Just because anime characters care about each other doesn't mean they can stay together forever. Sometimes they have no choice but to part ways, and when they do, it's emotionally devastating. The saddest anime goodbyes are a surefire way to make viewers sob uncontrollably.
These heartbreaking farewells can involve people who may never see each other again, like when Osuzu has to separate from Jin to save her own life in Samurai Champloo. Or they are occasionally temporary, like when Yusuke Makishima has one last race with Sakamichi Onoda before moving to England in Yowamushi Pedal. The goodbyes don't have to involve humans - it's hard not to cry when the Straw Hats pay their final respects to Going Merry in One Piece.
Make sure you have tissues handy before you read on - there's a good chance you'll need them if you're familiar with these tragic scenes.
There are few happy aspects of the Sohma family, and with the family's aversion to outsiders, goodbyes are common. One of the most devastating examples involves Hatori Sohma, who falls in love with Kana Sohma, a distant member of the clan-like family, and decides to marry her.
The family head Akito finds this utterly unacceptable, and blinds Hatori by smashing a vase into his eyes, emphasizing their ownership over him. This makes Kana so upset she starts losing her sanity, so Hatori makes the difficult decision to erase her memory so she can forget his existence. Watching him sacrifice his only hope at happiness and retreat back into his personal prison - his family life - is miserable.
Angel Beats! is known for stirring up strong emotions, but no scene is more sentimental than the one where Yuzuru Otonashi and Kanade Tachibana part ways. Yuzuru realizes he loves Kanade and wants her to help him with his newly discovered purpose: assisting teenagers to accept they've died and moved on from their purgatory-like world.
Sadly, Kanade can't help him - she has to die and enter the next world herself. She does so after she learns Yuzuru is the person providing her with heart transplant materials, allowing her to live another few years. After thanking him, she disappears, leaving Yuzuru a desolate mess.
Chise Hatori and her mother both attract huge amounts of spiritual energy, which leads to constant assaults by yokai, demons, and other entities. Her father decides he has had enough, resolving to remove Chise's younger brother from the dangerous environment as well.
Chise, then a small child, wakes up and sees her father heading out the door with her baby brother. He says he's going out for only a moment - and almost asks if she'd like to come with him - but thinks better of it and leaves her permanently.
This decision results in a cascade of misery - Chise's mother struggles to support her daughter and keep them safe from spiritual attacks, ultimately failing in a gruesome way: while attempting to kill Chise, and then committing suicide.
Osuzu is a young woman whose husband sells her to a brothel to pay his debts. Before she leaves, she teaches Jin how to cook eel; he falls in love with her in the process. At first, he can do little but borrow money from Mugen to go see her, but eventually, he breaks her out of the brothel.
Sadly, the two can't be together - Osuzu must seek refuge at a shrine and Jin has goals to pursue. As her boat floats away, Osuzu reaches for Jin, but can't touch him - the saddest moment in the entire scene. He locks eyes with her, and then turns away to fight off pursuers from the brothel.