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.
Though Going Merry is a boat, she's as important to the Straw Hats as any human crew member. She has her own voice, personality, and individual relationships with the crew. Sadly, she eventually sustains so much damage from countless violent encounters she can no longer function and needs a replacement.
To commemorate her loss, the Straw Hats give Going Merry a Viking funeral, crying hysterically and apologizing for their failure to maintain her properly. Merry blames herself, asking for forgiveness for failing to continue the adventure. She recalls memories of her time with the Straw Hats. If you never thought you'd cry over a boat, you will after watching this classic One Piece scene.
If the song during the near-farewell scene doesn't make your eyes well up, you probably don't have functioning tear ducts. "Pikachu's Goodbye" is one of the saddest episodes in Pokémon history. Ash decides to release Pikachu because he thinks his beloved partner would prefer living with other Pikachu.
While Pikachu ultimately decides to stay with Ash, the idea of possible separation from his best friend is too much to handle. This song makes it twice as emotional.