Top 10 Saddest Anime Series

Anime series come in various flavors - the comedic ones that make us laugh, the romantic ones that warm our hearts, the mysterious ones that keep us guessing, and the science-fiction ones that take us to otherworldly realms. But what truly grips my heart are the tragedies, or rather, the emotional rollercoasters that bring tears to our eyes.

The title of the saddest anime series isn't something to be taken lightly. It hinges on the depth of the storyline, the intricate backgrounds of its characters, and those pivotal moments that transform them into emotional masterpieces, leaving us with teary eyes and heavy hearts.
The Top Ten
1 Angel Beats! Angel Beats! is a 13-episode Japanese anime television series produced by P.A.Works and Aniplex and directed by Seiji Kishi.

Angel Beats is the saddest anime I've watched so far. It's beautiful, sad, hilarious, heartbreaking, and the music and emotions are amazing. You just get so attached to the characters, and the last episode left me absolutely crushed. The way he screamed Kanade in the end literally broke my heart. I just had to watch it to the very last second to see if he disappears too.

It left me in such a sad awe that I didn't even think of watching another series for a couple of days. I felt that it would ruin the moment. It leaves you sad and crushed, but at the same time, you're happy and feel kind of free and fulfilled. If you haven't seen this, then you should type it in right now. It's just breathtaking. Must see!

2 Clannad After Story Clannad is based off a visual novel. It follows the story of a high school senior named Tomoya Okazaki, a delinquent who floats through life caring about very little. He hates the town he lives in and his alcoholic father... read more

Let me just say for the record that I have a heart of stone, and none of the other anime on this list, nor any other anime ever, has gotten me to cry. However, in Clannad After Story, I was bawling like a little child. No other show, book, movie, video, or anything else has ever made me cry so hard - except for maybe a couple of Thai Life Insurance videos, haha.

The story is deeply grounded in family values, and it genuinely shows you what emotions feel like. You will never truly connect with any other character or anime as you will with Clannad After Story. If you don't mind the emotional rollercoaster, Clannad After Story is the most beautiful, heart-meltingly sweet anime I have ever seen, and I urge you to watch it.

3 Fullmetal Alchemist Fullmetal Alchemist is an anime series adapted from the manga of the same name by Hiromu Arakawa. It is about two brothers, Edward Elric and Alphonse Elric, trying to restore their bodies after failing at bringing their mother back to life. It aired in 2003 and was remade as Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood... read more

This show is amazingly sad. "SPOILERS" Two brothers just wanted things to be the way they were before. When they were toddlers, their father left them. When they were 8 and 7, their mother died. They find a teacher who has lost her only child and then lost the ability to give life.

After a year of training, they go on to try and resurrect their mother at the ages of 11 and 10. The attempt fails, and as a result, the older brother loses his leg while the younger loses his whole body. The older brother then sacrifices his arm to tie his younger brother's soul to a suit of armor.

The older brother gets prosthetics and sets out with his younger brother to find a way to get their bodies back. All of this happens in the first 6 episodes. There are 51 episodes and a movie. Imagine what happens after that. "Spoiler ends"

4 Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is a Japanese anime television series that aired in 2011. The show focuses on a group of childhood friends who drift apart after the death of one of their own but are later reunited with the aim to fulfill her final wish. It is widely praised for its emotional depth,... read more

This is one of my favorite animes, such a masterfully developed story that shows a lot of meaning and tugs quite a bit at the heartstrings. The protagonists are all quite admirable and each has a strong, but sad, background story that reveals how they could have changed Menma's life that day, showing how many regrets one can have. The emotions of the characters are really strongly portrayed, and both the opening and ending are amazing songs!

The final scene will have you crying like a little girl, so be forewarned! Make sure to bring some buckets and have tissues at the ready. Overall, this is an anime that is quite unique and amazing. I can't wait for the movie this August!

5 Death Note Death Note is a Japanese television drama anime series based on the manga series of the same name by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. The show is centered around Light Yagami - a promising highschooler and aspiring detective with a strong sense of "justice".

I started to watch Death Note one day after I heard it was complete. I watched every episode up to episode 26. The 25th episode was very sad. Spoiler alert, L died. I was discouraged and didn't watch it anymore. Later, I decided to complete it to see what would happen in the end. However, I couldn't help myself and ended up seeing the spoiler about Light's death. I was scarred for life. I was so traumatized that I didn't even think about it anymore. The writer's obsession with the alphabet "L" was scary in itself, if you know what I mean. The opening was sad, and the tunes in the background were scary. This was truly a masterpiece, which even now, I cannot bring myself to watch.

6 Elfen Lied Elfen Lied is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Lynn Okamoto. It was originally serialized in Shueisha's Weekly Young Jump from June 2002 to August 2005, with the 107 chapters collected into twelve tankōbon volumes.

The anime and the manga were both really sad. There was a game that I was addicted to playing. I would spend a lot of time on it every day. After Elfen Lied, well, I stopped playing for weeks. I just sat on my bed and thought about the unfairness of the world.

Later, I tried filling the void it left by watching other anime like Fullmetal Alchemist and Angel Beats. Fullmetal Alchemist was interesting, but nowhere near as sad as Elfen Lied. Angel Beats was actually very sad, mostly because of the ending and the incredible soundtrack. However, the lack of character progression made it so that the ending wasn't as depressing as Elfen Lied.

7 Naruto Naruto is an anime and manga franchise Naruto, created by Masashi Kishimoto. The manga was later adapted into a television anime, which was produced by Studio Pierrot and Aniplex. It premiered across Japan on the terrestrial TV Tokyo and other TX Network stations on October 3, 2002. The first series... read more

Naruto was neglected, hated, despised, isolated, and feared his whole life for something he didn't ask for and something he couldn't control. Yet he always smiled, saying he would be Hokage and hoping for a better day tomorrow. He meets Iruka, Kakashi, Team 7, the Rookie 9, Jiraiya, and so many people who finally acknowledge him as a shinobi and as someone who means something. He's so happy that they saved him from his own depression and sadness. Who wouldn't be?

As if they're not already stuffing enough emotion into our faces, Naruto is forced to endure even more suffering the deaths of close ones and the loss of his best friend and rival, Sasuke. He continues on through life, affecting so many people, changing the hearts of his enemies, friends, and teachers alike. He strains so hard to save what helped him so much and to keep his friends safe, just as they helped him.

It's heart-wrenching to see the sad but close bond he shares with people like Gaara, Sasuke, Killer B, and anyone who has had a hard life. But he inspires so many to continue on. He is living proof that with enough determination, perseverance, and confidence, you can do anything. By the end of the series, he's made his way to Hokage, and people finally acknowledge him. I couldn't imagine the pure surge of emotion one would feel to be embraced by those who hated you for so long, for people to understand and accept you when you've never had love before. This anime/manga has been able to make me cry when no other has been able to before.

8 Code Geass R2

The moment I saw Lelouch die, after everything he had been through, how could this not be the saddest thing ever? His sacrifice for the greater good of humanity was such a huge burden for him to bear. And to think that everyone else shunned him without knowing what he had given them - it is so cruel. In another way, it was a poetic and beautiful ending, even if it ended with his death.

In fact, Lelouch's sacrifice reminded me of Romeo and Juliet's love story, where they could never be together as long as they were alive. Just like Lelouch, they died so that their wish would come true. If this isn't a tragedy, then I don't know what is.

9 Your Lie In April Your Lie in April, known in Japan as Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso or just simply Kimiuso, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Naoshi Arakawa.

The story is beautiful, as is the music. It captures the expressiveness of Romantic Classical music in anime form! At the end, I curled into the fetal position and let out a meek "ow" as I clutched my heart. I then felt grateful because the story leaves you feeling sad, yet also shows the beauty of sorrow itself and how it can create something beautiful. It's like poetry! Some characters could have used more development, but those who were developed were done so exceptionally well. The animation is astounding. I also appreciate how it evokes tears without going out of its way to emotionally wound you. Rather, it shows that pain is a part of life and that humans have a knack for getting through it with softer hearts and gentler smiles.

10 Attack on Titan Attack on Titan, also known as Shingeki no Kyojin in Japanese, created by Hajime Isayama, is one of the most popular Japanese anime series to be released. It was first watched in Japan during 2013 and was dubbed in English to be watched in America in 2014. It is best known for its emotional moments,... read more

I just finished Season 3, and I don't usually cry. However, some episodes nearly tore me apart and even made me shed a tear. I won't spoil the end of Season 3, but if you've seen it, you'll know what I'm talking about. To be honest, this isn't an anime that struck me as "sad." I viewed it more as action/gore. But the author has created these characters beautifully! Even the smallest ones have emotional depth and personality.

If the smallest characters have emotional depth, imagine how you'll feel about the larger characters! The scariest part of this anime is that no character is safe - absolutely no one. Word of advice: don't get emotionally attached to any character because they will most likely be consumed by a naked humanoid. As silly as that sounds, it just adds to the horror. Something that seems inferior based on intellect and attractiveness has so much power over humans, ultimately making us unworthy. However, if you delve into the real story behind the Titans, your opinion will change. You'll feel a range of emotions - sadness, terror, anger, frustration, and even joy and happiness. This anime made a seemingly soulless person like me feel bipolar. It's a good watch. I recommend it 100% - that is, if you can handle swearing and gore. You'll also need a strong stomach. Afterward, I recommend watching Attack on Titan Junior High for a hilarious parody.

The Contenders
11 Clannad Clannad is the anime adaptation of the visual novel developed by KEY for Windows PCs in 2004, which was later ported to PlayStation consoles and the Xbox 360. The game was the best-selling PC game in 2004 and charted in national top 50 rankings several more times afterwards. Clannad has been adapted... read more

It's a shame that Clannad and Clannad After Story are often discussed separately because they function as Part 1 and Part 2 of an incredible story. That being said, Clannad hits rock bottom in terms of sadness around halfway through with its arc. Meanwhile, After Story takes the foundation of the story and delivers a more memorable heart-wrenching ending.

A lot of people seem to forget about the original Clannad because the After Story was so sad. However, the original Clannad had many tear-jerking moments and is easily one of the greatest anime for storyline and likable characters. It's also a must-see if you plan on watching Clannad: After Story.

12 Puella Magi Madoka Magica Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a 2011 Japanese anime television series produced by Shaft and Aniplex, directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, written by Gen Urobuchi, music by Yuki Kajiura, opening sang by ClariS, ending by Kalafina (sometimes by the seiyuus) and original characters by Ume Aoki.

Everyone should watch this series. I showed it to my mom, and she loves it. I also showed it to my friend, and we stayed up all night watching it.

I have some advice for anyone who wants to watch this anime. The first piece of advice is to never judge a character based on a first impression. Many characters do not show who they really are at first. I don't want to give any examples, as they would be spoilers, and I hate to spoil things for people.

The next piece of advice is to take some tissues with you. Even I cried, and that means something. Enough said. You will cry, even if you're me.

Now, let me get to the review.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how many words is a series worth? Especially one like this. There are not enough words to describe this anime. It's a beautiful, sad, almost heartbreaking series that I enjoy no matter what. I can't seem to find any other anime like this. It's perfectly executed. Everything fits together. The series combines elements of horror, psychological themes, tragedy, and maybe even action. This anime is very tragic, can be scary at times, has parts that contain action, and is, of course, very dramatic. I recommend this anime to fans of the action, tragedy, psychological, and/or horror genres.

13 Akame ga Kill! Akame ga Kill! (アカメが斬る!, Akame ga Kiru! is a manga published in Gangan Joker authored by Takahiro and Tashiro Tetsuya. It received an anime adaptation that premiered on July 6, 2014 and ended on December 14, 2014.

This is like action plus sadness. It would be perfect for a person who likes action and very sad things. I would rate it five stars for this. (SPOILERS AHEAD) It was so sad when almost everyone died, including Tatsumi and Mine. For me, it was unbelievable that Tatsumi and Mine never got together in the end. Everyone died a heroic death, but only Akame stayed alive. I would rate this five stars for being sad and having action. And it's like the opposite: the kingdom is bad, and Night Raid is good. (SPOILERS END) This show can make you cry, but you have to find out for yourself.

14 Steins;Gate Steins;Gate is a 2011 anime television series created by the animation studio White Fox based on 5pb. and Nitroplus's 2009 video game of the same name, and is part of the Science Adventure franchise.

(SPOILERS) The scene when Mayuri gets killed by the car and Okabe has to relive her death yet again just killed me. It especially hurt when he traveled back to when they were running the hack and he was just hanging his head, unable to do anything.

That scene really hit me hard. Also, after Mr. Braun killed himself, the scene played of his daughter sitting alone at a table set for two, and it just broke my heart. This is the best anime I have ever watched. It's filled with powerful emotions and an incredible story.

There is nothing that will compare to the second half of this show. Episode 22 is the most incredible climax to any anime in existence.

(SPOILERS) This is the only anime on this entire list that made me cry. I cried for a solid 5 minutes when Mayuri was hit by the car and train, Suzuha's heartbreaking letter, and when Mr. Braun kills himself. It cuts to the shot of his child waiting at the table for a father who will never return. I also cried when Okabe kills Kurisu and she dies in his arms, and in the movie when Okabe throws himself in front of the truck to save Kurisu. This is the best show in existence.

15 Fairy Tail Fairy Tail is a manga franchise created by Hiro Mashima. The manga has been adapted into an anime series produced by A-1 Pictures and Satelight, which began broadcasting in Japan on October 12, 2009. Additionally, A-1 Pictures and Satelight have developed seven original video animations and an animated... read more

I love Fairy Tail as much as the next guy, but this series isn't as depressing either. Lisanna's return is more like a very emotional reunion. No one in Fairy Tail dies either. The only confirmed death is Mavis, who died generations before the series began. They never kill anyone off from Fairy Tail despite having 15+ members to sacrifice. It's hard to believe Makarov will die the next time when he's already come close to dying three times.

Other than that, Lucy's dad dying and sending her gifts on her birthday every year for 7 years - even though she wasn't present in the timeline - was very depressing. This was only because Lucy finally felt loved by her father.

16 Guilty Crown Guilty Crown is a 2011 Japanese anime television series produced by Production I.G which aired on Fuji TV's noitamina program block from October 2011. The story revolves around Shu Ouma, a high school boy who inadvertently obtains an ability called "Power of the King" that enables him to draw out items... read more

Guilty Crown is sadder than most of the animes listed above. Starting from Shu stabbing Gai to Mana, everything becomes increasingly melancholic. Hare Menjou's death transforms Shu, leading him to become a harsh leader who implements the void ranking system.

In the end, when Shu resolves to save Inori, he finds her already transformed into Mana, initiating the fourth apocalypse. Later, he defeats Gai using Inori's void, a gift from Inori's soul through a flower. To add to the tragedy, Inori dies in the end, and Shu becomes blind due to absorbing the apocalypse-affected people's cancer.

17 Future Diary Future Diary is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Sakae Esuno. The plot surrounds a battle royale in which each combatant has a diary with entries from the future. The manga was serialized in the Kadokawa Shoten's Shōnen Ace between January 2006 and December 2010.

Future Diary, or Mirai Nikki, is one of the saddest anime out there for viewers to cry over. It's not just the ending that brings out the emotions in this one, but the entire series. It's much like Angel Beats in that way. The story follows a devoted (and somewhat psychopathic) girl, Yuno, and her boyfriend, Yuki. Throughout the anime, you get to see tragic family events unfold.

You become attached to these characters, so this isn't a matter of "Oh, someone died." This is crying material. These events help to build the love that Yuno and Yuki eventually share for each other. Overall, the only flaw with this show is that it made everyone really, really sad.

- Yes, that's a joke, not an actual flaw.

18 Sword Art Online Sword Art Online is a series of Japanese light novels written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec. In 2012, it received an anime adaptation produced by A-1 Pictures and the SAO Project, and is directed by Tomohiko Ito . The first season is divided into two arcs known as "Aincrad" and "Fairy Dance"... read more

I rarely cry. RARELY. This may be the first time I've ever cried at an anime, or a show for that matter! Also, side note: I've never seen such a beautiful storyline before! And don't get me started on the graphics!

Honestly, I've searched the ends of Netflix trying to find an anime that could be as beautiful to look at as this one. Other animes I used to watch, before I learned about SAO, seemed amazing at the time. But looking back, they just didn't have that FEEL, you know? Definitely the best and saddest anime I've seen.

19 Kanon

Kanon is far, far better than Clannad/After Story. Clannad sucked. Most of the "sad" moments were just shoved in and felt manipulative. It was completely unnecessary. In contrast, Kanon's whole story revolved around sadness, so it made a lot more sense.

Kanon's story is far superior to Clannad's. The characters are better developed and more fleshed out as well. And don't get me started on the ending of Clannad After Story. If there's one thing I hate, it's massive cop-outs. Kanon's ending didn't feel like a cop-out, so it was acceptable.

I'm not saying Kanon is perfect. It has flaws too, but it is so much better than Clannad, yet it doesn't even get half the credit that Clannad does. Kanon deserves it far more than Clannad.

20 Air

It's the saddest anime I have seen so far. Clannad and Angel Beats are not even half as sad as this one. Besides, I love the main story of this series, especially the special summer energy. You can FEEL it.

I'm sick of people who say that Misuzu is a crybaby and immature. Honestly, she has been having a very harsh time, unloved and all alone, yet she tried to keep a smile on her face and definitely - after many failures - tried her best and never gave up. Maybe she acted in an immature way, but inside she was very strong.

People complain that they don't understand this anime - yes, you may get lost if you don't follow it carefully or don't read the subtitles well. "Air" is not a simple story. Anyway, yes, I was depressed for a week after watching this.

21 Assassination Classroom Assassination Classroom is a Japanese manga and anime series created by Yūsei Matsui. The series debuted in 2012 and centers around a class of underachieving students who must kill their teacher, an octopus-like creature named Koro-sensei, to prevent him from destroying Earth. The show blends comedy,... read more

It is true. There was nothing particularly sad at the start of this anime. However, anyone who watched it through to the end could probably tell you that this was one of the saddest anime series they had ever watched. Koro-sensei's death really broke my heart. Very few anime series have made me cry, but I cried at his death - a lot.

I really loved Koro-sensei and the way he was able to bond with all of his students. So much so, that they didn't want to kill him, even though he could end the world if he wasn't killed. The backstory behind why he decided to teach them hit me hard. He was a truly dedicated teacher. He made a significant impact on each of his students and will forever be my favorite teacher, even if he is fictional.

22 Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom

This one has the most impactful unexpected ending ever. Add the ending song to it, and you'll need to buy a megapack of tissues. I don't cry easily. Only two animes have had such a great impact on me that it took me over a week to stop dreaming about them, and my brain was completely out of focus for a few days. This is the second one. Chrono Crusade was the first.

This anime made me think about the ending for weeks after I finished it! I've watched almost over 80 animes, but this one ranks in at least my top 15. The ending was one of the most unexpected, especially considering how the story flows throughout.

23 Berserk Berserk, also known as Sword-Wind Chronicle Berserk, is a Japanese anime television series that aired from 1997 to 1998. An adaptation of the manga Berserk, it comprises 25 half-hour episodes produced by Oriental Light and Magic and first aired on Nippon TV.

This is the first anime I've ever watched. I don't know why I started with it, but it's by far the saddest anime I've seen. Guts went from hating everyone to having friends that he could call his family, only for him to be shoved right back into the abyss of loneliness again. His life is just so messed up in every way. He will forever be cursed.

This is a tragedy based on Shakespeare's Macbeth. The anime and manga contain the most heartbreaking betrayal in the history of fiction, period. The abuse and hell the main character suffers through genuinely made me tear up.

24 Arrietty

Cute and funny, but it will also tug at your heartstrings in the end. A great story of love and friendship.

25 My-HiME

One of the few anime that actually made me cry. The first half of the show is comedic and happy, while the second half is dark and depressing. This contrast is mainly what makes it a good drama anime. Anime that build up all the happy moments so that the sad parts hit hard are what really make me cry. What kept this from surpassing CLANNAD was the ending.

The first half worked great with all the happy and comedic moments. Then, when the sad stuff hit, it was depressing as heck, and it went on for a long time. Finally, the last episode came, which was like waking up from an amazing dream where you're the king of the world, except in a sad way. However, I think the sad parts were more depressing than those in CLANNAD. It was just the ending that brought it down.

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