There are some anime shows that can literally make you cry your eyes out and then there are others that leave you with this grim feeling of emptiness inside. Even some of the most mainstream shows like ‘Naruto‘ can give you chills with their sad, heart-touching moments. So if you’ve been into anime for a while, you might know that this medium boasts of several haunting pieces that stay with you for a very long time.
When it comes to the woeful deaths of our favorite characters, we’ve already covered that in a different list and we’ve also got one for the best sad anime shows of all time. But now that Netflix is showing some serious commitment towards adding more anime, we decided to come up with a new, special compilation. Here’s the list of the most emotional anime on Netflix:
10. Japan Sinks: 2020 (2020)
‘Japan Sinks: 2020’ is a drama film directed by Pyeon-Gang Ho and Masaaki Yuasa. The film follows the peaceful Mutou family whose life changes for the worse when an earthquake strikes the entire Japanese archipelago, and people are left to fend for themselves. As society falls apart, Japanese men, women, and children have to go to desperate lengths to ensure their survival. You can see this emotional and memorable story of survival here.
9. Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop (2021)
Yui “Cherry” Sakura is an introverted teenager who prefers to express himself through haiku. He was at a welfare facility where he eventually met a girl named Yuki “Smile” Hoshino. She is a budding influencer who likes to spread positivity wherever she goes. Despite their conflicting personalities, the two teenagers immediately hit it off and start developing feelings for the other. Their romance is solidified in the context of their shared goals at work, but can the two ever confess what they truly feel? You can stream the movie here.
8. A Silent Voice (2016)
Produced by Kyoto Animation Studio, ‘A Silent Voice’ is an anime movie that revolves around a bored teenager named Shouya Ishida. Just to kill boredom, he and many of his classmates ruthlessly bully a new deaf transfer student named Shouko Nishimiya. But later when the school authorities find out about this, only he is blamed for everything done to her. Soon, the entire school starts to ignore him and he spends the rest of his middle school and high school days in isolation. Much later, when he realizes his mistakes, he takes it upon himself to meet Shouko again and make up for the damage that he might have caused. What follows is a feel-good story of a young boy who tries to make amends with his past regrets.
Apart from having a brilliant heartwarming story, ‘A Silent Voice’ has some of the most stunning visuals and soundtracks. The serious and dark issues that it covers will certainly make your heart choke more than once. And in the end, it might even make you question your own relationship with people from your past and present. You can watch the anime here.
7. Violet Evergarden (2018)
‘Violet Evergarden‘ is another slice-of-life anime that is produced by Kyoto Animation. It tells the story of a young teenage girl named Violet who was once caught up in the bloodshed of the Great War. All this while, she was only raised for the purpose of destroying enemies and somewhere around the final leg of the war, she finds herself in the hospital with nothing but a few unknown words from her only loved one. Feeling lost in the post-war world, she starts working at the CH Postal Services. At her workplace, she finds an “Auto Memory Doll” which acts as an assistant that translates the thoughts of a person into words on paper. Deeply amused by the idea, she decides to work as one herself and this is when her adventure begins, which not only helps her reshape the lives of the people she works for but also helps her discover the true purpose of her own life.
Kyoto Animation is often known for taking on some deeply moving slice-of-life projects. But despite that, ‘Violet Evergarden’ just feels very different from all of their other works. Overall, the anime is a lot more than an effective tear-jerker and might even teach you a lesson or two about your own life’s true calling. You can stream the anime here.
6. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (2019 -)
After Tanjirou Kamado’s family is brutally murdered by a powerful demon, only her sister, who is turned into a demon, survives. Now, the hardworking and compassionate young adult has only two goals in life: to turn her sister back into a human being and avenge the death of his loved ones. As he joins the Demon Slayer Corps, Tanjirou is constantly faced with new challenges, which beautifully capture his philosophy on friendship and brotherhood. However, what truly stands out about ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’ is that it humanizes even the antagonists, some of whom have painful and eye-watering backstories. The anime is accessible for streaming here.
5. Toradora (2009)
Unlike other shows on this list, ‘Toradora‘ is more of a rom-com that involves your typical character archetypes. The female protagonist, Taiga Aisaka, is a tsundere who always carries a wooden Katana with her. On the other hand, we’ve got a kind-hearted male protagonist, Ryuuji Takasu, whose intimidating face often gets him labeled as a delinquent. Initially, the two get together with the purpose of helping each other out to get the attention of their respective crushes. But with time, things take an unexpected turn and what started off as an odd friendship, soon turns into an unlikely alliance.
Overall, ‘Toradora‘ is a typical high school comedy that is supposed to make you laugh and swoon over its cute characters. But it’s the bittersweet ending of this anime that will leave you with an inexplicably sad feeling. Now I wouldn’t give too many spoilers here, so if you want to know more about it, you’ll have to watch it yourself. Just don’t be surprised if this rom-com leaves you with a dark void in your heart. The anime is accessible for streaming here.
4. Erased (2016)
‘Erased‘, known as ‘Boku Dake ga Inai Machi’ in Japanese, is a mystery sci-fi thriller produced by A-1 Pictures. Satoru Fujinuma, the protagonist, is involuntarily thrown back in time, by a few minutes, every time he witnesses a tragic event. This mysterious yet powerful phenomenon allows him to save the lives of many innocents. When he is framed for the murder of his mother, he finds himself in the past again — 18 years before the event. This makes it obvious to him that his mother’s murder might somehow be related to certain events of his childhood. Things start making sense when he runs into one of his old classmates, Kayo Hinazuki, who was abducted and murdered by a mysterious killer. Satoru must now race against time to alter his past in such a way that it ends up saving two innocent lives.
Now I won’t reveal if the anime has a good ending or not but what makes it a worthy entry on this is list is its depiction of several realistic, thought-provoking themes. A few examples of these include child abuse, loneliness, depression, bullying, escaping one’s problems and of course, dealing with the loss of a loved one. You can watch all the episodes here.
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3. A.I.C.O Incarnation (2018-)
‘A.I.C.O Incarnation‘ is quite different from all the anime on this list. It’s a thrilling sci-fi romp that is one of the newest additions to Netflix’s growing list of anime originals. Set in the year 2035, it revolves around an incident known as the “Burst” that deeply affects the lives of several people. Two years after this, Aiko Tachibana still grieves the death of her family from the incident and is now wheelchair-bound. But everything she knew about herself and the incident starts to change when a transfer named Yuuya tells her the truth about what actually happened. What follows is a thrilling adventurous quest of the two “teens” who might now even bear the future of humanity in their hands.
The prime focus of ‘A.I.C.O Incarnation‘ goes on its action scenes and exhilarating sci-fi mysteries. But it’s the backstories of the characters that create a sad and depressing tone to the anime. Even the whole dark color palette that represents the semi-utopian appearance of the affected city adds a very somber vibe to the anime. If you’ve been thinking about watching this show, just ignore all of its negative reviews and give it shot. You’ll most likely have a good time watching it. The anime is accessible here.
Read More: Best Adult Anime on Hulu
2. Flavors of Youth (2018)
‘Flavors of Youth’ is an anime movie that is divided into three different chapters. Each chapter unfolds its story with a whole new city where it explores the simple joys of one’s life through timeless tales of love and sensual memories. This anthology brings in several elements of the Chinese culture with strong visuals that will mostly be appealing to a Chinese viewer. But despite that, its themes about the transient nature of life will be relatable for anyone in the world. If you’re not in the mood to commit to something long, ‘Flavors of Youth’ is the perfect anime that will take you on a nostalgic journey. You can stream the anime here.
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1.Your Lie in April (2014 – 2015)
Based on Naoshi Arakawa’s namesake manga series, ‘Your Lie in April’ is a romantic drama that recounts a story of suffering and self-discovery. Kousei Arima is a prodigious pianist whose talent is praised even by accomplished musicians. However, when his mother dies unexpectedly, the young boy struggles to deal with harsh reality, and because of the trauma, he is unable to hear the sound of his piano in the following years.
As Arima’s life spiral out of control, he meets a beautiful violinist named Kaori Miyazono, who not only pushes him to play the piano again but also participates in a competition with her. The experience helps bring Arima out of depression, but Kaori is hiding a harsh reality that could push him over the edge again. In order to find out how the story unfolds, you can stream the anime here.
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