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Home > Anime Moments That Made Fans Cry Tears of Joy

Anime Moments That Made Fans Cry Tears of Joy

Sometimes the happiest moments come from the least expected places. | Image courtesy of Viz Media

Tissues Are Needed For These Anime Spoilers

There was once a time in America when the average anime fan had to hide their interests to fit into the status quo. Thankfully, that time is long gone and it’s finally acceptable for fans to admit the tears they’ve shed over these five anime. Though anime has the stereotype of being weird, melodramatic, and even cringe, that won’t stop fans from coming back for more. In reality, many of these animated television shows have hard-hitting plots with characters who show growth.

Lifestyle drama and epic battles typically in anime aside, these are some of the moments over the past three decades that have left audiences rejoicing for their favorite characters. All the trauma and hardship of these characters’ pasts come to a point where their joyous futures are well-earned. Even the toughest shonen have left tears to be shed. From girly pastels of the nineties to the bloody battlefield of the modern day, these Japanese shows have stolen the hearts of a worldwide audience.

5. Luffy Reaching Gear Five 

First airing in 1999 and based on the manga written by Eiichiro Oda, One Piece tells the story of a young pirate named Luffy (voiced by Mayumi Tanaka, Erica Schroeder, and Colleen Clinkenbeard) who strives to become the world’s greatest pirate. Filled with obscurely themed islands and characters with giant personalities (and bodies), One Piece was seen as a more childish anime than most. Truthfully, the show portrays many serious and adult subjects that wouldn’t fly in the average American children’s cartoon. In Luffy’s ongoing legend of becoming King of the Pirates, he is also growing his Devil Fruit powers.

The anime started in the late nineties with Luffy having already obtained his Gum Gum Fruit power. After eating this fruit, he then gained the ability to turn his body into rubber. For the past twenty-five years, fans have watched as Luffy’s power has evolved with what he calls “gears.” His power grows stronger and he becomes more attuned to his magic. Finally, for the first time, fans got to witness Luffy reach his highest power; gear five.

It had been twenty-five long years waiting for this moment and fans could not have been happier. Not only had Luffy reached his final form on August 6, 2023, he was recognized by the world leaders as the legendary Sun God. In an epic battle scene referencing old American cartoons, Luffy defeats his most difficult opponent, Kaido using gear five. Fans of the series are also aware that the creator will be ending the story soon which makes this happy cry a tad bittersweet. One Piece can be streamed now on Crunchyroll.

  1. The Sohma Family’s Curse is Lifted 

Fruits Basket was an anime known for bringing fans to tears. There are few other shows out there whose characters are as traumatized as these ones. Based on the 1998 manga made by Natsuki Takaya, Fruits Basket aired in 2001 and was later released as a fresher adaptation more loyal to the manga series in 2019. The story follows an orphan girl named Tohru who moves in with the Sohma family. The Sohma family, to her shock, is possessed by the Chinese zodiac animals and faces hardships because of it. 

Born with preconceived notions on how each family member would behave based off of their zodiac, the members of the Sohma family are forced into hating each other. Although they have the ability to shapeshift into the animal they are assigned, the members of the family don’t have complete control over when their transformation hits. Stress, excitement, and embracing someone of the opposite gender is enough to turn them, which leads to them having to be extra cautious out in public. 

Though the plot sounds silly, each character of the series suffers trials and tribulations due to the curse. Unfortunately for fans, the 2001 series hadn’t finished the plotlines of the manga and therefore never showed the curse being lifted. However, fans were able to rejoice as their favorite characters were freed when the 2019 series had completed the manga in its entirety and showed the members of the Sohma family living normal lives. Though readers of the manga would have already known the true ending, it was still so very satisfying to see the beloved nostalgic characters find happiness on screen. Fruits Basket is streaming now on Hulu.

3. Nezuko Waking Up 

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba was popularized by the 2016 manga by Koyoharu Gotouge and made it to the screen in 2021. As the newest anime on this list, the memories of this happy moment are still fresh in fans’ hearts. The story follows a boy named Tanjiro (voiced by Natsuki Hanae and Zach Aguiler) who is determined to become a demon slayer after most of his family are killed by a pack of demons. His sister, Nezuko (voiced by Akari Kito and Abby Trott), survives with him, but is slowly but surely turning into a demon herself. 

Though traumatizing enough as it is, Nezuko finds out that to replenish her strength, she must either consume human blood or sleep. Anyone who has seen photo stills of the anime or merch might see Nezuko sleeping in a big box that Tanjiro carries around. The commonality of Nezuko’s sleeping habits becomes normal for her brother, but not when she falls into a slumber that lasts two years.

Panicked by the situation and running to a doctor for help, Tanjiro is frightened at the idea of losing another family member. While his sister sleeps, he writes in a journal about everything she missed out on. The anime does very well at tugging on the audience’s heartstrings and convincing them that something might be wrong with the demon sister. Despite the sequence of events happening in only the first few episodes of the anime, the joy is palpable when Nezuko finally wakes up and embraces her brother who so desperately needs family. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is now streaming on Netflix and Hulu.

2. Alphonse Getting His Body and Memories Back 

Anyone who plans on watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood should be made aware that they are in for a world of hurt. As arguably one of the greatest anime of all time, this one takes the cake in breaking every young fan’s heart for the first time. Based on the 2001 manga by Hiromu Arakawa, the story was aired on television first in 2003 and then rebooted in 2006 to stay more true to the original source material. 

The story follows two brothers, Edward (voiced by Romi Park and Vic Mignogna) and Alphonse Elric (voiced by Rie Kugimiya and Maxey Whitehead), who attempt to use alchemy to bring back their deceased mother. Instead, Ed loses an arm and a leg while Alphonse’s entire body is lost and his soul is saved by Ed transferring it to a suit of armor. The story then follows as the boys grow up and try to find the solution to getting their old bodies back.

Starting off with an already traumatic event, the series touches on dark topics such as; mourning family, war, genocide, and human experiments. The sixty-four-episode-long series forces the audience to question if the idea of the brothers’ getting their bodies back is even possible. While Ed is able to get automail prosthetics attached to replace his missing limbs, Al has a worse fate. Without a body, Al spends years not being able to eat, drink, touch, smell, or any other physical human sensation. His entrapment inside the suit of armor keeps him alive, but he talks freely throughout the series about how he doesn’t feel human.

As the series drew to a close, the fans who had waited so long for a happy ending finally received it. After a bittersweet plotline of Al getting his body back while having his memories erased, he finally becomes whole at the end of the series. The two brothers, after traveling between two worlds, finally become whole and are reunited. After everything that had happened, Alphonse becoming Alphonse again was one of the greatest moments in anime. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood can be streamed on Hulu.

1. Sailor Moon Reuniting With Her Friends

For what is known as a girly and upbeat show aimed at children, Sailor Moon carries a very dark plot. Written by Naoko Takeuchi, the 1991 manga would hit the small screen the next year. The bright pastel world follows a young schoolgirl, Usagi Tsukino (voiced by Kotono Mitsuishi, Kae Araki, Tracey Moore, and Stephanie Sheh), who is given the power to become the sailor scout, Sailor Moon. As many anime fans would know by now, Usagi would then come to learn that she is Princess Serenity, the Moon Princess, reincarnated.

The story follows Usagi and her loved ones (including her soulmate, Mamoru Chiba) as they find out about their past and how their stories keep repeating the same tragedy. Though much of the show is filled with happy filler designed to teach children lessons, the gut punches the story gives are heart-wrenching. Especially since the teenage characters only want to live a normal life and are forced into saving the world on numerous occasions.

As the end of the series draws closer, Usagi’s greatest foe, Sailor Galaxia, causes her loved ones to die again for a final time. Though a lot of hope is lost, Usagi triumphs and is reunited with her loved ones once again. She embraces her lover and is met with all of her friends again where they can finally live the lives that they wished for years. As one of the most iconic anime of all time, Sailor Moon reaches the top spot of this list for the most happy tears shed. Sailor Moon is currently streaming on Hulu.

Sailor Moon Series (1995) Official Trailer Courtesy of Viz Media

Source: Dead Talk Live

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With a bachelor's degree in Film and Media Studies from Arizona State University, Ashley has a passion for the history of filmmaking and how audiences share a relationship with publicized media. Her love for the horror genre as well as feminist themes runs deep.

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Sammie is an undergraduate student at Arcadia University where she is majoring in English and creative writing and minoring in media and communications. Sammie enjoys writing about her favorite movies and tv shows and hopes to have a career in the media industry.