Top 20 Best Sad Anime Shows Of All Time

We discuss top 20 best sad anime shows of all time. Keep this list handy for the best anime recommendations.

Sad anime or tearjerkers are a staple of the genre. Designed to intentionally tug at viewers’ hearts, these shows are often riddled with broken hearts and shattered dreams that allow you to fall in love with the characters, empathize with them, and share their sadness with them. Often featuring powerful stories and desperate situations, here is our list of ~Top 20 Best Sad Anime Shows Of All Time.

Top 20 Best Sad Anime Shows Of All Time

20. True Tears (2008)

This simply constructed story follows the touching relationship between Shinichirou Nakagami and the girl who lives in the same building as him. However, her behavior is a bit strange and what should have been a dream for Shinichirou turns into a difficult situation. A powerful emotional ending deserves a spot on our list.

IMDB Rating 7.1/10

19. Chrono Crusade (2003)

In a post-war New York, the Order of Magdalene is tasked with protecting the world from demons. Rosette has lost her brother, but still hopes that she can find him after he is kidnapped by the monsters. Nuns with Guns, with a doomed relationship in the middle of the action, leads to a sad finale.

IMDB Rating 7.1/10

18. Plastic Memories (2015)

Just like in Bladerunner, the androids in this story are so lifelike you can’t tell if they’re human or not, and they have a finite lifespan. So when our protagonist, Tsukasa, gets a job at Terminal Service One, he’s assigned to Isla But, unaware that she’s nearing the end of her life. Their relationship is growing, but there is nothing but heartbreak for this couple in the future. Poignant and sad, nothing lasts forever.

IMDB Rating 7.3/10

17.5 cm per second (2007)

Now you know the speed of falling cherry blossoms in this tale of loss and regret from Makoto Shinkai. The beautiful visuals and production only add to the melancholy story of two close friends whose lives slowly drift apart as they go about their lives. This realistic approach, showing how lives are separated, is poetic and full of regret as we realize that growing up is never easy.

IMDB Rating 7.5/10

16. Orange (2016)

At the heart of this story is a mystery involving a letter from the future. Sent by Naho’s future self, the letter wants to warn her about something, but can she guess its true meaning, or does tragedy await? Guilt, sadness and regret pervade this production, somberly melancholic and imbued with a genuine sense of doom. Inevitable.

IMDB Rating 7.6/10

15. Angel Strikes (2010)

At first glance, this looks like a supernatural fantasy adventure where our protagonist, Otonashi, wakes up to find he’s dead, but despite the epic battle between god-like beings and rebellious teenagers, there’s more to the story. With great characters and a mix of action, humor and romance, this is an often-overlooked short anime series that deserves a look.

IMDB Rating 7.6/10

14. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 (2009)

This is an intense, dark, and realistic portrayal of the aftermath of a massive natural disaster as seen through the eyes of three multifaceted characters. Tokyo is hit by an earthquake and siblings Mirai and Yuki are desperate to find their way back to their parents. Aided by single mom Mari, who is also trying to reunite with her daughter and mom, the team grows closer as they support each other. This is a bittersweet, touching drama that focuses on the love between siblings and the importance of family. Get ready for a poignant ending.

IMDB Rating 7.8/10

13. Clannade (2007)

High school drama, heartbreak, friendship and romance take center stage here as this heartbreaking series immerses you in the lives of the main characters. A unique approach to storytelling makes this a beautiful yet tear-jerking unfolding story, but it should be noted that there is an After Story sequel that should be viewed in conjunction with this entry that covers the whole premise goes one step further.

IMDB Rating 7.8/10

12. Elfenlied (2004)

elf song follows a young girl named Lucy who is a Diclonius, a human with terrible powers. She becomes the victim of a terrifying scientific experiment, but manages to escape and kills everyone around her. However, she suffers an injury that causes her to revert to a childlike state. It’s one of the most controversial anime of all time and definitely not for the faint of heart, and there’s a scene of animal cruelty early in the series that some will find disturbing, and there are also scenes of nudity and violence, but beneath this infamous series lies heart and sadness.

IMDB Rating 7.9/10

11. I want to eat your pancreas (2018)

This is a tragic story revolving around Haruki, who discovers through a journal that Sakura is suffering from a debilitating pancreatic disease. He decides to help her fulfill her wish list, but as their relationship grows and her true feelings are exposed, there seems to be no way to avoid the story’s inevitable ending. Despite the odd title, a sadness pervades this production, although the characters do their best to stay awake. Disturbing and ultimately unfortunate, this disturbing series delivers for lovers of tears.

IMDB Rating 8.0/10

10. Wolf Children (2012)

Hana is a single mother trying to raise her two children, the problem is that they are half wolves and the father was killed while hunting. We follow Hana as she struggles with her life, raising her supernatural children and trying to hide them from an indifferent society. Despite the spooky structure, the core of the story is something very real and very human.

IMDB Rating 8.1/10

9. A Silent Voice (2016)

A silent voice is about a deaf girl named Shouko who is relentlessly bullied by her classmates at school, resulting in her having to change schools many times. This anime by Kyoto Animation is not a pleasant experience. Instead, it focuses on making the viewer feel what the characters are going through. With themes of regret and redemption, this is a heartbreaking watch.

IMDB Rating 8.1/10

8. Banana Fish (2018)

This anime follows Eiji and Ash as they slowly fall in love. This anime was praised for its realistic portrayal and well-rounded characters. Set in the realms of crime drama, the story of gang leader Eiji and assistant photographer Ash is disturbing and violent at times, and ultimately there seems to be no happy ending in sight.

IMDB Rating 8.2/10

7. Anoman: The Flower we saw that Day (2011)

This anime tells the story of a group of childhood friends who are now grown and are trying to come to terms with the loss of their friend Menma, who died when they were very young. As the story progresses, we see how Menma’s death affected each of her friends as they come to terms with their own inability to deal with and overcome their guilt. Themes like loss and closure make this so poignant it’s almost unwatchable. A real tearjerker.

IMDB Rating 8.2/10

6. Your Name (2016)

This anime follows Mitsuha and Taki. High school students who come from the average life. Mitsuha longs to live in Tokyo but cannot afford it while Taki struggles to study and keep a job. In a twist, these two characters are brought together by fate when they suddenly switch bodies. The strange event makes them realize the impact they both have on each other’s lives. Beautiful to behold and presenting a love story like no other, the thought-provoking screenplay leaves it with you after the credits roll.

IMDB Rating 8.4/10

5. Violet Evergarden (2018)

Our protagonist Violet Evergarden was raised as a weapon against enemies. But with the end of the current struggle, she must find a new meaning for her life. After recovering from her injuries, she starts working as an Auto Memory Doll, her job is to help put people’s thoughts into words on paper. Often profound and moving, peppered with some heavy emotional scenes, this story shows the power that words can have.

IMDB Rating 8.4/10

4. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Set in the final days of World War II, the film tells the story of a boy named Seita and his younger sister, Setsuko, whose lives have been shattered by the cruel and cruel war that has left them without their home and family. Left to their own devices, the siblings’ optimism helps them survive in the face of adversity. Tomb of the Fireflies is a heartbreakingly depressing watch, strangely beautiful and deeply moving. This is another anime movie that will bring you to tears.

IMDB Rating 8.5.10

3. Your Lie in April (2014)

Your lie in April follows the story of a pianist named Kousei who finds that after the death of his mother he can no longer hear the music he makes. Years later, he meets Kaori, a violinist who shows him a new way of experiencing music. Unfortunately, Kaori’s happiness is just a mask hiding her own secret, and the story slowly reveals an imminent tragedy. Your lie in April is a heartfelt story that deals with trauma, overcoming loss and optimism. A classic of the genre.

IMDB Rating 8.6/10

2. pitchers; Goal (2011)

pitchers; Goal tells the story of Okabe Rintarou, a college student and self-made scientist who discovers a way to change past events by sending D-Mails. However, after using these emails, Okabe and his friends find that if you mess with the time, it tends to mess with you. Despite a lot of preparation, you must see this through to the end because the ultimate payout will be well worth the wait.

IMDB Rating 8.8/10

1. Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood (2009)

This is the story of two young brothers who break the laws of alchemy by attempting to transform humans in order to bring their mother back to life. The brothers pay a heavy price for their attempts, with the younger Alphonse losing his entire body and the older brother Edward losing his leg and then his arm while bringing back his brother’s soul and binding it to armor. However, these brave and determined brothers refuse to accept their fate and set out to find a way to get their bodies back. This is a multifaceted and sad story that gets a lot of attention. With an uplifting and emotional resonance, this highly rated show is high on our list.

IMDB Rating 9.1/10

Do you have any other recommendations for the best sad anime shows to include in these top 20? Let us know!

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