There is something about sad anime girls which makes them appealing – perhaps because of the vulnerability they portray or the sense of melancholy they project within us. When we see a cute anime girl in a sad mood, full of innocence and vulnerable to the stark end, it indulges within us an overwhelming desire to protect them, hold them in our embrace, and tell them that everything is going to be alright.
Their sadness could be an inherent trait within them or it could also stem as a result of a traumatic event. Since anime stories are in a constant state of flux, it should be noted that their sad behavior can be a temporary state, a condition which can be overcome through development. Here are the top 21 sad anime girls which will get you emotional and make you root for them throughout watching their series.
21. Yuki Nagato (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
We begin our list with Yuki of the Haruhi franchise, who is an Artificial Intelligence of Alien Origin. It may be argued that as an AI, Yuki is a complete lack of emotions which is not the case. We have seen certain situations where Yuki seems to project emotions such as the event which lead to the movie ‘The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya’. Yuki is also the only character who experiences the whole ‘endless eight’ with her memories intact. You can only imagine how much of an emotional burden it would be, even for someone like Yuki. She normally appears a quiet, introverted, bookworm who is obsessed with reading but we have seen her crack. Although she rarely shows it, Yuki Nagato does have sad feelings and loneliness, and when she does show it, boy the consequences are huge.
20. Moeka Kiryu (Steins’ Gate)
Moeka Kiryu is one of the saddest characters in Stein’s Gate. As a victim of bullying and harassment in the past, Moeka has been rendered extremely reclusive and reserved as a result. She rarely portrays any emotion but one can easily guess the depression and emotional weight her character carries beneath the callous facade. As a child, she is born of an unwanted pregnancy which firmly seeds the sense of being unwanted from the start. She has a huge emotional attachment to her mobile phone and if she is parted with it, she will fight and gnawed until it is reclaimed. She answers only to a mysterious character that has a codename FB. The story of Moeka is an amalgam of tragedy but fortunately, after Okabe repairs the timeline, Moeka permanently joins the team as lab member 005.
19. Kikyo (Inuyasha)
Kikyo is a shrine maiden and the former lover of Inuyasha before her tragic demise at being tricked by a half-demon Naraku. After she is revived, she is more ruthless and cold, more intent on destroying Naraku. However, it is in plain sight to see how much pain she is in, especially since she is in condition to rekindle her relationship with Inuyasha. She often contemplates upon the reality of her existence and what could she actually achieve, which again clearly reveals her innate depressive state. Upon being inflicted another injury by Naraku, She is mortally wounded. In one of the saddest scenes in Inuyasha, she spends her final moments with Inuyasha before her spirit is permanently transported among the twinkling stars.
18. Rio Futaba (Rascal does not dream of Bunny Girl Senpai)
Rio Futaba is a student specializing in science and a close friend of Sakuta. She usually spends most of her time in her lab and as you can guess, she is very reclusive and usually talks only to Sakuta in their school. Rio is deeply in love with Sakuta’s friend Yuuma, who once helped her in the past. However, Yuuma already has a serious girlfriend therefore, she spends most of her time engaging in experiments to spare herself from the sadness. Although she seems to have closure and accepts that Yuuma is in a relationship, there is still a lingering sadness within her.
17. Mitsuha Miyamizu (Kimi no Na wa)
Kimi no Na wa or Your Name remains one of the best anime movies in history and the female protagonist Mitsuha is definitely one of the most popular characters in recent years. The story of Kimi no Na wa is built upon melancholy and both Mitsuha and Taki perfectly project this theme in their characters. There is always a sense of something missing within their hearts but they simply cannot understand why. The torment of longing for something they don’t know is part of why Kimi no Na wa is so good, is so relatable, and why Mitsuha deserves a place in our list.
16. Misae Sagara (Clannad: After Story)
Misae is the strict dorm master of Youhei Dormitory. She used to be the student council president in Hikarizaka Private Academy prior to the events of the main story. In her arc, her sad past is revealed to Tomoya through a dream. Misae used to have a crush on Igarashi but unfortunately for her, he already has a girlfriend. Katsuki Shima, a mysterious boy helps her to get over her feelings and in due time, they begin to develop feelings for each other. However, Katsuki’s real identity is revealed to be a cat who takes a human form and help Misae in accordance with his deceased master’s wishes. After dating for several weeks, Katsuki remembers his mission and he disappears from Misae during a festival date, returning to his normal cat form. Although Misae keeps him as a pet, she never did date anyone thereafter as she seems to deeply hurt by her two love experiences. By the end of her arc, through Tomoya, Katsuki reveals his wishes for her to find another love and Misae is seen walking away, tightly clutching the cat in arms.
15. Rei Ayanami (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
At the start of the series, Rei Ayanami is seen to be emotionally detached and socially withdrawn, as she never interacts with others. Her reclusive nature is rooted in her birth itself, as she is a creation from the remainings of Yui Ikari, therefore she feels expendable as she is not a real human being. After her body is destroyed, her soul can be extracted and transferred into a new host. The process has been done before until she reaches Rei III. She often quotes ‘If I die, I can be replaced‘ which proves as further testament to the existential crisis she suffered within. Although she develops as a character and gradually she formed bonds with the others but her past trauma and her existence itself proves her legitimacy to be in our list.
14. Tsubaki Kasugano (Future Diary)
One of the competitors in the survival game and the owner of the sixth diary, Tsubaki serves as the High Priestess and Oracle of the Omekata Religion. She is born with very poor eyesight due to which her parents keep most of childhood in confinement within the temple. Her parents are murdered by Funatsu, who further imprisons Tsubaki and uses her as a sex slave. She is driven to the point of insanity during her solitary confinement which also gives rise to her twisted perspective of the world. Although she is an antagonist of the story, her backstory in some way justifies her actions and she is one of the saddest girls in anime.
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13. Shirley Fenette (Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion)
Shirley is one of the students of Ashford Academy along with Lelouch, who she has a deep crush on. Shirley has a very outgoing personality with high athletic ability, top academic grades, and a prestigious position in the Student’s Council. However, underneath the cheerful façade lies an overwhelming longing for Lelouch’s affection. The character of Shirley is a tragedy in the making although the show does not focus on it, her depression is clearly projected in various scenes. After her father’s death which inconveniently falls on her death with Lelouch, Shirley is seen waiting in the rain – a victim of a stood-up date as well as her father’s demise, drenched and soaked in the rain. Even when her memories are wiped and altered, her unwavering love for Lelouch remains strong with unwavering fidelity. Her death scene remains one of the most powerful and saddest scenes in all anime.
12. Princess Shirahoshi (One Piece)
It is an understatement to claim that Princess Shirahoshi is always sad – after all, much of her screen time is devoted to her crying for the slightest of reasons. Shirahoshi has grown to be a huge beautiful mermaid whose beauty is said to rival even that of Boa Hancock who is considered the most beautiful woman in the One Piece Universe. Despite her large towering appearance, Shirahoshi has a very fragile personality and she breaks into tears frequently. However, her tendency to cry at the slightest provocation stems from the nature of her upbringings. She is greatly pampered by her family as she reveals to Luffy that he is the first person to yell at her. She is locked with their castle because of Van Der Decken IX who harbors an unhealthy obsession of her and constantly bombards her with marriage proposals. These are all part of the reasons why she has a fragile personality which in turn makes her one of the literally saddest anime girls you will ever see.
11. Shihoru (Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash)
Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash is known for its realistic portrayal of death and it is no surprise a character from the series makes the list. Shihoru, a mage of the party has been a victim of constant bullying for her weight, prior to the start of the main story. Her insecurity about her weight is prevalent right from the first episode where she constantly inquires if she is fat. She has a reclusive nature even before the bullying occurs so the harassment pushes her further into a shell. In Grimgar, she starts to develop a crush on their party leader Manato but unfortunately, his death cast a great shadow on their party and Shihoru takes it especially hard. Her wailing prior to the death of Manato is one filled with despair and pain. Although as the series progresses and Shihoru gains some development, her past sad moments definitely earned her a spot in our list.
10. Hayami Kohinata (H20: Footprints in the Sand)
Hayami stems from a family of doctors who has an infamous reputation of being brutally unkind towards their patient. They would often refuse to treat patients who are unable to procure their full medical expenses. As a result of their unethical medical performances, the people of their town burn down their mansion in anger, leaving Hayami as the sole survivor. She lost all her family in the incident and she is left with only a few belongings and forced to live in an abandoned bus. As an atonement of her parent’s sin, Hayami never retorts to provocations or even physical abuse. She remains a social pariah, continuously harassed by the town. Her backstory is as sad as it gets where she is unjustly punished but fortunately, she eventually outgrows the hatred and sadness, living as a cheerful, normal girl.
9. Sakura Matou (Fate Stay Night)
Out of the three heroines of the fate series, Sakura is dealt the worst hand of them all. Born within the Tohsaka household as a younger sister to Rin Tohsaka, Sakura is adopted by the Matou family. Under the cruel and harsh training of Zouken Matou, Sakura is rendered a remnant of her former cheerful self. After enduring mistreatment from her foster family and even sexual assault from her step-brother Shinji, Sakura has become extremely distant and emotionless yet she manages to remain stoic after all the abuses. She begins to develop feelings for Emiya, although Emiya seems to see her only as a junior and a friend. However in her route Heaven’s Feel, she does become the love interest of Emiya. Sakura’s story is one of the most horrifying and cruel fate, especially for a fragile girl of her age. How she manages to endure is a pure testament to her resilience and willpower.
8. Lala-Ru (Now and then, here and there)
One of the most somber characters we have seen in anime as a whole is Lala-Ru from the series ‘Now and then, here and there’. She remains silent throughout much of the series and she talks at the barest minimum. She has no definite personality except for the fact that she is extremely fond of sunsets. She remains detached from social conventions and she mostly likes to be left alone. She is a water sorceress, probably aging for thousands of years. Perhaps millenniums of getting accustomed to human violence have rendered her the way she is. After all, it is revealed that she has several horrifying traumas in her long lifespan.
7. Mizore Shirayuki (Rosario + Vampire)
Mizore is one of the romantic suitors of the protagonist Tsukune in Rosario + Vampire. She has a tragic experience of being a victim of attempted sexual assault from her former teacher and crush, who she accidentally freezes in self-defense. She often portrays brooding signs of a depressed and lonely girl who is misunderstood by the world. The icy barrier she enacts in defense is thawed only by the appearance of Tsukune, who she loves uncontrollably. In the past, she has contemplated suicide but fortunately, Kurumu stops her in time. Although used as comedic relief in the show, Mizore sadness can hardly be missed, which warrants her spot in our list.
6. Homura Akemi (Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica)
One of the main characters of the show Homura Akemi is a magical girl who bears the burden of the suffering she witnesses on her shoulders. Although known for her superior intellect and athletic prowess, Homura maintains a cold and distant personality, exuding a rather icy disposition. However, she can also get quite friendly once people get to know her intimately. Prior to her developed athleticism, Homura has been a victim of constant bullying for her physical incapability. This is one of the main reasons for her cold behavior. Homura is deeply traumatized whenever she fails to save a life and this adds massive emotional weight to her character, clearing projecting the pain she endures within.
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5. Kirigaya Suguha (Sword Art Online)
Suguha has the unfortunate experience of falling victim to his Kirito’s charms, much like the majority of the girls in Sword Art Online. However, the situation for her is insufferably intolerable because she is Kirito’s sister. Technically they are first cousins although Kirito has been adopted by her family after his parent’s death. Constraint by their blood relations, Suguha is prevented from making a move on her brother but the mental anguish she endures is vividly portrayed, especially when she witnesses her brothers’ infatuation of Asuna. The character of Suguha is a tragic figure, one that is irredeemably doomed and destined to suffer, and one that feels like a convenient plot device for a love triangle.
4. Misuzu Kamio (Air)
Misuzu Kamio is literally an embodiment of sadness and tragedy. Afflicted with a terrible curse that causes her torment when she gets close to another person, she is forced to spend much of her life in isolation. When she gets close to another person, the curse will activate, making her fatally sick and ultimately die. After her mother dies, her father abandons her and she is adopted by her aunt Haruka who eventually loves her as a daughter. Despite the pain it causes, she nonetheless decides to love Yukito and in a teary final moment, the curse activates and she dies lying in Yukito’s arms on the beach, as she always dreamt of.
3. Violet Evergarden (Violet Evergarden)
Violet Evergarden (the show, not the character) is a story of redemption and self-realization. Violet is a former child soldier, born and bred for war, emotionless, and a vicious killing machine. However, after the end of the Great War in the story, Violet is left purposeless as the war stripped her of two things – her purpose as a soldier and her mentor Gilbert. Gilbert before parting with Violet leaves her with a message and Violet, who is new to emotions, embarks on a tale to decipher its meaning. Violet is not sad per se, like the others in the list but that is only because of her emotional state. She does not know what sad means as a soldier who has been completely stripped of emotions but her backstory proves a story as tragic as it can be. No child should experience what Violet does. In a beautiful tale of self-discovery, Violet Evergarden is a character you are unlikely to ever forget.
2. Hanabi Yasuraoka (Scum’s Wish)
To her classmates and friends, Hanabi has a near to perfect life – unparalleled beauty that is the attraction of many boys and a gorgeous boyfriend in Mugi. The truth could not be further than this superficial picture – after all, Scum’s Wish or Kozu no Honkai is a story that capitalizes on the sadness of unrequited love. Hanabi is deeply in love with her homeroom teacher and friend Narumi who is oblivious to her feelings. Instead, Narumi himself is in love with another teacher Akane, a vicious and cruel woman who uses men only for sex. Aware of Hanabi’s feelings for Narumi, Akane at one point straight out boast to Hanabi that she had sex with Narumi the previous night. You can only imagine how much pain that would cause Hanabi. The whole show is dark and gloomy, interweaving an intricate network of failing love. By the end of the series, Hanabi finds her closure as she accepts Narumi and Akane’s wedding but her tragic and solemn journey earns her a number two spot on our lists.
1. Annie Leonhart (Attack on Titan)
Annie Leonhart is the epitome of a tragic character in anime. Her past is yet to be fully revealed in the anime but readers of the manga would be aware of how unkind fate has been to Annie Leonhart. She is rarely seen smiling, let alone portray any form of emotions. She has excellent fighting capabilities, one that rivals even Mikasa, which is a result of vigorous training from her childhood. Annie has a past that badly scars her, that much is a given in her cold and aloof disposition. In the twisted world of Attack on Titan, Annie along with Reiner and Berthold are left in a difficult situation, a situation which compels them to discard their very lives.
With Annie Leonhart, we close off our list. If there are any sad anime girls that you think deserves to be in our list, please let us know in the comment section below. Squinoo thanks you for reading. Until next time….