Every now and then it’s okay to shed a few tears while enjoying a good sad anime, let’s not lie. It’s good, liberating, and makes that series stick with you.
And if you are in this mood and a Hulu subscription holder, then you are lucky and in the right place.
That’s because today we are going to go over the best sad anime on Hulu, with a wide selection of genres, themes, and the reasons why they are sad and perfect for this list.
All that’s left is for you to choose which anime to watch, grab some tissues, and decide which series to watch today.
Table of Contents
15. Guilty Crown
Guilty Crown is a 2011 mecha anime heavily based on action and the relationship between the two main characters.
Japan, 2029. The country fell into chaos due to the spreading of the Apocalypse Virus, causing the UN to intervene by removing every political authority and replacing them with the GHQ.
But a decade later, the country is still controlled by this organization with force, and this causes the birth of the Funeral Parlor, a group determined to liberate Japan.
And between the hustle, we’ll follow the events of Inori Yuzuriha and Shuu Ouma, the two MCs.
Guilty Crown is a good Sci-Fi anime, thanks to its cast of characters, good animations, and a captivating fusion of action and romance.
And in itself, it is not an anime that relies on sadness or sad themes, but still be prepared to shed a few tears in the ending, with some unexpected twists and turns that will catch you by surprise.
ID: Invaded is a 2020 mystery and crime anime released in 13 episodes.
The story revolves around the Mizuhanome System, a groundbreaking technology that allows detectives to enter the minds of criminals and uncover their darkest secrets.
The protagonist is Sakaido, a former detective who committed murder and becomes the perfect candidate to enter the id wells and solve cases, as he is well-known due to his exceptional detective skills.
But as he dives deeper into the criminal’s minds, he realizes that there’s more than meets the eye with these cases.
ID: Invaded isn’t inherently a sad anime, as it primarily focuses on its mystery and investigative aspects combined with futuristic elements.
But man, that scene, that damn scene. If you watched it, you know what we mean, and you know that the inclusion of this anime on this list is entirely justified because of that scene alone too.
If you haven’t experienced it, open Hulu and prepare for a lot of emotional turmoil.
Charlotte is an underrated anime that’s worth watching for its short length and fast-paced events.
The show takes place in a world where a small percentage of teenagers possess special powers, and one of these teenagers is Yuu Otosaka, a high school student who keeps his mind-control power hidden.
But one day, he is approached by Nao Tomori and taken to a particular school for those with similar abilities, and his life will change forever.
Charlotte may seem like a simple and classic anime with a high school setting and superpowers, in perfect line with other better-known series such as My Hero Academia, for example.
And indeed it does for the first few episodes, but don’t make the mistake of underestimating it, because a twist will change everything, giving the story a much sadder and darker tone.
And since we know we’ve piqued your interest by mentioning this, all that’s left is for you to discover it for yourself by opening Hulu.
13. The Promised Neverland
The Promised Neverland is a popular drama/horror anime released over 2 seasons so far, with both available on Huliu right now.
The setup of this anime is both simple and frightening. Humans and demons ended a long war by reaching an agreement known as The Promise.
Under this agreement, humans and demons will not invade each other’s worlds, but demons will be supplied with human flesh as their food source.
That’s why kids are bred in fake orphanages and raised until they are adopted and eventually fed to high-ranking demons.
The Promised Neverland is a perfect example of a fluctuating animated adaptation, with an excellent first season that then goes downhill with the second.
But if we are talking about intense and sad moments, it is certainly not inferior to other titles on this list.
The continuous feeling of death around the corner from the terror of being devoured by monsters will contribute to a continuous feeling of sadness and helplessness that you will surely get.
12. Summer Time Rendering
Summer Time Rendering is one of the anime released in the 2022 summer season, infused with a lot of mystery and supernatural elements.
After the death of his parents, Shinpei was taken in by the Kofune family and raised as a son on the island of Hitogashima where they lived, to then returned to Tokyo to attend high school.
But he will be forced to return there to attend the funeral of his childhood friend and adopted sister Ushio. What he doesn’t know yet is that this will trigger a long succession of strange and paranormal events….
Summer Time Rendering delves into dark and sad themes like loss, mourning, betrayal, and anguish, creating a sad and dramatic atmosphere that fits perfectly on this list.
Also Shinpei, through his abilities, is compelled to revisit painful moments from the past multiple times, which significantly affects him and the overall atmosphere.
If you want to experience this emotionally intense blend, you know how to make the most of your Hulu subscription.
11. Plastic Memories
Plastic Memories is an overlooked romance anime that combines drama, Sci-Fi elements, poignant moments, and an excellent love story.
In a future where lifelike androids are a common sight, the story follows the protagonist and his work partner, Isla, as they undertake the emotionally challenging task of decommissioning other androids.
But as the protagonists delve deeper into their work, they grapple with the ethical dilemmas arising from the androids’ genuine emotions and the unsettling practice of erasing their memories.
Plastic Memories is a perfect choice if you’re seeking a blend of drama, Sci-Fi, intriguing plot twists, and heart-wrenching moments, all accompanied by a well-written and compelling love story.
And you may have already guessed that with a plot about emotions and ethics and with an ending that will destroy you emotionally, watching Plastic Memories will require you to prepare quite a few tissues while watching it.
10. Death Parade
Death Parade consists of 12 episodes and blends the tension of death games with an interest in the supernatural and mystery, all conveniently available on your Hulu.
When two people die simultaneously, the law dictates that, before they move on, they must be summoned to a place situated between hell and heaven for judgment.
One such place is the Quindecim, a bar operated by an impassive, white-haired bartender and his dark, long-haired assistant.
Here, they will engage in various games of all kinds, but the participants are unaware that this process is meant to decide their fate…
Death Parade may seem on the surface like a lighthearted, colorful anime with supernatural elements at first glance.
But don’t be deceived, as beneath the playful surface of the games the characters partake in, there are sad, psychological, and even philosophical moments, especially in the unexpected ending.
9. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Code Geass is a super popular 2006 series that’s currently available on Hulu, so if you haven’t watched it yet here’s your chance.
Japan has become a colony of the British Empire and is now known as Area 11.
The main character is Lelouch, who gets caught in the crossfire after a normal day at school and manages to escape after receiving the Geass from C.C., a mysterious girl.
This power enables him to have absolute power over others simply by direct eye contact, allowing him to control their minds.
This is where his revenge against the British Empire began with the aid of the Black Knights, a group of Japanese revolutionaries.
Code Geass is dramatic, sometimes even too much due to Lelouch’s excessive displays of character. He will have to make many unpleasant decisions just to ensure his friends are safe.
And wearing many masks is one of the most hurtful things to watch on screen.
Erased is a popular 2016 anime released in 12 episodes with mystery, psychological, and romance as its genres.
Satoru is a 29-year-old failed mangaka, with a life on the chopping block. But he has a peculiarity: he has the power of revival, which enables him to know when a tragedy is about to happen.
But one day, following the murder of his mother, Satoru will find himself thanks to his power nearly 20 years earlier, when a serial killer was leaving behind a trail of deaths.
Is it all connected? Satoru will decide to investigate, and use the opportunity to save Kayo, a little girl he was unable to save in the past.
Erased is an anime that will leave you with bated breath from beginning to end as you look forward to discovering the truth.
And this applies to sad themes as well, with a continuous gloomy and melancholy atmosphere that will leave little room for lightheartedness.
Mushishi is a 2005 anime released in 26 episodes that we consider to be one of the best innovative ever, so you’re lucky to have it on Hulu.
It follows the story of Ginko, a serious and composed character who is a Mushishi.
Mushishi are experts in dealing with Mushis, mysterious creatures with unknown origins and habits. Coexistence with these creatures is often complicated for humans, hence the need for specialists.
Each episode of Mushishi explores a different mushi, which are heavily inspired by Yokai, presenting self-contained stories told in a slow, reflective, and artistic manner, like a hypnotic atmosphere.
This is not an anime for everyone, if you want pure entertainment and something action-oriented, skip it altogether. But if you are up to new experiences, then this anime is the right fit.
And this anime is unique and special even in terms of sad themes, as it’s not a series that we would strictly call sad.
Instead, it carries a sense of melancholy due to its atmosphere, which will immerse you further in watching it and convey a unique feeling.
But trust that it is harder to explain it in words than to understand it by watching it, so we recommend that you find out what we are talking about by experiencing it with your own eyes.
Steins;Gate stands as one of the most exceptional Sci-Fi anime ever created, captivating viewers with its engaging story and a remarkable romance subplot.
It comes as no surprise we consider it one of the best Sci-Fi romance anime ever.
At the core of this series lies the concept of time travel, following the journey of the eccentric scientist Rintaro Okabe and his circle of friends who stumble upon the ability to send text messages into the past.
But their experiments attract the attention of the enigmatic organization SERN, placing them in grave danger.
With a well-crafted romance between Rintaro and his love interest Kurisu Makise, Steins;Gate delves into the theme of sacrifice as Rintaro navigates the challenges of saving those he holds dear while risking his own sanity.
Indeed, this series is incredibly emotionally intense, with numerous scenes that will tug at your heartstrings as you watch them.
We can’t give you too many information because Steins;Gate is a series that must be discovered by watching it, but imagine having to experience the death of your loved one again and again, as you try to save him or her.
5. Puella Magi Madoka Magica
A 2011 anime produced by Shaft and Aniplex, Puella Magi Madoka Magika is a masterpiece that brought freshness into the classic Majokko and is one of the most innovative anime currently on Hulu.
That’s because even though the first scenes make it look like a normal fantasy anime, you will soon realize that’s only appearance.
The slice-of-life setting and the cute characters won’t last long, and soon the story will take a dark and drama-filled turn.
Madoka will understand that she isn’t living in a fairy tale and that terrible sacrifices are necessary to fight the terrible Witches.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica is the kind of anime that will catch you off guard from Episode 3. Trust us when we say this series is incredibly unique and full of unexpected plot twists that uncover deeper philosophical considerations.
And as you can well imagine this also extends to the sad and tragic moments, with a continuous escalation of moments that will make your heart clench until the very finale.
4. Your Lie in April
Your Lie in April is a 2014 romance anime that you can find on Hulu that received a lot of popularity since its release, mainly thanks to its emotionally captivating story.
Kousei Arima, a former child prodigy pianist, was once revered by all. But after the death of his mother, he becomes unable to hear his own music, sinking into a deep depression.
His life takes an unexpected turn when he encounters Kaori Miyazono, a vibrant and lively blonde violinist. Through her influence, Kousei rediscovers his passion for music.
As their bond deepens, their love for each other flourishes. But there is something about Kaori that Kousei has yet to discover, which adds complexity to their relationship.
Your Lie in April is a fantastic romance anime due to its compelling storyline, which masterfully blends romance and music.
And when it comes to the emotional aspect, we are more than confident in saying that it is one of the best sad romance anime in general, and not limited to those available on Hulu.
We strongly recommend keeping tissues handy while watching this series, because you will need them.
Nana is another one of the most iconic shojo anime adaptations, with an animated version that was released in 2006 in 47 episodes.
The series revolves around two girls who share the same name, Nana, but possess contrasting personalities.
They find themselves as roommates, with one being a rock/punk star with a tumultuous life, and the other being a timid girl trapped in a toxic relationship that is slowly destroying her.
From that point onward, their destinies become deeply intertwined.
This anime is a true gem that we recommend to everyone, no matter their age group.
What sets Nana apart is its unique character design that perfectly suits the story’s context, alongside its well-developed characters and a storyline that beautifully balances sad moments with heartfelt tenderness.
The best way to describe Nana is a rollercoaster of emotions, so you can’t go wrong if you’re looking for something to watch on Hulu tonight.
2. Fruits Basket
Fruits Basket is undeniably a shojo romance icon and easily one of the best romance anime ever. It also received an animated remake in 2019 that you can find on Hulu, surpassing the 2000s version in every aspect, so we clearly recommend this version.
The story follows the kind-hearted Toru Honda, who, following the tragic death of her parents, finds herself living with her grandfather.
But due to unavoidable circumstances, she’s forced to leave that home as well and ends up living alone in a tent in the woods.
It is there that she encounters Yuki Soma, who offers her an invitation to stay at his family’s home, a place harboring a peculiar secret.
Fruits Basket is a masterpiece with a plot and love story that is still incredible today, with characters that are incredibly well-written.
But an incredible merit of this series is not only its excellent exploration of sad themes but also how it handles them.
Fruits Basket delves into depression, trauma, abuse, and social anxiety, but it does so with incredible tenderness, creating a beautiful illustration of how to overcome fears and insecurities.
So get ready to shed several tears of pain and joy and, why not, even be inspired in the process
1. Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop is regarded as one of the best anime series of all time, and it’s unlikely to lose this title anytime soon. Released in 1998 with 26 episodes, it’s a series you’ll never want to end, and you don’t know how lucky you are to have it available on Hulu.
Set in a not-too-distant future where inter-spatial travel is the norm and Mars is a vital part of human life, the show follows a group of bounty hunters, or cowboys, as they chase down intergalactic outlaws.
Meet Spike Spiegel, a bounty hunter, in the year 2071, and witness Spike’s many talents and abilities in hand-to-hand combat and martial arts, garnering a reputation as one of the strongest fighters in the universe.
He chases criminals with his partner, Jet Black, and together they team up with a con artist, a child hacker, and a Welsh Corgi to form a bizarre family.
But when an old enemy comes back into Spike’s life, he must now choose between his past and his newfound family.
All of these characters create a perfect mosaic of regrets, personal stories and struggles that are quite relatable for the viewer.