A sad ending can make or break an anime, and these Sad Ending Animes hit the mark perfectly in terms of bringing closure to their characters and fans. Everyone enjoys a happy ending, but it cannot be the only type. In the world of anime, viewers never know what to expect from the final episode. Many shows choose to tie every loose end to the viewers’ content with a pretty bow (which is sometimes necessary). On the other hand, some shows choose to make their endings more realistic, reflecting the realistic cruelty that exists throughout the world.
The ending of a show has the most impact, no matter how happy or sad the individual events are from episode to episode. Some series finales are so expertly chosen that fans can’t help but embrace their sadness. After all, a good cathartic cry is good for the soul.
13. Banana Fish
Aslan Jade Callenreese, also known as Ash Lynx, was a runaway taken from the streets of New York City and raised by the mafia’s infamous godfather, Dino Golzine. Ash, now 17 and the leader of his own gang, begins looking into the mysterious “Banana Fish”—the same two words his older brother, Griffin, has muttered since his return from the Iraq War. However, his investigations are hampered when Dino sends his men after Ash at an underground bar where he hides.
Skip, Ash’s friend, introduces him to Shunichi Ibe and his assistant, Eiji Okumura, who are Japanese photographers covering American gangs. Shorter Wong, one of Ash’s allies, calls to warn him about Dino, but their conversation is cut short. Dino’s men soon storm the bar and kidnap Skip and Eiji in the ensuing chaos. Now, Ash must find a way to save them and continue his investigation into Banana Fish, but will his history with the mafia stop him?
12. Akame ga Kill!
Night Raid is the covert assassination arm of the Revolutionary Army, an uprising assembled to depose Prime Minister Honest, whose avarice and greed for power has led him to exploit the child emperor’s inexperience. The rest of the country is left to drown in poverty, strife, and ruin in the absence of a strong and benevolent leader. Though the Night Raid members are all experienced killers, they understand that taking lives is not something to be proud of and that they will almost certainly face retribution as they mercilessly eliminate anyone who stands in the way of the revolution.
Tatsumi, the newest member of this merry band of assassins, is a naive boy from a remote village who had embarked on a journey to help his impoverished hometown and was won over not only by Night Raid’s ideals, but also by their resolve. Akame ga Kill! follows Tatsumi as he fights the Empire, encountering powerful weapons, enemy assassins, challenges to his own morals and values, and, ultimately, discovering what it truly means to be an assassin with a cause.
11. White Album 2
As the curtains of the stage he so desired begin to open, White Album 2 orchestrates Haruki’s final semester with complex romance and exhilarating music… Haruki Kitahara’s light music club is about to disband. At this rate, the third-year dream of performing at the school festival will never come true. However, as his exhausted fingers drift through the chords of “White Album,” his first song, an angelic voice and mysterious piano begin harmonising with his lonely guitar. It is a historic performance that marks the start of everything for Haruki.
10. Grave of the Fireflies
As World War II comes to an end in 1945, Japan faces widespread devastation as a result of American bombings that destroy city after city. Hotaru no Haka, also known as Grave of the Fireflies, tells the storey of Seita and his sister Setsuko, two Japanese children whose lives are destroyed by the brutal war. They have lost their mother, father, home, and the prospect of a bright future as a result of the war.
Seita and Setsuko, orphaned and homeless, have no choice but to drift across the countryside, plagued by starvation and disease. They discover that desperate circumstances can turn even the kindest of people cruel, but their youthful hope shines brightly in the face of unrelenting hardship, preventing the siblings from succumbing to an inevitable fate.
9. Assassination Classroom
Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, adapted from Yuusei Matsui’s humorous hit manga, tells the storey of these junior high students as they sharpen their assassination skills and grow in order to stand strong against the oppressive school system, their own life problems, and, one day, Koro-sensei.
When a mysterious creature reduces the moon to a permanent crescent, the students of Kunugigaoka Middle School’s class 3-E are faced with a monumental task: assassinate the creature responsible for the disaster before Earth suffers a similar fate. The monster, dubbed Koro-sensei (the indestructible teacher), can, however, fly at speeds of up to Mach 20, which he freely demonstrates, leaving any attempt to subdue him in his extraterrestrial dust. Furthermore, the misfits of 3-E quickly discover that the strange, tentacled beast is more than just invincible—he is also the best teacher they have ever had!
8. anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
Jinta Yadomi lives quietly as a recluse, avoiding school and instead spending his days at home playing video games. Meiko “Menma” Honma, his childhood friend, appears one hot summer day and begs him to grant a forgotten wish. He ignores her, which irritates her, but he doesn’t care. After all, Menma died many years ago.
Jinta initially believes he is hallucinating due to the summer heat, but he is later convinced that what he sees is the ghost of Menma. Jinta and his childhood friends grew apart after Menma’s untimely death, but they are brought back together as they try to put Menma’s spirit to rest. Will they be able to find the strength to help not only Menma, but themselves, move on after reliving their pain and guilt?
7. Clannad: After Story
Clannad: After Story is an impactful drama based on Key’s visual novel and produced by Kyoto Animation. It emphasises the importance of family and the struggles of adulthood.
The sequel to the critically acclaimed slice-of-life series Clannad, Clannad: After Story, begins after Tomoya Okazaki and Nagisa Furukawa graduate from high school. They go through the emotional ups and downs of growing up together. Unsure of his future path, Tomoya discovers the value of a strong work ethic and the strength of Nagisa’s support. They push forward to confront their personal problems, deepen their old relationships, and form new bonds because of the couple’s dedication and unity of purpose.
Time passes in the Illusionary World as well. As winter approaches, the Illusionary Girl and the Garbage Doll are confronted with a difficult situation that reveals the World’s true purpose.
6. Iroduku: The World in Colors
Despite the kaleidoscopic magic that pervades everyday life, Hitomi Tsukishiro’s monochrome world lacks emotion and feeling. On a night as black and white as any other, amidst the fireworks, Hitomi’s grandmother Kohaku conjures a spell, for which she has been harnessing the moon’s light for 60 years, to transport Hitomi to the year 2018, when Kohaku was in high school.
Hitomi’s mission appears to be hazy, but her grandmother assures her that she will know when she arrives. Following a trip through time aboard a strange yellow creature-driven train, Hitomi finds herself in the room of stoic artist Yuito Aoi, and his drawings fill her world with colour. What is Hitomi’s purpose there, and why do Yuito’s drawings bring such vibrant colour back into her drab world?
5. Guilty Crown
The Apocalypse Virus spread across Japan on December 24, 2029, the day colloquially known as the “Lost Christmas,” killing its citizens and plunging the country into complete chaos. In an effort to restore order, the UN dispatches the GHQ to assist with the crisis by containing the outbreak while simultaneously removing all political autonomy. A decade later, the country is still under their control, unable to escape their draconian rule.
Frustrated with the state of the country, the Funeral Parlor resistance group seeks to free Japan from the GHQ. The group, led by the charismatic Gai Tsutsugami, plots to steal a vial containing the “Void Genome” in order to further their goals. The vial ends up in the hands of internet vocalist Inori Yuzuriha, who becomes the target of the GHQ’s Anti-Bodies forces. She seeks refuge in a warehouse after having nowhere else to go, where she meets Shuu Ouma, a socially awkward high school student who is a huge fan of her music.
Shuu is drawn into the conflict the moment he saves Inori, and the Void Genome shatters in his hand, bestowing the “Power of the Kings” upon him. Shuu must now fight to liberate Japan from its cruel oppressors while learning how to control his magnificent new ability.
4. Plastic Memories
Tsukasa Mizugaki, eighteen, has failed his college entrance exams, but after pulling some strings, he lands a job at the Sion Artificial Intelligence Corporation. SAI Corp is responsible for the development of “Giftias,” which are highly advanced androids that are nearly indistinguishable from normal humans. Giftias, on the other hand, have a maximum lifespan of 81,920 hours, or approximately nine years and four months. Tsukasa’s station, Terminal Service One, is in charge of collecting Giftias that have reached their expiration date before they lose their memories and become hostile.
Tsukasa is quickly partnered with a lovely Giftia named Isla after joining Terminal Service One. Despite her petite stature and calm demeanour, she is a Terminal Service veteran and considered the best in Giftia retrievals. However, time is of the essence, and Tsukasa must confront his feelings for Isla before her time runs out. Nothing lasts forever, no matter how much someone desires it.
3. Angel Beats!
Otonashi awakens to discover he is no longer alive. Otonashi realises the only thing he remembers about himself is his name after a rifle-toting girl named Yuri explains that they are in the afterlife. Yuri informs him that she is the leader of the Shinda Sekai Sensen (Afterlife Battlefront) and is at war with a girl named Tenshi. Unbelieving Yuri’s claims that Tenshi is evil, Otonashi attempts to speak with her, but the encounter does not go as planned.
Otonashi decides to join the SSS and fight Tenshi, but he is strangely drawn to her. He gradually unravels the mysteries of the afterlife while attempting to regain his memories and understand Tenshi.
2. 5 Centimeters Per Second
Byousoku 5 Centimeter is a romantic comedy about the mundane and harsh reality of long-distance relationships. Takaki and Akari, trapped in the past and unable to create new memories, cling to the hope of seeing each other again. They go about their daily lives half-heartedly, causing harm to both themselves and those around them.
What happens when two people fall in love but aren’t meant to be together? Takaki Toono and Akari Shinohara were childhood friends who were torn apart by circumstances beyond their control. They promise to keep in touch, and while the passage of time widens the gap between them, the chain of memories remains ever-present.
1. Your Lie in April
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, based on the manga series of the same name, tells the storey of Kousei’s recovery as he discovers that music is more than just playing each note perfectly, and that a single melody can bring in the fresh spring air of April.
The path of the human metronome, the prodigious pianist Kousei Arima, is accompanied by music. However, following the death of his mother, Saki Arima, Kousei enters a downward spiral, rendering him unable to hear the sound of his own piano.
Kousei still avoids the piano, leaving behind his admirers and rivals, and lives a colourless life with his friends Tsubaki Sawabe and Ryouta Watari two years later. Everything changes, however, when he meets Kaori Miyazono, a beautiful violinist who shakes up his world and sends him on a journey to face music again.