22 Great Sad Manga That Will Move You to Tears

Due to technical difficulty I needed to post my series of recommendation articles this week, when I initially wanted to publish it last week. And that got me thinking, since we are still in the middle of the week, maybe I could write some more recommendations to you all? Because it is fun. Well at least for me. 

Note: This post was edited by Cody Perez, not originally written by Cody. This may not necessarily reflect the views of Cody Perez. 

And the answer is: well duh. Today's article is about 22 sad manga that will move you to tears. And just like our previous articles, I can also find some sort of twist to make it more fun to read. Well again, at least for me. But hear me out, it may pique your interest. 

So normally I do my research using, you guessed it, Myanimelist. But there is no such thing as a “sad manga” category. Because it is technically not a genre, but more like something that we can feel. Thus, for today's article, I am using another popular website for my reference: Ranker

And fair warning, as I said, sad stuff is a rather subjective topic. Something that makes you cry cannot always apply to other people. So if you find a certain manga “not sad”, chances are there are other people that find this manga touching. But I can promise you that these are all quite tear jerkers. 

So, let us not stalling anymore. We are going to start from number 22:

Sad Manga That Will Move You to Tears

22. Chobits

Sad Manga: Chobits

Hideki Motosuwa aims to study at the university of his choice by attending a high school in Tokyo. At the same time, he works at the bar every day to make ends meet and misses out on the world’s newest invention, human-like computers called Persocoms. 

In his own Persocom quest, Hideki feels lucky when he finds a cute Persocom and is left in the trash. Hideki discovers that his newly discovered robot is flawed and can only pronounce the word “Chii”. However, Chii is no ordinary Persokom: she can think and learn on her own and is a legendary type of robot known as “Chobit”.

21. Absolute Boyfriend

Sad Manga: Absolute Boyfriend

Riiko Izawa has never had a boyfriend and she has been rejected by every man she has ever liked. When she returns the lost cell phone to the strangely dressed officer, she mentions that he wants a boyfriend. To thank her, he directed her to the website of his company, Kronos Heaven. 

When she visits the site, Riiko realizes that it is a site where you can create the perfect lover. Thinking it was a game, she adapted it and accidentally ordered it. The next day his new lover came. According to the instruction manual, she kissed him to wake her up, which made him just fall in love with her. She called him “Night”. 

20. Paradise Kiss

Sad Manga: Paradise Kiss

Hayasaka Yukari wants to make her parents happy by studying hard and getting into a good college. However, one afternoon she is kidnapped by a group of self-proclaimed fashionistas who call themselves “Paradise Kiss”. Yukari is suddenly thrown into the roller coaster of fashion world life, led by Koizumi George, the art snob at its best. In a glamorous makeover of her mind, body and soul, a hapless nerd turns her into the exclusive fashion model of her friend. 

19. Hybrid Child

Sad Manga: Hybrid Child

Commonly mistaken for dolls, Hybrid Children are toys that can adapt human abilities from reading books to channeling emotions. Their abilities depend on the level of affection their owners show them. Nurture them with the best affection and the model will thrive. The lazy Kotarou Izumi has been together for 10 years and believes Hazuki, his Hybrid Child, will be in his life forever. But everything collapsed when the artificial human suddenly collapsed.

18. Attack on Titan

Sad Manga: Attack on Titan

Eren Yeager lives with his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman and her best friend, Armin Arlert, in the Shiganshina District adjacent to Wall Maria, the outermost wall of the three circular walls, which protects humanity from the Titans who are said to have killed all other humans a hundred years ago.  

When Shiganshina and Wall Maria were uprooted by the Colossal Titan and Armored Titan, the incoming Titans attacked forcing the humans to retreat into Wall Rose. After a Titan devours his mother while his father disappears, Eren, bent on revenge, enlists in the military along with Mikasa and Armin.

17. Full Moon O Sagashite

Sad Manga: Full Moon wo Sagashite

At the age of 12, Mitsuki Kouyama developed a sarcoma in his throat. Although this rare cancer can be cured by removing her vocal cords, Mitsuki refuses because she wants to become a pop singer and keeps her childhood promise to Eichi Sakurai, her first love who went to America. 

One day, while running away from her music-hating grandmother's house to attend an audition, Mitsuki meets two shinigami, Takuto Kira and Meroko Yui. Takuto and Meroko realize that Mitsuki can see them and tell her that she will die in a year. Moved by her plight, Takuto gives Mitsuki the opportunity to achieve his dream by giving her the ability to transform into a healthy 16-year-old girl.

16. Fullmetal Alchemist

Sad Manga: Fullmetal Alchemist

Edward and Alphonse Elric live in Resembool with their mother Trisha and their father Van Hohenheim who left for no reason. Trisha soon died of an illness. After completing their alchemy training with Izumi Curtis, the Elrics attempt to bring their mother back using alchemy. The transmutation failed and Edward lost his left leg while Alphonse lost his body. Edward sacrifices his right arm to restore Alphonse's soul and binds him to armor. 

Invited by Roy Mustang to become a state alchemist, Edward undergoes a painful medical procedure that gives him an automail prosthetic limb. Edward became a government alchemist with the title Fullmetal Alchemist. The Elrics spend the next three years searching for the Philosopher's Stone to achieve their goal.

15. Twittering Birds Never Fly

Sad Manga: Twittering Birds Never Fly

Yashiro, a high-ranking young yakuza boss and president of the front company. He is assigned a new bodyguard, Doumeki Chikarai, who discovers his employer is a hypersexual masochist. The masochistic, lewd, and beautiful Yakuza Yakuza and his quiet, awkward, and impotent subordinate, Doumeki. Yashiro develops an interest in Doumeki, who refuses his invitation. Yashiro later discovers that Doumeki is powerless and pursues a sadomasochistic relationship with him.

14. Bitter Virgin

Sad Manga: Bitter Virgin

Daisuke Suwa is a reclusive high school student living in a remote rural town. At school, he behaves like a womanizer, attracted to all the girls except the shy Hinako Aikawa, who is said to be disguised as a “sweet virgin”. One day, Daisuke gets caught in a fight between two of his admirers and seeks refuge in a church. 

He hides in the confessional, only for Hinako to enter the church and mistake her voice for that of a priest. She asks him to listen to his confession, which he has no choice but to comply with. Hinako reveals that she was sexually abused by her stepfather when she was in junior high school, which resulted in her giving up a boy for adoption.

13. Land of the Lustrous

Sad Manga: Land of the Lustrous

In the distant future, the earth has been hit by a meteorite six times, destroying it. All the remaining land was reduced to a single coastline while almost all life was destroyed. Over a long period of time, a new race of sentient life forms emerged. This is an immortal gem in the shape of a human. 

Phosphophyllite (Phos) is weak and is considered useless by its peers. Phos enlists the help of his aloof but wise partner, Cinnabar, after being tasked with creating an encyclopedia of natural history, starting their friendship and personal growth. They are at war with the Lunarians who want to exploit their value of luxury.

12. We Were There

Sad Manga: We Were There

Takahashi Nanami, a young girl in her first year of high school, hopes to make new friends quickly. The school's focus is on Yano Motoharu, a very popular boy who Nanami does not like at first. However, she soon falls in love with him, but Yano is still affected by the loss of his girlfriend, Yamamoto Nana, who died earlier during a car accident.

This makes Yano cannot trust anyone. Regardless, Nanami confesses her love to Yano but is rejected when he is unable to tell her if he loves her back. Despite that, she is still willing to support him and reassures him she will always be by his side.

11. Elfen Lied

Sad Manga: Elfen Lied

Lucy is a special kind of human known as “Diclonius,” born with a pair of short horns and invisible telekinetic hands that make her the victim of inhumane scientific experiments by the government. However, once circumstances give her a chance to escape, Lucy, ravaged by confinement and torture, unleashes a torrent of bloodshed as she escapes her captors. 

During her escape, she receives a crippling head injury that gives her a split personality: someone with a harmless child mentality who has a limited capacity for speech. In this state of instability, she finds 2 college students, Kouta and his cousin Yuka, who have unknowingly brought an injured fugitive into their care, oblivious to her murderous tendencies.

10. Berserk

Sad Manga: Berserk

Guts, a former mercenary now known as the “Black Swordsman”, seeks revenge. After a tumultuous childhood, he finally finds someone he respects and believes he can trust, only to have things fall apart when that person takes everything important from Guts to fulfill his own desires. 

Now sentenced to death, Guts is condemned to a fate where he is relentlessly pursued by demonic creatures. Embarking on a terrifying and ill-fated quest, armed with a formidable sword and terrifying power, Guts will let nothing stop him, not even death itself, until he is finally able to retrieve the head of the man who had flaunted him and his lover. 

9. Nana

Sad Manga: Nana

Nana Komatsu is a naive, unmotivated girl who spent her high school years chasing crush after crush. Although she is constantly faced with failure in her search for love, her mood is never tarnished. Nana Osaki, on the other hand, is resolute and proud. She fell in love with music and was a member of the band.

However, when faced with a choice between her relationship and her music career, she chose the latter and broke up with her boyfriend. Two girls with the same name but very different ambitions sit together on their way to the city and, as fate would have it, end up sharing the same apartment. Then a deep and unique bond is forged where they support each other.

8. Orange

Sad Manga: Orange

One morning Naho Takamiya receives a letter claiming to be himself in 10 years. The letter revealed a number of events that would take place that day. At first Naho thought it was a joke; But when the letter mentions a student named Kakeru Naruse who actually switched to his class that day, she is forced to believe what it says. As Naho continues reading the letter, her future self mentions some regrets and urges Naho to make the right decision now. And somehow, these regrets all seem to be connected to Kakeru.

7. Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan

Sad Manga: Watashitachi no Shiawase na Jikan

Juri Mutou is the daughter of a famous pianist whose career ended after she was born. After the traumatic events she experienced as a teenager, Yuri attempted suicide three times and learned to hate her mother. Her aunt Monica, a priest, invites her to visit a death row inmate.

Yuu is a death row inmate charged with the murder of three people. He attempts to end his own life in his prison cell. He often receives letters from Monica, who hopes to help but finds this a pity. But when Yuu decides to meet with Monica to tell her he wants her to stop sending letters, he meets Yuri, an encounter that will change both of their lives.

6. Your Lie in April

Sad Manga: Your Lie in April

From a very young age, Kousei Arima was guided strictly by his mother in playing the piano and following the scores closely, to the point where he easily dominates every competition he enters. He received the title of “Human Metronome” for his near-perfect performance. However, when his mother suddenly died, he became musically deranged from shock and then disappeared, not having appeared on stage since. 

Two years later, Kousei lives a monotonous life with his childhood friends Tsubaki Sawabe and Ryouta Watari supporting him. He continued to stick to music, even though performing was still impossible for him. Until his unexpected encounter with Kaori Miyazono, a violinist who performs freely without being dictated by the score.

5. Banana Fish

Sad Manga: Banana Fish

Ash Lynx is a beauty, a genius, and a killer. Since childhood he was under the care of Dino “Papa” Golzine, the mafia boss who made him the ruthless killer he is today. At first, Ash was just a pretty face for Golzine's amusement, but now, alienated from him, 17 year old Ash runs his own gang with an iron fist. 

Eiji Okumura is a young Japanese photographer. Eiji travels to New York as an assistant to work on a documentary about children living on the streets. There he meets the teenage gang leader Ash and becomes intrigued by the boy, who in turn is curious about Eiji's different lifestyle.

4. A Silent Voice

Sad Manga: A Silent Voice

In sixth grade, Ishida Shouya leads the class in bullying Nishimiya Should, a classmate new to school and deaf. When Shouya's actions are finally condemned by the principal, all of his friends and teachers turn against him, isolating him socially to high school to the point where he ends up contemplating suicide, which he believes set him apart from his bad deeds will be released. 

To make amends, he is reunited with Shouko, who is still lonely because of her shyness. Realizing that both are suffering from their past sins, Shouya embarks on a path of redemption by trying to reconnect Shouko with her old classmate, whom Shouko never had the chance to befriend.

3. To Your Eternity

Sad Manga: To Your Eternity

It, a mysterious immortal, was sent to earth without any emotion or identity. However, It was able to take the form of those with strong momentum. But eventually It regained consciousness and began traversing the empty tundra until he met a boy. The boy lives alone in a ghost town abandoned by adults in search of a paradise that is said to exist far beyond the endless sea of ​​white tundra. However, their efforts were in vain, and now the boy was in critical condition. Taking the form of a boy, It embarks on an endless journey in search of new experiences, places and people.

2. Hotarubi No Mori E

Sad Manga: Hotarubi No Mori E

Takegawa Hotaru, who is lost in a forest inhabited by mountain spirits, and youkai. She is found by a masked humanoid named Gin, who tells Hotaru that if he is touched by a human, she will disappear forever. Gin then brought Hotaru out of the forest. Hotaru visits Gin again in the forest over the next few days and they become friends despite their limited interaction. Hotaru promises to visit him during summer vacation. 

Over the years, Gin has barely aged while Hotaru has physically matured and gotten closer to his age. After reaching puberty, Hotaru begins to struggle with their budding romance and an uncertain future together, while Gin wishes he could touch and hold back the young woman who has become Hotaru.

1. Oyasumi Punpun

Sad Manga: Oyasumi Punpun

Punpun Onodera is a normal 11 year old boy living in Japan. Highly idealistic and romantic, Punpun begins to see his life turn into an adult when he meets the new girl in his class, Aiko Tanaka. Then the quiet boy learns how fickle it is to maintain a relationship and the tremendous difficulties of transitioning from a naive childhood to a confusing adult.

When his father attacks his mother one night, Punpun realizes something else: the people he admires are not as amazing as he thinks. As his problems escalate, Punpun's once shy demeanor changes to that of a willful loner. Instead of curing him of conflicting problems and emotions, it only strengthens him.