If there's one thing anime is good at, it's evoking strong emotions in its audience. Many anime delve deep into the more emotional and sentimental side of life, sometimes getting more real than fans anticipated. Fans love when a story makes them feel something, and as a result, there are a lot of sad anime out there nowadays.
Some of the greatest anime stories of all time are absolutely heartbreaking, showing just how impactful emotions are in a series. Many of these titles are well-deserving of the praise they receive, but some get hyped up a little too much. While many popular sad anime have become highly overrated throughout the years, they still succeed at drawing fans in and bringing a tear to their eyes.
10 Elfen Lied Sees Too Much Praise From Horror Fans, But It's Still A Devastatingly Sad Series
Elfen Lied is regarded as a horror anime classic, and many fans still see it as a must-watch series to this day. However, the series has aged poorly over the years, and much of the horror is pure shock value compared to modern titles. It's a messy and disjointed story, and it leaves many questions unanswered, focusing instead on the needless gore.
Though it may see more praise than it deserves, Elfen Lied is still an emotional and devastating series. It's earned a reputation for its depressing story arcs that bring even the strongest viewers to tears. This alone is the series' saving grace and a big reason why many are still so attached to it and the characters.
9 Plastic Memories' Sad Story Feels Artificial But Manages To Move Fans Anyway
Plastic Memories is often listed up there with the big names of sad, tear-jerking anime. However, despite its popularity, the series fails to create the same emotion as these other titles. Plastic Memories focuses on the concept of life and death, introducing a race called Giftia, who live incredibly short lives compared to humans. This concept is played up throughout the series, creating a forced sad story that isn't quite as organic as the usual tearjerkers.
Nevertheless, this series still manages to pull at the heartstrings of viewers. Even if the emotions feel more artificial, it still leaves a lasting impression on fans and is a worthwhile series for those who love a sad ending.
8 Orange Touches On Dark Subject Matter, Making It Increasingly Popular Among Fans
Orange was an instant hit among anime fans when it was first released. The series tackles many heavy subjects and topics that most anime would never delve into, bringing it a lot of attention from all sides. It's regarded by fans as a modern masterpiece, though many tend to ignore its bigger issues.
With a contrived plot and often poorly-written characters, Orange never reaches its full potential. However, the emotions in the series are raw and realistic, and its emphasis on mental health is a refreshing take that everyone can appreciate.
7 Anohana Has A Lot Of Problems But Still Brings Out The Tears
Among the many sad anime out there, Anohana is often a fan favorite. It's considered one of the greatest sad stories in anime, and few are able to watch the series without shedding a tear. However, despite its popularity, there's a lot wrong with the series.
Anohana is poorly written in many places, many characters are unlikable, and the plot moves at a snail's pace. But even with all of these issues, fans just can't help but love this series. The sad moments in Anohana are considered some of the biggest tearjerkers in anime history, rightfully earning it a place among some of the best sad series out there.
6 Attack On Titan's Dark Story Makes It Extremely Popular
Attack on Titan is one of the most popular anime of all time, as well as one of the saddest. With such a bleak storyline, there's no way fans won't be shedding a tear or two while watching. But like with all incredibly popular series, many consider Attack on Titan a very overrated series that fans blow up into something greater than it is.
Whether or not that's really true, it's undeniable that the series is beautifully sad. Its dark and depressing story is full of compelling emotion, and it's well worth it for anyone who loves when a series makes them hurt.
5 Angel Beats Has Only A Few Sad Moments, But They're Very Memorable
When it comes to sad anime, few have reached the notoriety of Angel Beats. Many consider it one of the most heartbreaking anime of all time, and it's no wonder why.
The series has emotional and tearjerking moments throughout as each of the characters slowly fade from existence one by one. However, when comparing it to other Key series, Angel Beats holds a lot less emotional weight outside of these scenes. Despite that, these scenes are some of the most impactful of the entire series and make Angel Beats one of the most memorable sad anime out there.
4 Madoka Magica's Heartbreaking Premise Has Changed Anime Forever
Puella Magi Madoka Magica shook up the anime world with its groundbreaking story and retelling of magical girls. Though it deserves every bit of its praise, it's hard to deny that the series has become very overrated at this point. It's influenced anime in many ways, for better or for worse, and there's no turning back now.
Though these days it feels like Madoka Magica has taken over the anime landscape, it's still a compelling and spellbinding series filled with emotion and heart. No matter how overrated it may get, its emotional rollercoaster of a story will never truly get old.
3 Your Name's Flaws Are Overlooked Due To Its Powerful Emotions
Your Name is a bittersweet story of two people whose lives become intertwined and change forever. It's a sad yet heartwarming story, not to mention one of the most popular anime films of all time. It has touched the hearts of countless fans and is a renowned modern classic.
Despite its well-deserved praise, Your Name is far from perfect. Many of its glaring flaws are overlooked by viewers due to its intense emotional weight. Though the story is overhyped by fans and media, it's still a worthwhile and gorgeous film that resonates with its audience.
2 Your Lie In April's Tragic Story Makes Up For The Awkward Comedy And Slow Pacing
There are many sad and compelling stories in anime, but few stick with fans quite like Your Lie in April. It's easily one of the most popular sad anime around, and most anime fans praise it for its beautiful visuals, storytelling elements, and heartbreaking scenes. However, not everything in the series is perfect.
It moves at an incredibly slow pace at first, making it hard for newcomers to hold interest. It also throws in awkward slapstick and comedy that takes away from the emotional moments in the series. But overall, despite these misgivings, Your Lie in April is a gorgeous story and an instant classic that anyone who loves sad anime should check out.
1 Clannad Has A Lot Of Problems, But It Remains The Saddest Story In Anime History
Clannad is famous for being the most heartbreaking anime series of all time. It's a beautiful and thoughtful story of family, loss, and grief that still holds up nearly two decades later. Though it's well-deserving of the love and praise it receives, it's no surprise that the series has become very overrated as the years have passed.
Despite its praises, the series has many problems with pacing, confusing storylines, and annoying clichés that bring it down. However, the good certainly outweighs the bad with Clannad; even years later, it's impossible not to break down in tears while watching it. It's a sad and memorable series that many still hold near and dear to their hearts.
NEXT: 10 Best Underrated Sad Anime Every Fan Should Watch