heartbreaking sad anime

Get Ready to Cry: Our Picks for the Most Heartbreaking Sad Anime in 2023

Have you ever come across an anime that left you heartbroken? An anime that made you shed tears uncontrollably? If you have, then you know how emotionally gripping anime can be. Anime is known for its ability to evoke a wide range of emotions in its viewers, and some anime do it exceptionally well. Today, we’ll be exploring some of the most heartbreaking sad anime that have left a memorable mark on viewers’ hearts.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the most gut-wrenching anime that have made audiences cry their hearts out. From anime like ‘Your Lie in April’, which deals with themes of love, loss, and coming of age, to ‘Clannad’, which explores the importance of family and the impact of loss, we’ll be exploring a range of anime that have tugged at our heartstrings.

But these anime are not just sad for the sake of being sad. They are powerful stories that leave a lasting impact on their viewers. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the themes, characters, and storytelling of these sad anime and explore why they have become some of the most beloved and heartbreaking anime of all time. So, grab a box of tissues, and let’s take a deep dive into the world of anime that will break your heart in the most beautiful way possible.

Why you should watch emotional anime:

  1. Heartbreaking sad anime can be deeply moving: Emotional anime can tap into your emotions and make you feel a wide range of feelings, such as sadness, joy, anger, and love. It can be a powerful experience to connect with characters and feel their struggles, triumphs, and heartbreaks.
  2. It can help you to empathize with others: Emotional anime can give you insight into different perspectives and situations, which can help you to understand and empathize with others in your life. Through watching emotional anime, you can learn about the struggles of others and how they deal with them, which can help you to relate to people on a deeper level.
  3. It can inspire you: Emotional anime often deals with themes of perseverance, hope, and personal growth. Watching characters overcome obstacles and reach their goals can inspire you to do the same in your own life. It can also give you a new perspective on challenges that you may be facing, helping you to find the strength to overcome them.
  4. It can be a form of self-care: Sometimes, we all need a good cry or a moment to reflect on our emotions. Emotional anime can provide a safe space to process your feelings and work through any emotions that you may be struggling with. It can also be a form of self-care to take a break from the stresses of daily life and immerse yourself in a world of emotions and storytelling.
  5. It can be a shared experience: Watching emotional anime with friends or loved ones can be a bonding experience. It can provide a common ground to connect over and share in the emotional journey together. Discussing the themes and characters with others can also deepen your understanding of the show and your own emotions.
Emotional anime

Best heartbreaking sad anime ever made:

1. Your Lie in April

Your Lie in April was released back in 2014, but even after all these years, it still remains as one of the most memorable, beloved and emotional shows in the anime community.

The story revolves around a boy named Kosei Arima, a former piano prodigy who gave up playing music after the death of his abusive mother. Kosei’s life takes a turn when he meets a free-spirited and talented violinist named Kaori Miyazono. Kaori encourages Kosei to start playing music again and helps him rediscover the joy and passion he once had for piano.

Your Lie in April deals with themes of grief, trauma, mental breakdown and the struggle to move on. It explores the different ways people cope with loss and how it affects their relationships with others. Kosei’s journey of healing and growth is a central focus of the show, and it’s truly heart-wrenching to see him confront the demons of his past. One of the standout aspects of Your Lie in April is the animation. The vivid colors and fluid movements bring the characters and their emotions to life in a way that’s truly captivating. 

2. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Released in 2009, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood gained popularity among anime fans for its exceptional combination of action, adventure, humor, and emotional depth. It’s a must-watch anime for enthusiasts of any genre due to its exceptional writing, stunning animation, and powerful impact.

The story follows two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who embark on a quest to restore their bodies after a failed attempt to revive their mother using alchemy. The narrative is set in a world where alchemy is the dominant form of science, and the brothers’ journey takes them on a path to uncover the dark secrets of their country’s government. The show’s intent is to explore the idea of equivalent exchange, the concept that in order to obtain something, something of equal value must be lost. It examines the consequences of attempting to circumvent this law of alchemy and the toll it takes on those who try. 

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an anime that will evoke a wide range of emotions, including laughter, tears, and everything in between. Its themes of sacrifice, redemption, and the importance of human connection will linger in your mind long after the show has ended.

3. Plastic Memories

Plastic Memories, the show premiered back in April 2015, takes place in a world where highly advanced androids known as “Giftia” are created to serve as companions to humans. However, these androids have a limited lifespan of just 81,920 hours (9 years and 4 months) before they begin to experience malfunctions that could lead to dangerous consequences.

The story of this heartbreaking sad anime follows Tsukasa Mizugaki, a new employee at the SAI Corporation’s Terminal Service Department. Tsukasa is tasked with retrieving Giftias, whose lifespan has ended and erasing their memories before they become a danger to society. He is partnered with Isla, a highly skilled Giftia with just a few months left to live. As Tsukasa and Isla work together to retrieve and erase memories of expired Giftias, they form a unique bond that transcends the human-android relationship. Along the way, they encounter various challenges that test their abilities and their emotions.

One of the main themes of the show is the relationship between humans and technology. Plastic Memories explores the idea of whether artificial intelligence can truly understand and experience emotions as humans do. Overall, Plastic Memories is a heart-wrenching yet beautiful anime that explores the relationship between humans and technology in a unique way. If you’re a fan of emotional dramas with a touch of sci-fi, I highly recommend giving Plastic Memories a watch.

4. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is one of the most touching and poignant anime series that I have ever watched. This anime was released back in 2011, but its themes and message are still relevant and powerful today. What makes Anohana such a powerful and emotional anime series is the way it handles themes of grief, loss, and friendship.

The plot of Anohana revolves around a group of childhood friends who grew apart after the death of one of their friends, Menma. Jinta, the main protagonist of the series, begins to see Menma’s ghost, and she asks him to fulfil her wish. Menma’s wish is to reunite their group of friends so that they can all finally move on from her death. However, this task proves to be difficult as each of the friends has been struggling with their own personal demons since Menma’s passing.

The anime explores the raw and painful emotions that accompany losing a loved one, particularly at a young age. It portrays how each character deals with their grief differently and the challenges of expressing their feelings to others. Anohana also highlights the significance of friendship and the need to come together during difficult times.

5. Violet Evergarden

Released in 2018, Violet Evergarden is a stunningly beautiful anime that tells the story of a young woman named Violet. The show is set in a world that has just emerged from a long and brutal war. Violet was raised as a weapon during the war and has since struggled to find her place in the world now that the fighting has stopped. It’s one of the deeply emotional and thought-provoking anime that will stay with you long after the credits roll.

The show follows Violet as she begins a new job as an “Auto Memory Doll,” a profession that involves writing letters on behalf of other people. Through her work, Violet begins to discover the power of words and learns how to express her own emotions in a way she never thought possible.

What really sets Violet Evergarden apart is its emotional depth. The show tackles some heavy themes, including trauma, grief, and the difficulty of communication. But it does so with a great deal of sensitivity and grace. There are moments that are truly heartbreaking, but there are also moments of great beauty and hope. It’s also a feast for the eyes, with stunning visuals and a gorgeous soundtrack. 

6. A Silent Voice

A Silent Voice is a touching anime film that was released in 2016. It is a powerful portrayal of the consequences of bullying and the long-lasting impact it can have on both the victim and the perpetrator.

A Silent Voice tells the story of a young boy named Shoya Ishida, who bullied a deaf girl named Shoko Nishimiya in elementary school. However, after Shoko transferred schools due to the relentless bullying, Shoya is left with a sense of guilt that haunts him through his teenage years.

The movie’s intent is to showcase the importance of empathy and understanding towards others, especially towards people who are different from us. The story delves deep into the psyche of the characters and explores their motivations, emotions, and struggles. It shows that everyone has their own battles to fight, and that it is important to approach them with kindness and compassion.

7. 5 Centimeters per Second

Released in 2007, 5 Centimeters per Second is a beautiful and poignant anime film directed by Makoto Shinkai. The movie is split into three parts, each highlighting a distinct phase in Takaki Tōno’s life. Takaki develops feelings for Akari Shinohara, his fellow student, and the story follows their journey as they age and fall apart, yet still cling to their cherished memories of each other.

What makes 5 Centimeters per Second so powerful is the way it captures the bittersweet nature of first love and the pain of growing apart. Throughout the film, we see Takaki and Akari struggling to hold onto their connection despite the physical distance between them. Their love is pure and innocent, but ultimately unable to withstand the harsh realities of life. 

5 Centimeters per Second is a meditation on the passing of time and the ways in which we hold onto memories of the past. It’s a story about the pain of letting go, but also the beauty of cherishing the moments we’ve shared with the people we love. Whether you’ve experienced the pain of lost love or simply appreciate a well-crafted story, 5 Centimeters per Second is a must-watch sad anime film.

8. Chrono Crusade

Chrono Crusade is a beloved anime series that was originally released back in 2003. It follows the story of Rosette Christopher, a young nun who works for the Order of Magdalene in the 1920s. Alongside her demon partner, Chrono, Rosette battles demons and other supernatural forces in an attempt to stop the end of the world.

The plot of Chrono Crusade is both exciting and emotionally moving. At its core, the anime is about the relationship between Rosette and Chrono. The two of them have a deep bond that is tested repeatedly throughout the show, and their love for each other is truly heartwarming to watch. The overarching plot of this emotional anime involves the Order of Magdalene’s attempts to stop the machinations of Aion, a powerful demon who seeks to bring about the apocalypse. Along the way, Rosette and Chrono must battle a variety of other demons and overcome their own personal demons as well.

Chrono Crusade is a must-watch anime for anyone who loves action, romance, and emotional storytelling. The show has a little bit of something for everyone, from its exciting fight scenes to its heartfelt character moments. Its unique setting and exploration of religious themes make it a standout series in the anime world.

9. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is a powerful anime that takes you on an emotional journey. It was released in 2009 and is set in Tokyo, where two siblings, Mirai and Yuuki, are on their way home from a robot exhibition when a catastrophic earthquake of magnitude 8.0 strikes the city. The story follows their journey as they try to make their way back home, facing numerous challenges along the way. 

The show’s message is clear — even in the darkest of times, there is always hope. The bond between Mirai and Yuuki is a testament to this, as they support each other through the hardships they face. It’s a touching portrayal of sibling love and the strength it can provide.

10. True Tears

True Tears is a romantic drama anime that was released in 2008. It’s a 13-episode series that was produced by P.A. Works, and directed by Junji Nishimura.

The plot of True Tears revolves around a high school student named Shinichiro Nakagami, who is an aspiring artist. Shinichiro lives with his mother, father, and grandfather, and has a close relationship with his childhood friend Hiromi Yuasa, who lives with his family. As the story progresses, Shinichiro begins to develop feelings for Hiromi, but he soon discovers that she has a complicated past and is dealing with her own emotions. The story also involves two other female characters, Noe Isurugi and Aiko Endo, who have their own romantic struggles.

True Tears is a beautiful and emotional anime that explores the complexities of love and relationships in a realistic and relatable way. The show is not afraid to tackle difficult topics and emotions, and the result is a deeply moving and memorable viewing experience.

11. Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies, released in 1988, is an anime movie with a masterpiece of animation that tells the sad and heart-wrenching story of two siblings trying to survive in Japan during World War II.

The film depicts the hardships faced by Seita and Setsuko following the loss of their mother in the bombing of Kobe. Left to fend for themselves amidst the chaos and destruction of war, the siblings struggle to find basic necessities such as food, shelter, and safety. What makes this movie truly impactful is the heartwarming bond between Seita and Setsuko, which grows stronger as they depend on one another for survival throughout the story.

The movie’s intent is to capture the horrors of war and its impact on innocent civilians, particularly children, and it does so with incredible sensitivity and emotional depth. The animation is stunning, and the attention to detail is impressive.

12. Elfen Lied

Elfen Lied, released in 2004, is not for the faint of heart, but for those who appreciate a dark, violent, and thought-provoking story, it is a must-watch.

The plot revolves around a group of genetically modified humans, known as Diclonius, who possess telekinetic powers and are kept captive by the government. The story begins with Lucy, a particularly powerful Diclonius, breaking free and wreaking havoc as she searches for her true identity and purpose. Along the way, she encounters Kouta, a university student, and his cousin Yuka, who become embroiled in her quest.

The show tackles heavy themes such as discrimination, violence, and the effects of childhood trauma. While it has its fair share of gore and disturbing scenes, it also has moments of beauty and tenderness that balance out the darkness. The intent of the show is to make viewers question their own morality and beliefs about what it means to be human.

13. Steins;Gate

Released in 2011, Steins;Gate is a popular sci-fi anime that has captured the hearts of millions within the anime community. With its unique and captivating plot, lovable characters, and mind-bending storylines, it has become a beloved masterpiece.

The anime follows the story of Rintaro Okabe, a self-proclaimed mad scientist who accidentally discovers a way to send messages back in time using a microwave. Together with his friends Mayuri and Daru, he hopes to change events in the past to alter the course of history for the better. However, their actions have unforeseen consequences, and they find themselves in a race against time to undo the damage they have caused.

Steins;Gate stands out from other time travel anime by focusing on the emotional impact of time travel rather than the scientific aspect. The show explores the ethical and philosophical implications of altering events in the past, as well as the toll it takes on the characters. It touches on themes such as sacrifice, loss, and the fragility of fate.

14. Angel Beats!

Hreatbreaking sad anime Angel Beats! was released in Japan in 2010 and quickly gained popularity worldwide.

The plot centers around Otonashi, a high school student who wakes up in a strange afterlife world without any memories of his past. He soon discovers that he is among a group of other deceased students who are fighting against an angel, who they believe is the cause of their misery in the afterlife. Together, they form the SSS (Shinda Sekai Sensen) and engage in battles with the angel while also coming to terms with their past lives and finding closure.

The intent of the show is to explore themes of life, death, and what it means to move on. Each character has their own story to tell, and their struggles and growth throughout the series are both relatable and touching. 

15. Clannad

Clannad is one of the most romantic and saddest anime of all time. This emotional anime was originally released in 2007 and remained a fan favorite over the years.

The show follows the life of Tomoya Okazaki, a high school student who struggles to find meaning and purpose in his life. He is estranged from his father, and his mother passed away in a car accident when he was young. As a result, Tomoya is a troubled youth who spends most of his time skipping school and getting into trouble with his delinquent friends. However, everything changes when he meets Nagisa Furukawa, a shy and introverted girl who dreams of reviving the drama club at their school. Tomoya decides to help her out, and as they work together to achieve their goal, they form a close bond. Along the way, they meet other girls who have their own unique stories, including Tomoyo Sakagami, Kyou Fujibayashi, and Ryou Fujibayashi.

At its core, Clannad is a coming-of-age story that explores themes of friendship, family, love, and loss. The show tackles some heavy subject matter, including illness, death, and domestic abuse. However, it also has moments of humor and lightheartedness that balance out the serious moments. 


Anime has the ability to evoke a wide range of emotions within us, including happiness and sadness. This list features some of the most emotionally charged and heart-wrenching anime titles available, whether you’re in the mood for a classic tearjerker or a more nuanced take on the genre. 

If you’re looking for a good cry or a truly emotive storytelling experience, take a look at our picks for the saddest anime out there. From the bittersweet romance of “Your Lie in April” to the gut-wrenching drama of “Clannad,” these titles are guaranteed to leave you with a lump in your throat and a newfound appreciation for the power of storytelling. So grab some tissues and immerse yourself in the world of heartbreaking sad anime.

Aarvi Sid

Meet Aarvi, a passionate entertainment journalist and author who has been writing about the latest trends and events in the industry for over a decade. With a keen eye for detail and a love for all things pop culture, Aarvi has built a reputation as a go-to source for the latest news and insights on movies, TV shows, anime, music, and celebrities.

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