Anime can seriously be no-holds-barred when it comes to bringing the sadness. One of anime’s greatest secrets, although well known by fans, is that anime is a superb emotional outlet. There are many unique ways in which raw emotions are conveyed to viewers, but some are more powerful than others. Here, we’ve collected the saddest quotes from anime’s most sob-fest scenes into the top ten sad anime quotes ever known to man.
Warning!!! Prepare a box of Kleenex, and beware of spoilers.
10. Mizuki Alice Quotes (Serial Experiments Lain, Ep. 13)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul. 1998 – Sept. 1998
The cyberpunk anime classic Serial Experiments Lain is set out to toy with your brain and has blessed the anime world with this small piece of philosophy that Lain would eventually test for herself. In a world where the digital world and reality have merged, Lain questions her true identity. Is she who she thinks she is, or is she the Lain people have made her out to be?
Her only solace is in her one true friend in reality, Mizuki Alice, but by delving further into the secrets of the interconnected digital and real world, Lain believes she has caused too much grief and pain to her good friend. She ultimately deletes herself from the memories of all people on earth, thus erasing her own existence. Everything she had done in the anime was reset and everyone who knows her has forgotten her. Alice retains some feeling of Lain but has no concrete memory of the girl. In a moment best described as déjà vu, Alice repeats this phrase as a testament to her lost memory.
Sadness level: Now every time we fail to conjure up a memory, we can’t help but get worried we forgot a whole person.
9. Lucy (Elfen Lied, Ep. 13)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul. 2004 – Oct. 2004
We were expecting to sit down to a mind-numbing gorefest in horror anime Elfen Lied. Instead, here we are getting misty eyed for a ruthless murderer at the end of thirteen episodes of gruesome deaths. Kouta and his friends meet Nyu, a strange young woman who has no memory of her past and the mental age of a toddler. Kouta decides to take care of her. It turns out she’s a killing machine who could possibly wipe out the human race.
Lucy, the aforementioned ruthless murderer, finally snaps out of being her alternate innocent personality and returns to her normal, twisted self. She remembers that she murdered Kouta’s family and completely ruined his life eight years ago when they were children. In this moment, Lucy explains she endured everything and continued to kill just for the opportunity to apologize to Kouta, the only person who had shown her kindness. In this scene, Lucy seems to believe that she herself is a hateful person but couldn’t bring herself to die until she could face Kouta. That tremendous amount of dedication won Kouta and us over. Please don’t die, Lucy!
Sadness level: The tears are blocking our ability to see gore.
8. Nine (Terror in Resonance, Ep. 1)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: Jul. 2014 – Sept. 2014
Terror in Resonance tells the story of Nine and Twelve, two gifted young men plotting various terrorist attacks in modern Tokyo. After waking from a nightmare, Nine shares his feelings on the past he and Twelve share. In this quote rife with regret and realism, we are faced with the fact that something incredibly sad happened in their past, during which they felt utterly powerless to protect someone they cared for. Even though Nine and Twelve are extremely smart and highly skilled, Nine shows vulnerability, evoking enough empathy to make these two terrorists into anti-heroes in our hearts.
When their past is revealed later in the series, we finally feel the weight of these sentences. Then, we relive those feelings of powerlessness as Nine fails to save Five for the second time, and again, as Twelve is murdered before his eyes. Detective Shibazaki and we are completely helpless to save them, but we can remember them and their story.
Sadness level: It more you think about it, the more it hurts.
7. Kaname Madoka (Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Ep. 10)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2011 – Apr. 2011
Time travel opens up the horrible possibility of seeing someone die over and over and over again. In the tenth episode of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, we learn about the repetitive hell that Akemi Homura experienced after she became a magical girl with time traveling power to save Madoka from a horrible fate. In one of the many pasts, Madoka saves Homura by clearing Homura’s soul gem and expresses her fear of becoming a witch. To grant Madoka’s dying wish, Homura turns her gun on her best friend.
Unlike a similar situation in Steins;Gate, where we at least have the hope of saving Mayuri, in Madoka Magica we only have a grim absoluteness. Magical girls will become witches, or they will die. To add more fuel to the sad factory, Homura’s dedication is heartlessly dismissed by Kyubey, who implies that eventually Homura will also become a witch.
Sadness level: We’re sad and angry, or sangry.
6. Nakahara Misaki (Welcome to the NHK, Ep. 22)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jul. 2006 – Dec. 2006
Welcome to the NHK may be the most realistic depiction of mental instability we’ve ever seen in anime. Misaki, a troubled high school girl who believes all the people around her will suffer misfortune, decides to give counseling sessions to Tatsuhiro Satou, a hikikomori (shut-in) who Misaki has determined to be worse off then her. She hopes that by curing Satou of his disorder, she can end her curse of only hurting those around her.
Along the way, she develops feelings for Satou and thusly, feels utterly betrayed by him when he lies about meeting with another woman on New Year’s Eve. In their following session, Misaki delves into the idea that life only contains 10% fun, with the remaining 90% full of suffering. Unlike previous sessions, she reveals most of her worst fears and worries in coping with sadness. She contrasts her mentality with her religious aunt, who seems to be able to be happy with the reassurance of God. At the end of her lecture, we can’t help but feel sorry for Misaki and her brewing depression.
Sadness level: Someone, please hug this girl!
5. Arima Kousei (Your Lie in April, Ep. 22)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Oct. 2014 – Mar. 2015
Arima Kousei, a child prodigy, gave up the piano after the death of his mother and developed PTSD whenever he would concentrate on playing music. Miyazono Kaori busted into his life and pulled him back into the world of music, where he learned to express his emotions with the piano. The two shared the stage in a violin and piano duet and looked forward to more musical endeavors, but Kaori’s health quickly deteriorated.
It’s possible you saw this ending coming all along. If being marked as the saddest anime of the season didn’t give it away, heavy foreshadowing and that sick feeling in your stomach made it pretty clear: Miyazono Kaori’s going to die. Like a train wreck, we just had to keep watching, and we’re glad we did, because otherwise we wouldn’t get to witness one of the most beautiful goodbye scenes in anime.
On the stage at a piano competition, Kousei desperately hopes that his feelings conveyed through the piano can reach Kaori who is undergoing a possibly life-saving surgery. To his surprise, he is transported to what we can assume is a spiritual plane where Kaori appears. Kousei is visibly upset to see Kaori’s spirit coming to fulfill their promise to perform on the stage together before passing. Still, he can’t refuse her and they play their last bittersweet song before the spiritual world and Kaori disappear after Kousei gives his last plea to her, “Don’t leave me behind!” Kousei finishes the outro of his piece in tears before finally saying, “Goodbye.”
Sadness level: You’re glad there’s still half of an episode left to distract you from the giant lump in your throat.
4. Roy Mustang (Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Ep. 10)
- Episodes: 64
- Aired: Apr. 2009 –Jul. 2010
Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood has its fair share of sad and dark moments, be it the Elric brothers’ brutally futile attempt at resurrecting their mother, the unspeakable Ishvalan genocide and Scar’s regret-ridden backstory, or Envy’s surprisingly heart-breaking emotional breakdown and suicide. Yet, no matter how many times we see it, the most tearful of all is when Mustang loses to his emotions in one of the major turning points of the anime.
Roy Mustang and Maes Hughes were brothers in arms and ideals. They carried the shared burden of a murderous past and brandished the shared hope for a brighter future. In the short time we knew him, Hughes could only be described as a good man and a terrific father. His sudden and unceremonious death was tragic, and the surrounding mystery of it changed Mustang’s immediate and eventual future. As Mustang cries in the most Mustang-y way possible, we’re over here blubbering like babies, “Why are they burying Daddy?!”
Sadness level: Do you know the song “I Wish It Would Rain” by The Temptations? If you do, you’ll feel the sudden urge to belt it out in the shower right about now.
3. Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Bebop, Ep. 26)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 1998 – Apr. 1999
Leaving behind his makeshift Bebop family and his second chance at life, Spike Spiegel confronts his arch nemesis Vicious to reconcile his criminal past and love lost. In the last episode of Cowboy Bebop, Spike’s former life is completely obliterated: the love of his life dies in his arms, and he kills the man that stole her in an action-packed final battle. As he stumbles down the stairs of the battle’s venue, we await Spike’s return to his bounty hunter friends. Instead, Spike makes the shape of a gun with his hand, smiles, and triumphantly says, “Bang.” Then, he collapses.
In a final episode full of action, there is little dialog to offer us philosophy or the meaning of everything we just took in. Instead, we are left with one single word that ends the series, leaving us to question what would happen next. Imagery and foreshadowing throughout the series suggests that this quote is Spike’s last word, and we’re left with an unbelievable sadness. It’s such a devastating thought that a large sect of fans refuse to even consider Spike could die. Either way, a wonderful anime ends, and we are all sad to see it go.
Sadness level: There’s a Spike-shaped hole left in our hearts.
2. Menma (Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai, Ep. 11)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: Apr. 2011 – Jun. 2011
In Anohana, we meet the ghost of Menma who has failed to pass on after dying in a drowning accident as a child. As a ghost, she is only visible to her childhood friend Jintan. Hoping to unlock the mystery to Menma’s existence, Jintan, now a high school student, rebuilds long-forgotten friendships with four others who were also friends with Menma. Throughout the series, they open up old wounds of rivalry and guilt surrounding Menma’s death. Navigating through their emotions, they manage to restart their friendships and finally begin to cope with Menma’s death.
As if Anohana wasn’t enough of a cry-fest already, we finally come to the moment of Menma’s passing in Anohana’s final episode. No longer visible to Jintan, Menma starts a game of hide-and-seek, a game they often played as children. The friends frantically search for Menma as she writes farewell notes to each of them. Just when we think Menma will pass on without Jintan being able to see her one last time, she appears to all five of them. The friends express their love for her, and after proclaiming her will to be reincarnated to play with them again, Menma ends their game by saying, “You found me,” and passes on.
Sadness level: Let it out. Just let it all out.
1. Okazaki Tomoya (Clannad: After Story, Ep. 18)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct. 2008 – Mar. 2009
It’s not often you get to see what happens after the couple gets together, but in Clannad: After Story, we get just that and more. After watching Okazaki Tomoya and Furukawa Nagisa’s romance blossom in the slice of life drama Clannad, we are met with even more drama and a flood of tears in Clannad: After Story.
In a tragic twist of fate, Nagisa dies shortly after childbirth, and Tomoya finds himself wishing that he had never met Nagisa. He believes if they never met, she would still be well and alive. He slips into depression while avoiding his new daughter Ushio. He leaves her to be raised by Nagisa’s parents. Tomoya is heartbroken and can’t seem to find a way to connect to his daughter in the absence of Nagisa.
UIn the eighteenth episode, Tomoya and Ushio have their first true father-daughter moments after Ushio lost her toy robot in a field on a trip where they meet Tomoya’s grandmother. The innocent love of a child for her father is tear-jerking as Tomoya starts to cherish Ushio’s existence. On the train ride home, Tomoya finally decides to tell Ushio about her mother, but while trying to pull up memories about her, he breaks down in tears and can only muster to repeat Nagisa’s name. We all have a good cry, rewatch Clannad, and come back to this scene to get hit with the feels train again.
Sadness level: Waaaaahhhh!!!!!!!!
Now we leave you to your thoughts.
There’s really nothing else to say, except we hope these quotes touched you as they have touched so many fans all over the world.
If you can offer a shoulder to cry on, feel free to share what you think is the saddest anime quote or moment.