A sure sign of a dramatic anime's quality is its ability to make its audiences cry, or to at least leave them emotionally devastated. However, some anime do their job of making people cry too well that viewers refuse to rewatch them.
Just because these emotionally-charged anime don't inspire repeat viewings doesn't mean they're bad. On the contrary, this is some of the highest praise they can get. Being able to generate an emotional response in the audience is always a sign of good writing, especially in animation. That said, not everyone is willing to revisit these titles to verify the adulation.
10 Your Lie In April Was Always Going To End In Death
From the first few episodes alone, Your Lie In April seemed like an emotionally charged but otherwise typical romantic anime. The emotionally troubled Kousei slowly breaks out of his shell when he meets Kaori, an eccentric girl who literally brought color back to his life. The problem is that Kaori is dying of a rare illness, and she doesn't have much time left.
Knowing this, Kousei gives his friendship and potential romance with Kaori everything he's got, only for her to die in the end. This doesn't mean that Kousei's life is over, but her death still takes a heavy toll on him. Your Lie In April is a sweet love story of young love, but its tear-jerking ending makes it hard for even its most nostalgic fans to return to.
9 Plastic Memories's Sad Ending Was Inevitable
Romantic tragedies are actually pretty common in anime, but few (if any) are as memorably sad as Plastic Memories. In this robotic future, Tsukasa falls in love with the android Isla. However, androids have a short lifespan, and Isla is nearing her programmed demise. Knowing this, Tsukasa and Isla pursue love at all costs.
Most of Plastic Memories was dedicated to showing Tsukasa and Isla's love and their attempts to find a way to avert her fate, only for all their efforts to be futile. In the end, there's nothing the lovers can do except wait for the inevitable end. The open ending may be a nice ray of hope, but it doesn't lessen the pain of their last date.
8 Now & Then, Here & There Is Anything But An Escapist Isekai Fantasy
Now And Then, Here And There stands out for being one of the darkest and saddest isekai ever made. Though it starts out like a derivative isekai anime with Shu being whisked to another world, the show is anything but escapist fun. The new world Shu landed in is a dying desert planet, and his life turns into a living hell the moment he wakes up.
The anime doesn't shy away from its world's darkness, whether it's being a child soldier or enduring sexual slavery. Though Shu and a few others survived and held onto their morals, getting to this point in Now And Then, Here And There can be an endurance test. There's a reason why even the most dedicated isekai fans refuse to revisit Hellywood.
7 Gundam 0080: War In The Pocket Showed War's Horrors Through A Child's Eyes
With very few exceptions, the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise has always been a harsh and unrelenting reflection of war. That being said, War In The Pocket stands out because it's arguably the most realistic depiction of what being a young mecha pilot would be. In brief, it's a terrifying experience, and winning the fight doesn't guarantee peace.
Instead of mecha action, this OVA showed how traumatizing a mecha skirmish would be and how insignificant all the suffering is when the bigger picture is acknowledged. It's easy to find a gritty Gundam series that shows how horrifying war is, but few of them are as painfully human and emotionally devastating as War In The Pocket.
6 Gungrave's Gangland Tale Was Never Meant To Have A Happy Ending
Though it's a far cry from the pulpy games it was based on, fans revere Gungrave for being one of the best (if severely overlooked) crime tragedies of the 2000s. Gungrave is the story of Brandon and Harry: two street urchins whose childhood friendship ends in betrayal and tragedy thanks to Brandon's loyalties and Harry's ambitions.
Gungrave spent its first half building up its characters and relationships, only for everything to come crashing down halfway through when Brandon returned from the grave to put old wounds to rest. Despite the unforgettable cast and hard-hitting action, rewatching Gungrave can be taxing due to how the anime's pain and misery are inevitable.
5 Devilman Crybaby's Apocalyptic Ending Isn't Its Saddest Part
Devilman Crybaby is best known for its surreal animation and intense gore, but at the end of the day, this ultraviolent anime is a tragedy at heart. Though it starts by focusing on the titular Devilman, Akira Fudo, the anime is really the story of how Ryo Asuka's (or an amnesiac Satan) killed his chance at a second life in the name of pride and revenge.
Everything starts going downhill the moment Ryo remembers who he really was. Characters that viewers grew invested in suffer horrible fates they never deserved, and best friends Akira and Ryo have no choice but to fight to the death. Though Devilman Crybaby benefits greatly from a rewatch, doing so is a lot easier said than done.
4 Berserk (1997) Drowned Guts In Blood & Tragedy
The most painful thing about the original Berserk anime is that it adapts the manga's most heartwarming arcs, but it ends at the story's lowest emotional point. After spending 23 episodes showing Guts realize his best self the longer he stayed with the Band of the Hawk, the anime killed all these relationships in the most brutal ways possible.
Berserk's last two episodes covered The Eclipse, where Griffith (the one man who Guts loved) sacrificed characters viewers grew to love for power's sake. Guts and Casca survived, but Casca was driven mad while Guts was left alone. Berserk has many adaptations, but the 1997 anime is both the best of the bunch and the hardest one to return to.
3 Bokurano Only Got Sadder With Each Passing Episode
Whether it was said in jest or with sincerity, Bokurano has often been referred to as "Neon Genesis Evangelion, but sadder." This grim deconstruction of the giant robot anime earned this reputation in spades since, in brief, every one of its young heroes is destined to die regardless of their heroic actions and whatever noble causes they hold.
It's not an exaggeration to say that at least one main character dies in each Bokurano episode, and each death hits harder than the last. By the final episode, only two of the original fifteen kids remain, and they're as shell-shocked as expected. Bokurano was famous for breaking viewers in 2007, and this claim to fame holds true even today.
2 Saikano's Fansubbers Warned Viewers Away From The Finale
Saikano follows the living superweapon Chise and her love interest Shuji, as they try to find the bright side of life while living in a world caught in a constant state of war. In other anime, this premise would lead to a tough but worthwhile fight for humanity and peace. Instead, Saikano ends with the world ending, and this is the best possible outcome.
But even before the heart-wrenching finale, watching Chise deteriorate while Shuji watches helplessly is an emotional endurance test like no other. Because of this, Saikano was regarded for a time by anime fans as the saddest anime ever made. In fact, early fansubs recommended stopping at Episode 10 of 13 to give Chise and Shuji a happy ending.
1 Shiki Can Make Viewers Lose Faith In Humanity
At first glance, Shiki seemed like a fairly typical horror anime about a village holding the line against the titular blood-sucking monsters. But halfway through, the anime flipped perspectives and showed the same events from the Shikis' eyes. The Shikis' ensuing massacre at the villagers' hands isn't just hard to watch; it's distressing as well.
Shiki delved into mankind's darkness, showing how monstrous people can get when they give themselves the right excuses to kill and torture. Regardless of who was right or wrong, Shiki ended with almost everyone dead, the survivors broken, and the village burned. Revisiting this harrowing title after one watch is, understandably, next to impossible.