Crying is healthy. Research has suggested that tears could actually be a way of flushing negative chemicals out of the body and doing you a world of good. To be clear, I am no sadist but I am one of those people cry at the end of a good tearjerker anime. A good tearjerker anime doesn’t always have to be sad but most of the time it is.
What I like about these anime shows is the strong character development. I mean if you know the background of the character, it hits you more emotionally. The story, setting and characters combine to create a perfect tearjerker.
So, here are some tearjerker anime shows which just know how to tug on your heart.
Clannad/Clannad After Story
This anime is the golden standard in tearjerker anime. Throughout the series, you will just weep and weep and to make things even sadder the second season Clannad After Story takes it to an another level.
Tomoya Okazaki is a third-year high school student resentful of his life. His mother passed away from a car accident when he was younger, causing his father to resort to alcohol and gambling. This results in fights between the two until Tomoya’s shoulder is injured in a fight. Since then, Tomoya has had distant relationships with his father, causing him to become a delinquent over time. While on a walk to school, he meets a strange girl named Nagisa Furukawa who is a year older but is repeating due to illness. Due to this, she is often alone as most of her friends have moved on. The two begin hanging out and slowly, as time goes by, Tomoya finds his life shifting in a new direction.
Ef: A Tale of Memories/Melodies
On Christmas Eve, Hiro Hirono meets a girl named Miyako Miyamura as she chases a purse snatcher. Hiro later finds out that Miyako also goes to the same school as he does and they start hanging out together. This makes Hiro’s childhood friend, Kei Shindō, feel left out, so she tries to compete with Miyako for Hiro’s affection, creating a love triangle. Meanwhile, Renji Asō meets a girl named Chihiro Shindō at an abandoned train station. He soon learns that Chihiro suffers from a type of amnesia where her memory lasts for only 13 hours. He also discovers Chihiro’s dream of writing a novel, but she has never been able to fulfill that dream due to her condition. Renji then decides to help her fulfill that dream.
It is a dash of tragedy mixed in, but still largely melodrama. There isn’t much of the Key-style true human drama in this minor work, but what there is plenty of – the melodramatic element – is masterfully executed indeed.
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
Five childhood friends grow apart after the death of Meiko Honma, close playmate of them all. Jinta 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 Jinta to fulfill the forgotten wish she made as a kid. This in turn violently breaks down each of the friends’ emotional walls and makes for a truly heartrending drama.
Your Lie in April
Kōsei Arima was a piano prodigy until his mother died when he was eleven years old. The shock of losing her made him lose any interest in piano, and his life has felt monotonous ever since. Then, when he’s fourteen, his childhood friend Tsubaki introduces him to her classmate Kaori, a free-spirited violinist. Her enthusiasm reignites his interest in music and in life.
It’s the tragedy and the budding romance that hits everyone the hardest. Even when the anime ends it leaves one with the feeling of a massive void.
Nana Osaki is a guarded and ambitious young woman with a strong will and a rough past. She is the vocalist for a punk band called Black Stones and she desires fame and recognition more than anything else. Nana Komatsu is an outgoing and flighty young woman with a weak will and a stable past. Her life revolves around her desire to find love and marriage. The two meet for the first time while traveling to Tokyo – in pursuit of their respective dreams – and they later decide to be roommates. Although drastically different people, the two become very close and together they find out if their biggest dreams have room for their best friend.
This anime is more of a struggle and hardships a band faces as it rises to fame and even after rising to fame how they handle their new found stardom, Surely not well, it has the tragedy, romance and things that turn one’s life around for better or worse.
Kids on the Slope
Summer 1966: Kaoru Nishimi has moved to live with relatives in Kyūshū. He’s been an aloof honor student his whole life, but that starts changing when he meets Sentarō Kawabuchi, the school’s notorious bad boy. Through him, he learns the appeal of jazz and forms his first real friendships.
Age-of-coming can be a troublesome transition and life could easily turn around. It could affect friendships, family and every other relationship. This show showcases that transition effortlessly and it is its character development that does the magic.
Yukiteru (Yuki) Amano is a loner who never really interacts with people and prefers writing a diary on his cell phone, with his only companion being an imaginary friend named Deus Ex Machina, the God of Time and Space. However, Yuki soon learns that Deus is not a figment of his imagination but real when Deus makes him a participant in a battle royale with eleven others. Within this “Diary Game”, the contestants are given special diaries that can predict the future, with each diary having unique features that give it both advantages and disadvantages.
Initially, I hated this show but as it progressed it drew me closer towards it. The sheer amount of deaths along with its twists and turns is what makes this show a tearjerker.
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 is a show that, while looking mediocre and somewhat generic on the surface, is willing to tackle some pretty heavy themes.
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
At the Private Seikyō Academy, there is a legend that all students have heard. Sixty years ago, there was a girl who for some reason, was left behind in the old, abandoned school building to die. Teiichi Niiya one day meets a beautiful, mysterious girl named Yūko Kanoe at the old school building and gets a surprise—she’s the ghost of the girl who died 60 years ago but does not remember her past or how she died. Teiichi becomes determined to help her remember, and together, they seek the truth behind the gruesome legend.
Throughout the story, you’ll experience a wide variety of emotions such as happiness, sadness, anxiousness, and eeriness. While some might say this is a poorly executed anime, I personally liked it.
In a world after death, angels 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.
It might seem like a harmless story on the surface but trust me the backstories of how individual characters died and what do they ultimately wish for is what makes this a feel trip specialist.