RECS: 6 Anime to Watch When You Need to Have Yourself a Good Cry

These anime will have you reaching for tissues

Kaori Miyazono from Your Lie in April


After writing about anime characters that remind us that it’s okay to cry and telltale signs of anime characters’ deaths, putting together a list of anime that makes me cry feels like karma purposely coming after me. That being said, I’m sure a lot of people can relate to having things they watch because they need to cry. Whether I’m having a bad day or need a healthy outlet to release my pent-up emotions, these anime have successfully made me shed tears. Fair warning, while you check out this list, make sure to get your tissues ready (I know I will!). 


Death Parade


Decim from Death Parade


One anime that I hold near and dear to my heart is Death Parade. It not only helped me get through difficult times, it also reminded me to appreciate the life I already have. Death Parade loves to challenge your moral compass; it takes place in a snazzy bar called Quindecim and a bartender named Decim welcomes souls to play games that become their only ticket to reincarnation should they win. Strangers become enemies and you’re left wondering if it’s too harsh only to let one soul get reincarnated while the other is sent to oblivion. 


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What really gets me every rewatch is the black-haired woman’s story, the one who assists Decim and helps him make judgment calls. Without spoiling too much, I’ll just say that the woman’s experiences mirror my own, and by the last episode, I cry along with her. The moral of the story is that you don’t always get second chances at life. Recognizing your regrets is a step closer to accepting the life you lived and the death that follows. 


Angel Beats


Angel Beats


Angel Beats is an anime that commonly appears on these types of lists. While it does have its absurd humor and isekai-like plot, it grapples with themes of mortality and accepting death — similar to Death Parade. Watching this show is like dealing with whiplash. One minute, I’m holding my stomach from laughing so much, the next I’m wiping tears from my face and snot from my nose. There’s no doubt that Angel Beats is a classic that every anime fan needs to watch. It left a stamp on my heart as I’m sure it’s done for many. 


What makes the show so tragic to watch is the young cast of characters; they’re high schoolers who’ve all passed away too early. When you learn how they died and the lives they lived before it really drives home the point that you can die at any moment. This is why you do what you can before it’s too late. I can’t prove that a high school afterlife exists, but the show reminds us that connecting with people and achieving your goals together are what make life worthwhile. Goodbyes are hard, especially the last one in the show, but it means you can look forward to the next time you meet again. 


To Your Eternity


Boy from To Your Eternity


The plot of To Your Eternity is a big warning to anyone who gets attached to side characters too easily. Despite knowing this, I booted up the first episode and was not prepared for the emotional kick to the face I got by the time it finished. The show follows a mysterious immortal being (later named Fushi) that takes on the shape of things and humans, the first of which was an unnamed young man who died alone in his village. Fushi’s journey takes him to cities and villages where he meets all sorts of people from different walks of life. But any human he cares about ends up dead and he shapeshifts into them when the situation calls for it. 


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To Your Eternity is one of those anime that takes a non-human character and forces them to become more human as the story progresses. For that development to happen, though, Fushi has to experience tragedy wherever he goes. What the show does so well is how it manages to evoke strong emotions from you for a character that only hung around for three or four episodes. Within that short timeframe, you grow to love them, just like Fushi did. But in the same way, we experience the sudden, terrible loss that comes with a fragile human life. 


Your Lie in April


Your Lie in April


Another anime that’s brutal when it comes to triggering my tear ducts is Your Lie in April. Pair it with gorgeous visuals and a story propelled by classical music and we’ve got ourselves a show that tugs at our heartstrings (ha, get it?). Your Lie in April is all about reigniting your passion and letting it burn as bright as possible before external forces blow it out. It’s what makes the dynamic between the two leads, Kosei Arima and Kaori Miyazono, so great to watch. When they first met each other, they approached music from different ends of the spectrum. Over time, they find a middle ground before swapping places. 


More than anything, the show makes me appreciate people who inspire me to take my talents and put them to good use — even if it’s just to make me happy. When life seems bleak or you’re in a dark place that you can’t seem to get out of, all it takes is for someone to remind you of the spark that got you going day by day. Now, that’s not to say I want that person to end up in a hospital bed… cue the tears. 


Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day


Menma from Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day


How can I not mention Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day if I’m talking about anime that makes me cry? The opening theme alone is enough to make a person teary-eyed. Anohana stands out as a tearjerker anime because of Menma, the girl who became a ghost and whose wish is for her friends to see her one last time. She’s only visible to Jinta Yadomi, who tries to figure out why she can’t move on, while the rest of their friend group has grown up and “moved on.” 


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Any scene of Menma crying, whether out of joy or frustration, automatically makes me cry. I can relate to her — the fear of not being seen by loved ones is scary to even imagine. She also stays young while those she loves have grown older. Menma doesn’t want to get left behind even though she was the one who left them behind with her death. The last episode should come with a warning because I still haven’t recovered. The "power of friendship" is a joke among anime fans, but in this case, it’s a truly beautiful thing. 


Violet Evergarden


Violet from Violet Evergarden

Image: Netflix


I’m somewhat of a Kyoto Animation groupie. Not only is their animation god-tier, but they also came out the gates with Violet Evergarden, which is about a young woman who learns how to connect with her human emotions through writing. It’s relatable, beautiful, and never fails to move me, especially when I listen to the soundtrack. Violet grew up as a war machine, a weapon that spilled blood and closed off her human side. When she meets Gilbert Bougainvilla, her guardian, she learns from him the word “love” and goes on to try and figure out what that means. 


KyoAni does a phenomenal job honing in on characters’ facial expressions. Every client Violet meets offers her a valuable lesson in connecting with people and becoming more human. And it’s through writing letters for her clients that she relays their feelings to the recipient, and as a result, she starts to feel too. There are at least a few episodes that will make me a crying mess, partly because of the story and characters, and partly because of the gorgeous animation quality. 

It's OK to cry, it's good even. Maybe these anime can give you a little help getting started. 


Which anime gives you a good cry? Let me know in the comments!


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