20 Saddest Anime Movies That Are Sure To Make You Weep!

These sad anime films will definitely make you shed a tear or two!

Top Saddest Anime Movies

Anime is one of the most diverse mediums of storytelling that exists. While the action-packed shounen ones are the most popular of the lot, the spectrum of the genre in the world of anime is incredibly vast.

Anime has something for everyone – from an extremely picky watcher to the ones that watch everything irrespective of genre, the anime caters to the needs of all. Along with the most hilarious anime that make you roll off the floor laughing, some anime are so emotional that leave any grown man in tears and broken for days.

Some of the best-made anime are the ones with an emotional storyline because they have a particular charm in making the story resonate within yourself and strike a chord in our minds and hearts.

Saddest anime movies of all time:

If you don’t have the time to sit through a whole anime just for the feels to hit you, then sad anime movies are something that you will definitely turn to.

But once again, with the enormous number of anime films out there, picking out the saddest ones among them might be a huge task.

Fret not, because we have got you covered with a list of of saddest anime films out there. With that out of the way, let’s look at some potentially devastatingly sad anime movies.

Ikuzoo Minna!!!!!

20. Ride your wave

Runtime: 96 Minutes
Director: Masaki Yuasa
Studio: Science Saru
Release Date: June 21, 2019

With water as a constant backdrop, this sad anime movie tells the story of Hinako Mukaimizu and Minato Hinageshi. Hinako moves to a new apartment by the beach to attend college because of her love of surfing.

Here Hinako meets Minato, a fireman while rescuing her from a fire accident. The story progresses as Hinako tries to navigate life through the tragedy that she faces. A mix of both fantasy and a slice of life, it is a beautiful movie about love, sadness, and learning to accept life and moving forward.

19. A Silent Voice

Runtime: 130 minutes
Director: Naoko Yamada
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Release Date: September 17, 2016

A Silent Voice is a poignant anime film which follows the lives of Shoko Nishimiya, a new transfer student who is deaf, and her bully Shoya Ishida. Split in two phases, the movie follows the lives of the main characters as a grown up Shoya tries to seek forgiveness from Shoko for everything he had done to her in middle school.

This movie by Naoko Yamada is arguably one of the most popular movies of recent times that encapsulates bullying, suicide, trauma, and the importance of forgiveness in one’s life.

Though A Silent Voice inclines more towards the theme of redemption, this anime film can still make you cry with its story, and make you feel good with the character developments and incredible voice acting. It is no wonder considered one of the saddest anime movies out there.

18. The Dog of Flanders

Runtime: 142 minutes
Director: Yoshio Kuroda
Studio: Nippon Animation
Release Date: 15 March 1997

The Dog of Flanders by Nippon Animation is the telling of the tale of an innocent boy Nello Daas and his dog Patrasche, who he saves from a cruel owner. It is an abridged version of the anime adaptation, but follows the same story as that of the novel.

Nello who wants to become an artist comes across a competition organized by his artistic idol. The pure and innocent friendship between Nello and his dog, the relationship he develops with a companion named Alois Cogez, and the adversities he has to face in order to achieve his dream is what forms the crux of this movie.

The Dog of Flanders is a story of class divide shown by Alois’ father who tries to sabotage Nello’s attempts at making it big in life and at the same time a story of bonds; not just human to human, but the precious one of a human and a canine.

I’d suggest this movie to anyone who wishes to watch a wholesome yet sad anime movie and cry their hearts out!

17. Colorful

Runtime: 127 minutes
Director: Keiichi Hara
Studio: Sunrise Ascension
Release Date: 21 August 2010

Colorful is an anime movie directed by Keichii Hara which tells the story of a soul getting a second chance at life as it gets to inhibit a mortal body of a deceased high schooler Makoto Kobayashi. The soul is given 6 months to find the greatest sin the high schooler Makoto had committed in his life.

The story progresses as the soul tries to find the sin the body committed, trying to mend the broken relationship he had with his family along the way. Colorful is a sad anime movie that revolves around the idea of the pressures school children face, and the things that happen normally in day-to-day life that everybody is afraid to just confront.

It delves into the themes of family dynamics, suicide, and the difficulties people often struggle to confront, making it an anime movie that can easily tug at your heartstrings.

16. The Wind Rises

Runtime: 126 Minutes
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Studio: Studio Ghibli
Release Date: 20 July 2013

The Wind Rises is an autobiographical anime movie about Jiro Horikoshi, who designed the Mitsubishi A5M fighter planes that were used in World War II. The relationship of Horikoshi and his wife Nahoko, the sacrifices Horikoshi makes in the process of making his dream come true form the crux of the movie.

Miyazaki drew inspiration in this film from his mother, who suffered from tuberculosis which she survived; but spent many years in the hospital. Thus, accumulating all these aspects from his own life the legendary directed delivers a emotionally heavy hitting tale of love and loss in the anime film.

Without a doubt, The Wind Rises is one of the saddest anime movies out there! Depending on your mood, it can leave you in the dumps for a long time.

15. The Anthem of the Heart 

Runtime: 119 Minutes
Director: Tatuyuki Nagai
Studio: A1 pictures
Release Date: September 9, 2015

Next up in our list of saddest anime movies is The Anthem of the Heart, a film that revolves around the life of Jun, who loses the ability to talk due to childhood trauma. The story follows her as she goes to high school and is made a part of a club.

The interaction between Jun and the members of the club – Takumi, Natsuki, and Daiki form the second act of the movie. Their feelings towards each other, their misunderstandings, and learning to let go of the expectations that they had burdened themselves with form the story.

A completely innocent story of a bunch of middle school kids that will leave your hearts in a melted puddle.

14. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya 

Runtime: 137 Minutes
Director: Isao Takahata
Studio: Studio Ghibli
Release Date: 23 November 2013

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is an anime movie by Studio Ghibli, which tells the story of a girl who is found glowing in a bamboo shoot by a peasant Sanuki no Miyatsuko. The girl now named Kaguya grows into a beautiful, cheerful, and kind young woman and falls in love with a childhood friend Sutemaru.

Finding her beauty to be not of this world, her father Miyatsuko takes her to the capital to be groomed to be a princess and have her wed to a noble clan. Things that follow there form the crux of the story.

While it is regarded as one of the greatest Studio Ghibli works thanks to the unique animation style, there is a lingering sadness as one watches Kaguya grow up and slowly realize that her life won’t be the same as before. It’s focus on the ideas of love, growing up, loss and greed make for an tear jerking end.

Along with The Wind Rises, this movie is considered one of the saddest ghibli movies ever to be made too!

13. Summer Ghost

Runtime: 40 Minutes
Director: Loundraw
Studio: Flat Studio and Flagship line
Release date: November 12, 2021

It is said that the sounds of the fireworks calm the souls of the dead and people who are close to death, can see spirits. The story of the movie revolves around three kids – Tomoya, Aoi, and Ryou who face bad experiences both in school and life.

Filling the prerequisites, the three kids meet a spirit who committed suicide. Being of a curious nature Tomoya set off to find the reason for the suicide only to find more mysteries about their new ghost friend. A movie on the growing pressures on the children induced by the rat race is a theme that runs along in the movie. 

While it may be recent release, it still stands out as one of the saddest anime movies ever.

12.  Hotarubi no Mori E

Runtime: 44 Minutes
Director: Takahiro Omori
Studio: Brain Base
Release Date: September 5, 2011

Though Hotarubi no Mori E is a short anime film, it still manages to leave you with a hole in your heart by the end of it. This sad anime movie tells the story of a young girl Hotaru Takegawa, who has a chance encounter with a Yokai (spirit) in the forest named Gin.

The Yokai leads the girl out of the forest and asks her never to return to the forest. But she returns the next year leading to the two becoming close friends and as the years pass between them the feelings also grow apparent between the two.

The story continues as both try to navigate the curse cast upon Gin and their growing love. However, there is a foreboding sense throughout the movie, as you can feel it in your kokoro that something is about to go awfully wrong.

We’d definitely label this anime film a tear-jerker, so if you want shatter your heart into a million pieces, Hotarubi no Mori E should be a title you should definitely consider.

11When Marnie Was There 

Runtime: 103 Minutes
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Studio: Studio Ghibli
Release Date: 19 July 2014

The movie When Marnie was there, tells the story of a young Anna Sasaki – an orphan who is prone to frequent asthma attacks living with her foster parents. The story unfolds when she is dropped off at her relatives in the countryside for her treatment, and she goes on to explore the seaside of the country.

Here at an old mansion she meets and befriends a lady called Marnie, and we learn the story of Marnie. As Anna returns from the Seaside village, the movie comes full circle and we learn about Anna’s story.

Anna has a sad aura clinging on her throughout. You can’t help but feel that there is something off with her interactions with Marnie. The subtle change in expressions, and the way Anna copes to her new surroundings makes for a slow and relaxing watch. Drink this movie in, and let it play with your emotions!

10. Angel’s Egg

Runtime: 71 Minutes
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Studio: Studio Deen
Release Date: December 15, 1985

The avant-garde movie of Mamoru Oshii, set in a surreal world, tells the story of a Mako Hyodo and Jinpachi Nezu who are navigating through a world filled with strange phenomena. The young girl, Hyodo, finds an egg in this ominous setup and intends to take care of it and hatch it. Nezu, meanwhile is curious as to what Hyodo is upto and the contents of her egg.

Angel’s Egg is a slow burn movie and won’t be very appealing to the general viewer, but as you continue watching it you’ll find yourself lost in the dreamlike world that Oshii has created. It’s a pretty deep story with lots to ponder upon. The overall gloomy tone of the movie and its execution, makes Angel Egg one of the saddest anime movies of all time.

Multiple watches might be required for you to grasp the movie and all the allegories it presents completely. The films touches upon existentialism and beliefs in its own vivid way and will leave you with a lot of questions and nursing a good amount of grief!

It is not a movie that makes you sad-sad, but its still something that manages to put you in the dumps.

9. In This Corner of the World

Runtime: 129 minutes(Original Version), 168 minutes (Extended Version)
Director: Sunao Katabuchi
Studio: MAPPA
Release Date: October 28, 2016

Set in the backdrop of the Second World War, the movie tells the story of Suzu, who lives with her husband Shusaku in Kure. They both live very close to the Naval base, overlooking the Japanese Naval Fleet.

With the bombing of the city of Hiroshima being a focal point, the story follows the incidents of Suzu’s life after the bombing.  The subplots of her sister’s independent lifestyle, and the US airstrikes on the naval base all form the various arcs in the movie.

The movie talks about depression, grief, death, acceptance, and coming to terms with reality. In the corner of the world is a take on the hardships and effects the world war had on the general people of Japan, and their mental fortitude in the darkest times of the country’s history.

Believe it or not, this anime film will leave you sad by the time you finish watching it.

8. Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

Runtime:  115 Minutes
Director: Mari Okada
Studio: P.A Works
Release Date: 24 February, 2018

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms is an anime film that is well known for sadness quotient. It follows the story of Maquia, a celestial being called Iorph, who gets entangled in a power struggle and is thrown into the world of mortals.

Here she finds a child grabbing onto his dead mother, and decides to raise him as her own kid. She names him Ariel. However, the task might not be as easy as it sounds as she is unaware of how the human world works and there is also this lingering loneliness inside her which she has to deal with.

The movie delves deep into the idea of familial relationships and of finding oneself in this never-ending world. It also tackles the notions of freedom and loneliness simultaneously, in a unique format to give out a new experience as well as a contemporary perspective.

Maquia takes us on a journey of what it feels like to be tied with the chains of freedom in the cage of immortality. You can read more in the review below!

7. Wolf Children

 Runtime: 117 minutes
Director: Mamoru Hasoda
Studio: Studio Chizu
Release Date: July 21, 2012

A hard-working college student Hana falls in love with a mysterious, charismatic, and enigmatic person and falls in love with him. He later reveals himself to be a werewolf, despite that their love goes strong and they have 2 kids – Ame who was born on a rainy day, and Yuki, born on a snowy day.

Their happiness doesn’t last long after her husband is killed in an accident. Hana now has two mutant kids to raise all by herself in a city that is not the best atmosphere for them. Wolf Children is a wonderfully crafted movie by Mamoru Hosoda and explores the struggles of a single mother in a cruel and unforgiving world.

Sad moments hit from the start of the movie itself as Hana’s husband dies. However, the themes of growing up, and finding one’s identity also leave you with a lump in the throat.

 6. Barefoot Gen

Runtime: 83 Minutes
Director: Tengo Yamada
Studio: Madhouse
Release Date: July 23, 1983

Barefoot Gen is yet another war drama which manages to take a place in this list of saddest anime movies. It follows the story of a young Gen Nakaoka in the backdrop of the second world war. As the war intensifies, the cities in Japan are bombarded by the US allies and Japan is being pressured from all sides.

The war has led to a scarcity of resources and people everywhere are struggling to make ends meet as finances are being directed toward the war. Gen hopes to move to Hiroshima and live peacefully after the war, but we all know what happened next.

A story of grit, determination, and mental fortitude, definitely will leave a tear as the movie ends. Barefoot Gen is also one of the best anime films that released in 1980s.

5. Belladonna of Sadness

Runtime: 87 Minutes
Director: Eiichi Yamamoto
Studio: Studio Musashi
Release Date: June 30, 1973

Set in Medieval France, newlyweds Jeanenne and Jean make their way into the castle of the Baron to pay their respects. But a celebration of happiness turns into a nightmare after the baron and his subordinates have their way with her.

The story turns violent after her husband abandons her and she is met with a strange spirit in her dreams who give her everything in exchange for her body. As she turns powerful in the village, she becomes the target of everyone who is now jealous of her success.

Unlike your typical sad anime movies, Belladona of Sadness is a dark, violent psycho-sexual drama that is mentally exhausting and is prone to keep you sad for reasons other than a tear jerker plot. 

4.  I want to eat your pancreas

Runtime: 108 Minutes
Director: Shinchiro Ushikima
Studio: Studio VOLN
Release Date: July 28, 2018

*Grab tissues*. I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is the definition of an anime movie which is a tear-jerker through and through.

The story follows an unnamed bookworm protagonist who gets hold of a diary at a hospital and starts reading it only to find out that it was the diary of his popular classmate Sakura Yamauchi. The protagonist learns that she is dying from an illness in her pancreas and remains aloof about it.

This draws Sakura closer to him and they both start doing things that Sakura wanted to and checking them off of her bucket list. As they both start interacting with each other, the protagonist who had a flow of things in his life, finds them disrupted and, starts liking it. They fall in love.

But the story doesn’t stop here. *sniffles as I write*. Just watch the movie, *sniffles* *sniffles* *Sniffles*

3. 5 Centimeters per Second.

Runtime: 63 minutes
Director: Makoto Shinkai
Studio: Comix Wave.Inc
Release Date: 03 March 2007

You might be surprised that this list of sad anime movies did not feature even a single Makoto Shinkai movie till now (NO! YOUR NAME IS NOT A SAD ANIME MOVIE!). However, 5 Centimeters per Second more than makes up for the absence.

5 cms per second is a movie that will hit you right in the feels and makes you feel the pain behind the character’s smile. The movie tells the story of Takaki and Akari, who meet each other in elementary school and become really good friends. Due to the nature of their parent’s jobs, they change schools. The two promise to remain close to each other and as they grow, so does the relationship.

But unfortunately both chicken out before they can confess. The yearning for each other continues, unable to tell their true feelings to each other. This Shinkai movie explores the harsh reality about long distances relationships and unrequited feelings. It’s slow burn movie, that’ll slowly and surely touch your heart and make you shed a tear or two.

Get ready to walk around with those heavy feelings!

2. Grave of the fireflies

Runtime: 86 Minutes
Director: Isao Takahata
Studio: Studio Ghibli, Shinchosa
Release Date: 16 April 1998

 Arguably considered one of the saddest anime movies which focuses on the consequences of war, it is no surprise that Grave of the Fireflies makes it to the second place in this list. Fair warning, it is hard to recover from the after-effects of this movie, which include a gaping hole in your heart and mild to serious depression.

It is a war-tragedy movie that shows the aftermath of the American bombing of Kobe, Japan during the 2nd World War in 1945. Surviving the bombing of the Kobe, two siblings – Seita and Setsuko make their way to their aunt’s home for survival, but she makes use of them and ousts them from the house.

Fighting for survival, the elder brother does everything to ensure his sister’s life. The innocence, love, and sheer realities the kids had to go through at such a young age make for an intense watch. Beware, your heart is going to break in places that you never knew existed. CARRY TISSUE AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT.

1.  Kite

 Runtime: 60 Minutes (Uncensored); 40 Minutes (Censored)
Director: Yasuomi Umetsu
Studio: ARMS
Release Date: February 25, 1998, & October 25, 1998

Now, we have a real curveball for you at the first position in our list of saddest anime movies! Would it help if I said that this movie was suggested by Quentin Tarantino to Chiaki Kuriyama to prep her for her role in Kill Bill.

Kite is a movie that revolves around a schoolgirl called Sawa, who lives with her foster parents after the bloody murder of her parents. Along with being a high schooler, she is also trained to be an assassin who carries out the mission for her foster parents Akai and Kaine.

Sawa meets a fellow assassin Oburi and starts developing feelings for him and wishes to be in a reality with him, out of the abusive clutches of Akai.

Kite is a predominantly dark movie with a sad backdrop and a gloomy undertone running throughout it. The description doesn’t do any justice to the emotional aspect of the movie which can only be experienced and not read through. I’ll just say – watch it, you’ll thank me. (The anime, not the movie featuring Samuel L Jackson)

Do you think we missed any sad anime films that should be there on this list? Let us know your recommendations in the comments below!

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