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Top Tragic and Emotional Anime
By kaiser


Now for some background information on whom I am. I do not claim to be the most knowledgeable expert or okatu when it comes down to anime but I have seen quite a few anime series in my lifetime. This top 12 most tragic and emotional anime series list is based on my own experiences watching anime and therefore is solely based on my subjective opinions. You can see the full list of anime series Kaiser has seen here.

With that being said, here comes the top twelve list, starting from number twelve. Why twelve? Well there are a few series that I felt needed to be mentioned and didn't want to cut off the list. Another I need to stress is the difficulty in actually putting the series in the list, many times as I was writing this article did I change the ranking order. I want to say that the main emphasis should be the series listed here and not in the order that they are listed.

As a last note of warning, There ARE SPOILERS below so do not read if you do not want to be spoiled.

#12 - Rah Xephon

Now normally with a series like Rah Xephon, which is delved in mystery, you don't expect any romantic tragedies in this sort of show. The tragedy appears mostly in episode 18 and 19 when Ayato Kamina promises to protect a close friend of his. Following the show's premise there is an alien attack and Ayato directly causes the death of friend who he swore to protect. Of course my description here is pretty lame compared to actually watching the series, I did find the execution really powerful. I did not feel that it was that sad or emotional because the character that died was not really a main character but the circumstances of her death was tragic.

Read what others have thought about Rah Xephon


#11 - Now and Then, Here and There

Now and Then, Here and There is not a very happy anime series. The entire series is about an alternate world where a deranged dictator rules or tries to rule the world with an iron fist. Young boys are trained and turned into soldiers at an early age. Violence, derangement, torture, and rape are the norm here. This show manages to take all that is evil in human nature into this show and reminds us how horrible war can get. Tragedy is for everyone in this world and you sometimes wonder if some of the characters are better off dead than alive. A bad aspect of this series is the self-righteous of the main character; most realistic people would bend over backwards under torture, threat of execution, etc. The main character is almost an unbelievable zealot, which detracts value from the series in my opinion. Other than the main character's fault, this is a very powerful and strong anime.

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#10 - Kimi ga Nozomu Eien ( The Eternity You Wish For)

Just the first three episodes will put viewers in place; the seemingly happy group of friends in high school ( Takayuki Narumi, Haruka Suzumiya, Mitsuki Hayase and Shinji Taira) becomes an unending tragedy one summer. Haruka loves Takayuki but can not bring herself to tell him without the help of her best Mitsuki who secretly has feelings for Takayuki as well. But repressing those feelings Mitsuki helps her best friend go out with the guy she also likes. One day while Takayuki is on his way to meet up with Haruka sees Mitsuki looking gloomy so he stops to buy her a ring for her birthday. This causes Takayuki to be late in meeting up with Haruka, when he gets to the meeting place he sees the wreckage of a huge accident. Haruka who was waiting for him was an innocent bystander and remains in a coma in the hospital and Takayuki blames himself for being late for their meeting. With this tragic premise, the story starts its downhill rush of character mental collapse and psychosis for couple of the characters. Things get very bad in this series, which rivals any soap opera you could ever watch on TV. One unfortunate downgrade about this series is that it does not carry the momentum of the first several episodes through out the show. The ending is rather quite weak in my opinion.

Read what others have thought about Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien


#9 - Twin Spica

This one is a surprise series as its fairly new yet not much has been heard about this series. It again starts with a tragic past, how Asumi Kamogawa lost her mother in a space rocket accident. She now lives alone with her father but her dream is to become a space ship pilot. The story is still ongoing (currently being fan subbed) but there is an episode where Asumi is teased for not knowing what her mother's face looked like and a heart wrenching situation happens soon after. Although the series looks like it will end happily, the premise on which the series started on is a sad one and deserves to be mentioned on this list.

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#8 - Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal ( Rurouni Kenshin 1 st OAV)

This 4 part OAV details how a boy named Shinta is saved from bandits by a swordsman named Hiko Seijuro. The swordsman gives him a new name of Kenshin and takes him in to train him in Hiten Mitsurugi Ryuu. The young and naïve Kenshin goes out with his new sword skills to make a difference in the world and save people, but as history goes he gets caught up in the revolution. He ends up meeting Tomoe, a girl whose fiancé he killed yet both of them end up falling in love with each other. Unfortunately for them, Kenshin is wanted for his role in the revolution. His past gets Tomoe involved in a tragic thrilling ending and shows how Kenshin became the the most feared assassin in Japan, the Hitokiri Battousai. The cinematography and music is extremely well done in this four part OAV and I personally feel the tragic romance story plays out its fullest for a nomination at the #8 spot.

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#7 - Fruits Basket

Ah, how can a funny comedy about a family cursed into turning into animals of the Zodiac be tragic? How wrong expectations can lead people. Tohru Honda lost her mother and ends up living in a tent in the woods before she stumbles across cursed Souma family. Things do get hilarious as their curse puts them in difficult and comedic situations through out the series but there is underlying tragedy for the whole family. They are almost forever outcasts of society as it is impossible for them to have a normal relationship with outsiders, Tohru being an exception. The funny episodes are interposed with some very tragic flashbacks to painful memories. Two of them stand out really in my mind, which were Hatori and Momiji's memories. Hatori Souma we find out is a doctor and had an assistant who he fell in love with. Unfortunately she found out the family secret and thus one of the most painful episodes evolved. Momiji's is even more painful and tells us how why he does not have a ‘mother'. The series being able to drawn you into a fun little episode making you laugh then sticking in the horrible tragedies in the next episode seamlessly makes me respect the director and others behind Fruits Basket. Those two episodes in particular make this series have some of the most tragic underlying stories seen in anime.

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#6 - Ayashi no Ceres

Ah, the tragic romance story told through out the ages. This romance story believe it or not starts I believe something like 5,000 years in the past involving the cursed Mikage family. Two seemly normal twins Aya and her brother Aki are torn apart by the curse and what happened to the Mikage family so long ago it seems like a fairly tale. The worse of it is the entire family is torn apart, father killing son, brother against sister, etc. Aya and Aki as part of their destiny must kill each other or be killed in a tragic romance story that will leave you wondering how they can leave the story like that. The ending is tragic so girls if you are looking for something much more than Fushigi Yuugi, then this is your answer. Ayashi no Ceres is done in very unique art of Watase Yu and has a stunning opening theme of “Scarlet,” which is still one of my favorite anime songs.

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#5 - Hoshi no Koe (Voices of a Distant Star)

The premise of this short 25 minute OAV just screams tragedy. Two lovers separated by first space, then time as she travels further and further away from him back on Earth (If you have studied physics or know Albert Einstein's theory of relativity , you will know the faster you are traveling through space, the slower you are traveling through time). She is drafted to the UN's Space Forces to fight the war against an alien race light years away. He is left back on earth, their only communication through cellular phone messages. As the distance between the UN fleet and Earth gets larger, their messages take months and finally years to arrive. She is still young because of the space travel while he has aged, gone on through school and has enlisted with the military to hopefully find and join her in space. Then one fateful day there is news that the UN Space Fleet has almost been annihilated (plastered over all the newspapers) when he receives one last unexpected message on his cell phone from her (it took over 8 years for her message to arrive). The story of love through time and space was incredibly well done by the creator.

Read about what others have thought about Hoshi no Koe

#4 - Saishuu Heiki Kanojo (She, The Ultimate Weapon)

I am not really sure how Sai Kano fits into the list because it is sad. There is no doubt about it but it is so sad that is gets repetitive. The story starts off with Chise confessing her love to Shuuji and they awkwardly start their relationship as normal as any other high school couple. Then things change dramatically, we find out that Chise is actually a secret weapon for the military. She has awesome powers of destruction yet her mind is weak as any normal high school girl. Imagine being called upon your country to kill thousands of people; people crack and become disillusioned to say the least. But the story does draw you into each characters' plights and has you in a sullen state when characters die and die they do. But what draws you in promptly kick you back out with the incessant crying by Chise. The anime I felt went overboard in the crying and tragedy department and honestly maybe Chise would be better off killing herself. But withstanding the barrage of crying in this series, this is definitely over the top tragedy. Unfortunately too much of a good thing is sometimes bad but still the series has its moments where it is executed properly. Those moments create some of the saddest scenes in anime.

Read what others have thought about Saikano


#3 - Grave of the Fireflies

This is probably one of the most famous anime movies out there. Pretty much everyone has heard of this movie and watched it unwittingly in their childhoods. You can even buy the candy in Japan apparently. Set in World War II, it tells the sad tale of an older brother Seita with his younger sister Setsuko . Living relatively sheltered with their mother in Japan while their father is fighting in the Navy, war is brought home when a bombing raid hits their house. Their parents are killed and the two children are sent off to their relatives. War is tough and there are many hardships, and soon disagreements break out between relatives and the orphaned Seita and Setsuko who must live out on their own. Their path is one of no hope, which is why it makes this movie such a tragic one. You see them walk the path ultimately to their unfortunate futures and childish things like Setsuko making a mud cake will bring tears to your eyes. Watching two children trying to survive yet you know their true fate is cruel and sad, but what is even tragic is when the children come to grips that all hope is lost. No will, no hope, no future.

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#2 - Kanon

Kanon was definitely one of the stranger anime series that I have seen. Right off the bad the series did not make a good impression on me, the weird cutesy character designs turned me off right away. Second the plot did not seem like it was going anywhere at all, following aimlessly with the characters as they did what seemed like were insignificant everyday living. Only towards the end of the series things start to pick up. Mysteries are slowly uncovered and explained in a story telling skill that is almost unmatched in most anime series I have seen. I will not spoil the series as I fell you really must watch this series for yourself to see the full effect of the story telling. The cutesy design of the characters, the aimless plot in the beginning episodes deviously hide the fact that this is a serious and true tragic romance story. Put up with the beginning episodes and you will be rewarded with a beautiful story, I truly thought the latter half of the series is a perfect example of flawless execution. This also marked the first time my eyes were tearing while watching an anime series.

Read what others thought about Kanon

#1 - Full Moon wo Sagashite (Searching for the Full Moon)

Ah, on to the truly most emotional and tragic anime series of all time. There is no question in my mind that Full Moon wo Sagashite deserves the number one spot unlike the other anime on this list, I never considered re-shuffling Full Moon's rank. Why is this anime series so good? Start out with a twelve year old girl Mitsuki who lost both parents and living with the strict grandmother and who has a dream to become a singer. Unfortunately, Mitsuki has throat cancer and only has a limited amount of time left. She refuses to get an operation because she will lose her voice and that is worse than dying for her dreams of becoming a singer. Shinigami (gods of death) accidentally seen by Mitsuki let her know she only has one year to live and so feeling sorry for her; they help Mitsuki reach her goal of becoming a singer before she dies. This underlying plot sets up the stage for one of the most heart wrenching dramas I have ever seen. The first few cute episodes draw you into the show and almost make you forget about the inevitable destiny that awaits Mitsuki. An outstanding soundtrack adds to this series even more, some of my favorite songs are from this anime. The tragedy that awaits Mitsuki and her fate makes this story one of the most touching and emotional anime series ever made.

Read what others have thought about Full Moon wo Sagashite


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Published on: 2004-05-07 (194349 reads)

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