One of the hallmarks of female anime characters is having big expressive eyes. They function as direct windows into the characters emotions allowing the viewer to easily relate to the feelings that are portrayed on screen. When tears start to flow, this can result in some seriously emotionally compelling moments. Crying may be used in a show to express a spectrum of different emotions, from profound loss to indescribable happiness.
Regardless of where they come from, when executed properly, they are sure to strike a chord in the audience’s heart. Here is a list of the top ten moments of female characters crying in anime. Many of these moments mark huge pivotal points in the respective series they belong to and the descriptions of these scenes make this a spoiler-heavy article, so proceed with caution.
10) Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride)- Futaba’s Plea to Kou
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 8, 2014 - September 23, 2014
Ao Haru Ride follows Futaba Yoshioka, a charismatic high school student. She strives for acceptance from her classmates in her new school after being completely ostracized at her previous one. When she is reunited with her middle school crush, Kou Mabuchi, her life becomes complicated - especially because he doesn't seem at all like the person she had met before.
Kou appears cold and jaded, but that facade is a result of a difficult and traumatic past, revealed to Futaba in Episode 11. Futaba cares deeply for him, and learning about his troubled past, she wants nothing more than to break down his walls and show him that he can be happy. She confronts him with her feelings, and she is so overcome by them that she begins crying in this moving scene.
9) Angel Beats - Yui Disappears
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 3, 2010 - June 26, 2010
Though it is initially not clear, Angel Beats takes place in the afterlife. The entire cast of characters are children who have died in ways that did not allow them to come to terms with their death. Towards the end of the series, they begin to discover that they have the power to help each other accept their fates, and move on. However, this means that they disappear, leaving the others behind.
Yui discovers that she is unable to move on because she was crippled in her past life, and believed that no one would ever want to marry her. However, her friend Hinata loves her and wants her to move on even if it means seeing her go - and in Episode 10 he promises that in another life, he will fulfill her wish no matter what it takes. Tears of happiness begin to well up in the corners of her eyes, before she disappears. Though there isn’t full-on sobbing in this scene, it is certainly touching enough to appear here.
8) Full Moon wo Sagashite - Eichi’s Death is Revealed
- Episodes: 42
- Aired: April 6, 2002 to March 29, 2003
Mitsuki Kouyama has one wish - to become a famous singer to find the boy that she loves, Eichi Sakurai. However, she is running out of time - she is diagnosed with a terminal illness that will rob her of her voice, and then her life. After making a deal with two Shinigami, she is restored with vitality, but only temporarily - the race to become an idol and reunite with Eichi is on.
It’s not too long before tragedy strikes again. After working hard to achieve her dreams, Mitsuki discovers that she will not be reunited with Eichi after all - he has passed away. In a tearful scene in Episode 42, she finds out she is two years too late, and proceeds to head to his grave to mourn her lost friend in one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the series.
7) Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch 2nd Season(Lelouch of the Rebellion) - Shirley’s Death
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 6, 2006 - July 29, 2007
There’s nothing more beautiful and tragic than dying fighting for the one that you love. Shirley Fennette's sweetness and genuine nature provide a stark contrast to the infamous protagonist of Code Geass, Lelouch vi Britannia. She is a kindhearted person, who is seemingly blind to Lelouch’s dark nature. Eventually she becomes a casualty of her feelings to him, sacrificing her life in an attempt to help the person she loves.
Lelouch’s humanity is questionable, but when he comes across Shirley on the verge of death in Episode 13 he shows profound emotions. Through tears, she vows her eternal love with her dying breaths. Her eyes quake and tremble, as she tries to remain strong, before eventually giving in to tears. One of the saddest scenes in the series to be sure, even the cold and calculating Lelouch is moved to tears. The scene in Episode 12 where Shirley cries over her deceased father is a close second.
6) Chrono Crusade - Rose Cries to Chrono
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: November 24, 2003 - June 10, 2004
Rosette Christopher is an exorcist who has made a contract with a demon named Chrono. In return, she is able to tap into his powers, which she uses repeatedly throughout the series. However, this ability comes at a hefty price - it drains her very life force, and each time she uses it, she inches a bit closer to death.
As the sun sets in episode 24 Rosette sits with Chrono on the porch. Rosette begins to cry tears of regret because she does not want to die. Though her life force has been drained, her will to live has not, nor is she is ready for her impending demise. She confesses this, and collapses into his arms sobbing, saying she wants to go on living.
5) Elfen Lied - Lucy’s Apology
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 25, 2004 - October 17, 2004
Lucy is a monster that has been created to ensure the destruction of humanity. A genetic experiment gone awry, set free to wreak havoc on humans and achieve her purpose, she leaves destruction and death in her wake. Additionally, she has multiple personalities, as a facet of her complicated and traumatic past, which have afforded her the opportunity to get close to humans. When the ones she was born to destroy are the the only ones who have shown her genuine kindness, how is she to continue?
During a dialogue with Kouta in Episode 13, Lucy reveals her inner conflict. Her conscience rises to the surface full force, and through tears she apologizes profusely for the pain she has caused. Despite the fact that she has caused him immeasurable pain and loss, she is met with forgiveness and love before the two part ways in one of the most painful, and emotionally charged scenes in the series.
4) Cowboy Bebop - Spike Walks Away From Faye
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 3, 1998 - April 24, 1999
Cowboy Bebop follows the adventures of an unlikely crew of perpetually penniless bounty hunters as they travel through space. It is generally a very light hearted show, with a handful of very emotionally charged episodes. The last episode is perhaps one of the most powerful episodes in any series. What if the one that you loved walked away from you to pursue someone else? Even worse, what if you knew they were never coming back?
In this heart-wrenching scene from Episode 26, bounty hunter Spike Spiegel must go to confront certain death, in hopes of seeing his estranged lover Julia once more. Meanwhile, his crew mate Faye has developed deep feelings for him, ones she cannot act on for many reasons. She tries to stop him but is powerless, and all she can do to contain herself is fire bullets past him struggling to hold back tears as he walks down the hall towards his demise.
3) Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica (Puella Magi Madoka Magica) - Homura Kills Madoka
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 7, 2011 - April 22, 2011
The conflicts commonly faced by magical girls in anime consist of leading a double life and getting swept up in complicated love triangles. These shallow struggles pale in comparison to the problems presented to the cast of Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica who are faced with true evil, and not only in the form of the witches they are tasked with destroying. As a result, this show portrays the life of a magical girl as one full of death, disaster, and unimaginable loss.
This show explores the concept of different timelines, and parallel dimensions. The character Homura, relives the same month repeatedly in order to prevent Madoka from making a grave error. There is a scene in Episode 10 where Homura and Madoka lay side by side in the rain. Madoka begs Homura to go back in time and save her, but she has one more request. To prevent Madoka from becoming a witch, here and now. Homura, ever loyal to Madoka, agrees even if it means destroying something dear to her. This tearful scene is arguably the most emotionally charged in the series.
2) Clannad: Afterstory - Kazuto’s Funeral
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 3, 2008 - March 27, 2009
Gang warfare is a terrible thing, especially when it destroys lives and claims young victims in the process. This is a topic that is explored in Clannad: Afterstory, which as a series is an emotional, tearful rollercoaster. In one particularly compelling scene, Yukine makes a speech imploring her late brother’s fellow gang members to end the fighting.
Kazuto is a young gang member who’s life is claimed by such violence. His friends hold a ceremony for him. While it's perfectly normal to cry at a funeral, this scene in Episode 8 produces some especially compelling tears. In a tearful speech, Yukine reveals to all of her friends that although their friend Kazuto died fighting, what he really wanted was to see an end to the violence he found himself caught up in.
1) Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day) - Menma’s Farewell
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: April 15, 2011 to June 24, 2011
When a young girl named Menma dies, her tight-knit group of childhood friends fractures and drifts apart. Over time, they become estranged as a result of the guilt and pain they feel from their loss long ago. However, one day the ghost of Menma appears to a member of the group, Jintan, and it’s up to him to grant her wish and bring her ghost peace once and for all. This will mean bringing the old gang back together, something much easier said than done.
As the story progresses, it becomes evident that Menma coming to peace with her death and moving on has just as much to do with her friend’s forgiveness of themselves, as well as her own acceptances of her fate, which comes to a head in Episode 11. The final scene of the series is an emotionally charged one, with all of her friends telling Menma that they love her one last time. Menma is so overcome with joy in this scene that she too, is moved to tears.
When girls cry in anime, it is used to show many different things - they can cry tears of happiness, relief, or sorrow. Regardless of the feelings behind them, these tears showcase strong emotion, and these feelings are sure to help carry the story forward. There are lots of emotionally charged scenes featuring girls crying in anime - if your favorite didn’t make the list, feel free to share it in the comments below.