of motherhood and how one must eventually let go. Even if you don’t have children on your own you may find it easier to understand what your mom goes/went through with you.
Wolf Children is certainly a breath of fresh air in the world of sad anime movies.
Wolf Children is an award-winning sad anime movie that will make you look at the world differently.
8| When Marnie was There – Omoide no Mânî (2014)
Another tear-jerker anime film. Memories, ghosts, and imagination merge together in this beautifully animated coming of age (and sexual awakening) anime.
When Marnie was Ther is an Oscar nominated sad anime movie about Anna, a shy and socially awkward girl and her newfound ghost friend Marnie, who helps her to overcome her isolation and self-loathing. There are arguments online that ‘When Marnie Was There’ is also an LGBTQ story about young girls sexual awakening and how isolated, confused, and depressed one can get if these feelings differ from the “normal”.
I’m not sure if it was intentional but I do see those tender moments there as well. However, this is probably one of the reasons why this anime is so powerful and universal.
When Marnie Was There is a multi award-winning sad anime movie that will make you cry while falling in love with the characters and the fantastic art.
7| The Dog of Flanders – Gekijôban Furandaasu no inu (1997)
I’m not only a sucker for sad anime movies but for sad vintage anime movies as well. This 1997 classic is going to become your new favorite even if you don’t like old movies.
My heart warms up the moment I look at these charming animations but don’t be fooled there is a lot more to this film than you might think.
Meet Nello, a lovely young boy who’s full of hopes and dreams but gets totally crapped on
However, at the end ‘The Dog of Flanders’ has a positive message; we should never give up on our dreams no matter how impossible they might seem.
The Dog of Flanders is a classic sad anime movie that everyone should see who really love anime.
6| Your Name – Kimi no na wa. (2016)
If you only heard about one movie on this list it’s probably this one. `Your Name` was a huge hit in 2016 and it became an instant classic.
This is the first (out of two) Makoto Shinkai anime movie on the list. It’s a pure love story with stunning artwork and of course a heartbreaking ending. The story might have gone much deeper but then it would probably have lost from its warmth and would be much harder to digest. I think (along with a couple other million people) that it does the job just as well.
Your Name one of the most beloved and popular sad anime movies of all time.
Do you want to know Your Name’s director’s inspiration behind his most tearjearking movies? Watch this short video.
5| A Silent Voice – Koe no katachi (2016)
‘A silent voice’ has one of the darkest themes despite being a coming-of-age story. It’s about a school bully Shoya and his victim Shoko.
After Shoko transfers to a new school she gets cruelly bullied by Shoya and his “friends” because of her hearing disabilities. However, a couple of years later the table turns…
Scars we get during our childhood sometimes never heal. This film is able to mend those wounds brilliantly.
With rich visuals and wonderful settings this movie really is able to awake the deepest of feelings while teaching about empathy and forgiveness.
Silent Voice is a beautiful and emotional anime that will surely make you cry if you enjoy sad anime movies.
4| 5 Centimeters Per Second – Byôsoku 5 senchimêtoru (2007)
Say hello to the second Makoto Shinkai movie on the list. While ‘Your Name’ had a way bigger box office success ‘5 Centimeters Per Second’ is able to move even the coldest of hearts.
It’s a tear-jerking masterpiece about first love, emotional and physical distances and the inevitable heartbreak and loss. It’s poetic, moving and a movie that will stick with you for a long while after the credits roll.
5 Centimeters Per Second is for sure one of the best emotional anime movies ever created.
5 Centimeters Per second is witouth a doubt one of the best sad animes of all time. No matter if your gender this heartbreaking and emotional anime will make you cry.
3| Barefoot Gen – Hadashi no Gen (1983)
This beautiful, heartbreaking anime gets inside people’s head and makes them cry since 1983. Oh boy, and does it well!
Barefoot Gen is about a Japanese family’s struggle to survive during World War II. Gen who is in the center of the story is only six and lived with the war in his whole life. However, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima puts everything in a new perspective.
Unfortunately, it’s a long-forgotten movie that would deserve to be picked up again and watched by everyone. Especially, if we consider the current political controversies.
While Barefoot Gen tosses and turns you between hope and horror at the end it does the impossible; finds a happy ending to Hiroshima.
Barefoot Gen is one of the saddest animes for adults. It has complex, deeply emotional, and depressing story that’s best suited for mature audiences.
2| Colorful – Karafuru (2010)
This anime deals with Suicide so please, only watch it if you feel ready to process the story. While ‘Colorful’ has a satisfying end and the storyline can be endearing it has a dark theme that’s able to cause great pain.
I’m an atheist (Many scenes are about what happens to the human soul after our death.) but I found the movie enjoyable and positive. Most importantly it’s able to give some new perspectives on how to deal with depression and anxiety. It’s a well-known fact that mental issues, including depression still far from being treated well, this film brings some most needed breath of warmth into the discussion.
If you want to find a way to laugh at your problems check out one of Jenny Lawson‘s amazing books too.
Colorful deals with serious subjects such as suicide and self-acceptentce, depression, family and friendships and it can be triggering. However, it can also help you understand and feel more accepted that’s why this sad anime should be on your list.
1| Grave of The Fireflies – Hotaru no haka (1988)
If you don’t shed a tear during this movie it’s because you don’t have tear ducts.
It’s a very powerful anti-war movie designed precisely to break its viewers. The film is based on the semi-autobiographical short story by Akiyuki Nosaka. The story follows the life of a young sister and brother after they get separated from their parents because of the American firebombing during World War II.
Watching the movie, we experience how the human spirit can break and fail after unbearable cruelty and tragedies. Grave of The Fireflies also has some of the saddest anime moments of all time.
Many fans and even critics believe that this stunning but depressing anime changed the animation scene forever.
‘Grave of the Fireflies’ has one of the most startling movie endings I’ve ever seen so be prepared… Also, if you`re very sensitive it’s probably best if you don’t watch it alone.
Grave of the Fireflies has one of the saddest endings in anime history. This breathtaking classic sad anime movie is a tearjerker and depressing but should be watched by every anime fan.
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Section 2: Sad Anime Shows to Watch Online
We wanted to include some of our favorite sad anime shows as well some heartbreakingly beautiful sad romantic anime shows to watch.
25| The Promised Neverland | 2019 – 2020
Finally, The Promised Neverland season 2 is coming in 2020. It is a beautiful, yet pretty sad anime series. There are a lot of cheerful moments, but unfortunately by the end, it turns out to be a heart breaking story.
We follow the days of an orphanage, where children are living freely and mostly happily with only a few rules set by “mama.”
One day, however, the orphans have to come to a terrible realization; the adopted kids are not ending up as happy as promised. The three oldest children begin investigating and turns out, there is a lot more to their guardian, mama as well.
The three brave siblings are going extreme lengths to find out where their friends go when adopted.
The Promised Neverland is a spooky and sad anime about friendship and bravery that will surely make you shed a few tears. You can watch The Promised Neverland online on Hulu.
24| Fruits Basket | 2019 – 2020
The original Fruits Basket that came out in 2001 is now an anime classic. While anime fans absolutely adored the show the 2019 Fruits Basket reboot won over everyone.
Not only because of the stunning visuals but because it also keeps the story to the original manga and gets deep into the character’s minds and struggles.
Fruits Basket heroine is the kind, always positive and helpful Tohru who has to figure out a way to leave alone after her mother’s passing.
Her life changes forever on the day when she learns about the mysterious Souma clan. Tohru and the Somas face many secrets and hardships but also good times together.
With its superb characters and meaningful themes and entertaining storyline, this anime will quickly become one of your favorite sad animes.
The 2019 Fruits Basket reboot is a feel-good but also often deeply sad anime that will bring you many tears both because of sadness and happiness and the 2020 season 2 will surely going to do just the same.
23| Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood | 2009 – 2012
Edward and Alphonse Elric’s adventures are a sad anime with a happy ending. The two brothers show extraordinary love for each other, which is just touching.
This often humorous and action full fantasy anime is certainly one of the best that can help you forget about the real world.
Despite the often comedic moments, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood can get very emotional. Edward is one of the most talented alchemists, who shows great powers.
Their father left them alone with their mother, for which the hot-headed boy deeply resents him.
Their mother passes away and the boys complete their alchemy training to bring their mother back to life by a forbidden practice, but they fail. Terribly so, Alphonse Elric loses his body and his soul is bound to an armor as a temporary solution.
Edward loses his hand in the process and now they set out to bring Alphonse back while the State requires their services to protect the country.
It is so captivating to see the two brothers stick so closely together while torn by their dark and aching past.
Fullmetal Alchemist definitely one of the most entertaining sad anime with touching brotherly love. Made in Abyss is a sad anime movie about a robot boy becoming good friends with a human girl.
22| Made in Abyss | 2017
Riko is living in the Belchero Orphanage in the town called Orth. Her mother was a fabled White Whistle, which means she went deep down in the enormous hole called Abyss next to their town.
She lost her to the mysterious pit which is on many adventurer’s bucket list to once explore. Including Riko, who is a fearless girl in training to become a White Whistle as well.
She meets a strange robot, who looks like a boy of her age, who has no memories of the events before the meeting. Riko names the boy Reg and decides to head for the Abyss thinking he must have come from there.
There are a lot of painful moments as Riko discovers more about her mother.
Made in Abyss is a sad anime show about a robot boy becoming good friends with a human girl.
21| Death Parade | 2015
Dealing with death is always a little depressing for most of us. Life is full of references to the end of our journey and by many religions and cultures, we are dealing with it differently.
Death Parade is a sad anime series that deals with death in a rather unique way.
According to the series, when we die, we all end up at Quindecim Bar to be tested by a game chosen by the gatekeeper, Decim. This game will decide if we get to reincarnate or end up in the dark and empty void.
Death Parade is a really dark psychological sad anime show, that often gets a little whimsical and humorous to help its viewers cope easier.
The source of sadness is quite obvious; the dead people put to the test are living through their mistakes and sorrows. It can be a little hard to watch sometimes so make sure you are in the right mood.
20| Fate/Zero | 2011-2012
We have already included Fate/Zero in our dark anime characters list thanks to Kirei Kotomine. Partly because of him, this sad anime movie about a war definitely deserves a spot here as well.
The world is in despair following the three Holy Grail wars and just when everyone thought peace has finally come, the fourth war is in prospect.
The family in possession of the Grail is brewing another war being certain about finally overcoming every enemy of theirs.
There are many characters struggling with self-doubt, hatred, and loss.
Fate/Zero is a sad anime series that will take you dark places you barely imagined to exist.
19| TOKYO MAGNITUDE 8.0 (Tôkyô magunichûdo 8.0 ) | 2009
Amid a catastrophic earthquake, two little siblings Mirai and Yuuki are trying to find their back home from a robot exhibition.
They are helped by desperate motorcycle courier Mari, who is rushing to reconnect with her daughter and mother.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is a sad anime about love and desperation. Imagine what terrible things people have to go through who are stuck in the middle of such a powerful natural disaster.
With parts of the city in ruins and chaos all around the two little ones have to get home safely to their parents.
When in need of a little boost to survive another day, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 will give you the courage for sure. If you love emotional and sad animes your should check this one out.
18| Ef: A Tale of Melodies | 2008
Ef: A Tale of Melodies is a tragic anime full of devastating surprises and painful moments. There are only twelve episodes, yet it will feel like you have watched a lifetime worth of drama. It is beautifully drawn and the characters are all very living with problems that seem so real.
We get to look into the past, where Himura Yuu attends Otowa Academy. He is a hard-working boy, who takes his studies very seriously.
He comes across Amamiya Yuuko, a girl, who happens to recognize him. Soon, terrifying memories surface from his childhood he wished to be bottled up forever. A terrible misery tears Yuu’s aching heart apart.
We also follow a number of other people in Otowa, which turns out to be two of; one in Japan and Australia. There are a number of people in focus throughout series who have their struggles to cope with.
Ef: A Tale of Melodies is a strikingly sad anime series brimming with tragedy and love.
17| Nana | 2006-2007
Nana anime is one of the most encouraging and eye-opening shows for teenagers. It helps everyone understand some inner struggles about the calling of life, sacrifices, and love.
How difficult is it to make a major change in our lives, often without support? This sad and often romantic anime series helps its viewers fight the everyday battles of love, career choices and finding our true selves.
Nana is about two girls, both called Nana, who meet on the train leaving their hometown heading to Tokyo. With different personalities and motivations, they end up to be a really good pair. They even end up to be roommates and then supportive friends of each other.
This slice of life anime is not easy on our protagonists; they are regularly challenged. Thy and their friendship prove to be strong to overcome all obstacles.
Nana is an encouraging and moody sad anime about friendship and love, that helps us remain strong in difficult situations.
16| Bokurano: Ours | 2007
In case you are seeking a captivating sad science fiction anime, then Bokurano is one for you.
8 boys and 7 girls are enjoying their summer vacation near the sea. As they explore the area, they find a cave. Driven by curiosity, they get in there straight away. To their biggest surprise, they find computers and a man working inside the cavity.
The man introduces himself as Kokopelli and explains that he is working on a game that is about a large robot defending Earth from alien attacks.
He convinces 14 of the children to sign up for a test game in which they have to control the robot.
Bokurano is a sad anime with action and a terrible twist that will leave you speechless. You can watch Bokurano: Ours online on Crunchyroll.
15| Orange | 2016
Orange is one of the most devastating love stories of all time. This sad anime with love, regrets and a second chance to make everything turn out better is a very interesting ride.
High school girl Naho Takamiya finds a letter written by herself ten years in the future warning her to be careful with a number of things.
In the beginning, she is skeptical about the letter, but a few points prove to be true and she begins to live her life according to the letter.
To her biggest pain, the new exchange student Kakeru Naruse is one the focus of the letter. He has a significant role in Naho’s life, but she has to be very careful.
This sad anime series makes everyone think about what mistakes do we make in our lives. Would you send a letter back to your 16-year old self? Aren’t mistakes important in life to develop as a person.
26-year old Naho had the opportunity to warn her younger self to warn her about mistakes she wishes she had never done.
Orange is a sad romantic anime with lots of emotions that gives you hope and eventually be more appreciative of life. You can watch Orange anime online on Crunchyroll.
14| Mawaru-Penguindrum | 2011
Penguindrum is kicking off very sadly; it shows that life is often cruel and leaves very little reason for high hopes. The Takakura siblings, two twin brothers are their little sister Himari are very good to each other.
They have lost their parents and the beloved Himari is gravely ill. They are desperate, but there is nothing they could do.
One day the three can go on a day out as Himari is temporarily released from the hospital.
They go to the aquarium to enjoy some time together, but everything fades to black when the little girl collapses. On the verge of giving up, the twins are in deep pain. To their fortune and relief, a spirit living in a penguin hat heals the girl.
That favor has to be repaid by finding Penguin Drum, an item that will not be easy to find.
The twins are jumping into the adventures without hesitation. There are also three cute anime animals, blue penguin companions supporting our heroes.
Penguindrum is an underrated sad tearjerker anime with action that keeps you on the edge of your seat all the time while reminding us; life is no piece of cake.
13| Finding Full Moon (Furumûn wo sagashite) | 2002-2003
Finding Full Moon starts off with a strikingly sad premise that quickly cramps our hearts. This tragically sad anime series about music and love is definitely going jerk some tears.
With its magical and hopeful cute anime girl, Mitsuki Kouyama, this show is certainly one that we are going to hold dear for long.
Mitsuki’s best friend and secret love Eichi moves away to America. They promised each other to fulfill their dreams. Eichi wants to be an astronomer and the girl plans to become a professional singer. Mitsuki secretly hopes to win the heart of the boy with her singing.
The only thing standing in Mitsuki’s happiness is a terrible throat cancer. Her grandmother suggests to get it operated, but Mitsuki doesn’t want to risk losing her voice.
Of all sad music animes, Finding Full Moon is one of the most touching.
The little girl’s life takes an accelerating turn when two Shinigami visit Mitsuki to pass the sad news of having only a year left of her life.
She steps on the path of becoming a singer with the help of her two new friends and things become a bit more positive for a while.
Finding Full Moon’s beginning is one of the saddest in anime history, which definitely sets the mood for a gloomy day. You can watch Finding Full Moon (AKA Full Moon wo Sagashite) online on Crunchyroll.
12| A Lull in the Sea (Nagi no Asukara) | 2013-2014
Life on Earth is much different in as we live it now; in Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea humanity is separated into two groups. One has been living on the seafloor for ages and the other represents people who wished to live on the surface.
Due to their school closing down, four 14-year old children have to move to the surface to attend a school there.
Hikari, Manaka, Kaname, and Chisaki embark on a scary adventure to a completely new world for them.
This anime is sad at some points, as the four teenagers have to deal with major issues. The cultural differences, feeling like an outcast and homesickness all cloud their days on the surface.
All the difficulties are easier to overcome thanks to their strong, loving bond between them.
A Lull in the Sea is sad romantic anime deals with so many important topics that are relevant nowadays. The hatred between the two groups has a terrible effect on children’s lives. You can watch A Lull in the Sea online on Crunchyroll.
11| Rumbling Hearts (Kimi ga nozomu eien) | 2003 – 2004
Rubmling Hearts deals with deep, complex and turbulent emotions. Throughout the 14 episodes, you are going to feel a lot of love, happiness to then a tragic sadness turns everything dark.
Suzumiya and Takayuki become a lovely couple with sparkly eyes, everything seems to be working out well. They also enjoy their two best friends’ support, so nothing could be better.
Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever and a terrible accident puts one of them in a coma for years. Things terrible and starting all over again doesn’t seem to be an option.
Rumbling Hearts is a beautiful but tragic anime with some shattering plot twists.
There are some pretty cute anime girls and boys in this series, which makes everyone fall in love with this show straight away.
Rumbling Hearts is a captivatingly sad anime about love and friendship and you can watch it online on Crunchyroll.
10| Now and Then, Here and There | 1999 – 2000
Brave and stubborn Shuuzou is living a pretty normal life surrounded by friends and a loving family. He is aspiring to become a kendo champion, but in the tournament, he is beaten and in his despair runs away to watch the sunset.
Sitting on the huge chimney, he meets a blue-haired girl, who instantly awakens Shuu’s curiosity. They begin talking, although the girl, Lala-Ru is a quiet, reticent girl.
Suddenly, they find themselves facing a woman with two strange machines, who want to kidnap the girl for her magical pendant.
Shuuzou is proving to be fearless, tries to save the girl and accidentally touches the pedant which takes him and Lala-Ruu to an unknown world.
In this world, Shuu has to endure terrible hardships but he still stands by the girl. It is an adventurous sad series with two unforgettable main characters.
Now and Then, Here and There is an action anime drama from 1999 but it’s still one of the best sad and depressing anime series you can watch online on Anime-Planet in 2020.
9| Golden Time (Gôruden taimu) | 2013-2014
If you are looking for a sad anime with a happy ending, Golden Time will help you climb out of the darkness. Often, a sad event in our lives can set us back for long and will most likely stay with us forever.
Thanks to the beautiful romantic anime Golden Time, we can stand back up on our feet with a smile. It’s not going to be the saddest anime you’ll ever watch but it’s one that shows that life can turn out well even after terrible tragedies.
Banri Tada’s story begins with a tragic accident, in which he loses all his memories about his life so far. After being lost for a while, he manages to get on with his life and makes new friends at his new school.
Thanks to Banri’s new friend Mitsuo, he even gets to meet his new love, Koko Kaga. The beautiful girl is very popular among boys, but over time she falls for our hero.
Golden Time is a fun but also a little sad anime series with a happy ending and superb characters including the lovable anime girl Koko. You can watch Golden Time online on Crunchyroll.
8| Haibane Renmei | 2002
The depressing story of Haibane girl named Rakka will take you to a very sad place. She has fallen from the sky but has no memories of who she is.
Haibane are born with two small gray wings and a halo over their head.
Living in a village called Old Home, Rakka and the other Haibane have to obey strict rules. They are not allowed to leave town or even go near the surrounding wall.
Haibane are not allowed to use money or own anything. Despite the villagers are friendly and respectful with them, they receive harsh punishment in case breaking any of the rules.
Trying to get used to her new life, Rakka quickly bonds with fellow Haibanes. Things become rather unsettling when some of the children disappear on the so-called day of flight and never return. One of Rakka’s closest friends also vanishes when she breaks some of the rules.
Not knowing anything herself or about her kind, Rakka determines to find a way out of this misery.
Haibane Renmei is a beautiful and sad anime about friendship, despairing situations and finding ourselves even in difficult times. You can watch Haibane Renmei online on Funimation.
7| Charlotte | 2015 -2016
Charlotte is an astoundingly great anime that is full of interesting plot twists and well-crafted characters. It is, unfortunately, a short anime series, therefore the fun will end pretty quickly.
A comet named Charlotte passes Earth every 75 years and releases a dust that by inhaling gives pre-teens a special power.
We follow Yuu Otasaka, has a superpower that allows him to take control of another person for five seconds. Yuu’s motivation is by far not most heroes stand out with; he just wants to get through high school without any difficulties.
His plans are crossed by Nao, a girl who can be invisible to a chosen person. She forces him to make major changes he would have never wanted.
Where there are superpowers, there are super threats. Their life becomes complicated when two school mates are abducted and one of them is killed.
Charlotte is certainly one of the best underrated sad anime series that has many exciting scenes.
6| Your Lie in April (2014-2015) – Shigatsu wa kimi no uso
Your lie in April is certainly one of the most beautiful sad anime series ever created. It’s a fan favorite and a well-deserved one. The visuals are gorgeous, and the story is not only tearjerking but a quite unique one too.
The story’s protagonist is Kousei, a piano prodigy who lost his ability to play after suffering a traumatic event. However, Kousei is forced back to the spotlight by Kaori, an eccentric girl who inspires him to play music again.
The story is just as motivating and warm as it’s heartbreaking. If you want to watch a great sad anime show that has a positive ending you should check out Your lie in April.
This is also one of the best sad anime on Netflix.
Your Lie in April is many anime fans favortei sad anime on Netflix. It has a beautiful but heartbreaking story that will make you cry but also motivate you to live your life to the fullest.
5| Erased (2016) – Boku dake ga inai machi
Erased is one of those sad anime shows that will send a chill down your spine. It’s a chilling time travel anime with great visuals and sounds.
Satoru, our protagonist (29) is sent back in time to prevent a series of kidnappings that lead to his mom’s death.
Erased is an interesting psychological mystery anime that has an intense and chilling story and fantastic characters that will bring a tear or two into your eyes.
Erased is an exciting, dark, and sad anime for adults who enjoy complex and spooky stories.
4| Clannad: After Story (2008-2009)
Clannad: After Story is possibly the most successful and heartbreaking sequels of a franchise. It’s based on the Key Clannad franchise that explores Tomoya and Nagisa’s love deeper.
Clannad: After Story is a beautiful anime that explores the real meaning and value of unconditional love and family.
Clannad is an award-winning, fan favorite sad anime show that will surely make you cry.
3| Violet Evergarden (2018)
Violet Evergarden is the most melancholic and visually stunning animes you’ll ever watch. Its art is so gorgeous that it would bring tears to your eyes even if you’d watch it without any sound or subtitles.
The story follows Violet during the aftermath of a great war where she served as a soldier despite her young age. She finally gets a job at an agency where she goes on assignments to create letters that can connect people.
Violet has awkward social skills since she spent most of her life as a soldier (she joined the army at 10). She also lost her arms in a battle and has mechanical arms now. The story explores human emotions and connections trough her naive and inexperienced eyes.
It’s a beautiful, and unique story and Violet’s past makes it just as sad as touching. Violet Evergarden is also one of the most stunning sad anime on Netflix.
Violet Evergarden is one of the most beautiful and saddest animes on Netflix that’s perfect for anyone who feel like they don’t fit in.
2| Angel Beats! (2010)
Rebellious teens fight in armed combat against one dispassionate girl’s supernatural powers in an afterlife high school.
Angel Beats!’s main character is Otonashi who one day wakes up to the news that he’s dead. A young girl called Yuri explains to him that they’re in the afterlife. As if getting this new wouldn’t be enough Otonashi also realizes he can not remember anything else but his name.
While Yuri tries to recruit Otonashi for the war against Tenshi, an evil girl with supernatural powers he refuses to believe her and tries to talk to Tenshi. Which turns out to be a very bad idea…
Otonashi finally joins the SSS and try to finally win the war against Tenshi but he also realizes that he is very much drawn to her.
As time passes he unravels the mysteries of the afterlife while also trying to figure out what Tenshi really wants.
While Angel Beats! is a pretty action-packed series it’s also a very emotional sad anime that will make your eyes water for sure.
It’s also one of the best original animes and won countless awards.
You’ll see that not only the story emotional but the perfect music choices and stunning visual effects make Angel beats! one of the most exciting but also one of the saddest anime you’ll ever watch.
Angel Beats! is perfect for those anime fans who love action just as well as sad animes.
1| Plastic Memories (2015)
Plastic Memories is about Tsukasa who works at SAI corporation thanks to his father’s connection. His job is to collect Giftias that have met their expiration date because soon after they will lose their memories and become hostile.
“Giftias” are highly advanced and human-like androids. However, unlike humans, Giftias only have about nine years and four months to live and reach their expiration date.
Tsukasa gets partnered with a beautiful Giftia named Isla, who is the most successful employee at Terminal Service.
As time passes Tsukasa develops deep feelings towards Isla and has to deal with the inevitable sad end that’s getting closer and closer every day.
Plastic Memories is a beautiful anime that deals with love and loss in a new way. It’s surely going to be one of the saddest anime with a unique love story you’ll ever see.
Plastic Memories is a stunnign modern sad anime that can help you cope with loss and depression.
Thank you for reading!
I don’t cry that easily, but I like your list. 5 cm per second definitely left me with a very heavy feeling, and Grave of the Fireflies is truly depressing. Don’t think I’ve heard of The Dog of Flanders, but sounds like it’s worth checking out!
I’m not a big cryer either but some movies can get to me… mostly animes and Bollywood movies. You can watch The Dog of Flanders on youtube. =)
You should watch “Into the forest of fireflies light” . Thanks !
Just checked out the trailer, sounds beautiful! Will get to it this week =) Thanks for the tip!
Hi ! Do you know Ano Hana ? Pretty sad and sweet anime about a girl who died at a very young age. Her death traumatised every of her five friends who all used to form a group around her when they were small. But in highschool her ghost reappears to one of them and says she has only one wish : see her friends all together again. About death and mourning and jealousy and love (and depression). I cried so so much and surely I will cry again this year, I watch it every summer 🙂
About your article, I loooooove Beyong the Boundary, Silent Voice, Girl who leapt through time, Woolf Children (oh my god I could not even watch nor hear the last scene!!) and Your Name. So beautifully made.
Hi there, Ano Hana sounds beautiful & heartwarming! I already see myself crying… in a good way. =) Thanks for the tip I will most certainly watch it as soon as I can get my hands on it! Thank you! I’m happy you liked it! I will try to put together more anime posts in the future!
I haven’t seen it, but my daughter and a number of other people say that “Banana Fish” is easily one of the *T-H-E* saddest anime series of all time. Don’t be fooled by the cute/strange title.
Thanks for the tip! We’ll have to check it out!
I almost watch every anime on your list ( its very good list) or everybody heartbreaking sad anime list, But i Really wondering why no one list “kimi to nami ni noretara” ( Riding your wave). For me its number one on my hearth breaking anime personal list. its simple storyline, even the storyline is predictable, but if you get the feeling you will did what i did get sad whole time watching. Go watch it if you haven’t. And tell me if this anime more than worth it motioned on your list <3 :))
That’s so great! I’m happy to hear you love these shows & movies too! =) I’ll check it out for sure! We’ll have to update the list again soon. Riding your wave’s animation look charming, can’t wait to watch it! =) 🧡
I’m not a crying person at all but Angel beats really made me cry a lot it’s ending is so sad
That’s an interesting but pretty dark show.
Ill put I will eat your pancreas in number1 and your name number2 and Silent voice number3
Plastic Memories has a happy secret ending. Search “plastic memories visual novel ending” on YouTube.
Thanks for the tip! =)
I personally think Clannad is sadder than Angelbeats it made me cry 17 times in one day and had me mentally sad and disturbed for a whole day