15 Sad Anime Characters with Tragic Backstories


Depression, tragedy, and sorrow, these 3 aspects of human life, make us human at the end of the day. In anime, many characters go through gut-wrenching scenarios similar to this.

Tragic stories can range from a plethora of things, more so we see characters overcome their odds and get a good ending, while some characters are doomed from the start. Their backstories may seem depressing, but it’s how we understand them, not on a 2-D level but on a 3-D one.

In this article, we compiled 15 characters who have it bad.

Itachi Uchiha has gone down as one of the most notable characters with a tragic story for good reasons. Born when his people were alienated and had a bad history with the rest of Konoha, Itachi had to deal with many strenuous incidents.

To maintain peace between his clan and Konoha, he had to stop a coup d’etat by killing every clan member. He slaughtered everyone, including his parents. Then he had to live in the shadows, away from his little brother, who was not there when the slaughter occurred.

Itachi had to sacrifice himself for the sake of peace and acted as a medium for Sasuke to get stronger, which led to their fight, where in his final words, he felt calm and smiled.

2. Tony Tony Chopper/ONE PIECE

Chopper is such an adorable reindeer and always has a smile on his cute face, but behind that warm exterior lies a cold past.

Outcasted from other reindeer for having a blue nose and looking different, Chopper was always alone and struggling. When he went to talk to humans and seek refuge, he was scorned and chased out. It was not until he met Dr. Hiriluk, who took him in and raised him as if he were his son.

3. Guts/Berserk

Guts is a fierce warrior who has been through the wringer when it comes to unfortunate events. To start, he was born from a corpse and is shunned by others for it.

His adoptive mother dies after 3 years due to the plague. He was sold into slavery and raped at the age of 9. He dons the berserk armour, which nullifies the pain he receives in exchange for his senses. He is always pushed past his humanity and commits acts that are NSFL.

If you’re even more curious about Gut’s sad story, I recommend you check out the manga and specifically the Eclipse Arc.

4. Sakura Matou/Fate Series

Sakura is a familiar archetype we have encountered throughout our lives; Wearing a mask to hide your pain.

She has gone through domestic abuse and sexual assault constantly. She has been used as a pawn piece in many situations and held at knifepoint. Her biological father treated her like livestock.

Even worst is that, due to the plot line, everyone in her family sees her as a lost cause. Thus, she is further depressed. Her trauma is unique and twisted. This makes her a character that people will cry over.

5. Nanachi/Made in Abyss

Born as an orphan, Nanachi had already rolled the worst fate. This is only the start of her tragic life.

Nanachi once had the appearance of a human, but due to an experiment that involved her close friend Mitty, she gained the portrayal of an animal, thus losing her human looks. The experiment in question was done to bypass the abyss’s curse, and as a result, Mitty became decomposed and had to be in never-ending pain.

The two decided to run away from the inhumane lab. Still, due to the excruciating pain Mitty was experiencing, Nanachi decided it was best to kill Mitty to end her suffering. This further hurt Nanachi since she lost someone she was close to.

6. Kyo Sohma/Fruits Basket

Almost all the characters from Fruits Basket have dark and miserable backstories, but Kyo’s story hits differently.

Kyo was cursed by the cat spirit, and therefore his family, including his father, wanted nothing from him but to be locked in a case where no one sees him.

During his mother’s funeral, he was criticized by family members for her death, and he was only 5 years old!!

7. Lelouch vi Britannia/Code Geass

At first glance, Lelouch would not appear to be a tragic character. Born into a wealthy family, he does not appear to have suffered anything. Lelouch’s sadness comes from the power he gained from C.C. (pronounced at C2).

His goal was to use the power he gained from C.C. to create a world where his sister, Nunnally, could live peacefully. However, as he involves various people, he realizes that his goal is to defeat Britannia and create a world where everyone can live happily.

His actions to achieve this goal will not be seen without tears.

8. Hyakkimaru/Dororo

After his father made a deal with the 48-sealed demon, Hyakkimaru had no limbs/organs at birth. This caused his father to have him executed due to the stain it would put on his image.

Hyakkimaru then had to live a life slaying demons to get back at his father for what he did. Part by part, he does get back his limbs, but in exchange witnesses many of life’s horrible parts along the way.

The one scene in which he suffers a lot was when he met Mio, a woman looking over orphans. She had to sell herself in exchange for bringing food and medicine for them. Hyakkimaru becomes close with her and the orphans, only for them to be slaughtered. He then goes berserk over losing them.

9. Suguru Geto/Jujutsu Kaisen

Suguru may come off as an evil guy who wants to do nothing but kill off all non-sorcerors, and well, you’re right if you perceived him as that. But he once was a bright and cheery guy.

Suguru often clashed with Satoru over what it meant to be a sorcerer and did it mean to protect everyone or a specific group. He was a great guy and loved spending time with his friends.

Following the death of Riko Amanai who he met during one mission, Suguru began to lose his way as a sorcerer of good and started questioning everything around him. He started taking on more dangerous missions and became closer to the idea that he doesn’t have to protect non-sorcerors and that they are not worth his time.

10. Dabi/My Hero Academia

Dabi is probably a peak sadboy character in MHA. Abandoned by his family and a father who’s disappointed in him, He turned to a life of crime and villainy to channel his pain and anger. His father’s disappointment comes from Dabi being incapable of using fire abilities.

Dabi even ruins his father by publically humiliating him for how much pain and agony he put him through. Maybe if things were better, he would be a MC in an alternate timeline.

11. Tanjiro Kamado/Demon Slayer

Tanjiro lost it all in one episode, man. He went off to some gathering for his family and on his way back he saw the horrific sight of his family members slaughtered and dismembered by the demon who did it.

Luckily his little sister Nezuko was still alive but became a demon because of it. He is always trying to find a cure for Nezuko and hunt demons in order to repay them for what they took from him.

12. Archer/Fate Series

Archer is probably the character with the saddest story in Fate/Stay Night. He makes a contract with the world to become a heroic spirit in exchange for saving those in front of him. He put it all on the line to save his friends.

However, due to making the contract with the wrong god, he ended up becoming a counter-spirit. Instead, he has to kill those who put humanity in harm. Thus, he is in a perpetual cycle of killing over and over again.

13. Shouko Nishimiya/A Silent Voice

Deaf from birth, Shoko struggles in her daily life. Kind and withdrawn, she was the target of bullying by her classmates in elementary school.

From having her hearing aids thrown out the window to being ridiculed for not being able to speak well, the bullying was unbearable to watch.

Bullying is all around us. This animation will make you think about whether you are hurting someone with your words without knowing it.

14. Gaara/NARUTO

©岸本斉史 スコット/集英社・テレビ東京・ぴえろ

Gaara was given an L at birth, and boy did he have it rough. Having a tailed beast inside of you is grounds for being hated just from their historical actions. Additionally, his Mother died shortly after giving birth to him, leaving him in the care of his Father and Uncle.

He longed for his mother’s love, and even when he attacks, his sand takes the form of his mother. His Uncle took care of him despite his Father working him to the bone. He and his uncle were very close until one night, his Uncle turned his back on him and left him in a void of despair.

15. Tatsumi/Akame Ga Kill!

This character personally put me on my ass, crying into my blanket. Tatsumi came from a small village where everyone was pretty poor. He left his village with his two friends to find work in the big city. He was taken in by a family that treated him well but was plotting behind his back.

Later that night, he goes to a shed to find one of his friends strung up and mutilated while his other friend is dying due to torture. This twisted Tatsumi’s innocent perception of the world and led him to join Night Raid, a band of assassins.

He lost his friends, his village, and even those in the assassination squad. He lost anything and everything nearest to him. Finally, the badass armour he wears eats away at his life force and in the final fight, he did the unthinkable and sacrifices himself, leaving behind his lover with a child.


What a depressing article; I teared up twice writing this. Some of these characters go through struggles we do; thus, we can relate with them and find some solemn peace in how they overcome them.

We hope you found a character you like or pull at your heartstrings.

Be sure to keep checking back on our site for more great anime recommendations!

We are a group of experienced web editors based in Japan.

Our goal is to provide a stimulating reading experience for those who are interested in Japanese entertainment cultures such as anime, manga, and J-drama.

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