While anime fight scenes serve to ramp up the tension and heat things up with eye-catching action, they aren’t always the most memorable scenes and moments in an anime’s run.
Even shonen anime series—which are known for their battles, tournaments, rivalries, and action-packed fights—have their quiet, tearful, and even heartbreaking scenes. Sometimes these are the moments that define the entire series.
Here are some of the saddest anime moments and scenes that show just how emotional an anime series can be.
14. Captain Erwin Smith (Attack on Titan)
Who could forget an iconic hero like Erwin Smith in Attack on Titan? While the scene where he loses one of his arms is painful yet thrilling, it was his death that saddened most viewers. “Shinzou wo sasageyo!” is a battlecry that will never be the same without Erwin.
13. Namikaze Minato (Naruto)
The Naruto Shippuden series—and even some of the movies—features a lot of scenes with Namikaze Minato bidding farewell, but what hits the hardest is when Naruto says goodbye to his dad after the reanimation technique was lifted by the Sage of Six Paths.
12. Portgas D. Ace (One Piece)
Portgas D. Ace is one of the more controversial characters in One Piece. He was a commander of the Whitebeard Pirates and the son of the Pirate King, Gol D. Roger. His death made us hate Akainu more than ever as we grieve with Luffy and the rest of the crew.
11. Asta (Black Clover)
No, Asta isn’t dead! But the scene where he’s told that he can never use his arms again? That was a tough one.
Even without magic, he always worked hard to take steps to becoming the Magic Emperor and fulfill his dream. But when he’s told about his arms, you can feel his pain. Fortunately, with the help of his squadmates, his arms do return to normal (at a price).
10. Ojiya (Dororo)
Ojiya was Dororo’s mother in the series Dororo. Her hardships after the one miserable event are what make her one of the most pitiful characters in the series. And she died leaving Dororo alone at a young age, all after carrying a heavy burden on her back.
9. Master Genkai (Ghost Fighter)
Master Genkai is the one who taught Urameshi his way of fighting monsters in Ghost Fighter. Her death at the hands of Taguro triggered Urameshi’s emotions—along with his newly acquired power given by Master Genkai. A bittersweet moment.
8. Kite (Hunter X Hunter)
Kite is a pro Hunter with a very peculiar Nen ability called Crazy Slots. It allows him to summon different kinds of weapon based on the number given by the Slot.
Though he was one of the strongest and best-composed Hunters in the series, his death by Pitou left viewers and fans shocked.
7. Koro Sensei (Assassination Classroom)
Assassination Classroom is the story of delinquent students who are tasked with killing their teacher (Koro-Sensei), who happens to be an alien creature that’s threatened to destroy the planet in a year.
But he’s a good teacher. While the students train and learn different ways to possibly kill him, he teaches them academics and life lessons in hopes of turning their lives around.
Not surprisingly, they developed bonds that go deeper than they initially expect, and the final episode has drawn many tears.
6. Uzumaki Kushina (Naruto)
Kushina is Naruto’s mother and also the former host of the Nine-Tailed Beast, Kurama. After an unfortunate event that unseals the Nine-Tailed Beast, Kushina sacrifices herself to protect her baby (Naruto) from the hands of a rampaging Kurama.
Everyone would feel the same way for their own child, making the scene a heartbreaking one about a mother’s love and sacrifice.
5. Jiraiya (Naruto)
Nobody saw the death of Jiraiya Sensei coming, and even disbelieved it when it happened. This beautiful farewell of one of Naruto’s most beloved characters is one of the saddest moments in the series.
Behind his perverted tendencies and care-free attitude, Jiraiya was one of the greatest masters alive. His cleverness and unique style in battle made him a formidable opponent—one that even troubled Pain, who had to use all of his bodies in bringing him down.
4. Sabo (One Piece)
For a while, viewers thought that Luffy and Ace were the only two brothers. But then we got more backstory, which revealed another who was thought to be dead long ago.
Sabo’s reunion with Luffy is a heart-touching moment, one that even lessens some of the pain that came from Ace’s death. Luffy’s reaction is priceless and we already know why.
3. Hanamichi Sakuragi (Slam Dunk)
We’ve featured one of the funniest characters in Slam Dunk for one reason: as many would agree—particularly athletes and sports fans—the load he carried during the final minutes of the Inter-High competition against Kainan is huge.
All the hopes of his Captain and his team were on him as he jumped to get the rebound, only to pass it to a wrong guy just as he landed. Their eventual defeat made our comical main character cry a river.
2. Escanor (Seven Deadly Sins)
In Seven Deadly Sins, Escanor is one of the strongest characters—he’s even on par with the Captain (Meliodas) and some of the Ten Commandments. His physical and magical abilities that grow with the sunrise are what make him so formidable.
Sadly, Escanor had “unreciprocated love” for Merlin. So when he dies and says goodbye to the squad, the already heart-touching scene is made more emotional when even Merlin—who has no feelings towards him—feels the warmth and sincerity of his love for her.
1. Going Merry (One Piece)
She’s the ship of the Strawhat Pirates led by Monkey D. Luffy. She endured many harsh yet fun adventures, and her last voyage was when she rescued the crew while saving Nico Robin.
The crew’s farewell to their beloved ship is so heartfelt that everyone—both anime viewers and manga readers—were crushed.