Top 10 Heart-Wrenching Anime Endings That Will Leave You in Tears

Anime is renowned for its diverse storytelling, offering everything from whimsical tales to heart-wrenching dramas. While many fans enjoy the feel-good endings that leave characters and viewers alike in a state of bliss, there is a niche for those who appreciate the more sombre and tragic conclusions. If you find yourself drawn to narratives that embrace the darker side of life and prefer your stories to end on a poignant note rather than a happy one, this list is for you.

Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket
Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket takes the expansive Gundam universe and narrows it down to a deeply personal level. This six-episode OVA focuses on a young boy named Al, who idolises the glamorous life of mobile suit pilots. His naivety is shattered when he befriends a Zeon soldier named Bernie and witnesses the brutal realities of war. The series culminates in a heart-wrenching finale that underscores the tragic futility of conflict, leaving Al and the audience to grapple with the loss of innocence.

Banana Fish
Banana Fish offers a gritty, urban tale set against the backdrop of New York City’s criminal underworld. The story follows Ash Lynx, a young gang leader, and Eiji Okumura, a Japanese photographer. As they delve deeper into the mystery of Banana Fish, a sinister drug linked to a traumatic past, their bond strengthens amidst escalating dangers. The series is relentless in its depiction of violence and tragedy, leading to an ending that is as heart-wrenching as it is inevitable.

Gungrave is a tale of friendship, betrayal, and revenge, woven into a narrative that spans decades. Brandon Heat and Harry MacDowell start as close friends with dreams of climbing the ranks of a powerful crime syndicate. However, their paths diverge as Harry’s ambition leads to treachery, and Brandon is reborn as Beyond the Grave, seeking vengeance. The series delves deep into themes of loyalty, corruption, and the consequences of one’s choices. The ending is particularly sombre, bringing the story full circle in a tragic resolution that highlights the futility of revenge and the destruction of brotherhood.

Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is a monumental series that has captivated audiences with its intense action and complex narrative. Set in a world where humanity is on the brink of extinction due to giant humanoid creatures known as Titans, the story follows Eren Yeager and his friends as they fight for survival. The series is known for its shocking twists and unflinching approach to loss and despair. Its conclusion is particularly notable for its grim and thought-provoking nature, challenging viewers’ perceptions of heroism and morality.

Devilman Crybaby
Devilman Crybaby is a modern reimagining of Go Nagai’s classic manga, brought to life by Masaaki Yuasa’s unique visual style. The story follows Akira Fudo, who merges with a demon to become Devilman, fighting to protect humanity from demonic threats. As the series progresses, it explores themes of identity, love, and the inherent darkness within humanity. The ending is particularly brutal and nihilistic, with a cataclysmic battle that leaves the world in ruins and the few remaining characters facing unimaginable despair.

Texhnolyze is a deeply philosophical and dystopian series set in the underground city of Lux. The narrative follows Ichise, a fighter who loses his limbs and receives cybernetic replacements, and his journey through a society on the brink of collapse. The series is slow-paced and meditative, exploring themes of existentialism, decay, and the human condition. Its ending is one of the bleakest in anime, providing no redemption or hope for the characters or the world they inhabit.

The End Of Evangelion
The End of Evangelion serves as an alternate ending to the influential series Neon Genesis Evangelion, providing a more definitive conclusion to the story. The film delves into the psychological struggles of the main characters, particularly Shinji Ikari, as they confront their deepest fears and desires. The narrative is dense with symbolism and abstract imagery, culminating in an apocalyptic finale that leaves humanity’s fate ambiguous. The ending is both harrowing and profound, offering no easy answers and challenging viewers to contemplate the nature of existence and self.

Grave of the Fireflies
Grave of the Fireflies is a poignant and devastating portrayal of the human cost of war. Set during World War II, the film follows siblings Seita and Setsuko as they struggle to survive after their home is destroyed in a bombing raid. The story is a heartrending exploration of their resilience and the bond they share amidst the horrors of war. The film’s ending is tragically inevitable, as the harsh realities of their situation take their toll.

Saikano, also known as She, The Ultimate Weapon, tells the story of a high school girl named Chise who is transformed into a living weapon by the military. As she grapples with her new identity and the immense power she wields, her relationship with her boyfriend Shuuji becomes increasingly strained. The series explores the devastating effects of war on individuals and relationships, leading to an ending that is as tragic as it is inevitable.

Wolf’s Rain
Wolf’s Rain is a unique and melancholic tale set in a dystopian world where wolves, thought to be extinct, can disguise themselves as humans. The story follows a group of wolves searching for Paradise, a mythical place where they believe they will find peace and salvation. Their journey is fraught with peril and sorrow, leading to a conclusion that is both beautiful and heartbreaking. The series masterfully balances hope and despair, culminating in an ending that reflects the cyclical nature of life and death.

These anime series offer a variety of tragic, thought-provoking narratives that eschew happy endings in favour of more sombre, impactful conclusions. For viewers who find beauty in the melancholic and appreciate stories that challenge and move them, these ten titles are essential viewing.