Saddest anime movies and shows on Netflix that will make you cry

Saddest anime movies and shows on Netflix that will make you cry

The saddest anime movies and TV shows will not only captivate you with their storylines but also leave you wiping tears from your face. The anime genre is renowned for its storylines, intense characters, and strong expressions of emotion. Sad anime movies and series are quite common since they give somewhat deep insights into general human behavior. So, what's the saddest anime on Netflix?

anime that will make you cry
Some amazing anime titles. Photo:, @hadi.azimi, @animemovies.official, @your_fave_despises_maps (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Here is a look at some of the best emotional anime movies and television shows.

Saddest anime movies and series

If you are a fan of emotionally intense films and series, here is a breakdown of some amazing sad animes to watch.


Which anime will make you cry? Well, that might vary from one person to another. Still, here are some amazing yet unbelievably sad anime movies.

10. Orange (2016)

If you are a fan of the Shoujo anime subgenre, you will certainly love Orange (2016). Unlike other films in the Shoujo sub-genre, Orange stands out by exploring themes such as suicide and depression, making it one of the saddest animes you could ever watch.

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The film follows Naho Takemiya, who receives letters from a future version of herself advising her to take action and save one of her classmates. Orange has a somewhat cliché high-school romantic comedy setup but still manages to deliver the story with excellent emotion.

9. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

best sad anime
Grave of the fireflies. Photo @hadi.azimi
Source: Instagram

Grave of the Fireflies comes from the famous Studio Ghibli, a film production house synonymous with sad anime movie themes. Besides the emotional storyline, the film also has what is arguably one of the saddest anime deaths.

The film is set in post-World War II Japan and follows two orphans' struggle for survival. In the film, Setsuko, a four-year-old girl, finds out just how cruel life can be. Her older brother does his best to take care of her but eventually fails.

After giving Setsuko a tiny piece of melon, Seita (the brother) goes looking for more food. Unknown to him, the little slice of watermelon was to be the last meal his sister had. What makes Grave of the Fireflies even sadder is that it is based on a true story.

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8. Perfect Blue (1998)

When it comes to critically acclaimed sad anime films, Perfect Blue is as amazing as they come. The movie is based on the book Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis and explores the horrors of the showbiz world.

The main character, Mira Kirigoe, is a renowned pop musician and member of the famous group CHAM! Mira later leaves her band to pursue an acting career. However, the acting world does not treat her well, and she struggles to let go of her pop musician image.

As Mira takes on more demanding acting roles, success seems to evade her even more. Her situation is then worsened by an obsessive fan who did not take her career change well. All the things happening in Mira's life eventually begin taking a toll on her, to the point of her getting to question her sanity.

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7. Byousoku 5 Centimeter (2007)

Also known as 5 Centimeters Per Second, this film explores the harsh realities of long-distance dating. The movie has three parts, namely 5 Centimeters Per Second, Cosmonaut, and Cherry Blossoms. The film revolves around Takaki Tono, a Japanese boy who meets and likes a girl called Akari Shinohara.

The three interconnected parts explore the effects of adult obligations, technology, distance, and responsibilities on love. The film's title is in reference to Akari's statement that a cherry blossom falls from the tree at a rate of 5 centimeters per second.

6. Omoide no Marnie (2014)

emotional anime
When Marnie was There. Photo @GhibliLovers
Source: Instagram

This one is also known as When Marnie Was There in some regions. The film is a well-told story about self-discovery and the intricacies of true friendship. The movie revolves around Anna Sasaki, a young girl who frequently experiences asthma attacks.

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Anna lives with her parents and often avoids people, choosing to remain by herself. Upon a doctor's consultation, her parents send Anna upcountry, hoping that the change in residence will also change her mood and behavior.

While in the village, Anna stumbles upon a deserted building known as the Marsh House. However, she soon learns that the house has an occupant, a girl named Marnie. The two become close friends.

5. Doukyuusei (2016)

Doukyuusei is quite possibly among the best anime movies in terms of character creation. The overall character design is excellent and, coupled with the immersive storyline, makes Doukyuusei a great movie. The film follows Hiraku and Rihito, two seemingly different individuals whose paths could possibly never cross.

Rihito is the archetypal bright student and passes his school entrance exam with flying colors. Hiraku, on the other hand, is more into music and is the guitarist with a certain band. However, the two find themselves working together as the music festivals approach.

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The two then form a friendship that later grows into love.

4. The Wind Rises (2013)

Also known as Kaze Tachinu in some regions, this film follows the story of a man credited with the development and creation of the famous Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter, arguably one of the best-known airplanes in Japanese history.

Since his childhood, the film's main character, Jirou, had dreamt of building an airplane just like his Italian inspiration, Battista Caproni. Jirou pursues his dream amidst loss, war, disasters, and love. However, he later learns that a person's dream can take a very different shape once released out into the world.

3. In This Corner of the World (2016)

saddest anime movies
In This Corner of the World. Photo @animemovies.official
Source: Instagram

The film In This Corner of the World is also known as Kono Sekai no Katasumi Ni. The movie is undoubtedly among the contenders for the saddest anime ever made. It follows Suzu Urano, a young girl who relocates to Hiroshima and gets married to a naval base clerk.

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The couple lives a decent life despite the challenges posed by the continuing war. However, the couple's love comes to a halt when the bombings in Hiroshima destroy the entire village. The movie is quite long and manages to take viewers on an emotional rollercoaster.

2. A Silent Voice (2016)

A Silent Voice tells the story of Shoyo, a young man trying to make amends after bullying a deaf girl in his youth. The film follows Shoyo as he tries to seek out the deaf girl in a journey filled with the dynamics of forgiveness, redemption, and self-seeking.

Shoyo's character in the film is so realistic and representative of real-life situations that the viewer can easily relate to him. It is definitely an anime that will make you cry.

1. The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004)

saddest anime ever
The Place Promised in Our Early Days. Photo @les_notes_de_cinephile
Source: Instagram

What is the saddest anime? It has to be The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004). The film is set in an alternate time in 1996 when Japan is divided into the southern islands and Hokkaido. The union rules the latter while the islands are under US rule.

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During this time, three students hatch a plan to cross the border using a handmade plane. However, the plan is put into disarray when one of the students falls ill.

Now on the brink of a new war, one of the two remaining students discovers that their friend who fell ill has been in a coma since then. He enlists the help of his friend to wake her up.

Television shows

Besides films, there are also some amazing sad anime TV shows Here are the five best sad anime series of all time.

5. Violet Evergarden (2018)

Violet Evergarden is a slice-of-life anime series created by Kyoto Animation. The show tells the story of Violet, a young teenager caught up in the Great War. Near the end of the war, Violet finds herself in hospital, only remembering a few words from her loved one.

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Now feeling lost in a post-war country, she enlists as a worker at the postal service. She comes across a memory doll that can translate a person's thoughts into written words. She gets deeply fascinated by the doll, not knowing it is the beginning of a new phase in her life; that of self-discovery and finding a sense of purpose.

4. Lost Song (2018)

Lost Song tells the story of Rin, a girl bestowed with the power to sing. She embarks on a journey to the capital city to sing. But, unbeknownst to her, there is another girl in the city with a similar power named Finis.

While Rin is an energetic teenager who hails from the village, Finis is a loner who lives in the royal palace located in the city. However, both share the power of song, known to stir winds, create water, and heal wounds.

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As war looms over the kingdom, the two talented girls hope that their final song can restore hope among their loved ones.

3. Forest of Piano (2018)

What's the saddest anime on Netflix?
Forest of Piano. Photo: @your_fave_despises_maps
Source: Instagram

The TV show is known as Piano no Mori: The Perfect World of Kai in Japan and follows Kai Ichinose, who often sneaks from his mother's red-light district to play piano in the forest, and Shuhei, the son of a professional pianist.

One day, Shuhei is dared to play the seemingly broken forest piano. Before then, only Kai had managed to get sound out of the piano. Shuhei and his piano teacher gradually learn to respect and believe in Kai's piano skills to the point of encouraging him to take music lessons, a request he resists.

2. Children of the Whales (2017)

The TV show Children of the Whales is set in the 93rd year during the Sentence of Sand. A little over 500 people inhabit the Mud Whale, an island-like ship resting on the sand. One day, one of the ship's inhabitants, Chakuro, sets off to investigate a new vessel that has drifted too close to the Mud Whale.

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On the new ship, he finds Rikosu, a mysterious girl who also represents hope that other people are beyond the Mud Whale. For Chakuro, Rikosu is a sign that there might be a new world out there.

1. 7 Seeds (2019)

Fans of emotional anime movies will definitely love this one. 7 Seeds is a television series set in a post-apocalyptic world, years after a meteorite struck the planet. A new species of beings has evolved. The series follows five groups of young adults who must figure out how to survive after coming out of cryonic preservation.

Besides a rollercoaster of emotions, the saddest anime films and TV shows also come with immersive storylines. The intense emotions often associated with the anime genre makes the films and series worth watching anytime.

READ ALSO: Top 15 best romance anime movies of all time (with pictures)

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Top 35 best romance anime movies of all time: 2024 update recently explored the 15 best romance anime films of all time. The anime genre is renowned for excellent character depictions, immersive storylines, and a rollercoaster of emotions, including love, hate, betrayal, and heartbreak.

If you enjoy a well-written romantic film, you will certainly enjoy the films described in this guide. Some of the films include Castle in the Sky and Clannad.


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