Fanart Friday returns, still recovering from Anime Expo. It's easy to say "80,000 people," and it's another to see them bearing down on you because you're right there at the front door. Last week, we fought the good fight alongside other revolutionaries and freedom fighters, but break out the tissues--this week, we're dealing with the tearjerkers! A while back, CR user pinkydo77 requested a look at SAD and HEARTBREAKING titles... so here we are!
I like happy endings, but sometimes you just need an emotional gut-punch to get you to really invest in a title. You're with the characters through thick and thin, and when tragedy strikes, you feel even more compelled to stick around and see the story through to the end. At this point, I also think it's safe to point out an obvious and blanket SPOILER WARNING, because sometimes the real soul-crushing parts of a title will show up in the most unexpected of places. Let's get started!
DISCLAIMER: None of the art presented is the property of myself or Crunchyroll. All characters and series are tm and © their respective creators and corporate owners. All art is the creative property of their respective artists. Any artists who wish to have their work removed from this article may contact me, and appropriate action will be immediately taken.
Right off the bat, we're gonna go where it hurts with Grave of the Fireflies. War is hell, and seeing it told from the point of view of people who aren't even fighting, and who have to suffer the consequences, isn't just sad... it's pretty traumatizing.
Nagi no Asukara is one of those shows where it's not just one big tragedy--the little I've seen of it was a string of small hurts that slowly built up over time. Can't wait to get to the end when it's like getting a truck full of emotions dropped on you!
Of course, nothing's quite as rough as an actual disaster to show the frailty of the human heart. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 hits kind of close to home, considering what Japan's been through lately, probably making for more affecting viewing.
The thing about a show like Deadman Wonderland is that doesn't give you any false sense of security--it starts with tragedy and ruin, and just drags you farther and farther down that path until you just don't give a shit any more. You can handle anything, right? Right? Hey, why are you in the fetal position?
"But Nate," you say, "Gintama is a raucous comedy that occasionally has an action scene!" It is. But when you're so used to things being funny and upbeat, it means that a story can hit you harder with strong downer emotions. I'm not ashamed to say I've cried at some parts in Gintama.
by domvina READER SUBMISSION!
I, uh... wow. That's not cool, domvina, especially for your first submission here. Air is one that I've kinda worked hard to forget, but it's all coming back to me now. Thanks. brb gonna go cry now
One thing that Shinsengumi stories should have (in my opinion) is a real sense of inevitability. Regardless of how they're portrayed, even the very manservicey Hakuoki will point out the fact that most of the Shinsengumi died fighting for their ideals, eternally romanticizing them as folk heroes.
Much like Gintama, fantasy-comedy Senyu apparently lulls you into a false sense of safety before twisting the knife in. What knife? I have no idea! Ask someone else to spoil it for you, because I can't bullshit my way through this one!
I like to say that the only time I can joke about terminal illness is when talking about Korean dramas. Well guess what? Clannad (especially Clannad After Story) is totally a Korean drama in tone and overall feeling, only with more dictionaries thrown.
It's no secret that I like to torture readers, but it tends to happen with Fullmetal Alchemist art more than any other series. From a mostly-nude Armstrong to the occasional Hughes picture, I just can't help it. Seriously though... "Mommy, why are they throwing dirt on Daddy? He has to go to work tomorrow! Mommy, what's wrong?"
As the CLAMPiest CLAMP design in all of Code Geass (even after Takahiro Kimura kinda took everything over in R2), Nunnally also has one of the most relentlessly tragic rides (no pun intended) throughout the series' run. It's like she constantly has a glimmer of hope, and then it's snatched away, either by cruel fate or her brother being an overreaching tool.
Following what I said earlier about sad parts of comedies, when tragedy strikes in SKET Dance, it's usually telegraphed... except for Switch's backstory. Did anyone see that coming?
As a noir title, Cowboy Bebop has its ups and downs, but it's the last ten minutes of the series that has me bawling every time. From the moment Faye starts shooting her gun into the air until the final, almost relieved "bang," a friend of mine just can't keep the waterworks in check.
I know almost nothing about Shiki except that it's a horror series, and most of the actual point of horror is that things don't end well. The uncertainty and discomfort you feel while watching isn't necessarily uplifting, even if you love horror movies.
Shin Sekai Yori is a series I keep meaning to watch, and then I read what it's about, and it sounds so freakin' interesting... and then I doubt the state of my emotional strength. From what I keep hearing, it's quite the roller-coaster ride. Y'know what? After I clear the series I'm currently working on (Strike the Blood), I'm gonna need something with more substance. Looks like we have a winner!
by 小路草子 (thanks to abdulr for the heads-up!)
I think one of the absolute saddest moments of the usually inspiring One Piece is when the Straw Hats have to bury a loyal friend at sea. The Going Merry was a gift to the crew from Kaya, and Usopp loves the ship like he loves her... unfortunately, the ship just wasn't meant to take the Straw Hats the entire way. Giving a boat a Viking funeral shouldn't affect me this much... right?
by ultmte READER SUBMISSION!
Wait, but everybody's already dead in Angel Beats, right? So how can you get even more tragic than that? Oh, there's more? Dammit. Which one should I watch first--Shin Sekai Yori, or Angel Beats?
Oh, Wolf Children. Mamoru Hosoda just knows how to tug on heartstrings with feelings of family and togetherness and nostalgia, and and when one half of a more or less "perfect" couple has to go, it provides a great springboard for storytelling (and uncontrollable bawling).
Truth be told, with Puella Magi Madoka Magica I was expecting more mindf**k than actual, honest emotions, but there are times where it digs deep and then rips your heart out. I think if I could sum the entire story up in one word, it would be "sacrifice"--characters keep having to give up something for others, whether they want (or expect) to or not.
One of the last and most soul-crushing lines in the Black Lagoon anime is "don't look, you'll traumatize yourself." While it didn't actually deal with these terrifying twins, I think their story just dragged you down into this ridiculous pit, wondering how people can be so messed up. Death wasn't a bad thing for these kids--it was a release.
by OroNoDa READER SUBMISSION!
Again with the Gintama! While Sadaharu makes for adorable comic relief almost every time he shows up, there are a few episodes where you're practically hugging your TV hoping he's gonna be okay. Actually, as a dog person, I'm like that all the time, which is why I regularly frequent Does the Dog Die, a very useful moviegoing resource.
Y'know what really hurts? Starting to care about someone you didn't like. I actually hated Chimera Ant King Meruem when he was introduced in Hunter x Hunter--he was ice-cold, callous, and cruel. But as we spent more time with him, we saw more and more humanity creep into him, until his inevitable and violent end.
Bringing an end to violence seems to be a regular thing in Naruto (even with all the fight scenes), but Sasuke finally exacting his vengeance on his brother wasn't a cathartic moment. We'd all thought Itachi had just gone nuts, but the real reasons behind his calculated rampage basically broke Sasuke.
Most times, though, it's the personal wounds that really stick with a character. Anohana is all about what could have been, what might have happened if someone you lost was there again. What about the connections you've made now? Would they matter as much?
What about when you have to take that loved one away yourself? The ending of Metal Gear Solid 3 always sticks with me because you not only find out that everything you've fought for has been a carefully-constructed lie, but now you have to complete your mission, or millions will suffer. There's no other way to save the day--you just have to suck it up and pull the trigger.
Personally, I'm of the mindset that regret hurts more than accepting your own actions. One decision that you thought was the right choice leads to everything falling apart, and you beat yourself up for it for years afterward. Courage doesn't matter in the world of Berserk--oftentimes, it'll just get people killed. But holding on to and wholeheartedly believing in the barest possibility of things getting better--and then going forward, regardless of what's in your path--is what makes life worth living.
And that's everything for this week--that's why I think Berserk is so inspiring despite being really depressing! There's no way I could have included everything--I even had to leave out some requests--what are your favorite sad titles? Sound off in the comments!
Speaking of the comments, I'm going to start doing requests a little differently. I'm grateful to all of you who regularly visit every week, but as the column gets more and more popular, I'm pushing 80 comments a week and sometimes getting that many different requests. Lately, I've been picking and choosing from MOST UPVOTED REQUESTS and MOST UNIQUE REQUESTS, with priority put on readers who only make a single request. Let's see how this works in the coming weeks!
And like I say every week, your art is always welcome here on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience. Just PM me a link to your work, and I'll make sure to include it in a future installment! Here are the next three themes for Fanart Friday:
-Next week, on JULY 18th, install your best augs--the MACHINES are rolling in! Full-on mechanical mayhem will ensue as robots, cyborgs, androids and more take the stage! THIS IS THE ONLY THEME I'M TAKING REQUESTS FOR THIS WEEK!
-Then, on JULY 25th, a legendary voice actress' roles are on parade as we celebrate MEGUMI HAYASHIBARA! What's your favorite role of hers?
-On AUGUST 1st, we start a month-long theme assembling THE PERFECT TEAM, starting with STRENGTH-based characters! Don't understand? Here's a hint:
I'll explain more as August's themes are revealed! Thanks again for coming by to check out Fanart Friday! Have a great weekend, and I hope you drop by again next week!