10 Sad Romance Anime That Will Definitely Make You Cry


For those who want to try rui-katsu (Japanese crying therapy), we have prepared a list of 10 romance anime that will make you cry!

This plethora of anime will tug at your heartstrings in more ways than one.  We selected anime that depict romance, but we also included anime that do not focus on intimate relationships.

For example, I would not define Banana Fish necessarily as a romance anime. However, Ash and Eiji develop feelings that are not clearly distinguishable from adolescent bonds or romantic feelings.

Thus, it would be a bit of a stretch to say that every anime introduced in this article is categorized as romance, but they all have some element.

1. Clannad

Clannad is one of the early works of Kyoto Animation, known for its outstanding and delicate animation style. Clannad reminds us about the importance of family, friendship, love, and most anime fans would admit that “Clannad wa jinsei da (Clannad is life)”.

The anime’s main plot is pretty cliche; a delinquent high school student named Tomoya Okazaki meets a sickly girl Nagisa Furukawa. They grow feelings for each other while spending time together in school. For the most part, this anime is a slice-of-life romcom, but they also go through some serious issues with family and struggle to overcome broken dreams. 

If you want to bawl your eyes out, I recommend watching the direct sequel called Clannad: After Story. It involves Nagisa and Tomoya after they graduate high school, where things get more complicated as they become adults. Yet, it is a heartwarming anime you would watch with someone you care about (and someone who doesn’t mind you being a weeb). 

2. Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden is another work by Kyoto Animation that no one could resist tearing up unless you are heartless. It also won Best Animation at the 2019 Crunchyroll Anime Awards.

The anime revolves around an ex-soldier, Violet Evergarden, who decided to reintegrate into society by becoming an Auto Memory Doll. This term refers to someone writing for others. The story follows her journey to learn the meaning of the phrase “I love you,” which is the last message she got from her mentor, Major Gilbert, who is missing after the war.

If you watch a decent amount of anime, you have probably watched it already, but have you also watched the finale Violet Evergarden: The movie?

The movie revolves around Violet Evergarden and her beloved Major Gilbert, and the ending will definitely move your soul. 

3. Fruits Basket

Fruits Basket is based on a shoujo manga by Natsuki Takaya, which was first adapted into an anime in 2001. A new anime was broadcasted in 2019 with a completely new staff and cast, with Takaya serving as general supervisor.

The story revolves around the Kusama clan, cursed by the twelve animal signs of the Chinese zodiac for generations. The curse is that when they are embraced by the opposite sex, they transform into the animals. 

The protagonist, Honda Toru, becomes involved with them, learns their secrets, and gently wraps her arms around the trauma each of them has been through.

Although there are many serious scenes, Fruits Basket points us toward a positive perspective in the end.

4. AnoHana: The Flower We Saw That Day

AnoHana is a masterpiece of tear-jerking anime. It is a work that profoundly moves you not only through its story, but also through the changes in the characters’ facial expressions as well.

After failing the High School entrance exam, Jinta Yadomi has been living a semi-reclusive life as a “hikikomori.” Then his childhood friend, Meiko Honma, who was thought dead, mysteriously appears right before his eyes.

She showed up to fulfill a promise with “Chouheiwa Busters,” a group of six childhood friends who suffered deep emotional traumas due to Meiko’s death. 

To fulfill Meiko’s promise, each member faces and overcomes traumas from the past.

This anime has only 11 episodes, making it ideal for those who are starting their anime-watching journey for the first time. 

5. Your Lie in April

Your Lie in April is a music anime filled with high school romance and misunderstandings.

The main character, Kosei Arima, who was called a genius pianist, has been unable to play the piano since the day his mother died at an early age.

One day, he met a violinist of the same age, Kaori Miyazono. This was when his world, burdened with past trauma, started to change.

This anime stimulates all five senses, and you will be tearing up listening to the opening theme, anytime, anywhere. To further add, Kosei’s last performance is filled with a plethora of feelings, and when you realize the “lie” told by Kaori, you will bawl your eyes out.

6. Hakuouki

Hakuouki is based on an otome-game, a story-based video game in which the player tries to develop a relationship with one of the second lead male characters. 

The plot is inspired by the true story of the Shinsengumi, a special police force organized by the old Japanese military government.

The main character, Chizuru Yukimura, is the daughter of a doctor working in Kyoto. When she loses contact with her father, she disguises herself as a man and goes to the capital of Kyoto. There, she gets involved in an incident, which leads her to meet the Shinsengumi.

She runs through the end of the Edo period with the Shinsengumi and discovers the secret of her own birth.

This is a tragic love story of Chizuru and the members of Shinsengumi. In the anime, the story follows the route of Toshizo Hijikata. 

This work’s sad, beautiful, and ephemeral sentiment will make the viewer’s heart clench in their chests.

7. Given

Given is an adolescent BL anime based on the manga by Natsuki Kizu. It was also the first BL work of Noitamina, and its powerful music performance scenes and delicate drawings were well received by fans of BL and non-BL.

Mafuyu Sato and Ritsuka Kaminoyama met because of a guitar that was a memento of Mafuyu’s dead lover. Ritsuka, who had exceptional guitar skills, was attracted to Mafuyu’s natural musical talent and decided to bring him into the band.

The story carefully depicts the interplay of feelings between the high school students, Mafuyu and Ritsuka, and also the sub-characters, Haruki and Akihiko. 

This is recommended for those who want to watch a cute but sentimental love story. Also, it is not a hardcore BL, so if you like watching shojo-manga anime, you will probably like this one too.

8. Banana Fish

Banana Fish is an anime based on the manga by Akimi Yoshida. In 2018, more than 20 years after its serialization, it was finally adapted into a TV anime and broke many anime fans’ hearts into pieces.

Eiji Okumura, from Japan, meets Ash Lynx in downtown New York City. He was trying to get to the bottom of an entity called “Banana Fish.” Eiji works with Ash, but soon the two become entangled in a mafia conspiracy.

The relationship between the two men, who support each other, cannot be defined by a simple word like love or friendship, but we know it is sincere.

Please watch this animation at your own risk, as you could be challenged emotionally in many ways. 

9. One Week Friends

One Week Friends is based on the manga by Matcha Hazuki, which was adapted into an anime in 2014. It was also made into a live-action movie in 2017.

High school student Yuki Hase tries to make friends with Kaori Fujimiya, who is always alone in class. However, Kaori rejects him because she loses her memory of her friends within a week.

Nevertheless, Yuki does not give up and approaches Kaori, gradually getting closer.

The two characters’ emotions can be thoroughly felt as you watch them progress throughout the anime. Their ups and downs mirror the lives that we live in great detail.

10. Nagi no Asukara

Nagi no Asukara revolves around Hikari Sakishima and his four childhood friends living in Umimura, a world where people live separately between the sea and land.

The story begins with the main characters in elementary and junior high school. Which may feel too young for a love story, but I promise you will change your mind if you keep watching it until the second half of the season. From then, you will cry all the way through.

Especially in the second half, their changing and unchanging thoughts are delicately portrayed. As a big fan of P.A.WORKS, I have rewatched this anime at least three times, and even knowing the ending, I am still moved every single time.


In this article, we have introduced 10 sad romance anime, both old and new, that we recommend to those who like to have their heartstrings pulled every now and then.

We will publish more anime recommendations on our website, so please keep your eyes on them! 

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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