Sad Anime Movies: Top 16 Emotional Anime Movies To Watch on OTT That Will Leave You Weeping

Not all stories are about love, laughter, suspense, or adventure. Sometimes, we crave the catharsis of raw emotion, a chance to grapple with life’s heavier moments. In those times, why not immerse yourself in the heart-wrenching world of anime? Prepare some extra tissues and allow yourself to feel deeply with these tragic anime series.

Anime fans often watch sad anime movies because they offer a cathartic and emotional experience. These anime stories often tackle complex themes such as loss, heartbreak, and grief in a poignant and thought-provoking way, which can resonate deeply with viewers.

Furthermore, sad anime movies often feature well-crafted characters and compelling storylines that can leave a lasting impression on the audience, making them memorable and impactful. Ultimately, the emotional journey offered by sad anime movies can be a powerful and rewarding experience for many anime fans.

16 Sad Anime movies of all time

1) Grave of the Fireflies

By the end of World War II, American aircraft used napalm to strike firestorms in Japanese towns. The Japanese neighbourhoods, where the houses were made up of lightweight wood and paper, had no way to put out the flames. “Grave of the Fireflies” is an effortless tale of survival during World War II.

The movie begins with the introduction of the first character, Seita, a young adolescent; his sister, Setsuko, is around five years old, and they have to find a place to stay and food to eat. We learn about Setsuko’s fate when, in one of the opening scenes, we see Seita dead in a subway station, and his spirit is shown through flashbacks.

Where to watch – Apple TV

Star cast -Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Akemi Yamaguchi, and Yoshiko Shinohara

IMDb rating – 8.5/10

Release date – 1988

2) I Want to Eat Your Pancreas

“I Want to Eat Your Pancreas” is a delightful coming-of-age series that would teach you to celebrate life in the face of death. The touching plot takes place from the viewpoint of a boy whose life is changed after meeting a girl, Sakura, who is terminally ill. The series is based on the manga of Yoru Sumino. Although we know there are no survival chances for Sakura, she is the most loved character.

Where to watch – Netflix

Star cast – Mahiro Takasugi, Lynn, and Yukiyo Fujii

IMDb rating – 8.0/10

Release date – 2018

3) A Silent Voice

In the opening scene of the Japanese animated film, Shya Ishida, an elementary school bully, creates a victim out of Shko Nishimiya, a new classmate with hearing loss. The movie is adapted from Yoshitoki Immanga’s manga of the same name. Shyo is shunned by his peers, leaving him lonely, discouraged, and unable to make friends. He attempts to mend his connection with Shko by trying to become her friend five years after the occurrence since he cannot continue living with his previous misdeeds. “A Silent Voice” is a lovely story of forgiveness, friendship, and embracing one’s imperfections.

Where to watch -Amazon Prime and Netflix

Star cast – Miyu Irino, Saori Hayami, and Aoi Yûki

IMDb rating – 8.1/10

Release date – 2016

4) Ride Your Wave

“Ride Your Wave” begins as an adorable love tale. Minato and Hinako engage in an unbelievably romantic summer. As the story progresses, Minato loses his life while attempting to save a stranger; a heroic deed made perhaps more believable by the fact that in “Ride Your Wave,” he mostly serves as Hinako’s emotional gateway.

While Minato’s ghost is a creation of Hinako’s mind, he also exists since she can see him anywhere in water, toilet, and tap water. He comes to her as a giant ocean wave and suggests that Hinako’s emotions are as strong as the surf beneath her board.

Where to watch – Netflix

Star cast – Ryôta Katayose, Rina Kawaei, and Honoka Matsumoto

IMDb rating – 6.8/10

Release date – 2019

5) Barefoot Gen

Barefoot Gen’s plot begins with the titular character Gen and his family having a hard time by the end of World War II. Gen’s mother is pregnant and expected to give birth anytime. The family is scrimping and squeezing everywhere they can to make ends meet because they don’t have enough ration stamps to last them the entire month.

Then, one lovely day, the Enola Gay flies over Hiroshima, dropping the atomic bomb on the city’s populace, unleashing the greatest destructive force ever created by man. Following the initial devastating blast, which instantaneously kills most of the public, the victims are forced to scramble for survival in a metropolis that has been reduced to a horrific, radioactive wasteland. In this heinous situation, Gen and his family must find a way to feed themselves and survive.

Where to watch – Amazon Instant Video

Star cast – Issei Miyazaki, Catherine Battistone, and Yoshie Shimamura

IMDb rating – 8.0/10

Release date – 1983

6) Clannad: After Story

Clannad: After Story is a beautifully crafted anime film that tells a touching story of love, family, and personal growth. The stunning animation has gorgeous visuals and character designs that bring the story to life. The plot follows Tomoya Okazaki, a high school student who befriends a girl named Nagisa Furukawa and helps her revive the school’s drama club.

As the two grow closer, they encounter a cast of unique characters and face challenges that test their resolve and bring them closer together. With a touching soundtrack and heartfelt moments that will tug at your heartstrings, “Clannad” is a must-see for fans of the genre. Whether you’re a long-time anime fan or new to the medium, “Clannad” is a story that will stick with you long after the credits roll.

Where to watch – Amazon Prime Video

Star cast – Yûichi Nakamura, David Matranga, and Luci Christian

IMDb rating – 8.6/10

Release date – 2008

7) 5 Centimeters Per Second

“5 Centimeters Per Secons” depicts the story of Takaki Tono and Akari Shinohara, who grow together from childhood friends to adults. The characters, as they grow up, begin to grow apart. As the film goes on, the evolution of communication techniques takes place from letters and emails to texts. The plot effortlessly displays the delight of friendship and connection, patience, painful heartbreaks, finding the right path, and the nature of love.

Where to watch – Netflix

Star cast – Kenji Mizuhashi, Yoshimi Kondou, and Satomi Hanamura

IMDb rating – 7.5/10

Release date – 2007

8) Spirited Away

“Spirited Away” is about fantasy and childhood, much like a daydream. A little girl called Chihiro Ogino, age 10, and her family is relocating to a new area when her father forgets to switch on navigation, leading to their eventual stranding in a deserted town.

However, they quickly realize they have entered a surreal realm of creatures and spirits. Chihiro’s parents attempt to dine and dash and turn into pigs, leaving her afraid and alone with only the help of a mysterious child named Haku to try to erase everything and return home.

Where to watch – Netflix

Star cast – Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, and Miyu Irino

IMDb rating – 8.6/10

Release date – 2001

9) In This Corner of The World

Sunao Katabuchi’s “In this Corner of the World,” a lushly animated historical drama about a young woman who matures during the turmoil of World War II, is scattered and emotionally disjointed from beginning to end. Still, few movies have done as much to convey the everyday heroism of getting out of bed in the morning — not just surviving in the shadow of death but living in it.

This Corner of The World started in December 1933 and is adapted from a manga by Fumiyo Kno, portraying a fictitious tale moulded by rich historical information. In search of delicacies for her brothers, a girl named Suzu (Non) goes into the heart of Hiroshima and explores the unknown part of the land, meeting some strange characters and surviving a war-torn country.

Where to watch – Netflix

Star cast – Ava Pickard, and Kenna Pickard

IMDb rating – 7.8/10

Release date – 2016

10) Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

A compelling tale of survival, familial ties, and finding hope at a time of devastation is portrayed in Tokyo Magnitude 8.0. Three people attempting to survive a natural calamity is a relatively simple idea, yet the program still manages to be emotionally engaging, primarily because of the excellent character writing. When things become challenging, Mirai’s pride and desire to be regarded like an adult may often get in the way of her common sense.

Mirai plays the part of a fairly ordinary girl going through adolescence. Her younger brother Yuuki, in contrast, is naive and upbeat. He views the arduous voyage as more of an adventure to be overcome than a fight for survival, and he regularly attempts to cheer up his sister.

Where to watch – Apple TV or Roku

Star cast – Satomi Hanamura, Yumiko Kobayashi, and Christel Takigawa

IMDb rating – 7.8/10

Release date – 2009

11) Giovanni’s Island

“Giovanni’s Island” is a poignant and beautifully animated film that tells a heartbreaking story of loss and hope in the aftermath of World War II. The animation style is absolutely stunning, with breathtaking landscapes and detailed character designs that bring the story to life. The plot follows two brothers, Junpei and Kanta, who live on the island of Shikotan, which is occupied by Soviet forces following the war.

When a young girl named Tanya arrives on the island, the brothers befriend her and together they navigate the challenges of living in a war-torn country. As they struggle to hold onto their home and culture, they face tragedy and loss that will leave them in tears. With a beautiful and haunting soundtrack that perfectly captures the story’s emotions, “Giovanni’s Island” is a masterpiece of animated filmmaking that is not to be missed. Whether you’re a fan of anime or a lover of powerful storytelling, “Giovanni’s Island” is a must-see film that will stay with you long after it’s over.

Where to watch – Crunchyroll

Star cast – Tatsuya Nakadai, Yukie Nakama, and Yûsuke Santamaria

IMDb rating – 7.3/10

Release date – 2014

12) The Wind Rises

The Wind Rises by Studio Ghibli, an animated masterpiece that brings Japan’s history to life and sheds light on the country’s descent into war, is based on the real-life experiences of warplane designer Jiro Horikoski during the Second World War as well as the writings of Tatsuo Hori (author of The Wind Has Risen).

Hayao Miyazaki, a great director, paints a complete and thorough story of triumph, failure, and love on what can only be described as a historical canvas. Nahoko, a young woman who serves as Jiro’s muse, is a continual source of love, inspiration, and tenacity. The great Kanto earthquake of 1923, years of despair, and the TB pandemic may be seen lurking in the background, far from dreams and clouds.

Where to watch – Netflix

Star cast – Hideaki Anno, Hidetoshi Nishijima, and Miori Takimoto

IMDb rating – 7.7/10

Release date – 2013

13) Mirai

“Mirai” reimagines childhood through the eyes of a child’s deepest thoughts: the emotional pain of both main characters is represented through descriptive illusions that explain terrible sensations far too cleanly to treat common and innocent emotions. Like many young kids, Kun is a spoiled brat who frequently throws tantrums because he enjoys being the focus of attention.

The narrative illustrates how his temperament may go from happiness and cooperation to utter fury in one Yokohama minute. Kun’s shelter in the courtyard transforms into a magical place where unrestrained imagination and recognizably actual reality blatantly collide in a distinctly Hosoda way.

Where to watch – Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Vudu, and Google Play

Star cast – Rebecca Hall, Daniel Dae Kim, and John Cho

IMDb rating – 7.0/10

Release date – 2018

14) Colorful

Colorful will bring out the hidden meanings in life and probably make you wonder what the afterlife is and what we’re supposed to do on earth as humans. In the railway station of the afterlife, a resigned, despondent Soul is informed that he has earned a coveted second chance to rejoin the cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. The corpse of a junior high school student named Makoto Kobayashi, who recently committed suicide, will receive the Soul. He will have a limited time to atone for the sin he committed earlier in life that led to this situation. If he is successful, he will re-enter the world of the living; if he is not, he will completely vanish.

Where to watch – Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video

Star cast – Kumiko Asô, Chris Ayres, and Greg Ayres

IMDb rating – 7.4/10

Release date – 2010

15) Your Name

There is hardly any anime fan that didn’t witness the impact of “Your Name” on the genre. From the creative mind of the Japanese movie director Makoto Shinkai comes a movie that unwraps the youth and magic of two worlds colliding with each other to create a new phenomenon. The story begins with Taki, a little older male living in Tokyo, and Mitsuha, a high school-age girl who lives in Itomori, a beautiful, charming place in the Hida area of Japan. They are both typical children with their social circles and are not in any way related. They also lead extremely distinct lifestyles in equally beautiful environments—the city and the country. Taki once awakens to discover breasts when he glances down. He is trapped inside Mitsuha’s body. That’s already much to make you watch the movie.

Where to watch – Netflix

Star cast – Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, and Ryô Narita

IMDb rating – 8.4/10

Release date – 2016

16) Weathering With You

Weathering With You is a visually stunning anime film directed by Makoto Shinkai. The story follows the journey of a runaway boy named Hodaka, who meets and falls in love with a girl named Hina, who has the power to control the weather. The film explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the consequences of playing god with nature. Overall, “Weathering With You” is a beautiful and emotional film worth watching. Hodaka Morishima flees his dysfunctional family and embarks on a new life. When he finally makes it to Tokyo, he becomes friends with an orphaned child who influences the weather. It tells the story of an odd relationship that develops into pure love.

Where to watch – Disney+ and Netflix

Star cast – Kotarô Daigo, Nana Mori, and Tsubasa Honda

IMDb rating – 7.5/10

Release date – 2019

Sad anime movies: FAQs

1) What is the saddest anime movie ever made?

It is subjective to determine the saddest anime movie ever made as different people have different emotional responses to different stories. However, some anime movies that are often mentioned as being very sad include “Grave of the Fireflies,” “Your Lie in April,” “Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day,” “5 Centimeters Per Second,” “Wolf Children,” “A Silent Voice,” and “I Want to Eat Your Pancreas.”

2) Which Sad Anime Movies are available on Netflix?

Netflix offers a variety of sad anime movies that are available for streaming. Some examples include “A Silent Voice,” “Grave of the Fireflies,” “I Want to Eat Your Pancreas,” “In This Corner of the World,” “The Garden of Words,” and “Your Lie in April.”

3) What anime movie will make you cry?

Different people have different emotional responses to different stories, but some anime movies that are known to have made people cry include “Grave of the Fireflies,” “A Silent Voice,” “Your Name,” “Wolf Children,” “I Want to Eat Your Pancreas,” and “Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day.”

4) What is the top 1 anime movie?

The top anime movie varies from person to person, but some of the most popular and highly-rated anime movies include “Spirited Away,” “Your Name,” “Princess Mononoke,” “Grave of the Fireflies,” “Akira,” “Ghost in the Shell,” and “Perfect Blue.”

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