Anime is one of the best artistic mediums for romance stories. Between the dramatic storytelling, beautiful art, thematic music, and compelling characters, romance anime can give viewers even more than they bargained for. This is especially true when the anime has parts (or an ending) so sad, you want to crawl into your bed and stay there, crying yourself to sleep in the fetal position forever.
Despite the emotional commitment, few fans regret indulging in tragic romance anime. After all, who would want to miss out on the opportunity to take in a richly romantic story, even if the lovers are destined for tragedy?
Kousei Arima of Your Lie in April is a piano prodigy who stops being able to hear music after his abusive mother dies. One day, he meets the free-spirited Kaori Miyazono, who pulls him back into music and helps him genuinely engage with the world around him.
As time passes, Kaori and Kousei develop feelings for each other, but neither can admit it. Before they manage to close the gap, Kaori dies of an unidentified illness. What could have been a beautiful relationship never comes to fruition, leaving viewers wondering what might have been.
Hotarubi no Mori e is a lovely, atmospheric film about the relationship between a human named Hotaru and a forest spirit named Gin. Due to the fragility of the magic tying Gin to the mortal realm, he can't touch human skin or he will disappear. Nevertheless, Hotaru and Gin start growing closer, and when romantic feelings develop, their inability to caress one another causes them great pain.
Eventually, Gin accidentally touches another human, and as he's fading away, the lovers touch for the first and last time.
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day centers on a group of friends struggling to cope with the premature death of their companion Menma. Her demise stirs up different feelings in every character, but Jinta takes it particularly hard, as he had fallen in love with Menma but never worked up the courage to tell her.
Menma sticks around in ghost form, guiding her friends through the stages of grief, helping Jinta come to terms with his love for her, and accepting her own lack of a future.
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Every Clannad fan knows Clannad: After Story is a tear-jerker. The franchise follows the stories of many different characters, including Nagisa. In Clannad: After Story, the young woman tragically dies after giving birth, leaving her new family behind. This scene is impossible to watch with dry eyes.