Micah's qualifications include watching anime and watching it while eating.
Let the waterworks flow
So you need a good cry, eh? Well, sit back and relax as your weeaboo granddaddy takes you through some of the most heartbreaking titles anime has to offer. For those of you who need a TLDR, here you go.
- Angel Beats
- Plastic Memories
- Your Lie in April
Let's get stuck in!
Angel Beats hits hard for a short anime. There were at least two times when I was watching that the narrative forced salty water out of my manly eyeballs.
The story follows Yuzuru Otanashi, who wakes up in a sort of purgatory without any memory of how he got there. This state of limbo is placed in a high school where teenagers who weren't able to die at peace go. The whole point of it is for them to make peace in limbo and then move onto reincarnation. Otanashi befriends a group of students who are refusing to make peace because they feel like the circumstances of their lives were unfair. They harbour this anger towards an unseen God and this is a way they can fight back.
You can easily glean from the synopsis that the setting is ripe for a good ol' fashioned feels train. The first couple of episodes sets up the concept and introduces you to the characters before they start slappin' down some emotions. This is easily a fantastic anime by all accounts. I highly recommend this one!
Ahh, Plastic Memories. This one really holds a very special place in my heart as this was really the first non-shonen style anime I watched. Before this I was all about dat action, but this one was the first to show me how good anime outside that genre can be.
Plastic Memories takes place in the near future where technology has advanced far enough that there are life-like androids roaming about living with people. People have different reasons for owning one be it loneliness or they may just need an extra pair of hands around the house. These androids, called Giftias, don't last forever and need to have their memories and personalities wiped after about nine years and four months, otherwise they risk becoming unstable or violent. Our MC is Tsukasa Mizugaki, who joins the SAI Corp (the ones that make the Giftias) in one of their Terminal Service Offices. The Terminal Service employees retrieve the Giftias in pairs (one human and one Giftia) to ensure that everyone involved in the service remains safe and happy. There Tsukasa meets Isla, a Giftia, who is no longer doing retrievals for... reasons.
I won't spoil any more but it's needless to say that this show, straight from the get-go, has the perfect recipe for ripping hearts out. I recently rewatched Plastic Memories with a mate of mine, who after the first episode looked at me holding back his emotions and said, "What the f*** did you rope me into?" If you haven't seen it, then put it next on your list.
Your Lie in April
Now a lot of you already probably know about this series, but that doesn't mean it would be excluded from this list. Your Lie in April is an already infamous tear-jerker, but it carries its reputation for a reason.
Arima, our protagonist, sees the world in black and white following a tragedy. Not only this but, as a former prodigy, hasn't touched a piano either. This begins to change when he meets Kaori Miyazono. Kaori is a rambunctious violinist who lives impulsively and follows her ambitions seemingly without a care. As their friendship grows, slowly Arima starts to see the world in colour again and the thought of playing piano doesn't seem so out of reach.
I won't say much more out of worry about going into spoilers, but for anyone that wants to ride that emotional rollercoaster, this one's for you.
Clannad and Clannad After Story
Oh my God, Clannad. I could gush about this show for hours. I would not be able speak about the theories, themes and plot points without getting goosebumps. For me personally, this is the best anime I have ever seen.
Clannad primarily focuses on Tomoya Okazaki, who is a delinquent with no real direction in life. One morning, on the way to school, he meets Nagisa, a small shy girl who's just trying to find her confidence for the day. As the show progress, the two begin to rub off on one another. Tomoya starts to have compassion for those around him and Nagisa starts to assert herself more. Clannad After Story follows their journey together after high school as they begin to tackle the real world.
What makes this show so unbelievably good are the themes that it deals with. Clannad and Clannad After Story tackle tragedy, love, friendship and life with such upbeat moments of realism. Do not misunderstand me, a lot of the plot points aren't very realistic, but the core theme behind them are so damn relatable that it'll be hard not to cry when you finish it. I watched this show at such a low point in my life and it reminded me that there were friends and people in my life I could call upon to help me through it. This is the pinnacle for me in terms of everything a story should do for the viewer.
Now if you want a show that won't just make you tear up but will actually make you cry your eyes out, look no further. Anohana destroyed me like a steamroller over a watermelon.
Our main character, Jinta, has closed himself off from the world following the death of his childhood crush, Menma. This tragedy did not only affect him; it drove apart his whole group of friends at the time and has affected them all differently. Our story begins when Menma, seemingly a ghost, appears one day and begins to hang out with him. This sets in motion a series of events that starts to pull all his old friends together again, but not without a bit of a friction between them.
Anohana is an 11-episode wonder. It has a very real depiction on what the loss of a loved one does to people and how it can drive them apart. Without a doubt, this one is the one that illicited the strongest emotional reaction for me. My friend showed it to his mother, who balled her eyes out for three hours while watching it. Once you watch this, the ending song, Secret Base, will trigger a Vietnam flashback for you every time you hear it. Instead of going back to Nam', you'll just start crying uncontrollably. Honestly though, it's fantastic. Please watch.
And that's a wrap! I hope you enjoyed. I was going to include Naruto on this list, but I think that will get a whole list of its own. There's definitely plenty of others out there, but for now this will do for us.