Some great anime shows will actually make you weep your eyes out, while others will leave you with a bleak sense of desolation inside. Even some of the most popular series, such as ‘Naruto,’ can give you shivers with their tragic, heartfelt moments. So, if you’ve been watching anime for a while, you’re probably aware that it has several disturbing pieces that remain with you for a long time.
25. Garden of the Words (2013)
Takao, who aspires to be a shoemaker, skips school and spends his time drawing shoes in a garden in Tokyo. He encounters Yukino, a strange woman who is older than him.
Then, without planning ahead of time, the two begin to meet each other regularly, but only on rainy days.
24. Wolf Children (2012)
After her werewolf boyfriend is killed in an accident while foraging for food for their children, a young lady must figure out how to raise her werewolf son and daughter while keeping their features secret from society.
23. Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011)
A coming-of-age narrative about youthful love and a mystery piece of music emanating from a crystal radio given as a souvenir by an absent father, which takes a young heroine deep into a hidden realm.
22. Flavors of Youth (2018)
Three stories of Chinese youth from various cities: memories buried in a bowl of boiling noodles, a fading beauty is finding her path, and bittersweet first love.
21. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day – The Movie (2013)
When one of their friends was killed in an accident, a group of pals was split up. Later, she reappears as a ghost, attempting to enter heaven, but her companions must grant her a wish to do so.
20. Grave Of Fireflies (1988)
Up next on our list of saddest anime on Netflix we have Grave of the Fireflies. Grave of the Fireflies is produced by the well-known Studio Ghibli, a film company known for its melancholy animation film themes. Aside from the depressing narrative, the film includes one of the most heartbreaking anime deaths.
The movie takes place in post-World War II Japan and follows two orphans fighting for their lives. Setsuko, a four-year-old child, discovers how harsh life can be in the film. Her elder brother does his best to care for her, but he finally falls short.
Seita (the brother) searches for additional food after giving Setsuko a little slice of melon. Unbeknownst to him, the small piece of watermelon would be his sister’s last meal. Grave of the Fireflies is made all the more tragic because it is based on a true story.
19. I Want to Eat Your Pancreas (2018)
“Me,” a high school student, discovered a paperback in the hospital one day. It was called the “Disease Coexistence Journal.” Sakura Yamauchi, “Me’s” classmate, had kept a journal secret. It was stated that her days were numbered owing to her pancreatic illness.
As a result, “Me” progressed from “Just-a-Classmate” to “Secret-Knowing-Classmate.” It was as though he was pulled to her, who was the polar opposite of him. However, the world delivered an equally terrible truth to the girl who was already afflicted.
18. Omoide no Marnie (2014)
In certain areas, this is also known as When Marnie Was There. The film tells a compelling narrative of self-discovery and the complexities of genuine friendship. The plot focuses on Anna Sasaki, a little girl who suffers from asthma episodes regularly.
Anna lives with her parents and frequently avoids others, preferring to be alone. After consulting with a doctor, her parents moved Anna upcountry, thinking that the location change would affect her attitude and conduct.
While exploring the hamlet, Anna comes across the Marsh House, an abandoned house. However, she quickly discovers that the house is occupied by a girl named Marnie. They become fast friends.
17. Doukyuusei (2016)
Doukyuusei is one of the finest anime films in terms of character development. The entire character design is superb, and when combined with the engaging plot, Doukyuusei is a fantastic film. Hiraku and Rihito are two apparently unconnected persons whose paths may never cross.
Rihito is the prototypical brilliant kid who acquits himself admirably on his school admission exam. Hiraku, on the other hand, is more interested in music and is the guitarist for a particular band. However, as the music festivals approach, the two find themselves working together.
16. Lost Song (2014)
The narrative of Rin, a girl, endowed with the ability to sing, is told in Lost Song. She sets out on a quest to sing in the capital city. However, she is unaware that another girl in town named Finis possesses a similar gift.
While Rin is an active adolescent from the village, Finis is a hermit who lives in the city’s royal castle. Both, however, share the power of singing, which has been known to move the winds, generate water, and cure wounds.
As battle looms over the kingdom, the two brilliant girls hope that their farewell song will give their loved ones hope.
15. Perfect Blue (1998)
Perfect Blue is as good as it gets when it comes to critically regarded sad anime flicks. The film is based on the book Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis and exposes the evils of the entertainment industry.
Mira Kirigoe, the main character, is a well-known pop artist and part of the famous group CHAM! Mira subsequently quits her band to pursue a career as an actress. On the other hand, the acting world does not treat her well, and she struggles to let go of her pop artist persona.
Mira’s career seems to be eluding her as she takes on increasingly challenging acting jobs. Her predicament is then exacerbated by an obsessive admirer who did not react well to her job shift. All of the events in Mira’s life ultimately take their toll on her, to the point where she begins to doubt her sanity.
14. 7 Seeds (2019)
7 Seeds is our next entry on our list of sad Anime on Netflix. Fans of vibrant anime films will undoubtedly enjoy this one. The television series 7 Seeds is set in a post-apocalyptic world years after a meteorite crashes the Earth. A new type of creature has emerged. The story follows five groups of young people trying to figure out how to live after being released from cryonic preservation.
Aside from a rollercoaster of emotions, the saddest anime films and T.V. series also have engaging plots. Because of the powerful emotions generally connected with the anime genre, the movies and series are worth seeing at any time.
13. 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)
Takaki and Akari are elementary school friends. They became good friends during their time together. When Akari travels to another city due to her parents’ work, their friendship is tested.
Both of them are struggling to keep their friendship alive as time and distance separate them. Takaki chooses to pay one more visit to Akari after learning that he would be relocating further away.
12. The Wind Rises (2013)
Jiro aspires to fly and create magnificent airplanes like the legendary Italian aviation designer Caproni. Jiro, born nearsighted and unable to fly, joined a prominent Japanese engineering firm in 1927 and became one of the world’s most inventive and talented airplane designers.
The film depicts major historical events such as the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the Great Depression, the T.B. epidemic, and Japan’s entry into World War II. Jiro meets and falls in love with Nahoko, and he builds and treasures his friendship with Honjo, his coworker.
11. Forest of Piano (2018)
In Japan, the T.V. show is titled Piano no Mori: The Perfect World of Kai and follows Kai Ichinose. He regularly flees his mother’s red-light district to play the piano in the forest, and Shuhei, the son of a professional pianist.
Shuhei is dared to play the supposedly damaged woodland piano one day. Previously, only Kai had been able to obtain sound from the piano. Shuhei and his piano instructor eventually come to appreciate and believe in Kai’s piano abilities, even going so far as to encourage him to take music classes, which he refuses.
10. NiNoKuni (2019)
High schooler Yuu and his buddy Haru become embroiled in a case involving his childhood friend Kotona, which compels them to go back and forth between their world and Ni no Kuni, a different yet somewhat similar world to theirs.
When Kotona’s life is in danger in both the actual world and Ni no Kuni, what is the final option the three of them must make in Ni no Kuni?
9. The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004)
The narrative is set in 1996, in an alternate postwar time in which Japan is split. The “Union” governs Hokkaido, whereas the U.S. governs Honshu and the other southern islands.
On Hokkaido, a large structure was constructed that could be seen from Tokyo. In the summer of 1996, three middle-school kids pledge to cross the border in a self-built plane to discover the tower’s secret. Still, their plans are derailed when the girl, Sayuri Sawatari, falls suddenly ill and is transported to Tokyo.
Years later, on the eve of another war, Hiroki Fujisawa discovers that Sayuri has been in a coma since then. He seeks Takuya Shirakawa for assistance in finding a method to wake her up.
8. A Silent Voice (2016)
‘A Silent Voice,’ produced by Kyoto Animation Studio, is an anime film about a bored adolescent named Shouya Ishida. To pass the time, he and many of his classmates brutally harass a new deaf transfer student called Shouko Nishimiya. However, when the school officials learn about this, only he is held responsible for all that has happened to her.
Soon after, the whole school begins to ignore him, and he spends the rest of his middle and high school days alone. Much later, when he recognizes his errors, he resolves to see Shouko again and make up for whatever harm he may have caused. What follows is a feel-good narrative about a young child who attempts to make up for his mistakes in the past.
‘A Silent Voice’ offers some of the most gorgeous images and music, in addition to a beautifully touching tale. The deep and gloomy subjects it addresses will undoubtedly cause your heart to flutter more than once. Finally, it may cause you to rethink your own relationships with individuals from your past and present.
7. Violet Evergarden (2018)
Kyoto Animation’s ‘Violet Evergarden’ is another slice-of-life animation. It relates to the narrative of Violet, a young adolescent girl who got caught up in the violence of the Great War. All the while, she was solely taught to destroy enemies, and she finds herself in the hospital at the end of the war, with nothing except a few unknown words from her only loved one.
She begins working at the CH Postal Services after feeling adrift in the postwar world. At her employment, she discovers an “Auto Memory Doll,” which serves as an assistant, converting a person’s ideas into words on paper. She is so taken with the concept that she chooses to work as one herself, so her adventure starts, which helps her alter the lives of the people she works for and helps her realize the true purpose of her own life.
Kyoto Animation is well-known for focusing on heartfelt slice-of-life productions. Despite this, ‘Violet Evergarden’ is extremely different from their earlier works. Overall, the anime is much more than an effective tearjerker, and it may even teach you a thing or two about your own genuine mission in life.
6. In This Corner of the World (2016)
Suzu Urano, a young girl, goes to the tiny village of Kure in Hiroshima and marries a clerk who works at the adjacent naval installation. They have a difficult time because of the severe wartime conditions, yet they nevertheless manage to live a respectable existence. However, all of this comes to an end when the Hiroshima bombings obliterate their hamlet in 1945. Initially, she is saddened by the impact of the bombs on the lives of everyone around her. Still, she overcomes all of her difficulties and attempts to live an entire life with courage and unbreakable resolve.
‘In This Corner of the World’ has a brief length of 2 hours and 36 minutes, yet it can take you on an emotional rollercoaster in that time. This anime is undoubtedly one of the finest war films out today, from its frightening depiction of air raids to uplifting scenes that will certainly make you cry. If you were moved by ‘Grave of the Fireflies,’ I am confident that you will also be driven by this one.
5. Toradora (2009)
Coming up next on our list of sad anime on Netflix is Toradora. Unlike the other anime on this list, ‘Toradora’ is more rom-com with traditional character stereotypes. Taiga Aisaka, the female protagonist, is a tsundere who always carries a wooden Katana with her. On the other hand, we have a kind-hearted male protagonist, Ryuuji Takasu, whose imposing appearance frequently leads to his being branded as a delinquent. Initially, the two meet together to assist one another in gaining the attention of their respective affections. But, as time passes, things take an unexpected turn, and what began as an unusual relationship quickly transforms into an improbable alliance.
Overall, ‘Toradora’ is a classic high school comedy designed to make you laugh and drool over its adorable characters. The bittersweet finale of this anime, on the other hand, will leave you with an oddly melancholy sensation. I won’t provide too many spoilers here, so if you want to learn more about it, you’ll have to see it yourself. Don’t be shocked if this romantic comedy leaves you with a black emptiness in your heart.
4. Erased (2016)
A-1 Pictures’ ‘Erased,’ also known as ‘Boku Dake ga Inai Machi’ in Japanese, is a mystery sci-fi thriller. Every time he sees a sad occurrence, the protagonist, Satoru Fujinuma, is unwillingly transported back in time by a few minutes. This strange yet strong phenomenon enables him to save the lives of countless innocent people.
When he is framed for his mother’s murder, he is sent back in time to 18 years before the tragedy. This clarifies that his mother’s death may be linked to events from his youth.
Things begin to make sense when he runs across one of his former classmates, Kayo Hinazuki, who was abducted and murdered by an unknown assailant. Satoru must now race against time to change his history so that it saves the lives of two innocent people.
Now, I won’t say whether or not the anime has a nice ending, but what makes it a worthwhile addition to our list is its representation of numerous genuine, thought-provoking subjects. Child abuse, loneliness, despair, bullying, avoiding one’s troubles, and, of course, dealing with the loss of a loved one are a few examples.
3. A.I.C.O. Incarnation (2018-)
‘A.I.C.O. Incarnation’ is unlike any other anime on this list. It’s an exciting sci-fi adventure that’s the latest addition to Netflix’s growing roster of anime originals. It is set in the year 2035 and centers on an occurrence known as the “Burst,” which has a significant impact on the lives of numerous individuals. Aiko Tachibana, who now uses a wheelchair, is still grieving the death of her family as a result of the tragedy two years later.
But everything she thought she knew about herself and the incident changes when a transfer called Yuuya tells her the truth about what occurred. What follows is a fascinating adventure involving the two “teenagers,” who may now hold the destiny of humanity in their hands.
The action sequences and thrilling sci-fi puzzles are the main emphases of ‘A.I.C.O. Incarnation.’ However, it is the characters’ backstories that provide the anime a melancholy and depressing tone.
Even the gray color palette that depicts the semi-utopian aspect of the afflicted city contributes to the anime’s melancholic tone. If you’ve been considering watching this program, disregard all bad reviews and give it a chance. You may enjoy viewing it.
2. Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop (2021)
Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop revolves around Yui “Cherry” Sakura. A teenager who has seen the rougher side of life due to being in a state’s welfare system his whole life.
By a chance, he meets Yuki “Smile” Hoshino an influence on the rise that has a tendency to look at the bright side of life. Their contrasting upbringings and clashing characters make this anime movie a joy to watch.
1. Orange (2016)
The last anime on our list of sad anime on Netflix is Orange. Orange is a Shoujo anime unlike any other. Most Shoujo anime are so similar to one another that it’s almost as if if you’ve watched one, you’ve seen them all. ‘Orange,’ on the other hand, stands out for its conceptual ambitions.
It depicts a never-before-seen narrative that goes deeply into taboo topics like despair and suicide. Even though its plot is primarily based on sci-fi notions like time travel, it manages to inject a touch of nostalgia into it, which may evoke some of your own high school experiences.
It just pushes itself above all clichéd tropes with its traditional school rom-com premise.
Overall, ‘Orange’ isn’t a colossal tearjerker, but what distinguishes it as a “sad anime” is how it adorns itself with a poignant tale that makes you nostalgic for a country you’ve never been to.