Wondering which drama anime will tug at your heartstrings?
Well, it seems like anime creators have a knack for evoking emotions. There are so many anime series designed to elicit tears, highlighting themes like young love, unrequited feelings, and the hardships of relationships. Additionally, there are poignant stories that address profound topics such as death, war, and illness.
Anime has proven to be a powerful medium for stirring emotions and touching viewers’ hearts. For fans who appreciate touching Japanese stories, this curated list of the top drama anime series and movies is a must-see for those who wanna be deeply moved.
First on the list is Penguindrum, a touching drama anime that kicks off the story in a very sad way! The main characters’ little sister Himari is very nice to them; until tragedy strikes. The siblings have lost their parents and the cute Himari is gravely ill.
Luckily, Athe terminally sick Himari Takakura is hopefully saved from death by a mysterious spirit who resides in a penguin-shaped hat. However, in exchange for extending her life, the spirit tasks Himari’s brothers, Kanba and Shoma, to seek out an elusive item known as the Penguindrum with assistance from a trio of strange penguins. Penguindrum is a good underrated sad anime with action that will keep you begging for more!
23. True Tears
True Tears is by far one of the best heartbreaking drama anime series of all time. This is a sad romance tv show that depicts the story of Shinichiro, a high school student who wanna be a picture book author, and there is a classmate named Hiromi who starts living under his same roof after her mother died.
From the moment of her father’s death, she’s bottled up her feelings and has an aura of melancholy around her.
Therefore, Shinichiro decided to do his best to cheer her up but doesn’t know how. One day, Shinichiro meets Noe perched up in a tree. Noe is someone who got weird rumors going around about her. So, what will happen to these three main characters?
22. School Days
This is by far one of the best heartbreaking drama anime tv shows on our list. School Days is both a heartbreaking series and a horror tv show that highlights the story of Makoto Ito, a first-year high school student living with his divorced mother in the fictional town of Haramihama.
He will be attracted to Kotonoha Katsura, a classmate who shares the same train as him to get to campus. After a change in the class plan, he becomes familiar with Sekai Saionji, an optimistic girl who will help him build a relationship with Kotonoha by giving them reasons to meet.
21. Kokoro Connect
This is among the most heartbreaking drama anime series that will definitely make you shed tears. Kokoro Connect is drama romance series that mainly focuses on the touching story of five high school students at Yamaboshi. There, Taichi Yaegashi, Iori Nagase, Himeko Inaba, Yui Kiriyama, and Yoshifumi Aoki are the only members of the cultural research club.
They all face various supernatural, sense-altering phenomena in their daily lives, all seemingly caused by a cryptic entity that refers to itself as ‘Heartseed’, who is intent on using the phenomena to test the characters for an unknown goal. As the five undergo these phenomena, they begin to realize that it is not just fun and games. Also, the relationships between the five students also begin to change!
20. Guilty Crown
Guilty Crown is among those best touching tragic animes with one of the saddest anime girls ever that you will never forget. The story is set after the outbreak of the unidentified virus “Lost Christmas” in 2029, Japan has been under the control of a multi-nation organization called GHQ, an independent military force dedicated to restoring order.
For 17 years old Ohma Shu has been avoiding making trouble for others but his life changes when he meets a girl Yuzuriha Inori, a key member of a resistance guerrilla group called “Funeral Parlor”, whose members pilot mecha weapons to fight against the government.
Now that Shu has a psychic power called “Ability of King”, which is an ability that allows the wielder to draw out the manifestations of an individual’s personality, or voids. He now must learn to control his newfound power if he is to help take back Japan once and for all.
19. Code Geass
Code Geass is an anime series that features a sad past, betrayal, rebellion, and revenge, through the eyes of Lelouch vi Britannia, a former Britannian prince, son of Emperor Charles Zi Britannia and his royal consort Marianne vi Britannia. Marianne was brutally murdered in the palace and Nunnally vi Britannia the sister of Lelouch, who witnessed the murder of their mother, was so traumatized she lost both her sight and ability to walk.
After the Lelouch and Nunnally are sent to Japan to lull the Japanese government. Japan is attacked and defeated by Britannia. With the ruins of Japan as a background. Lelouch vows to his Japanese friend Suzaku Kururugi that he will one day obliterate Britannia as an act of vengeance against his father.
18. Plastic Memories
Plastic Memories is good anime that spans genres of drama, romance, and sci-fi. The series has 13 episodes that highlight the story of Tsukasa Mizugaki, who manages to land a job at the Sion Artificial Intelligence Corporation the leading android production company, and is responsible for the creation of “Giftias” highly advanced which are almost indiscernible from normal humans. After he has failed his college entrance exams.
Tsukasa will fall in love with a pretty Giftia named Isla. She is a Terminal Service veteran and is considered the best in Giftias’ retrievals. Their relationship progresses, and as both slowly fall in love with each other, it is revealed that Isla is getting closer to the end of her own lifespan.
This is one of the best heartbreaking dramatic anime tv shows, where you will learn how to deal with the inevitable sad touching ends that approach every day.
17. Angel Beats!
Angel Beats! is one of the best heartbreaking drama romance anime series that will make your eyes shed tears for sure. What makes the series even touching is the sad story, emotional soundtracks, and amazing aesthetics, which makes Angel Beats one of the best animes you’ll ever see.
The story follows Otonashi who one day wakes up to discover that he’s already dead. After that, enters a rifle-toting girl named Yuri who explains that they’re in the afterlife, and Otonashi realizes the only thing he can not remember is anything else but his name. Yuri tells him that she leads the Shinda Sekai Sensen and wages war against an evil girl named Tenshi. Unable to believe Yuri’s claims that Tenshi is evil, Otonashi attempts to speak with her, which turns out to be a very bad idea.
Otonashi decides to join the SSS to fight against Tenshi, only to end up oddly drawn to her. Therefore, while trying to regain his memories and understand Tenshi, he gradually succeeds in unraveling the mysteries of the afterlife.
Spanning genres of romance and slice of life, Orange is a good anime that highlights the story of Naho Takamiya, who after waking up late, finds a letter written by herself 10 years in the future warning her to be careful with various events, and her futuristic life, which is filled with regrets. In the beginning, Naho doubted the letter, however, after witnessing several events described, she begins to live her life according to the letter.
She hopes that her younger self can right the wrongs that were made in the past. The letter also advises her to keep an eye on the new transfer student Kakeru Naruse and to be careful in making decisions that involve him because he is not around in the future.
With the letter as her guide, Naho now has the guide to save Kakeru before she comes to regret it once more. Orange is one of the best touching romantic anime tv shows of all time that will make you more appreciative of your life and showcases its values.
15. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
Tokyo Magnitude is a drama that will hit you right in the feels, as it highlights a tragic story that focuses on Mirai Onozawa, a student, who is fed up with her family issues.
She wishes that everything disappears. Unfortunately, her distressing thoughts seemed to come true when a horrible earthquake struck just a few moments later. Therefore, Mirai and her sibling Yuuki witness the disastrous power of this phenomenon as it tears the city apart.
Later, they met Mari Kusakabe, a motorcyclist and single mother who decides to help the kids. who want to find their families. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is among the best drama anime series about love and desperation. It makes you imagine the terrible things people might go through, stuck in the middle of a disastrous earthquake.
14. Violet Evergarden
Violet Evergarden, is a good anime with a top-notch animation style, and an epic story that follows a young girl a.k.a “the weapon,” her sole mission was annihilating enemy lines, now she left the battlefield, wishing for a new life. She starts working at CH Postal Service, where she goes on assignments to create letters that can connect people.
So begins her adventure as an Auto Memories Doll, and discovers various people’s emotions and shapes of love. It’s one of the best drama-touching anime series that will break your heart and will blow you away with its emotional appeal.
The A-1 Pictures’ Erased is one of those good heartbreaking anime with great dramatic events that will bring tears to your eyes because it has an intense and chilling story that follows Satoru Fujinuma, a 29-year-old man, who is sent back in time to 18 years to prevent a series of kidnappings that led to his mom’s death.
Soon, he realizes that his mother’s murder is somehow linked to the abduction and killing of his childhood friend Kayo Hinazuki. now he wants to rectify everything. Known also in Japanese as Boku Dake ga Inai Machi, Erased focuses on Satoru who wants to correct the wrongs of 18 years ago while saving those he cares about in the present.
12. Death Parade
Produced by Madhouse studio, Death Parade is one of the best psychological drama anime series that features heartbreaking and touching moments that deal with death in a rather unique way.
The story highlights what happens after death! For some, at the instant of their death, they arrive at the Quindecim, a bar attended by the mysterious white-haired Decim. Humans go to either heaven or hell, but for some people, they face a bartender who challenges them in random games, that will decide their fate later.
During these deadly games, the true side of humans appears, be it good or bad, you are welcome to Quindecim, where Decim, decides your fate!
11. Cross Game
How come a sports-themed anime makes the list of the best heartbreaking drama series? Well, believe me, that this is a tv show that delivers such touching feelings and thoughts that will make you cry.
The story follows Kou Kitamura, who lives near the Tsukishima family, owners of a batting center and the Clover cafe. His Cute girlfriend, Wakaba, is the 2nd Tsukishima daughter; while the 3rd daughter is the baseball prodigy Aoba, who can’t stand Kou at all.
Wakaba dreams of Koh pitching at legendary Koshien Stadium, the site of the national high school championship finals. However, tragedy strikes. Hence, to make Wakaba’s dream come true, Kou begins his secret training to become as good as she wants, even while publicly showing little interest in baseball.
Shiki is a horror drama anime that tells the tragic tale of survival in a world where one cannot easily distinguish between good and evil. The story kicks off when many sudden deaths occur in the quiet village of Sotoba, and a doctor Toshio Ozaki initially suspects an epidemic but soon becomes convinced that something strange is the. The Shikis, as the vampires call themselves, have only their will to live as they clash with the fear of the paranoid unbelieving villagers. Shiki explores the boundary that separates the man from the monster.
9. Terror in Resonance
Among the best heartbreaking and moving drama stories is the one that Terror in Resonance anime tv show highlights! The story is set in Tokyo, which is under a devastating terrorist attack and the only clue is the word “VON” and a strange Internet video.
The streaming video shows, two teenage boys who directly challenge the police, threatening to wreak havoc across Tokyo. , which causes paranoia throughout Japan because they can’t act, and the police are searching for ways to know the identity of the terrorists. Yet, they face the world of deception and secrets while they cause the destruction of the city, all in the hopes of burying their own tragic truth. “it’s a very good anime with a sad ending!”
8. Byousoku 5 Centimeter
Makoto Shinkai’s films are known for their breathtakingly beautiful visuals that set them apart from pretty much everything else out there. While his latest hit Your Name is certainly his best-made film overall the one that hits us right in the feels the hardest is still 5 Centimeters Per Second.
Revolving around two close friends who are torn apart by life, 5 Centimeters Per Second is a touching drama anime movie about growing up and growing apart. Despite their efforts to stay in touch, they keep drifting further apart as they go through life. However, their memories of each other remain and they keep hoping to meet once again, despite the growing distance between them. This romantic anime film gives a realistic portrayal of the natural progression of life and the way that people tend to naturally drift apart sometimes.
7. Steins; Gate
While Steins; Gate isn’t officially marked as a drama anime, but it still has one of the saddest and heart-touching arcs of all time. Steins; Gate tells the story of Okabe Rintarou, a self-proclaimed crazy scientist who accidentally discovers a way to change past events, by sending emails. After making use of these emails, Okabe and his friends find out that when you mess with time, it tends to mess back too.
Okabe must race against the clock to save his childhood friend Mayuri, and ends up watching her die again and again. Eventually, he arrives at the point where he must choose between Mayuri and the girl whose life he saved when he sent the first mail. The girl who’s been helping him all this time, the one he fell in love with Makise Kurisu. Watching Okabe fail time and time again, and seeing the two of them grow desperate in the face of overwhelming obstacles is enough to break anyone.
6. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Produced by studio Bones, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a popular action anime sporting one of the most gut-wrenching, touching, and heartbreaking stories ever told. It’s a dramatic tale about two young brothers who broke the laws of alchemy by experiencing human transmutation, in order to bring their dead mother back to life.
As a result, the brothers paid a high cost for their illegal attempt. Therefore, the younger Alphonse lost his entire body, while Elric lost his leg and arm. Then, they both embark on a dangerous journey, meeting friends and enemies, all while looking for a way to restore their bodies.
5. Grave of the Fireflies
Grave of the Fireflies is one of the greatest drama anime movies you’ll ever see. Produced by studio ghibli and set in the final days of World War II, this historical anime film tells the story of a boy named Seita and his little sister Setsuko, whose lives turned upside down by the ravaging and brutal war that’s left them without parents and a place to call home.
Left to fend for themselves in the Japanese countryside, the siblings’ optimism is blinding in the face of unyielding adversity, giving them the power to stand against an inevitable fate. Grave of the Fireflies is an achingly depressing, heartbreaking, profoundly beautiful, and deeply moving anime movie that you will never forget.
Coming up, we have Anohana, which is by far one of the most emotional drama anime series of all time, that will break your heart. The story centers around a group of friends in their teenage years. Jinta and his group of childhood friends grew apart over the years following the death of one of them named Menma in an unfortunate accident.
Jintan is currently aimless in life; missing school and playing games. One day the died Menma appears in front of him, She states that he may be able to see her because of a wish she would like fulfilled but is unsure of what that may be. Due to Menma’s appearance, we will see the group gather once more, their mission is to fulfill Menma’s last wish.
3. Your Lie in April
Your lie in April is an anime about love but is also certainly one of the most greatest dramas ever created. The series features a touching story that focuses on Kousei Arima, a piano prodigy who lost his ability to play and became unable to hear the sound of his own piano after suffering a tragic event in his childhood.
Kousei left his music career behind and starts living a boring life, with no goal at all. until one day, everything will changes when he meets a pretty violinist, Kaori Miyazono. Kaori will turn his life upside down and forces him to face the world of music once again. Your lie in April is a good romance drama anime that focuses on the progress of Kousei’s recovery as he discovers that music is more than playing each note perfectly, and a single melody can bring in the fresh spring air of April.
2. A Silent Voice
A Silent Voice known in Japanese as Koe No Katachi is a 2016 anime movie by Kyoto Animation. The animated film follows a touching story about a deaf girl named Shouko who was constantly bullied by her classmates in elementary school to the point that she had to change schools multiple times. It’s also about Shouya, the boy who is one of those who bullied Shoko and who later became the target of bullying himself when he turned on his friends.
In his third year of high school, Shouya, haunted by his wrongdoings and regretting his past actions, resolves to go on a journey of redemption. He finds Shouko again and strives to make amends. This is a good Japanese anime movie that is both unsettling and heartbreaking, but it’s also heartwarming and hopeful. It will put you through a rollercoaster of emotions.
No one argues that the saddest anime tv show of all time is Clannad. Although it is a series that will make you shed tears with its high-level drama and touching story, it is still a series that cannot be ignored on this heartbreaking anime list. The plot chronicles the life of a delinquent student named Tomoya who cares little about school. One day, he meets a lonely girl named Nagisa who had to repeat a year while all her friends finished high school.
Nagisa claims they are now friends, but Tomoya walks away passing the meeting as nothing. He decides to hang out with her and soon meets more friendly students. As Tomoya spends more time with these friends, he learns more about them and their problems. He decides to help each one overcome her obstacle, thus, he begins to think that life isn’t as dull as he once thought.