Home 4 Sad Anime Movies That Will Shatter Your Heart

4 Sad Anime Movies That Will Shatter Your Heart

Sad anime can be your answer to anything, mostly helping you cry at night. Have you ever had one of those nights when you find yourself lying in bed, crying and screaming into your pillow for no apparent reason? It’s as if a wave of emotion has washed over you, and the only way to release it is through tears and muffled cries of frustration. Maybe you couldn’t sleep, and you thought that the best way to help yourself drift into slumber was by allowing those pent-up feelings to escape in the form of silent sobs. And you know what? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s a natural and cathartic way to cope with the overwhelming emotions that can sometimes plague us.

As you lie there, immersed in your own emotional turmoil, you might find solace in the world of anime. There’s something about those animated stories that can resonate with our deepest feelings and provide a sense of comfort. These are the kinds of narratives that leave a lasting impact, the ones that make you wish the characters had more time together and more moments to cherish. It’s a testament to the power of storytelling when it can evoke such strong emotions and leave you yearning for more.

But you’re not alone in feeling this way. Many of us have experienced those moments where the bittersweetness of a story’s ending lingers in our hearts, making us ache for the characters and their unrealized potential. These are the tropes and narratives that can leave a lasting imprint on our minds, making us reflect on our own lives and the fleeting nature of time and connections.

So, don’t be too hard on yourself for those nights when you find yourself crying into your pillow, or for the anime movies that tug at your heartstrings. Embrace those emotions, for they are a testament to your capacity to feel deeply and connect with the stories and characters that resonate with you. It’s all part of the beautiful tapestry of life and the art that enriches it. Here I present to you for sad anime that will shatter your heart.

There are many sad anime movies that shatter people’s hearts, but these four anime titles are somewhat underrated or overlooked in general. As a reviewer, I’ve noticed there isn’t enough appreciation for them on TikTok and social platforms, or at least not enough people that get together to talk about these.

4 Sad Heart-Shattering Anime Movies To Cry Over

Wolf Children

Synopsis: Hana, a diligent college student, falls for a mysterious man who’s not even a student, only to discover he’s the last surviving werewolf. Their love endures, and they decide to build a family. Hana gives birth to two children, Ame and Yuki, who inherit their father’s ability to transform into wolves. Tragedy strikes with the man’s sudden death, leaving Hana to raise her unique family alone in a bustling city. The pressure of concealing their identities drives her to move to the countryside, hoping to provide her children with a life free from societal judgment. Wolf Children is a touching tale of a single mother’s struggle in a harsh, modern world.


Review: I stumbled upon this anime gem back in 2015 while attending an anime convention, thanks to an evocative AMV that caught my attention. Initially, I expected it to be your typical tearjerker, with a single tragedy propelling the storyline. Little did I know that it would leave me emotionally battered at every turn. This film, I must say, serves up a heart-wrenching journey that not only tugs at your heartstrings but also imparts valuable life lessons.

One of the aspects that makes this anime truly a sad anime exceptional is its exploration of parenting, a theme often overlooked in the anime world. Parenthood is a profound experience that can either bring a person to their knees or provide them with an unwavering reason to exist. It’s an ironic conundrum, as it stands as one of life’s greatest challenges and hardships, yet almost everyone becomes or will become a parent at some point.

The film delves into the complexities of growing up, a process that never comes easy. In fact, growing up is akin to embarking on a natural odyssey, a time when we navigate the days, forging connections and making the most of our lives. It all starts with that very first inhalation and exhalation, and from there, it’s akin to scaling a ladder. The higher you ascend, the more arduous it becomes, mirroring the increasing demands and complexities of life. However, that doesn’t deter some from reaching the summit and savoring the joys of life with those who hold a special place in their hearts.

In essence, this anime isn’t just a mere story; it’s a profound reflection on the ebbs and flows of life, the challenges of parenthood, and the daunting but rewarding journey of growing up. It leaves a lasting impact on the viewer, reminding us that life is a tapestry woven from a tragedy. It’s in the most challenging moments that we find our true strength. It’s an unforgettable experience that I stumbled upon, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the profound lessons it imparted.

Runtime: 1 hr. 57 min.
You can stream Wolf Children on Crunchyroll

Ride Your Wave

© Ride Your Wave Film Partners

Synopsis: Hinako Mukaimizu, a carefree college student with a deep love for surfing, has her life transformed when a fire forces a daring rescue by firefighter Minato Hinageshi. Their instant connection sparks a romance, and as Hinako teaches Minato to surf, their bond deepens. But the hidden dangers of surfing come to light in a life-changing incident. Now, Hinako, guided by Minato’s unwavering support, embarks on a journey of self-discovery to find her true purpose and navigate the uncertainties of her future.

Review: One summer day during a romance movie marathon, I was initially drawn in by the premise, thinking it would be a heartwarming and bittersweet experience. However, I couldn’t have been more mistaken. This film, in many ways, caught me off guard.

The movie excels in engaging its audience right from the very first musical note. The catchy and emotionally evocative soundtrack is a testament to the power of music in storytelling. It’s not just a backdrop; it’s a character in its own right. I found myself inexplicably compelled to sing along with Hinako and deeply moved by the poignant conclusion. The music becomes an emotional anchor, driving the narrative forward and resonating with the audience’s own experiences.

Beyond the music, the storytelling itself is a powerful narrative about moving forward and discovering one’s true self through the transformative power of love. It challenges the conventional notion of romance and delves into the complexities of relationships and personal growth. It’s a refreshing departure from the typical romantic movie tropes, and it succeeds in doing so without ever feeling contrived.

What impressed me most was the well-rounded development of the supporting characters, not just the central figures. They were given proper depth and story arcs, making the film even more satisfying. This attention to detail in character development adds layers to the story, and you can’t help but become emotionally invested in each character’s journey. It’s a testament to the film’s ability to create a fully realized world where everyone’s story matters.

The animation, while not breathtakingly beautiful in the traditional sense, effectively conveyed the unfolding events. The choice of an art style that leans towards simplicity and realism complements the themes of the movie. The visuals serve the story well, enhancing the emotional impact of the narrative. While it may not have the same visual grandeur as some other animated films, it’s a testament to the filmmakers’ commitment to storytelling over spectacle.

In the end, this film left a lasting impact on me. While it deviated from my initial expectations, it offered a unique and emotionally resonant journey of love, loss, and self-discovery that I won’t soon forget. It’s a testament to the power of storytelling, music, and character development in animation. This sad anime movie entertains and leaves you with a sense of introspection, making it a worthwhile addition to any film lover’s collection.

Runtime: 1 hr. 36 min.
You can stream Ride Your Wave on Amazon Prime Video 

To the Forest of Firefly Lights

Synopsis: When Hotaru was a young child, she once found herself wandering in a forest near her uncle’s home, a place she frequented during her summer visits. It was there that she experienced a life-changing encounter with a spirit who selflessly aided her, even though he risked vanishing upon human contact. As the years passed and she grew older, Hotaru continued to return to that enchanted forest each summer while the spirit patiently awaited the arrival of the season that would rekindle their timeless connection.

©2012 Yuki, Midorikawa / Hakusensha, To the Forest of Firefly Lights Production Committee

Review: I’m going to be honest; I initially decided to watch To the Forest of Firefly Lights (Hotarubi no Mori e) because I thought the main character, Gin, was rather cute. Little did I know that this anime film would take me on a profound journey exploring the intricate and delicate nature of human emotions and connections.

The film beautifully illustrates that there are numerous ways to communicate with one another, with talking being the most obvious one. However, mere conversation doesn’t always suffice when it comes to truly understanding someone on a deeper level. Words can convey emotions and intentions, but they often fall short in revealing the depths of one’s soul. This is where the concept of “touching” comes into play. It’s not just about physical contact but also about how we convey and share our feelings with others. Hotarubi no Mori e gracefully demonstrates that love can blossom from these shared emotions. Love, as many people describe it, is a complex and intricate emotion that can often leave us baffled. Yet, when you watch this heartwarming film, you won’t find yourself scratching your head; instead, you’ll be touched by the simplicity and depth of its storytelling.

The story unfolds around the developing friendship between a young girl named Hotaru and her youkai companion, Gin. The narrative provides us with fleeting glimpses of their annual encounters during the summer. As the seasons change and time passes, we witness the growth of their bond. Hotaru matures, but Gin, being a youkai, remains relatively unchanged. While this age difference may seem negligible in her younger years, it becomes an increasingly challenging obstacle as she grows older.

The sad anime masterfully explores the complexities of this aging problem, highlighting the bittersweet nature of their relationship. It’s a tale of love that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, a love that transcends the boundaries of age and the limitations of physical touch.

Hotarubi no Mori e is a cinematic gem that reminds us of the transient and ephemeral nature of human connections. It’s a story that will leave a lasting impression on your heart, making you contemplate the value of time and the depth of emotions that can be conveyed without words. The animation is captivating, the characters are endearing, and the storyline is both enchanting and melancholic. Whether you’re watching it for the adorable Gin or for the profound exploration of human emotions, this film will undoubtedly leave you with a sense of wonder and a touch of nostalgia. It’s a hidden treasure in the world of anime, a touching story that will stay with you long after the credits roll.

Runtime: 45 min.
You can watch Hotarubi no Mori e by buying a Blu-ray on Amazon 

Summer Ghost

Synopsis: Fireworks brought Tomoya, Aoi, and Ryou together with the enigmatic Summer Ghost, a spirit tied to death. Each of them seeks answers from this spectral presence, united by their unique ability to see her. As Tomoya grapples with academic pressures, Aoi faces relentless bullying, and Ryou battles a grim diagnosis, they all turn to the Summer Ghost for insight into the mysteries of death. However, as they delve deeper into their encounters with the ghost, her enigmatic existence becomes increasingly perplexing.

© Summer Ghost

Review: Summer Ghost is a sad anime movie that undoubtedly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Right from the start, it’s clear that this isn’t a film to be watched passively. The story unfolds rapidly, demanding the viewer’s full attention and an inclination for interpretation.

Despite its relatively short duration of 40 minutes, the movie manages to weave a compelling narrative. It’s evident that there’s a wealth of untold backstories for each character, and a longer runtime could have delved deeper into their histories, potentially creating a more emotionally resonant experience.

Visually, Summer Ghost excels in its art style. While the animation might appear a bit rough around the edges, the lighting and color palette more than compensate for any shortcomings. These artistic elements play a pivotal role in allowing the audience to comprehend the characters’ perspectives and their views of the world.

At its core, Summer Ghost is a complex exploration of human experiences. It paints a poignant picture of how people carry their burdens, often hidden behind smiles and laughter. The movie conveys a crucial message – that no problem is insurmountable and worth more than the life you’ve been granted.

The film’s aesthetic merits are a highlight. The character designs and overall artistry are striking, offering a pleasing visual experience. The color scheme, though not vibrant, conveys a certain “dull” tone that complements the themes of the story. The animation, while occasionally choppy, maintains a level of charm that’s difficult to overlook.

Having watched a considerable number of films, I can confidently say that Summer Ghost ranks among my favorites. The storytelling is masterful, and what truly endeared me to this film was the impeccable synchronization of the music with each scene. The music added an extra layer of depth and immersion, making me want to rewatch every scene multiple times. The soundtrack remained on repeat even after the film concluded, providing a sense of serenity and tranquility. This movie serves as a poignant reminder of the beauty of storytelling when paired with the right tonal elements.

Runtime: 40 min.
You can stream Summer Ghost on Amazon Prime Video 

In a world filled with entertainment options, one might wonder why they should invest their time in watching sad anime movies. The answer lies in the unique emotional journey that these films offer. While they may bring tears and heartache, they also serve as a poignant reminder of our humanity. Sad anime movies delve deep into the complexities of human emotions, offering a cathartic experience that can be both therapeutic and enlightening. Through their beautifully crafted narratives and relatable characters, they explore themes of love, loss, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit. By engaging with these tales of sorrow, we are granted the opportunity to reflect on our own lives, empathize with the struggles of others, and, ultimately, find solace in the beauty of these poignant stories. So, if you’re searching for a heartfelt and thought-provoking cinematic experience, give sad anime movies a chance—they have the power to move and inspire in ways you may not have imagined.

Featured image: Clannad: After Story © Key / Shaa / VisualArt’s

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