Sunday, February 25, 2018

Anime That Made Me (almost) Cry


Let's start this off with the anime I watched most recently, and the one that got me closest to tears. Said to be the anime that inspired Berserk, Evangelion and other tragic anime. And when you start watching, it's not hard to figure out why. The twisted and dark themes provide a satisfying ending.

Devilman Crybaby is about Akira Fudo, who with the help of his childhood best friend Ryou, has been turned into a devil to save humanity from malevolent demons. He's become a devil with the heart of a human. A contradiction and an enigma. The animation style is vibrant and flows from frame to frame like a brush in ink. It's adapted by the same person from the second entry in this list - Ping Pong The Animation.

Devilman Crybaby starts of hyper-violent and a gorefest with strong erotic scenes. But they only start to increase the sense of impending doom rather than hype you up like most violent anime. The themes are so deeply and subtly ingrained that even the edgiest scenes have an impact. This is coming from the director who has the opening reveal the end of the anime without you even noticing it, so you know he can subvert your expectations.

Even before the end of Devilman Crybaby, you're left depressed and broken. So the ending is as much tragic as it is satisfying. Suddenly you see the entire show for what it was. The things you thought it about were never possible. Why Akira's existence was a paradox, and why his goal was unachievable. The reason why it's called Devilman Crybaby is that by the end it's you who's the crybaby. 


Yes, Ping Pong The Animation is a dull title.
Yes, it is about Ping Pong.
Yes, it's not about Ping Pong.
My first thought after the first few episodes of Ping Pong The Animation was "Why is an anime about Ping Pong making me feel things?" and by the end, I knew exactly why.
Ping Pong is a show about two childhood best friends who couldn't be more polar opposites of each if they tried. But their dynamic works. The show isn't about Ping Pong at all, at its core, it's a show about Zen. The different characters in the show trying to reach Nirvana, with a little help from one of the protagonists. He guides them with robotic precision and without so much as one word. He is a machine, a monster, an enlightened soul.

Ping Pong has one of the most distinct animation styles, but if you can either get past it or like it from the get-go, then you're in for a visual treat. Characters move like the emotions they're feeling. One minute they're dragons, moving at the pace of lightning, and the next second they're slow rusty pits of sadness.

Ping Pong isn't a sad or a tragic anime. But it tugs at just the right heartstrings at just the right points to elicit emotions you didn't know you could feel while watching a Sports Anime. Ping Pong isn't a show you can watch while looking into your phone or while doing some other work. It demands your focus, but it also rewards it with a better understanding of your self by the time you're done.


Anyone who has watched the barest amount of Anime hasn't escaped the name of Fullmetal Alchemist. It's one of the top gateway anyway for someone new to the medium. And I think a major reason for that is that it encompasses emotions with such ease. Most people aren't aware of the power of the medium before they encounter a show that completely changes the way they thought about anime. Fullmetal Alchemist has action, comedy, suspense. But its the close bond between its characters and how they grow as the show progresses that really sets the show apart. The English dub is brilliant so it remains easily accessible to even the most vary of people. An absolute must watch.

Fullmetal Alchemist is about two brothers trying to undo a grave mistake they made while trying to get their dead mother back. A mistake that sent shockwaves and repercussions into all the lives that touched theirs. Loss, Brotherhood, friendship. The show combines all these themes and the experience polishes the two brothers on their journey

One of the most tragic moments appears relatively early on into the show, and that's when you realize just what kind of an anime it is. And once you finish the show you can rest well knowing that now you've got a heart made Fullmetal.


At the start of Hunter X Hunter, you'd wonder why a cheerful and happy anime such as it could belong on a list like this. But as the show progresses, it gets darker and darker. Hunter X Hunter is another easily accessible anime obstructed only by the episode count. But the 2011 adaptation is well paced and sucks you right in. Gon, the protagonist of the show isn't some all-powerful hero. He isn't the chosen one, and he certainly doesn't win all his battles. But his breakneck speed of learning and the solemness of his naive vow makes you feel for him.

Hunter x Hunter is a journey that isn't depressing or tragic for the most part, but the emotion behind each scene resonates deep within. It's one of the most perfectly crafted anime that fans of any genre can enjoy. It also has a good English dub so people with the dislike of subtitles can watch it.


A show about isolation, abandonment, loneliness, and depression. It's clear from the beginning that this is no casual show. About an outcast who's given his life to become elite, and is shunned for it. 3 Gatsu no Iron, or March Comes in Like a Lion is a show that can be very light, cute, and happy. But it balances out these emotions with some of the most melancholic moments.

March Comes in Like a Lion isn't a show I'd recommend watching when you're happy and content with your life. On the other hand, if you're feeling just the right melancholy and sadness in your soul it can pull you out like a guardian angel from above.

Veronin on MAL described the first few minutes of the show and that deeply resonated with me.
Sangatsu no Lion's first five minutes contains a scene I might characterise as one of the best in animation. He listlessly wakens, drinking out of necessity, dressing out of obligation, and leaving his sterile apartment out of confusion, an existence so fragile it could perish with the wind. He doesn't say anything. He doesn't tell people about his problems. He just moves on with his life. 
At first I did not understand why this scene had such an impact on me. I thought it could have been the beautiful music, or perhaps the captivating artwork so characteristic of Shaft. That wasn't it. What overwhelmed me was how illustrative it was of human life. 


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