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Monday, April 3, 2017

Anime Ichiban: Top Ten Tear Inducing Moments

***Warning, the following Ten Top contains MASSIVE SPOILERS for the following series in alphabetical order. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, Assassination Classroom, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai, Clannad, Ghost Stories, K-On, Kill la Kill, Monogatari Series Second Season, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, and Your Lie in April. Reader discretion is advised.***


Well, I can see this being a good time.

A memorable story is one that can produce emotion. We’ve covered that before. I imagine we’re going to continue doing so because it bears repeating. This can be the reason why one anime succeeds and another one fails. But it does come with a catch.

Emotions are subjective. They may not have a good reason. When I do my reviews, I try to articulate exact points why I liked or disliked something. Doing that poses a problem on occasion.

Granted, negativity is easier, and often more fun, to discuss. But to explain why I liked something in detail can be difficult. Especially if I can sum it up in a single sentence. "It made me laugh."

Comedy loses its punch if you explain the joke. What we’re talking about today doesn’t have that issue.

There are three major reactions that are invaluable when enjoying a story. If one of these gets triggered, it means the story was effective. One is uncontrollable laughter. Kind of self-explanatory. We’ve all experienced it. The best comedies succeed here. Another is dread. You don't want to move on. It’s not that you don’t care. It's, to be as blunt as possible, true fear. Great horror can do this.

But it’s the third which is this top ten’s focus. When a story can produce tears. Not from laughing. No, you legit start crying.

It doesn’t take much for me to get emotional. But for me to actually tear up, that’s a rarity. Thus, here are the Top Ten Tear Inducing Moments in anime.

Before moving on, let me clear a few things up.

First, tear-inducing doesn’t automatically mean sad. I’ll go into more detail when we hit these moments.

Second, we’re talking about moments. Though I recommend every series on this list, they’re all different genres. Most don’t have a goal of making you cry. Only the circumstances of the story produced such an instance.

The third is the biggest of them all. So I hope you didn’t skip this section and jumped straight to the list because…


This Top Ten will contain spoilers for the following series in alphabetical order.

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, Assassination Classroom, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai, Clannad, Ghost Stories, K-On, Kill la Kill, Monogatari Series Second Season, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, and Your Lie in April.

If you haven’t seen any of these shows, I highly recommend not going any further. If you have or don’t care about spoilers, well then…

These are my Top Ten Tear Inducing Moments in anime.

This may be starting off on a bad note. I say that because this moment didn’t make me cry.

But if you want to know how long I can go with a straight face, here’s your answer. That’s why this moment's on the list.

Kill la Kill is action, over the top, and a ton of fun. I love this show for the insanity it reaches. Yet a big part of why this series is great is because it has characters worth caring about.

In particular was the relationship that grew between Ryuko and Senketsu, who was a God damn sailor uniform. He was fabric. But Senketsu still had so much personality. You could tell he cared about Ryuko. In a lot of ways, he was an extension of her father. Senketsu did what he needed to in order to keep Ryuko safe. All the way up until the very end.

Ryuko and Senketsu jumped into their final fight with only the fight in mind. It didn’t matter that it took place in space. Thus, when it was over they were like “Oh crap, we didn’t think this far ahead.” They now had to reenter the atmosphere. And without a shield, they were going to burn. Ryuko accepted this because she had succeeded in doing what she set out to do. In that moment Senketsu couldn’t have been prouder.

But like he said during the entire series, Senketsu was created to protect Ryuko. He became her shield. Senketsu gave his life so that Ryuko could live hers.

Despite how silly this show got, it went out in the most selfless of fashions. 

To think, a comedy made this list. And yes, I consider Chuunibyou to be a comedy first and foremost. With a few dramatic bits sprinkled here and there. Yet it was these dramatic bits that left the biggest impression.

I need to bend my “moment” criteria a little here. The actual moment was good on its own. But by itself, it didn’t have the power to get me tearing up as much as it did. No, that came from the buildup.

As this series moved towards this point, Rikka was going through a difficult time. Her delusions were creating more and more friction between her and her family. Though they understood why she started them, they couldn't understand why she continued with them.

As they saw it, this was Rikka not accepting the death of her father. This was her way of blocking it out. She was denying reality. Because of that, she wasn’t going anywhere. She wasn’t growing up. No doubt a valid concern. Except it was a concern that came about from a critical misunderstanding. Rikka’s family misjudged why she started her delusions.

Rikka knew her father died. This was her way of coping with it. What she was really having trouble with was not getting the chance to say goodbye. That was what she called the Ethereal Horizon. If she could reach it, she could fill that hole in her heart. 

When Yuta accepted Rikka for who she was, that's what did it. This gave her that final boost. She got a second chance to retry the moment she lost. For her, Yuta was that necessary missing piece.

And it was that process of putting the puzzle together that fueled the power of its completion.

In my Your Lie in April review, there was a moment I singled out. But I couldn't go into much detail about it. What I said, though, it was animation at its best. This one scene told us everything it needed to say without saying a single word. I even mentioned how it brought me to tears.

This was the scene I was talking about. It took place during the final performance of the series.

Kaori was about to undergo a dangerous surgery. And the chances of her surviving were low. If she did beat the odds, it would mean she could continue playing the violin. But more importantly, she could continue making breathtaking music with Kosei.

Kosei himself was already having issues. Suddenly, he had to add this level of worry. This was the person who brought him back to the piano. Kaori reminded him of the beauty of music and why he fell in love with it. Kaori was also the person Kosei had deep feelings for.

When Kosei stepped onto that stage, he didn’t do it alone. Though she may have been far away, Kaori was there. Together they played their masterpiece. The series let the music and the visuals say it all. It was stunning.

Then the song ended. The scene didn’t cut away. No one chimed in. But one look at Kosei’s face told us everything. Without any dialogue, we knew the exact moment when Kaori passed away.

Animation doesn’t have limits. Your Lie in April is my proof of that.

I can already hear it.

Odyssey, what in the hell are you thinking. How can you put K-On on your list?

Well, K-On was part of the reason why I decided to call this the Top Ten Tear Inducing Moments. Not the Top Ten Saddest Moments.

K-On isn’t sad. I wouldn’t even call it dramatic. It’s a slice-of-life, high school comedy. It didn’t try to make you feel.

Except, that’s the point. It didn’t try. Because of what it was, because of what it did, this moment was inevitable.

After School Tea Time was made of five closer than close friends. Four were in the same grade. So, they could move on at the same time together. Poor Azusa was a year younger. But she was as integral as everyone else.

Sooner or later, this group would have to part ways. Even if it was for a short amount of time.

Azusa’s seniors recognized this. So, they wanted to do something special for their dear friend. The result of that was the original members writing a special song for Azusa.

K-On’s biggest strength was its characters. We spend a lot of time getting to know them. I was bummed to see it come to an end. And that was when the show dropped Tenshi ni Fureta yo. It was a great send-off for the series. Mixing that with perfect timing, yeah it got to me.

I’m aware that K-On is the odd one out on this list. But it deserves to be here nonetheless.

For everything Monogatari is, sad isn’t one of them. Strange since it’s more than capable of doing that. With plenty of words and visuals, this series runs the gauntlet of funny, creepy, dramatic, and tense. Adding a bit of emotion shouldn’t be out of the question.

Then you realize. “Wait a minute. What happens if it actually does?”

Well, then you get this.

All the characters of Monogatari are great. Hachikuji is no different. Whenever she was part of the story, it was always good to have her around.

Her being a spirit was always a thing. You were never unaware of it. Except her interactions with Koyomi were so lively, you tended to ignore it. During that time, you didn’t realize how much you had grown to care for her.

That was why when she passed on, it was a serious blow.

And Koyomi tried to stop it. He did everything he could. Usually, that would be more than enough. But here, it didn’t work. Koyomi couldn’t stop Hachikuji from crossing over. For the first time in this series, we had to say goodbye.

Now being the nature of Monogatari, this wouldn’t be the last time we would see Hachikuji. She does appear in flashbacks. Yet this makes all the worse. You know she’s no longer going to be able to help. She’s no longer part of the story.

That was the case until Koyomimonogatari. The end of that installment showed promise of Hachikuji’s return.

Ghost Stories is scary as balls. This is a horror anime. It holds that title proud. There are no shortages of ghosts trying to kill our main characters. Some of them got pretty damn close too.

All the while, we kept learning of Satsuki’s mother. The person who single-handily took on all these ghosts. Though she wasn’t around, her presence was. Without the diary her mother left behind, Satsuki wouldn’t have lasted for long.

Thus, when the diary didn’t have a way to seal a nurse-like ghost, things got kind of dire. It didn’t help that this ghost showed up to tell people they were about to die. And this ghost wouldn’t leave Satsuki’s brother alone.

With their backs against a wall, no one knew what to do.

But they failed to realize something. The reason this ghost appears is so people can give their final message to their loved ones. Which is what Satsuki’s mother did.

This ghost wasn’t trying to hurt the kids. It was trying to give their mother’s last loving words. For how frightening this show got, it knew how to grab hold of your heart as well. Even the English dubbing, which was a comedy, couldn’t diminish the power of this moment. It tried which was annoying. But it didn't stick.

So, if you’re going to watch Ghost Stories, expect your sphincter to tighten. Also, have the tissues at the ready.

While watching Assassination Classroom, you know they're going to have to do it. The whole point of the show was this class trying to kill their teacher. If they didn’t the world would explode. So then why were they making Koro-sensei such a likable guy? Then there was the class itself. I couldn’t see them going through with it.

I was convinced this show would find a way to get around it. I refused to believe they would cross that line. Then it got to a point where they had no choice. This class had to be the ones to kill Koro-sensei.

I was like, “Alright show, surprise me. I’m ready for anything.”

I wasn’t ready for this.

The kids finally got the advantage they were looking. Though it was under the worst of circumstances, Koro-sensei reminded them of what they had to do.

But before Nagisa delivered the final blow, Koro-sensei asked to do the class role call one last time.

You could say this was padding. But I’ve never seen a more appropriate place for it. Everyone was losing it. This scene was more like a family visiting a hospice. What was taking place was as natural as death could be.

Assassination Classroom is a fantastic series. And it ended on the perfect, saddest note.

What’s great, or terrifying, about Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is that it could happen. Scratch that. It will happen. That’s a sobering thought.

I love how this show set up this moment.

While Mirai, Yuuki, and Mari were traveling, Yuuki collapsed. It was frightening because you weren't sure if he would make it. Though it was touch and go in some parts, Yuuki pulled through.

I know for me, that was a huge relief. Little did I realize, the show pulled something I hope I can do one day as a storyteller.

As the series went on, it was very careful to make sure only Mirai interacted with Yuuki. And it did it in ways that felt natural.

Then things stopped making sense. Nothing was adding up. Too many people were saying they didn’t see Yuuki.

In my head, I was trying to piece it together. “What’s going on? Yuuki should be here. He was just talking with…no wait. I mean he was with…no wait. Oh my God.”

That realization hurt so bad. We were seeing everything from Mirai's perspective. And Mirai didn’t want to accept what had happened. In reality, when Yuuki collapsed, he never woke up.

The Yuuki we were seeing was trying to tell his sister he was gone. The moment when she finally listened brought with it the whole weight of the series. If you get the chance, please watch this one. You won't regret it.

The entries up to this point are all powerful. What happened here, though, is on a whole other level. This didn’t get me once. It got me twice.

Anohana is one of my favorite anime of all time. And this moment is the pinnacle reason why it’s a brilliant series.

This was the end of a painful journey. But it wasn’t a bad ending. For a long time, I didn’t know if I should call this a sad scene.

After watching it again, no, it was pretty f@#$ing sad. 

Yet it was sad because it was the second chance everyone was hoping to get.

If you read my review, I wasn’t lying. I tried to over hype the moment when Menma said her goodbyes to everyone. I remember the first time I saw it and I was left a complete mess. I didn’t want to do it again. But happen again it did.

This scene is the crowning jewel of an amazing series. And I know there’s a film version of this show. I will and want to watch it. Except I’m hesitant. That would mean I would have to see this moment a third time.

You must be thinking. Odyssey, how is this not number one?

That’s a good question. For every single reason, it should be. The only thing is, I finished Anohana.

It’s time to finally say it. On many occasions, I have mentioned that this was the show that broke me. Clannad is a wonderful series. I did place it on my top romance anime. Yes, I recommend it.

And with that, Clannad is the only anime I recommend that I have never finished. Not that the series is still going. No, I can't bring myself to finish it.

Throughout the whole series, you fall in love with Nagisa. She was a sweetheart. It was always heartbreaking whenever her poor health got the better of her. It prevented her from doing so many things. Despite that, she was living a happy life.

It was nice to see Nagisa and Tomoya grow as a couple. Sure, they married young, but these two were right for each other. Plus, this gave Nagisa the chance to fulfill her biggest dream. Becoming a mother.

And the moment we learned she was pregnant signaled a horrifying turn of events.

The pregnancy took a heavy toll on Nagisa’s weak body. And God damn it, the day she went into labor was the same day as a terrible snow storm. Tomoya couldn’t get Nagisa to a hospital. Already suffering from illness, but despite the odds, Nagisa gave birth to a baby girl. Except the ordeal was too much for her. And oh no, even thinking about it is bad enough.

With a smile on her face, Nagisa Furukawa died right there. You could not believe the state I was in.

To this day, I have not been able to finish this series. I want to. Believe me, I want to. It’s just, I don’t know if I have it in me.

That’s why this is my number one more tear-inducing moment in anime.

Final Thoughts

If a story can get tears coming out of your eyes, it means it’s doing something right.

For me, watching anime is a ton of fun and I enjoy every minute of it. I love the shows that put me in a good mood. But there’s something that needs to be said about the moments that stab at your heart.

These should not be avoided. They should be embraced. These are marks of great storytelling. And these were my top ten moments that got it right.

But again, this is my list. I want to hear what you think. What did I get right? What did I get wrong? What are the moments that got to you? Please let me know in the comments below.

I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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