The 17 Most Depressing Anime Endings That Left You Dead Inside

Over 15.6K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The 17 Most Depressing Anime Endings That Left You Dead Inside

Whether you love a good cry or hate being blind-sided with unexpectedly depressing anime endings, you've probably encountered some seriously miserable conclusions to your favorite shows. These endings can be emotionally meaningful, but if you're not in the mood for them, they can really ruin your day. Let's take a look at some of the unhappiest anime endings to ever come out of the medium. Be forewarned - because we're talking endings, this article will be rife with spoilers, so use your scroll function liberally. 

Some of the most commonly cited anime with sad endings include CLANNAD: After Story, Your Lie In April, Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, Angel Beats, and Cowboy Bebop. There are plenty more where that came from, and each one is sadder than the last. Vote up your favorites - if you can stop crying long enough from all the feels. 

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  • Grave of the Fireflies is one of the most depressing offerings from Studio Ghibli's canon, and part of that is because of it's based on the very real experiences of children who survived the firebombing of Kobe. The movie depicts the struggles of Seita and Setsuko as they attempt to survive without their parents, their homes, or any of the resources they once had before the attacks.

    Four-year-old Setsuko is the first to succumb to their deprivation, and Seita follows not long after. The movie ends with his passing away while panhandling. There are no happy endings to be found here.

    4,387 votes
  • I Want To Eat Your Pancreas is a love story between an introverted boy with no desire for human relationships, and a bubbly girl named Sakura who is slowly wasting away from a pancreatic disease. The relationship is difficult at first, in part because of their wildly different personalities and in part because of Sakura's impending doom. Throughout the movie, viewers are led to expect that Sakura will pass away from her disease and that while it will be painful, it will also be meaningful.

    That isn't what happens. Sakura is randomly stabbed, and passes away before anyone can process what happened. At the end of the movie, viewers are left feeling the randomness and cruelty of life.

    3,832 votes
  • 3
    5,933 VOTES

    If you've seen the end of Your Lie in April, chances are high that your tear ducts still haven't recovered. Kousei Arima stopped playing piano after his mother passed away, but he's brought back into it by Kaori Miyazono, a violinist who wants him to play with her in a competition. As the two grow closer, a sad fact comes to light - Kaori has an incurable illness, one which may take her life.

    At the end of the series, Kaori undergoes a risky surgical procedure which she does not survive. While Kousei is performing without her in reality, he sees her spirit playing beside him. He eventually learns not only that Kaori has passed away, but also that she was in love with him, but refused to tell him - the titular 'lie' of the show. Watching Kousei learn the truth after it's too late to do anything about it is just brutal. 

    5,933 votes
  • Assassination Classroom
    Photo: Lerche

    Assassination Classroom's premise sounds wacky, but the ending will demolish you emotionally. What begins as a group of children trying to take out their tentacle monster teacher Koro-sensei before he destroys the Earth ends on a very different note than one might have expected. Not only does Koro-sensei have no plans to destroy the Earth intentionally, but his students also have to take his life in order to protect their homes and families.

    The problem is that by the time they fully understand their teachers' origins, they have grown to love him deeply - and so has most of the audience. Just before Nagisa Shiota plunges a weapon into his teacher's body, Koro-sensei does his 'final roll call' in which he says goodbye to each of his students and gives them advice for the future. It's not the last episode - there is an epilogue where all the kids have become adults and are having a reunion - but it's the end of the main story, and oh boy is it a tearjerker. 

    5,935 votes
  • 5
    2,551 VOTES
    Banana Fish
    Photo: MAPPA

    Everyone who watched Banana Fish knew that it wasn't going to end pleasantly, but not everyone realized it was going to hurt this much. After multiple conflicts involving a mind-control drug, human experimentation, human trafficking, gang warfare, and more, Ash Lynx is finally able to resolve at least a few of those problems, free himself from the clutches of the evil Dino Golzine, and send Eiji safely back to Japan. 

    At first, it seems like that last thing will be the sad end to the show. Though Ash and Eiji had talked about living a happy life in Japan together, Ash ultimately decides to stay in NYC so as not to continue to put Eiji at risk. Their separation is excruciating because they truly love each other - but things get so much worse. 

    Ash is randomly stabbed by a rival gang member. Rather than seek medical help, Ash heads to the public library where he was reading a letter from Eiji, and passes away at his seat. 

    2,551 votes
  • 6
    3,062 VOTES

    Hotarubi no Mori e is an anime movie about a love that's completely impossible. When a forest spirit named Gin and a little girl named Hotaru Takegawa first meet, they become fast friends. But as Hotaru grows older, that friendship takes on a romantic tone. The problem? Gin can't be touched by human hands or else he'll disappear. 

    The two decide to attend a spirit festival together, but what seems like it will be a lovely night turns tragic when a human boy accidentally makes his way into the festival, and Gin touches him by mistake. As Gin disappears, he and Hotaru embrace and confess their feelings for the first and last time.

    3,062 votes