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15 Best Sad Anime to Binge When You Are Feeling Low

best sad anime

It’s that time of year again when getting cozy in front of your screen is the only activity you’re capable of. Nothing seems to be a better mood lifter on a gloomy day than binging your all-time favorite shows. But if you’re looking for something to match your low spirits, you’re on the right track. Here’s the 15 best sad anime to serve as your safety valve when you feel like crying.

1. The Garden of Words

Garden of Words

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Original Title: Kotonoha no Niwa
Year: 2013

The Garden of Words will be your cup of tea if you’re into gloomy romantic dramas. More emotional than sad, it speaks about loneliness and forbidden love in a way that touches your heart. Plus, the movie is pretty short, lasting only about 46 minutes. It’s perfect for binging on a rainy day when your mood matches the weather.

And when you play it, you’ll immediately get showered by the Tokyo rainy season. The narrative follows a 15-year-old boy called Takao who decides to skip school. Instead of getting to his class, Takao goes to a local park to work on his new shoe design. There, he sees a somewhat older woman called Yukari who happens to be skipping work.

The two of them get into a conversation, and 27-year-old Yukari leaves after reciting Takao a poem. They happen to meet each other in the park on rainy days, and Takao even makes a pair of shoes in Yukari’s size. They officially meet only after the summer break when Takao finds out Yukari is the new literature teacher at his school. Will their feelings for each other come to the surface, and will their story have a happy ending?

2. Plastic Memories

Plastic Memories

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Original Title: Purasutikku Memorīzu
Year: 2015

Plastic Memories is a 13-episode-long Sci-Fi TV show set in the near future. It serves as a reminder that everything is temporary and that happiness can easily slip through your hands. The movie follows the impossible love between a human and an android that might bring you to tears. If you happen to be a fan of Westworld or Black Mirror, don’t miss out on this anime gem.

Tsukasa, an 18-year-old boy, finds a job at a company that produces human-like androids. The androids are called Giftias and are capable of experiencing a wide range of emotions. Nothing seems to set them apart from humans, except for their “expiration date.” These androids have a pretty short lifespan of only about nine years.

Tsukasa’s position at the company involves taking care of Giftias that are close to the end. He falls in love with Isla, a Giftia who happens to have not much time left. But the thing is — if these androids were to outlive their expiration dates, they would lose their memories and become violent. Will that be the case with Isla as well?

3. One-Week Friends

One-Week Friends

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Original Title: Isshūkan Furenzu
Year: 2014

This 24-episode-long anime is a heartwarming story that’s bound to bring you to tears. As its title suggests, it deals with the ever-important concept of friendship. On top of that, it touches upon omnipresent loneliness and the power of kindness. It can also remind you to cherish the time spent with your friends and your memories of it.

A high-school boy called Yūki notices Kaori, one of his classmates who always seems alienated. She doesn’t appear to have many friends, as no one else wants to spend time with her. For that reason, Yūki decides to approach her and become her friend. To his astonishment, Kaori claims she can’t be friends with him.

As it turns out, the girl suffers from a strange condition. Every Monday, she loses the memory of her friends, which is why no one bothers to spend time with her. Lucky for her, Yūki seems determined to become her friend no matter what. Give this moving anime a chance to see how Yūki wins her over every week.

4. Looking Up at the Half-Moon

Looking Up at the Half-Moon

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Original Title: Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora
Year: 2006

Also known as Hantsuki, this 6-episode long anime TV show is very emotional and moving. It’s a slice-of-life anime series that deals with real-life problems like loss and disease. It might be a bit hard to watch at times, due to its unpleasant topic. But the romantic thread within it promises to make this anime rather enjoyable.

The narrative revolves around Yuīchi, a 17-year-old high-school boy. Due to hepatitis A, he gets admitted to a local hospital in his hometown. There, he meets Rika, who seems to have spent a lot of time in the facility. He immediately gets attracted to her, despite her somewhat difficult nature.

Soon enough, the two of them begin to enjoy their time together and fall in love. In the meantime, Yuīchi finds out about Rika’s medical condition. As it turns out, she’s got a weak heart valve and doesn’t seem to have much time left. How will Yuīchi and Rika cope with their difficult situation?

5. March Comes in Like a Lion

March Comes in Like a Lion

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Original Title: Sangatsu no Raion
Year: 2016-2018

March Comes in Like a Lion is a 2-season, 44-episode-long manga TV show. It is yet another anime that deals with loss, loneliness, and hardship. On top of that, this series touches upon depression and teaches its viewers how to cope with it. After all, every emotion out there is human.

A 17-year-old boy called Rei loses his parents and his sister in a car accident. He happens to be a professional player of shogi (a Japanese variant of chess). But although he still has some interests, life hasn’t been kind to Rei. As a result, you can see him suffering from PTSD and depression.

Not surprisingly, Rei has trouble communicating with other people and making friends. At first, his only company is the family of his father’s friend, who takes him in. But Rei believes he’s only a burden to them, so he decides to leave. The story of his strengthening revolves around the Kawamoto sisters, who happen to be his biggest supporters.

6. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

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Original Title: Toki o Kakeru Shōjo
Year: 2006

As its title suggests, this is an anime that will take you on a journey through time. So, if you’re into time travels, romance, and plot twists, you’ll fall in love with this Japanese masterpiece. Besides, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is an enjoyable adventure with many humorous moments. But since you’re looking for something sad, know that this anime is quite a tear-jerker, too.

The main protagonist is Makoto, a 17-year-old girl who suddenly realizes she’s got superpowers. While reading a message written on a blackboard, she suddenly tumbles upon a small object on the floor and falls. Cycling home after school, her bike brakes fail her, and she ends up getting hit by a train. But to her astonishment, Makoto finds herself back in time before the accident, safe and sound.

When she discovers she can travel through time, Makoto uses her superpower carelessly. She goes back in time to get better grades, be punctual, and avoid a love confession from her friend Chiaki. A little too late, she realizes her time leaps are limited, and she cannot avoid an accident that kills her two other friends. But what happens when she falls in love with Chiaki, who admits he has come from the future and has to leave soon?

7. To the Forest of Firefly Lights

To the Forest of Firefly Lights

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Original Title: Hotarubi no Mori e
Year: 2011

If you’re looking for a romantic tragedy, welcome to the Forest of Firefly Lights. Although short, chances are this 45-minute anime will leave quite an impression on you. Like other Japanese animation movies, this one is also full of magic, spirits, love, and sorrow. So, brace yourself because you’re about to enter the forbidden forest that will probably make you cry.

To the Forest of Firefly Lights revolves around a 6-year-old girl Hotaru. She gets lost and winds up in a magical forest inhabited by all kinds of spirits. One of them, a human-looking spirit called Gin, finds her and helps her out. But he also warns her not to touch him because he would disappear forever if ever touched by a human.

A couple of days later, Hotaru returns to the forest looking for Gin. Throughout her many visits over the years, they manage to become friends and even fall in love — unfortunately, they still can’t touch. One day, there’s a spirit festival in the forest, and the two of them decide to attend it. But little do they know a human boy also decides to sneak in…

8. A Silent Voice: The Movie

A Silent Voice

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Original Title: Koe no Katachi
Year: 2016

Especially if you’re already feeling low, A Silent Voice may not be pleasant to watch. The film is about bullies and their victims — and you might recognize yourself in one group or the other. So, no matter which character you relate to, you’ll likely end up in tears. But this anime will teach you about the power of regret, forgiveness, and redemption.

A Silent Voice is an emotional story about Shoko, a deaf girl who moves to another school. She has a hard time adapting because her new classmates keep bullying her until she changes schools again. Shoya, the former leader of the bullies, becomes the victim himself after Shoko leaves. Consequently, he even blames his situation on her.

A couple of years later, you can see Shoya at high school, lonely and alone. Because he’s full of regrets, he can’t look anyone in the eye — all he sees are X’s over people’s faces. He decides to track Shoko and try to make it up to her. So, if you’re interested in how they forgive each other and fall in love, don’t miss this almost tragic story.

9. Spirited Away

Spirited Away

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Original Title: Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
Year: 2001

Spirited Away may not be the saddest movie there is, but it does get very emotional. This anime is about a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro whose family moves to another town. You might be thinking it’s a classic story about the hardships of a child who tries to fit in, but Spirited Away is anything but cliché. It is a world of magic that teaches about faith, love, courage, acceptance, and so much more.

When Chihiro’s family comes across what seems to be a deserted village, you know something strange is about to happen. Chihiro unwillingly goes to explore the eerie place, and her parents get transformed into pigs in the meantime. She becomes trapped in the magical world of spirits, talking animals, and other odd creatures. The poor girl quickly gets hold of her surroundings thanks to Haku — a dragon-boy who claims they’ve already met.

Haku tells Chihiro she has to get a job in the local bathhouse if she ever wants to see her parents again. So, she ends up working for a deceitful witch called Yubaba, who changes Chihiro’s name to Sen and exploits her. When Sen falls in love with Haku, and they remember how they’ve met, you’ll already be in tears. But save your sobs for the final scene when Sen becomes Chihiro again and comes back to reality.

10. Your Name

Your Name

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Original Title: Kimi no Na wa
Year: 2016

Your Name also deals with the inexplicable feeling of knowing someone from the past or another life. It is a story of soulmates and fate, permeated with strange magical occurrences. If you’re looking for a romantic fantasy with a couple of sad twists, this anime won’t let you down. Instead, it will hit you right in the feels and make you believe in fate.

The movie revolves around Mitsuha and Taki and their unique way of falling in love with each other. In the beginning, Mitsuha is a high school girl living in the small town of Itomori in 2013. She is unhappy with her life, so she starts to fantasize about being a boy from Tokyo. Oddly enough, her dream comes true when she wakes up in Taki’s body one day in Tokyo.

But in 2016, Taki also finds himself in Mitsuha’s body, living her life every once in a while. At first, they mistake these episodes for vivid dreams, but soon enough find out this is their reality. They start communicating by leaving each other messages for when they switch back — and they fall in love. Get ready for some tragic events, a couple of time-frame changes, and the ultimate reunion by fate.

11. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

Anohana

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Original Title: Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai

Are you up for a couple of hours of sad anime? If so, get ready because this 11-episode-long TV show is about to make you cry your eyes out. It is a moving story about friendship and loss that couldn’t possibly leave you indifferent. Prepare for all kinds of feelings because an emotional rollercoaster begins in 3, 2, 1…

The story begins with Jintan, a high-school drop-out who’s drifted away from his friends. One day, he sees his childhood crush, Menma, who asks him for a favor. But how can this be when Menma died in an accident five years earlier? Jintan believes he’s hallucinating until something changes his mind.

Namely, the spirit of his late friend can’t reincarnate until her dying wish has been granted. Unfortunately, even Menma doesn’t know what she hoped for. So, Jintan gathers four of their former best friends in an attempt to set Menma free. Each of them winds up dealing with guilt and regret as the mystery slowly unfolds.

12. I Want to Eat Your Pancreas

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas

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Original Title: Kimi no Suizō wo Tabetai
Year: 2018

Don’t let its title fool you because there will be no pancreas-eating in this anime whatsoever. Instead of a zombie-themed horror, you can expect a romantic tragedy. This moving story will teach you about friendship and love fighting against the inevitable. So, brace yourself for an emotional outburst if you decide to give this movie a chance.

The narrative follows a high-school boy called Haruki who stumbles across his classmate’s diary one day. The classmate, Sakura, is a popular girl from Haruki’s school he could be friends with only in his dreams. But things seem to change when Sakura’s journal informs him she’s dying from a pancreatic illness. The two of them start spending more time together and manage to become friends.

The thing is, none of Sakura’s other friends know about her condition. As a result, they get suspicious and even jealous of her unexpected friendship with Haruki. In the meantime, Haruki and Sakura’s romantic feelings for each other grow as they complete her bucket list. While you can’t blame what happens in the end on Sakura’s disease, her ill fate seems to have meddled one last time.

13. Orange

Orange

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Year: 2016

Are you up for a 13-episode-long slice-of-life anime that will hit you right in the feels? If so, don’t miss out on the TV show masterpiece called Orange, which you can also find as a movie and a manga. But although there aren’t any supernatural beings here, get ready for a somewhat strange plot. This narrative will take you on a journey toward your inner wishes and regrets.

In the first episode (called Letter 1), you get introduced to Naho. She’s a 16-year-old high-school student who’s about to have a rather strange day. To her own astonishment, Naho receives a letter from her 26-year-old future self. The letter accurately predicts things about a new transfer student called Kakeru.

Naho gets a little suspicious when the letters from her future self don’t match the reality. But she quickly learns that her decisions will have fatal consequences that she will regret ten years later. The tragic outcome seems to involve Kakeru, and future Naho appears to blame herself. Can present-day Naho not make the same mistakes as her 26-year-old self and avoid future regrets?

14. The Dog of Flanders: The Movie

Dog of Flanders

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Original Title: Gekijōban Furandāsu no Inu
Year: 1997

This movie is an adaptation of a 1975 TV show called A Dog of Flanders, based on an 1872 novel with the same name. Despite being somewhat old, its narrative is powerful and moving even today. It is a story about a human-animal bond, loss, and hardship. But because of its tragic outcome, it may not be easy to watch.

The story is set in 19-century Belgium and follows a poor boy called Nello. Since Nello’s parents are no longer around, the boy lives with his grandpa. The two of them make ends meet by delivering milk to the local market. They befriend Patrash, an abandoned dog previously abused by his owner.

Their bond deepens while Nello struggles to become a classical painter like Peter Paul Rubens. Unfortunately, Nello’s ill grandpa dies one day, not being able to afford his medicine. The mill goes on fire around the same time, and the villagers blame it on Nello. Filled with sorrow and hopelessness, the unfortunate boy and his dog are about to give up.

15. Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies

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Original Title: Hotaru no Haka
Year: 1988

Since you’re looking for a sad anime, Grave of the Fireflies is as gloomy as it gets. So, in case you’re already feeling depressed, this movie may be extremely difficult to watch. But if you’re up for a slap-in-the-face tragedy about World War Two victims, be sure to prepare a box of tissues. And remember that you’ve been warned.

Even at the beginning of this movie, you can see that its main protagonists are already dead. A 14-year-old boy called Seita starves to death at a train station, where a janitor picks up his belongings. Among the boy’s possessions, there’s a candy tin that turns out to contain his little sister’s remains. The janitor spills them, and the spirits of Seita and Setsuko rise up, accompanied by a bunch of fireflies.

Then, the narrative takes you a few months back to when the children were alive. The American forces destroy Seita and Setsuko’s house in an air-raid that ultimately kills their mother. Orphaned and homeless, they find shelter with their aunt, who does nothing but criticize them.

Soon enough, the children are on their own once again, with fireflies keeping them company only for a while — but you already know how their story ends.