11 Sad Anime Series To Watch If You Need A Good Cry To Relieve Stress

Sad anime that will make you cry

Not to be masochistic, but anime tear-jerkers are the best remedy for when you’re so stressed that you can’t even cry. After all, science has proven that a good sobfest helps your body get rid of stress hormones. We’ve chosen 11 sad anime series from the early 2000s to now, spanning genres from romance to Bildungsroman, that will help you relieve stress. 

1. Assassination Classroom (2015 – 2016)

Image credit: Crunchyroll 

Assassination Classroom follows the story of Class 3-E in Kunigigaoka Junior High School. The lives of 28 young students, who are treated as outcasts because of their subpar grades, are forever changed when a yellow octopus-like creature with superpowers – Koro-sensei – becomes their homeroom teacher. 

Class 3-E was already abnormal as they had to study in a run-down building and were deprived of normal school privileges. But their lives became even stranger when all of them became assassins-in-training overnight. 

Furthermore, they are trained to be assassins and taught their usual school subjects by the very creature whom they have to kill – Koro-sensei. They have to successfully kill Koro-sensei before the end of the school year so that Earth doesn’t get blown into smithereens.  

Image credit: IMDb 

However, Koro-sensei is nothing like the villainous, destructive creature the government makes him out to be, and Class 3-E struggles to kill the teacher they have come to love and appreciate.

Assassination Classroom is a story of bonds, believing in oneself, and fighting for a better future. If you like a touching tale with lots of action, then this just might become your favourite. 

Genre: Science Fiction, School Life, Action
Length: 2 seasons, 22 episodes (S1), 25 episodes (S2)
Available on: Netflix

2. Angel Beats! (2010)

Image credit: IMDb 

Shinda Sekai Sensen (SSS) is a band of individuals in the afterlife who have led a not-so-great life. All hold some form of regret in their hearts, and these regrets have led them to hate God. They wish to exact revenge for all the sadness, dissatisfaction, and helplessness they felt when they were still alive. 

Image credit: Anime-Planet 

After Yuzuru Otonashi dies and ends up in the afterlife, he befriends those in SSS and finds out that they are constantly engaging in fierce battles against a girl they call “Angel”, whom they believe is working for God. Otonashi later gets to know Angel properly and finds out that she is named Kanade Tachibana, and isn’t actually a bad person. 

Image credit: JustWatch

Subsequently, Otonashi, Yuri, and Hinata find out from Kanade the reason why they were gathered together in the afterlife – for them to get over their past regrets. This leads them to help everyone in SSS achieve their unfulfilled desires so that they can reincarnate in peace.

Genre: Fantasy, Afterlife, Romance
Length: 1 season, 13 episodes
Available on: Netflix, Crunchyroll

3. Clannad / Clannad After Story (2007 – 2009)

Image credit: Anime-Planet 

Tomoya Okazaki was brought up by his father after his mother passed away. His bad relationship with his father led to many physical fights between them, one of which severely injured Tomoya’s shoulder and caused him to give up on sports. 

Ever since then, Tomoya’s life has been meaningless. But that changes when he meets Nagisa Furukawa, a third-year student from Tomoya’s high school. Nagisa has been sickly since she was a child and had to delay her graduation by one year due to her health. 

Image credit: Netflix

Before Nagisa graduates, she hopes to participate in the drama club, which unfortunately shut down before she could join. Tomoya resolves to help Nagisa form a new drama club. Through this process, they befriend four other students and forge long-lasting friendships.  

Image credit: IMDb

If Clannad was about finding meaning to life and solving different problems high schoolers face, then Clannad After Story is about the rocky path towards adulthood and fighting against the cruel realities of life and death. 

Combined, the two series are a package set to make you cry as you watch the characters strive to hold on to happiness. 

Genre: Drama, Romance, Coming-of-age
Length: 2 seasons, 23 episodes (S1), 24 episodes (S2)
Available on: Netflix

4. Chobits (2002)

Image credit: Anime-Planet 

Chobits are legendary humanoid computers that can act according to their thoughts and emotions. Persocoms, on the other hand, is a similar type of technology derived from the legend of Chobits. They are human-like computer programs that can be customised for different uses and also save information in their database. 

High school student Hideki Motosuwa is busy studying in order to secure a place in a university. On top of that, he’s working part-time to make ends meet. He has always wanted to own a Persocom but does not have the spare cash to make such an expensive purchase. 

Hideki’s desire is somehow satisfied after he picks up an abandoned Persocom one day and manages to activate her. However, he later realises that she is a Chobit as she can’t do what Persocoms can. She is given the name “Chi” because that was the first word she said after Hideki re-activated her. 

Image adapted from: The-Arcade

As Hideki and Chi spend more time together, they begin to fall in love, but the lack of information about Chi and the low probability of a happy ending between a human and an AI robot causes turmoil between them. 

Genre: Romance, Science Fiction
Length: 1 season, 26 episodes
Available on: DVD

5. Kobato (2009 – 2010)

Image credit: Crunchyroll 

Kobato Hanato is a kind-hearted amnesiac girl who has come to the human realm together with Ioryogi, a spiritual being taking the form of a toy dog, to complete an assignment. 

The only thing Kobato can remember is her goal: to fill up a bottle with people’s “healed hearts” in order to have her wish granted. Said healed hearts look like konpeito (sugar candy) and they are eventually referred to as such by Kobato. Meanwhile, Ioryogi was cursed to remain in his toy dog form until Kobato successfully fills up the bottle. 

While in the human realm, Kobato must never become romantically attached to a human whose heart she has healed. But this proves to be difficult when she meets Kiyokazu Fujimoto, a brash yet good-natured man who works at Yomogi Nursery.  

Image credit: IMDb 

As Kobato works at the nursery together with Kiyokazu, they fall in love with each other but struggle with their feelings. The two have to overcome the test of time, fight against all odds, and hope for a miracle to allow them to be together.   

Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Length: 1 season, 24 episodes
Available on: Netflix

6. Plastic Memories (2015)

Image credit: IMDb 

Plastic Memories is a heart-breaking series that will make you desperately hope for a happy ending for Tsukasa and Isla. However, the lesson we will be taught here is that life can be cruel, no matter how hard you try. 

Tsukasa Mizugaki has just started working at Terminal Station One of Sion Artificial Intelligence Corporation (SAI Corp). SAI Corp produces AI humanoids known as Giftias, which are widely used in day-to-day events. 

Image credit: Plastic Memories Fandom 

Although Giftias are extremely intelligent and useful, they can only live for less than 10 years. Tsukasa later partners up with Isla, a Giftia known for her expertise in retrieving expired Giftias. Tsukasa falls for Isla after getting to know her, but love seems impractical as Isla will cease to exist once her time is up. 

Image adapted from: Angel

Despite having less than 3 months left to “live”, Isla also begins to develop romantic feelings for Tsukasa.

Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, Drama
Length: 1 season, 13 episodes
Available on: Netflix, Crunchyroll

7. Little Busters! (2012 – 2014)

Image credit: Crunchyroll 

Little Busters! follows the story of Riki Naoe, who suffers from narcolepsy. He was a recluse until he met Kyousuke Natsume, who invited him to join a team called the “Little Busters”. The five friends – Riki, Kyousuke, Rin, Masato, and Kengo – led a carefree and free-spirited life together. 

Now in high school, Kyousuke wants to bring back the Little Busters as a baseball team. However, they don’t have enough members to form a club, so Riki and Rin are entrusted with the important role of recruiting other students. 

Image adapted from: TheNightShadeTwins 

Afterwards, the newly formed Little Busters receive a strange letter asking them to do certain missions, which will then give them information about the world. The more they search for answers, the more they get dragged into a series of unusual events. 

These events eventually lead to Riki and Rin realising that they are living in an artificial world created by their friends after a tragic accident occurred a few months prior. Riki and Rin then go through multiple trials to save their friends and change the fates of each one of them.

Image credit: FrankInglese 

Fans of mystery and friendship tropes will love what Little Busters has to offer. 

Genre: Sports, School Life, Drama, Mystery
Length: 3 seasons, 26 episodes (S1), 13 episodes (S2), 8 episodes (S3)
Available on: Crunchyroll

8. Moshidora (2011)

Image credit: Anime-Planet 

Minami Kawashima, a girl who claims to hate baseball, decides to lead her school’s boys’ baseball team to the Nationals through the use of a management guide book. This sudden decision is for her best friend, Yuki.

Yuki had been the manager of the baseball team until she had to be hospitalised due to an illness that has plagued her since birth. 

Image credit: Draggle 

Moshidora will teach you the importance of team spirit and sincerity. It isn’t a comical portrayal of a girl trying to use business management techniques to manage a high school sports team, but rather a heartwarming story of two best friends who have to eventually face the fragility of life bravely. 

Genre: Sports, School Life
Length: 1 season, 10 episodes
Available on: DVD

9. One Week Friends (2014)

Image credit: IMDb 

One Week Friends follows the story of high school student Yuuki Hase as he tries to befriend his lonely classmate, Kaori Fujimiya. Despite many classmates asking to be friends, Kaori has never opened up to others. Undaunted, Yuuki decides to reach out to her every day to get to know her better. 

Yuuki is hopeful about their blossoming friendship, but this quickly goes downhill when Kaori suddenly acts cold and distant when Monday approaches. 

Image credit: Clark A. 

After much confusion, concern, and probing, Yuuki finds out the real reason why Kaori refuses to make friends – she is unable to retain new memories after an accident in the past. Knowing that Kaori sincerely yearns for friends despite her worries over her memory-loss problem, Yuuki decides to re-befriend her each week together with Shogo Kiryu and Saki Yamagishi.

Image credit: Imgur

One Week Friends is a story of making friends and coping with trauma. The four friends will use their friendship to teach you that you can trust your close friends such that even if your memory of them always resets in a week, your friendship will still stay strong. 

Genre: Romance, School Life, Friendship
Length: 1 season, 12 episodes + 12 specials
Available on: Netflix, Crunchyroll

10. Seven-Coloured Drops (2007)

Image credit: IMDb 

Sumomo Akihime might have never got close to her crush, Masaharu Tsuwabuki, if not for a fateful accident. When a mysterious potion turns Tsuwabuki into a stuffed animal once evening strikes, he has no choice but to ask Sumomo to help him obtain the cure by collecting seven star drops. 

Sumomo, not knowing the stuffed animal was Tsuwabuki, agrees to help him collect the star drops required to turn him back to normal. On top of that, Sumomo must never find out the true identity of the stuffed lamb or Tsuwabuki will be turned into a stuffed toy for real.   

Seven-coloured Drops follows the adventures of Tsuwabuki and Sumomo as they try to collect all seven star drops and ultimately fall in love after spending five months as partners. Although they love each other, they will inevitably face hardships and heartbreak.

Genre: Magic, Romance, School Life
Length: 1 season, 12 episodes
Available on: DVD

11. A Silent Voice (2016)

Image credit: IMDb 

A bully never realises the consequences of their actions until the roles are reversed and the bully becomes the bullied. 

After Shoko Nishimiya transfers to another school and Shoya Ishida becomes the new target of the bullies, Shoya learns how awful he was towards Shoko and becomes deeply remorseful over how he had carelessly hurt his deaf classmate. 

Image credit: IMDb

Even after years, Shoya is still haunted by his past mistakes. He eventually decides to find Shoko to right his wrongs. 

Thought-provoking, realistic, and emotional, A Silent Voice touches on hard-hitting topics such as bullying, mental health, sensitivity, and redemption. The real question here is: can one truly find redemption for their past actions?

Genre: Drama, School Life, Deafness
Length: 2hr 10min film
Available on: Netflix

Sad anime that will make you emotional in a good way

Emotional stories are the ones that will leave an impression on you long after the show has ended. These sad anime series will give you a fresh new experience and are guaranteed to teach you a memorable lesson. If you want to pass time watching worthwhile shows, give these recommendations a shot.   

For more anime-related articles, check out:

Cover image adapted from: IMDb, @AnimeVoice, IMDb

Shi Han Ong

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