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The 15 Most Depressing Anime Endings That Left You Dead Inside

Updated November 13, 2020 33.4k votes 7.2k voters 176.9k views15 items

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. 

  • 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. 

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  • 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. 

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  • Anohana is frequently cited as being one of the most emotionally devastating anime ever created, and for good reason. It tells the story of a young girl named Menma who passed away in an accident, leaving her friends and family to grieve for her. One day, she appears to her friend Jinta as a ghost, shaking him out of his depressive state. Though he and his friends have drifted apart since Menma's passing, he knows that he has to reunite them to help Menma actually move on. 

    The finale of the series, which occurs after multiple episodes of emotional agony, involves the whole group finally getting together in order to set off fireworks and see Menma off for real. Everyone in the group is able to see her, before she ultimately fades from existence. While the series does end on a hopeful note, it's so emotionally painful that that's hard to even register.

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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.

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