Top 25 Best Sad Heartbreaking Anime That Will Make You Cry

Are you looking for sad anime that will make you cry? Well, look no further our Top 25 Best Sad Heartbreaking Anime That Will Make You Cry recommendations will get you feeling for the characters and crying for them. With tragically heartbreaking scenes and emotional moments, these stories are powerful.

Sad anime is notorious as a tearjerker anime that will make you bawl your eyes out, so why do we watch them? why do anime creators love making their audience cry? And why are there a ton of sad anime? 

From heartfelt dramas about young love, unrequited feelings, and relationship drama to the more serious stories that tackle issues like mental health, death and illness, sad anime has found countless ways to break our hearts, make us cry, feel, think and look at situations from different perspectives.

Sad anime or tearjerker anime does help us have a good cry when we feel like crying, but sad anime also helps us understand ourselves, each other and learn from them sometimes without actually having to experience some of those sad moments or for some letting them know they are not alone in whatever hell they are in.


At least that’s what sad anime is to me and why I wanted to write the Top 25 Best Sad Heartbreaking Anime That Will Make You Cry, here is a recommendations list in no order of ranking of some really sad, heartbreaking and sorrowful anime. 

I have twenty-five great sad anime recommendations with honourable mentions for when you need a good cry. But there are still countless other incredibly sad anime, but I gave myself a limit or it would take longer for you to get to read this post.

25. I Want To Eat Your Pancreas

I want to eat your pancreas Sakura Yamauchi Haruki Shiga taking a picture together
  • Studios: Studio VOLN
  • Episodes: Movie
  • Aired: Summer 2018

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is a sad anime that might sound like an ecchi or zombie horror anime by the name but it’s a romantic drama that successes in making you cry bucket loads.


One day, I – a high schooler – found a paperback in the hospital. The “Disease Coexistence Journal” was its title. It was a diary that my classmate, Sakura Yamauchi, had written in secret. Inside, it was written that due to her pancreatic disease, her days were numbered. And thus, I coincidentally went from Just-a-Classmate to a Secret-Knowing-Classmate. It was as if I were being drawn to her, who was my polar opposite. However, the world presented the girl that was already suffering from an illness with an equally cruel reality…

Based on an award-winning light novel by Yoru Sumino, I want to eat your pancreas is one of my favourite sad anime, the feelings it made me feel and the way it wrenches my heart really got to me.


From the start, we know the fate of our character Sakura won’t end well and we shouldn’t get attached but somehow we end up still getting attached to her.

I want to eat your pancreas is a moving and heartbreaking anime but its not just a sad anime, it’s a story that celebrates the gift of life and at the ends teaches us one or two things as the credits roll.

24. Plastic Memories

plastic-memories Isla Tsukasa Mizugaki wanting to give someone food snacks drink while he looks in disbelief she is shy
  • Studios: Doga Kobo
  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: Spring 2015

Plastic Memories is one of those heartbreaking anime shows that reminds us that No matter how much someone wishes it, nothing lasts forever.


In a future not too far away, androids that look exactly like humans begin to spread across the world. The android production company SA Corp. produced Giftia, a new kind of android that has the most amount of emotion and human-like qualities out of any other model ever seen. However, due to problems in technology, the androids have a service life, and once they pass that, it gets pretty bad. For this reason, SA Corp. creates a terminal service in order to retrieve Giftia that have gone past their service life. A new employee at the terminal service named Tsukasa Mizugaki forms a team with the Giftia Isla to retrieve the other androids. 

Plastic Memories may leave you crying its a sad anime, after all, or maybe questioning your very existence and what it means to live but Plastic Memories is a cute and beautiful story about young love that’s definitely worth watching.


23. Chrono Crusade

chrono-crusade Chrno Rosette Christopher Azmaria Hendric annoyed blushing worried
  • Studios: Gonzo
  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: Fall 2003

Chrono Crusade is a great sad anime series with characters that are funny, deep and intriguing.


America in the Roaring 20s. On the surface, it’s a positive, peaceful time after the violence of the Great War. But lurking in the shadows is a dark element ready to snatch that peace away. Sister Rosette Christopher, an exorcist working as a part of the Magdala Order, has a duty to fight the demons which appear and cause destruction. But along with her companion Chrno, she usually ends up causing more destruction than the demons themselves! On one particular mission, they meet a young girl with a beautiful voice named Azmaria, who is being targeted by her own stepfather. As Rosette and Chrno work to save her, more is revealed about the relationship between them. There is more to these two than meets the eye.

Rosette is also looking for her brother who was taken from her by a demon.

Chrono Crusade is notorious for making viewers cry filled action, comedy and romance. It’s a hidden gem that starts of slow but if you watch the first 3 episodes, you will be hooked.

22. Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden pulling her cheeks trying to smile
  • Studios: Kyoto Animation
  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: Winter 2018

Violet Evergarden was a sad anime that asked a big question: how do you learn emotions?

Is it through experience? Knowing its definition? Or the people you meet?



The story revolves around Auto Memory Dolls: people initially employed by a scientist named Dr. Orland to assist his blind wife Mollie in writing her novels, and later hired by other people who needed their services. In the present time, the term refers to the industry of writing for others. The story follows Violet Evergarden, a girl who for the entirety of her life had been used as an instrument of war, and her journey of integrating into society after the war is over and her search for her life’s purpose now that she is no longer a soldier in order to understand the last words her major, Gilbert, had told her: “I love you.” – wikipedia

The anime’s storytelling was emotional and made us care about Violet Evergarden; not just the story but watching Violet’s own journey of discovery was incredible to watch. It was an effective tearjerker and a show that’s worth investing time into. 

21. March Comes In Like A Lion

rei, akari, hina, momo, kentaro miura
  • Studios: Shaft
  • Episodes: 44
  • Aired: Fall 2016

March Comes In Like A Lion is an anime that covers issues like mental illness, anxiety, bullying, and youth problems in a very touching and relatable way. 


A youth named Kiriama Rei, who lost his family as a child, endures loneliness to become a professional shogi player. Then, through a chance meeting, he develops a relationship with the three Kawamoto sisters, who hail from a working-class district of the city, and little by little his frozen heart begins to thaw.

March Comes In Like A Lion teaches a wonderful lesson about how unhappiness is OK sometimes, being depressed, unsatisfied or stressed does not make you weak or unusual – it makes you human. 

Every day is a challenge for Rei as he takes care of himself. Whether it’s in his day to day life or in the professional shogi, we can see how Rei develops as a person learning to just do the best he can. 


20. Nana

Nana anime Nana Osaki smoking Nana Komatsu sitting on a table and talking
  • Studios: Madhouse
  • Episodes: 47
  • Aired: Spring 2006

Nana is a shoujo tearjerker anime with wonderful music and a magical something that makes you cheer on for some characters and experience emotionally some events almost as strongly as the characters themselves. 


Nana “Hachi“ Komatsu hopes that moving to Tokyo will help her make a clean start and leave her capricious love life behind her. Nana Osaki, who arrives in the city at the same time, has plans to score big in the world of rock’n’roll. Although these two young women come from different backgrounds, they quickly become best friends in a whirlwind world of sex, music, fashion, gossip and all-night parties!

Nana is a sad anime that highlights Humans imperfection and shows how everyone carries luggage of their own. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and explore a powerful friendship the two Nana’s share. It teaches a lot of lessons about life, it’s hardships and also the mistakes, that we shouldn’t make.

19. Angel Beats!

Angel Beats! Kanade Tachibana Yuzuru Otonashi lying in grass facing each other
  • Studios: P.A. Works
  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: Spring 2010

Angel Beats was a show that kept me guessing and consistently tugging at my heartstrings with its heartbreaking moments.


Otonashi awakens only to learn he is dead in a world after death, a group of humans fight for their fate and their future. Yuri, the leader of the Shinda Sekai Sensen, rebels against the god who destined her to have an unreasonable life. On the other hand, Tenshi, the chairperson of the student council for the world after death, battles against the SSS members. SSS members utilize armed weaponry to battle it out against the angels harnessing supernatural powers.

Angel Beats had moments that made me laugh out loud at the silliness of the characters and other moments that were just so depressing and sad. Its a beautiful story about life and people.


18. Elfen Lied

Elfen Lied lucy nana staring at something happily
  • Studios: Arms
  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: Summer 2004

Elfen Lied is infamous for its twisted take on the distinction between good and evil not being so clear, dark humour and extremely depressing plot.


The story involves human mutations called “Diclonius“, who grow horns on their heads and possess telekinetic powers, in the form of invisible “arms“ called vectors. The tendency for violence among Diclonii varies among characters. Certain scientists contain them in a Facility in cells, where they are subject to inhumane experiments to test their abilities or where they await execution for being too dangerous. An infectious virus is also associated with the mutation. This virus is spread through non-lethal contact with the vectors of a diclonius. The main non-mutant character in the story is Kouta, who ends up becoming increasingly involved with these dicloniuses, as they seek refuge from the scientists. The main diclonius character is Lucy/Nyuu, a killer whose alter ego is a hapless and very cute child whose vocabulary and intelligence are quite limited.

Elfen Lied is an anime that as a lot going on in it, but at its depth carries a deeper message about accepting yourself and your inner demons.

17. Orange

orange anime Kakeru Naruse Naho Takamiya holding their food smiling blushing
  • Studios: Telecom Animation Film
  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: Summer 2016

Orange was an emotional roller coastal ride for me. Emotions are things that move us and decide the decisions we take and those decisions decide how our lives end up. Orange is a series that looks at how emotions can change our path.


One day, Takamiya Naho receives a letter written to herself from ten years in the future. As Naho reads on, the letter recites the exact events of the day, including the transfer of a new student into her class named Naruse Kakeru. The Naho from ten years later repeatedly states that she has many regrets, and she wants to fix these by making sure the Naho from the past can make the right decisions—especially regarding Kakeru. What’s more shocking is that she discovers that ten years later, Kakeru will no longer be with them. Future Naho asks her to watch over him closely.

At its core, Orange is an extremely character-driven show that covers serious subjects like depression and suicide. Orange will definitely leave a lasting impression on you.


16. Steins;Gate

  • Studios: White Fox
  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: Spring 2011

Steins;Gate has one of the most heartbreaking scenes I have seen. Watching a character try and fail over and over again can be heartbreaking to watch.


The story of Steins;Gate takes place in Akihabara and is about a group of friends who have managed to customize their microwave into a device that can send text messages to the past. As they perform different experiments, an organization named SERN who has been doing their own research on time travel tracks them down and now the characters have to find a way to avoid being captured by them.

Steins;Gate was one of those anime that made me laugh, cry and really connect with our characters. It also made me think, and it rewarded my thoughts by having closure and clarity.

15. Looking Up At The Half-Moon

Looking Up At The Half-Moon Rika Akiba Yuuichi Ezaki smiling at each other
  • Studios: Group TAC
  • Episodes: 6
  • Aired: Winter 2006

The best way I could describe Looking Up At The Half-Moon is by saying that it’s bittersweet. The characters interaction and plot is what makes Looking Up At The Half-Moon one of the best sad anime.


During the winter, Yuichi was hospitalized due to hepatitis. Randomly he would try to escape from the hospital but would get beat up by the nurse. One day, he happened to meet Rika, a girl of his age, in the next building. He was fascinated by her beauty, but she was a very selfish girl. Although she led him by the nose, he began to be attracted by her. However, when Rika told him about her illness, he knew why she acted so selfish; she didn’t have long to live.

Looking Up At The Half-Moon was very depressing at times, it was a sad romance drama that kept me interested until the very end.


14. Puella Magi Madoka Magica

puella-magi-madoka-magica Homura Akemi Madoka Kaname Kyouko Sakura Mami Tomoe Sayaka Miki lying in grass
  • Studios: Shaft
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Winter 2011

Puella Magi Madoka Magica is an amazing anime with plot twists, drama, heartbreaking and heartwarming moments that all come together creating a brilliant plot with a really good ending.


There exist familiars who have the power to grant one wish to a chosen girl. However, in return, that girl must then become a magical girl and fight against witches, evil creatures born from curses that are responsible for murders and suicides. A schoolgirl named Madoka Kaname and her friend Sayaka Miki is approached by a familiar named Kyubey and a magical girl named Mami Tomoe with offers of becoming magical girls. Another mysterious magical girl named Homura Akemi tries to prevent Madoka from agreeing to the contract.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica is definitely head and shoulders above most magical girls (Mahou Shoujo) genre. The characters, art and music are amazing.

It’s an anime I would recommend to individuals who like a magical girl theme anime but also anyone who likes anime in general.

13. Searching for the Full Moon

  • Studios: Studio Deen
  • Episodes: 52
  • Aired: Spring 2002

Although this is a shoujo anime, its themes about first love, dreams, and mortality at such a young age will touch anyone’s heart!



Mitsuki loves singing, but a malignant tumour in her throat has prevented her from pursuing her passion. However, Mitsuki’s life turns around when two fun-loving Shinigami appear to grant her a temporary reprieve from her illness–and give her singing career a magical jump-start.

Searching for the Full Moon is certainly an experience with its incredible story, characters, music and the cycle of emotions you will feel is mind-blowing.

12. One Week Friends (Isshuukan Friends)

  • Studios: Brain’s Base
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Spring 2014

One Week Friends is a heart-warming story focusing around friendship, love and what memories really could mean.


Hase Yuuki is interested in his unsociable classmate Fujimiya Kaori. Since he sits behind her in class, the only thing he ever gets to see is her back. One day, when they’re alone in a hallway, he blurts out to her, “Would you become friends with me?”. But her answer is, “I’m happy, but I can’t” What could be the reason for this answer?

One Week Friends is a tearjerker anime that I think people can really relate with. Showing how hard it can be fitting in in school. It’s a sad, yet hopeful anime that can teach us a thing or two.

11. 5 Centimeters Per Second

Takaki Tono x Akari Shinohara
  • Studios: CoMix Wave Films
  • Episodes: Movie
  • Aired: Winter 2007

In 5 Centimeters Per Second emotions are portrayed in an incredibly beautiful and realistic way with wonderful lessons about growing up, letting go of the past, and taking control of one’s own life.



A tale of two people, Tono Takaki and Shinohara Akari, who were close friends but gradually grow farther and farther apart as time moves on. They become separated because of their families yet continue to exchange contact in the form of letters. Yet as time continues to trudge on, their contact with one another begins to cease. Years pass and the rift between them grows ever larger. However, Takaki remembers the times they have shared together, but as life continues to unfold for him, he wonders if he would be given the chance to meet Akari again as the tale embarks on Takaki’s realization of the world and people around him.

The messages in 5 Centimeters per Second are beautiful even though sad. It will really make you emotional.

10. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

  • Studios: Bones, Kinema Citrus
  • Episodes: 11
  • Aired: Summer 2009

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is sad anime that creates an emotional connection with you and the characters that make you see yourself in one or all of them.


After a massive earthquake in Tokyo 25 km under the sea at a magnitude of 8.0, two young siblings Mirai and Yūki, who were visiting a robot exhibition in Odaiba at the beginning of their summer vacation, struggle to reach their parents in their house in Setagaya, assisted by a female motorcycle courier named Mari, who is striving to reach her own daughter and mother in Sangenjaya. Together, the three of them brave the partly ruined city and try their best to make it home safely. – wikipedia

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is a show that reminds us of the small and big things we take for granted every day like family either blood or non-blood related. It will remind you to love life.

9. Air

  • Studios: Kyoto Animation
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Winter 2005

Air is a tearjerker anime with a nice romance, a touch of supernatural fantasy and great characters.



Yukito Kunisaki is a man travelling Japan in search of the “girl in the sky.” Eventually, he makes his way to a sleepy seaside town where he meets a strange girl named Misuzu Kamio who has dreams of flying in the sky. During his stay in the town, Yukito meets other unique people and begins to learn more about Misuzu and the town she lives in.

Air is a slow burn plot, depressing and slightly hard to follow but Air is really interesting and an emotional rollercoaster. Air is not for everyone but if you stick with it, Air will definitely have a place in your heart with it’s strong theme of family or you will love it for its visuals. 

8. Haibane Renmei

  • Studios: Radix
  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: Fall 2002

Haibane Renmei is an old tearjerker anime that placed a lot of emphasis on the past, finding redemption and the point of existence.


The story follows a young girl named Rakka, a newly arrived Haibane (an angelic-looking being), and other characters in the village of Old Home, a walled place with one entrance where no one is allowed to leave.

Haibane Renmei is a deeply emotional anime that is tied to faith, death, love, friendship and ultimately salvation. Its an anime that will really get your curiosity going with inferred and dark themes so be prepared. Will there be a light at the end?

7. Clannad: After Story

Tomoya Okazaki & Nagisa Furukawa or Sanae Furukawa
  • Studios: Kyoto Animation
  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: Fall 2008

Clannad: After Story brought just about every kind of emotion out of me. Happiness, sadness, fear, trust, you name it and Clannad: After Story brought it.



Clannad: After Story, the sequel to the critically acclaimed slice-of-life series Clannad, begins after Tomoya Okazaki and Nagisa Furukawa graduate from high school. Together, they experience the emotional rollercoaster of growing up. Unable to decide on a course for his future, Tomoya learns the value of a strong work ethic and discovers the strength of Nagisa’s support. Through the couple’s dedication and unity of purpose, they push forward to confront their personal problems, deepen their old relationships, and create new bonds.

Time also moves on in the Illusionary World. As the plains grow cold with the approach of winter, the Illusionary Girl and the Garbage Doll are presented with a difficult situation that reveals the World’s true purpose. – MAL

Clannad: After Story is amazing in how it depicts life, the importance of family and the struggles of adulthood.

6. Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso)

Miyazono Kaori & Arima Kousei
  • Studios: A-1 Pictures
  • Episodes: 22
  • Aired: Fall 2014

Your Lie in April is a fantastic production, with engaging relatable characters and emotions oozing out of the plot.


At a very young age, Kousei Arima was strictly taught, by his mother, how to play the piano and meticulously follow the score, to the point where he dominated every competition he entered with ease. He earned the title of “Human Metronome” for performing almost perfectly. Every musician of his age looked up to him. However, after his mother suddenly dies, he became tone-deaf due to the shock and then disappeared, never to be seen onstage since. Two years later, Kousei lives a monotonous life with his childhood friends Tsubaki Sawabe and Ryouta Watari supporting him. He continues to cling to music, although performing is still an impossibility for him. This is until his unexpected encounter with Kaori Miyazono, a violinist who performs freely without the dictations of a score. A story of friendship, love, music, and a single lie, Kousei’s life begins to change and gain colour as Kaori helps him to take up music again.

Your Lies in April is a colourful story that is more than it appears, that teaches us how to heal, learn to move on, and learn to accept the parts of ourselves that we’d rather pretend aren’t there.

5. anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

  • Studios: A-1 Pictures
  • Episodes: 11
  • Aired: Spring 2011

anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is a surprisingly simple, yet emotional, look at the coping mechanisms of people dealing with loss and how it affects everyone the same way no matter the age.



Five childhood friends grow apart after the death of Meiko Honma, close playmate of them all. Jintan Yadomi, leader of the group when they were kids, neglects high school and lives as a shut-in when he unexpectedly starts seeing the ghost of Meiko, who can only interact with him and no one else. She has returned to ask Jintan to fulfil the forgotten wish she made as a kid.

anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day shows how coming to terms with emotional scars and moving forward is hard but can be done a day at a time with the support of friends and family.

4. The Light of a Firefly Forest (Hotarubi no Mori e)

Gin & Takegawa Hotaru (Hotarubi no Mori e)
  • Studios: Brain’s Base
  • Episodes: Movie
  • Aired: Summer 2011

The Light of a Firefly Forest is a tale of friendship and compromise of two people who should never have crossed paths, as their lives become hopelessly intertwined.


A young girl meets a boy, who is, in fact, a spirit dwelling in the forest while visiting her uncle for the summer. The boy, however, mustn’t be touched by a human, for it would result in him disappearing for all eternity. They spend the summer days with each other, and when the girl must return to home from her vacation, she promises to visit him again next summer. And that’s exactly what she does, for the next few years. During that time she grows up, and her age is slowly getting closer to the age of the boy.

However, their relationship and resolve are put to the test, when romantic feelings conflict with their one and only rule.

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.

3. A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi)

  • Studios: Kyoto Animation
  • Episodes: Movie
  • Aired: Summer 2016

A Silent Voice is a great film that leaves you reflecting like all good films should do, questioning your interactions with people both past and present, making us all try to be better people.



The story revolves around Nishimiya Shōko, a grade school student who has impaired hearing. She transfers into a new school, where she is bullied by her classmates, especially Ishida Shouya. It gets to the point where she transfers to another school and as a result, Shouya is ostracized and bullied himself, with no friends to speak of and no plans for the future. Years later, he sets himself on a path to redemption. 

Be prepared to go on a roller coaster ride of emotions when you watch A Silent Voice. Showing how love can find you no matter when, where or what situation you are in life.

2. Wolf Children

  • Studios: Studio Chizu
  • Episodes: Movie
  • Aired: Summer 2012

Wolf Children is the heartwarming story that depicts the struggles of being a single parent in an unforgiving modern world.


Hana is a 19-year-old student who falls in a fairy-tale like love with a wolf man. Over the course of the 13-year story, Hana gives birth to two children—older sister Yuki, and younger brother Ame, or Snow and Rain. At first, the family quietly lives in city trying to hide their wolf heritage, but when the wolf man suddenly dies Hana makes the decision to move to a rural town, far from their previous city life. – ANN

Wolf Children is a sad anime about the enduring and triumphant nature of maternal love. Showing the mental and physical fortitude it requires to handle parenting.

Honourable Mentions


Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

  • Studios: Bones
  • Episodes: 64
  • Aired: Spring 2009

Your Name

  • Studios: CoMix Wave Films
  • Episodes: Movie
  • Aired: Summer 2016

Now and Then, Here and Now

Now and Then, Here and Now Shuuzou Matsutani Lala-Ru watching the sunset in each others arms
  • Studios: AIC
  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: Fall 1999


  • Studios: A-1 Pictures
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Winter 2016

Death Parade

  • Studios: Madhouse
  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Winter 2015

1. Grave of the Fireflies

grave of the fireflies Setsuko Seita bomb shelter together looking at fireflies
  • Studios: Studio Ghibli
  • Episodes: Movie
  • Aired: Spring 1988

Grave of the Fireflies is my last but not the least, sad anime recommendation that depicts the struggles and perseverance of the human spirit in the nightmare that is war. Grave of the Fireflies is beautiful, yet at times brutal and horrifying.


On the final days of World War II, 14-year-old Seita and his four-year-old sister Setsuko are orphaned after their mother is killed during an air-raid by American forces in Kobe, Japan. After having a falling-out with their aunt, they move into an abandoned bomb shelter. With no surviving relatives and their emergency funds and rations depleted, Seita and Setsuko must struggle to survive their hardships as well as those of their country, which is on the losing end of the war.

Grave of the Fireflies gives you a lot to think about. It’s a film that is very antiwar showing the true effect that war has on the innocent vulnerable bystanders such as women and children.

So get ready for those feels, tears, memorable, meaningful, captivating and educational moments. And characters that resonate with you for a long time.


Need to cheer up after crying so much?

Check out these:

Hope you like my sad anime recommendations, let me know what you think or your favorites in the comments section. Till next time…


Blogger / Jujutsu Sorcerer / Unpredictable knuckle head Ninja that spends his free time writing, reading, watching and playing all things Anime, Manga and Gaming.

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