You sometimes want to be moved to tears at a heartwarming story of movies and novels, don’t you? An anime, which is a genre that has become much more popular around the world, is a perfect thing that makes you cry.
There are a lot of emotional anime that are classified into various categories including drama, adventure and romance. Many anime fans are impressed with some masterpieces that are not looked on as representative moving anime. Some stirring stories are hidden behind daily scenes and mundane experiences; other heartwarming descriptions are contained in a grand fantasy adventure.
Today, I’d like to introduce 10 best emotional anime that will make you cry. This list includes some classic titles that has made a large number of anime fans weep and great works that are less-known to foreign people. It also ranges from a long anime series that you can go too deep into to one-shot movies that you can complete just for a couple of hours.
1. Violet Evergarden
Kyoto Animation, which has created lots of high-quality touching anime series, released Violet Evergarden (ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン) in 2018. The coming-of-age drama consisting of 13 episodes plucked the heartstrings of anime fans all over the world. It is based on Kana Akatsuki’s four-volume light novel and is distributed exclusively on Netflix. A spin-off movie Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll was released in 2019, followed by Violet Evergarden: The Movie, a sequel movie to the anime series, in 2020.
Set in a fictional medieval world just after the four-year-long great war ended, Violet Evergarden casts a spotlight on a young girl named Violet Evergarden. Being physically and emotionally wounded during the war, she begins a new job as an Auto Memory Doll with metal prosthetic arms. She is learning much and is understanding more words and feelings through writing letters in place of customers who have various backgrounds. With the moving drama, beautiful background pictures and music, this anime depicts how the emotionless girl changes. As far as I’m concerned, Episode 5, 9 and 10 particularly made me cry as well as Violet Evergarden: The Movie.
Toradora! (とらドラ！), which was broadcasted with 25 episodes in 2008-2009, has been universally praised as one of the best emotional romantic-comedy anime series of all time. It is based on the same-titled light novel series written by Yuyuko Takemiya between 2006 and 2009. A reliable Japanese anime studio J.C.Staff created it with the director Tatsuyuki Nagai, the screenwriter Mari Okada and the character designer Masayoshi Tanaka, who are also subsequently known for other outstanding works including Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (2011) and The Anthem of the Heart (2015).
Toradora! presents more than a few moving episodes throughout the story, focusing on several high school students. A 16-year-old boy Ryuji Takasu, who lives with his mother, gets closer to his neighbor Taiga Aisaka, who lives alone in a luxury apartment. She usually assumes an aggressive attitude to others, whose sensitive side is revealed by his kindness. Each of their friends with a sunny disposition also has personal problems related to their friends and families.
3. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
What is the best moving anime series ever that tears the heartstrings of you? Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない。) is one of the most famous and popular anime that make many people cry. In 2011, the coming-of-age drama anime was made by A-1 Pictures with some creators who also produced Toradora! (2008-2009). The anime series 11 episodes were followed by an anime movies subtitled A Letter to Menma with additional episodes in 2013.
Set in a countryside in Chichibu, Saitama, Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day centers on a high school student Jinta Yadomi, who refuses to attend school, and his childhood friends. They have grown apart from each other since their beloved friend Meiko Honma who passed away in an accident when they are elementary school students. One day, she shows up in front of him as a ghost, which gets their story moving again. It focuses on their important past to remember and reconstruction of the relationship between them. Your emotion will reach the peak as the story draws toward the climax.
Exploring in a pile of anime in the last few decades, I strongly recommend to watch Clannad as the classic heartbreaking choice. Quite a few fans believe the masterpiece changed their life. It is not easy to find a more emotional anime than Clannad and its sequel Clannad After Story. Kyoto Animation made 22 episodes for the first season in 2007-2008 and another 22 episodes for Clannad After Story in 2008-2009, which are based on Key’s visual novel game released in 2004.
Clannad, categorized as just slice of life or drama, vividly depicts the reality of ordinary high school students and their families with painful honesty. The heartwarming story contains seriousness mixed with humorous and laid-back episodes. A protagonist Tomoya Okazaki has a lot of involvement in several students in the high school especially the main heroine Nagisa Furukawa, who looks cheerful but is actually plagued by poor physical health. The thought-provoking anime gives you the chance to rethink what about your family. Some people hesitate to watch this anime for its characteristic character design, however, they will get comfortable with it soon. More importantly, Clannad is well worth watching.
5. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (鬼滅の刃), a greatest dark-fantasy action adventure anime, which not just makes you excited but hits you right in the feels. There are a bunch of impressive lines of passionate characters and shocking episodes as well as intense battle scenes in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. The 2020 smash-hit The Movie: Mugen Train features one of the coolest and saddest parts. Adapted from Koyoharu Gotouge’s manga series serialized on Weekly Shonen Jump between 2016 and 2020, the first anime series consisting of 26 episodes was made by Ufotable in 2019, followed by the second season titled Entertainment District Arc in 2021-2022 and the third season Swordsmith Village Arc in 2023.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba places an emphasis on the adventure of a young boy Tanjiro Kamado, whose family was killed by Demons and little sister Nezuko was turned into a Demon. To restore her humanity, he embarks on a journey to beat the king of the Demons. He and Nezuko meet reliable friends and powerful demon slayers, experience fierce fights against vicious Demons and lament the deaths of someone important to them. You will be touched in episodes focusing on pasts of swordsmen and even memories of opposite Demons when they were still human beings.
6. Your Lie in April
Your Lie in April (四月は君の嘘) has been loved by anime fans across the world as a nice modern moving drama since it aired in 2014-2015. The impressive 22 episodes were made by A-1 Pictures, based on Naoshi Arakawa’s manga series serialized from 2011 to 2015. For those who want to enjoy a good emotional anime on weekends, the one-season series is highly recommended.
Your Lie in April is set in Nerima City, Tokyo, Your Lie in April presents a coming-of-age and romance story of a 14-year-old pianist Kosei Arima and violinist Kaori Miyazono. He has gotten away from playing the piano since his mother died three years ago, who had trained him hard to make him a first-class pianist. He is changed by a meeting with Kaori, who plays the violin in a free and imaginative manner. You will be swayed by the secret hidden between them.
7. A Silent Voice
As one of the most emotional anime movies in recent years, A Silent Voice (聲の形) has been praised worldwide for its story and the theme of a social problem of bullying challenged people since it was released in 2016. Based on the same titled manga series written by Yoshitoki Oima between 2013 and 2014, the drama anime film is made by Kyoto Animation and is directed by Naoko Yamada, who is also famous for other fine movies such as K-On! The Movie (2011) and Tamako Love Story (2014).
At the beginning, A Silent Voice tells the past story of a boy Shoya Ishida and a girl Shoko Nishimiya in their elementary school days. Shoko was bullied because of her deafness: Some classmates played with and lost her hearing aid not once or twice. Shoya Ishida also got bullied by other classmates since he had been looked on as the student at the center of the bullying toward her. Then, she transferred to another school. Shoya meets her agains when they are third-grade high school students and he is trying to kill himself for past sins. A Silent Voice has made lots of people cry in only two hours.
The legendary action adventure Naruto, which many anime lovers regard as the best anime series of all time, is filled with heartrending episodes besides cool and passionate events. Naruto was originally serialized as a Weekly Shonen Jump manga written by Masashi Kishimoto from 1999 to 2014, which was made into two anime adaptations by Pierrot: Naruto (2002-2007) and Naruto: Shippuden (2007-2017).
Naruto is dominated by the titular protagonist Naruto Uzumaki, who was looked on as a failed Ninja student at first but becomes much stronger for his great efforts and plenty help from teachers and friends. Naruto and his fellows go through a lot of difficulties: Facing powerful opposite Ninja, being betrayed by an associate, losing their significant people and so on. The long grand story is composed of 720 episodes, but you will not get bored in any story arc.
9. Your Name
Your Name (君の名は。), the number three movie at the domestic box office, is the most successful anime movie directed by Makoto Shinkai, a new leader of Japanese animations. Released in 2016, the fantasy drama has received widespread praise from anime beginners, fans and experts. Your Name should be picked up first among Makoto Shinkai’s works while his other titles such as 5 Centimeters per Second (2007), Weathering with You (2019) and Suzume (2022) are worth watching to get emotional.
You can’t expect intense battles and exciting adventures in Your Name, but there are just an emotionally compelling narrative, beautifully drawn scenery and music perfectly matching every scene. This film proceeds with a focus on a 17-year-old high schooler Taki Tachibana living in the center of Tokyo and a high school girl Mitsuha Miyamizu living in the countryside in Gifu. One day, they find out they switch their bodies for unfathomable reasons, and a major incident changes their life. You can’t help but be moved to tears by the love story across time and space.
10. One Piece
One Piece, a renowned masterpiece in the history of Japanese manga and anime, arouses all kinds of feelings such as delight, anger, sorrow and pleasure. It is well-known that there are plenty of emotional scenes and characters’ lines that make you moved to the point of tears. Its ongoing manga written by Eiichiro Oda has been serialized on Weekly Shonen Jump since 1997, which has been adapted into the anime series by Toei Animation since 1999.
One Piece follows a young pirate Monkey D. Luffy, who dreams to become the king of the sea and find the ultimate treasure known as One Piece, and his Straw Hat Pirates. Some story arcs will make you cry your heart out: For instance, liberating Nami from The Arlong Pirates, Sanji’s farewell to his foster parent Zeff, rescuing Robin from Cipher Pol Number 9, saying goodbye to the vessel Thousand Sunny, the impressive incident related a Luffy’s brother Ace and so on. Their long voyage is approaching the climax as the anime reached the 1000th episode in 2021. Since you are living in the same age as One Piece, never miss the outcome of the Straw Hat Pirates journey.
Did you fine something nice for you? if you have limited time, just watch one-shot anime movies like Your Name and A Silent Voice or one-season anime series like Anohana and Violet Evergarden. It’s also recommended to try long stories such One Piece and Naruto if time allows.
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