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These 21+ Anime Characters Have Some Of The Saddest Pasts That Will Break Your Heart

Sadness is something you can’t avoid in life.

Sooner or later you’re bound to taste it. Even if you do spit it back out.

But when you experience sadness in anime? this is what helps you relate or empathize with certain characters.

Sadness makes the dullest characters some of the brightest and most interesting. Because it’s a powerful emotion that hits pretty damn hard.

For me, there are 17+ anime characters who represent sadness…


1. Jonathan Mar (Jormungand)

anime characters with the saddest past

Jonathan (Jona for short) is a middle eastern child soldier.

Imagine having to watch your parents die right in front of your eyes. All in the name of war and violence.

This is the catalyst of Jona’s past, which dooms him into a life of murder, war and violence.

He’s never known what it means to live like a child, and never will.

And yet – he still manages to smile through the pain.


2. Revy Rebecca (Black Lagoon)

anime characters with the saddest past

Rape, abuse, murder… These 3 words paint a dark, bloody picture of Revy’s past life.

Revy is cold-hearted and at times, seems like she no longer even has a soul.

But I guess that’s what life does to you when you’re forced into the dark abyss of the underworld.

Eventually it starts to eat away at your soul.


3. Sora Mea & Fratele Meu (Black Lagoon)

anime characters with the saddest past

Some people have been through hell and back. But these 2 twins ended up being stuck there since childhood.

Sora Mea and Fratele grew up surrounded by pedophiles, child abusers and rapists.

In fact – on one occasion, they were given a choice: kill your best friends or we’ll rape you.

As you can imagine – their soul was broken from the beginning. And they end up becoming psychopaths for no fault of their own.


4. Balsa (Guardian Of The Spirit)

anime characters with the saddest past

Unlike the other characters on this list, Balsa’s story is spoiler-heavy.

So I’ll have to avoid mentioning it.

That being said, Balsa’s childhood is littered with murder, violence and a desperate struggle to survive.

She didn’t ask for any of it.


5. Shouko Nishimiya (A Silent Voice)

anime characters with the saddest past

Bullying is awful. And what’s worse is: being bullied because you’re a disabled, deaf child.

This is how the movie: A Silent Voice begins. And the consequences will stir your emotions like a pot of curry.


6. Yuno Gasai (Future Diary)

anime characters with the saddest past

Yuno’s not a Yandere for the sake of it (like other silly characters).

After all: Yuno grew up like a slave to her parents.

For the smallest thing she did, her parents would punish Yuno severely. Even to the point of locking her up in a cage with steel bars.

So it’s no surprise why Yuno becomes a vengeful, insecure teenager who’s been denied love and affection.


7. Akame (Akame Ga Kill)

anime characters with the saddest past

Along with her sister, Akame was one of many children forced into an experiment.

A set of kids were let loose in a forest full of danger beasts. with nothing more than a knife. If that.

Unlike everyone else, Akame and her sister were the lone survivors.

Some of the victims were even Akame’s childhood friends.

Read: 6 Of The Best Akame Quotes From Akame Ga Kill


8. Jellal Fernandes (Fairy Tail)

anime characters with the saddest past

Jellal is a child slave, raised in the tower of heaven. Forced to do hard labor for nothing in return.

Until the fateful day when Jellal and other childhood slaves forge a plan to escape.


9. Erza Scarlet (Fairy Tail)

anime characters with the saddest past

Like Jellal, Erza also grew up a childhood slave, and was one of Jellal’s many friends.

But unlike Erza, most of the other children were slaughtered, mercilessly.


10. Vegeta (Dragon Ball Z)

anime characters with the saddest past

Like Erza and Jellal, Vegeta was basically a child slave as well. Forced to do whatever Frieza (a tyrant) ordered him to do.

Not only that, Vegeta got separated from his own father from a young age. Who Frieza eventually killed off, along with the entire Saiyan race.

This is the reason Vegeta has such a tough exterior.

He’s been through more than the average person is capable of dealing with.


11. Sheele (Akame Ga Kill)

anime characters with the saddest past

Clumsy, always making mistakes, a victim of bullying, and often torn down by others.

This describes Sheele’s past perfectly.

No matter what she’d do to help others it would always backfire.

And throughout her hardships she had 1 real friend, who would eventually abandon Sheele, despite Sheele saving her life.

Plus Sheele’s parents were killed too.

Read: 5 Things I Love About Sheele From Akame Ga Kill


12. Anzu (Hinamatsuri)

anzu hinamatsuri scene |

Anzu from Hinamatsuri is a special case. The anime uses her character to portray homelessness, and the seriousness of how it affects people.

When Anzu is homeless, she steals food, drinks, money, whatever it takes to survive.

She’s just doing what she has to do, and her intentions are pure.

The contrast between Anzu and Hina (a separate MC) really makes you think deep about what’s going on, and how messed up it is.

Few anime characters are able to make you feel the way Anzu does because of her past and experiences.

Relevant: 32+ GREAT Blonde Haired Anime Characters That Will Make You Curious


13. Zeref (Fairy Tail)

zeref fairy tail half smile 1 e1612830941707 |

When Zeref smiles, it’s a half smile. A smile trying its hardest to feel genuine and happy.

That’s because Zeref, just by existing, kills everything and everyone he grows to love.

That’s literally his ability, or I should say curse. He HAS to be alone.

He’s a paradox. And he’s forced to live in a paradoxical kind of way.

Forced to deny his feelings of love and avoid contact with things or people because by some sick twisted fate, it saves him from pain even though it’s depressing either way.


14. Sasuke Uchiha (Naruto)

sasuke naruto |

Sasuke Uchiha has a seemingly normal childhood, until everything is taken away from him.

His own brother slaughters their family, murders everyone in the village, and leaves Sasuke as the only survivor.

He then instills hatred into Sasuke on purpose, and this is what sets Sasuke on the path for vengeance.

This is his driving force for living, for breathing. More so in the beginning. And at this point he’s an iconic character because of that.

Related: 6 Dark Lessons Itachi Uchiha Taught Us About Life


15. Keyaru (Redo Of Healer)

keyaru redo of healer flare |

Keyaru probably has one of the most f*cked up backstories of any anime character. It’s extreme.

In the pre-timeline he’s on the path to becoming a hero because of his healer ability. But things change.

He’s tricked by Princess Flare, who he assumed was a nice and kind person.

She then systematically abuses, tortures, imprisons, orders men and women to r*pe Keyaru. Drugs him and even more.

This is why his vengeance (after reversing time) is so severe and barbaric.

Related: 9+ Anime Shows Like Redo Of Healer With Gore, Horror, And Fantasy


16. Tanjiro Kamado (Demon Slayer)

tanjiro kamado shock |

Tanjiro Kamado experiences trauma early, a cliche of some shonen but it’s actually portrayed pretty well.

Tanjiro comes home to a dead family and corpses. And a little sister who almost kills him. She’s now a demon.

Even still, he does whatever it takes to make sure the demon slayer corps don’t kill her. And insists she be treated as human.

Tanjiro’s backstory, and how it meshes into the main story is something else. The brother, sister relationship is portrayed in a way never seen before.

Related: This Is Why Anime Fans LOVE Nezuko From Demon Slayer!


17. Ai Enma (Hell Girl)

ai enma hell girl kimono |

Ai Enma is the “hell girl” who shows up after 12AM if called upon, and sends sinners straight to hell.

The anime itself is dark and portrays the darkest parts of what humans are capable of. But Ai Enma in particular has a past few would be able to survive.

She becomes a slave to the master of hell after she burns down the same village that killed her own parents. The same village that also tried to kill Ai Enma as a child.

She grows up feeling isolated and targeted. And is bullied.

The worst part is after becoming a slave to the master of hell and forced to do what he tells her, she’s been living this way for eons, Centuries. Making her suffering beyond what we see with most anime characters.


18. Miwa (Wonder Egg Priority)

miwa wonder egg priority |

Miwa is only a side character, if you can call her that. But her story is one of the saddest.

Only a teenager, she’s used to being abused, groped, and molested. In fact it happened on a daily basis.

Her own mum condoned it, to the point of saying she should put up with it because it shows “how cute” she is.

I mean, it’s pretty clear why her past life is f*cked up. It’s tragic.


19. Kurumi Mugen (Magical Girl: Spec Ops Asuka)

kurumi spec ops asuka |

When you see the sadistic side to this character in the anime, it all makes sense.

In her past she’s bullied so bad it’s sickening. The level of bullying and abuse is unusual based on how extreme it is.

Some of this abuse was carried out by her own family, and it’s the reason she puts the main character (Asuka) on a pedestal for saving her from that trauma.


20. Kotoura Haruka (Kotoura San)

kotoura haruka sad |

Kotoura has the ability to read people’s minds. Whether she wants to or not.

She can hear what people are thinking.

As a kid who knows no better like any other kid, she responds to people’s thoughts without realizing it. Which makes people fearful, judgmental, and so on.

The most painful experience being her mother abandoning her, and saying she wishes she never gave birth to her.

It’s a shame they didn’t explore this “pain”, and instead made the anime more comedic and cheery.


21. Asahi Kobe (Happy Sugar Life)

asahi kobe hoodie |

Asahi is probably the most tragic character in the entire series because of how it starts and ends (and his past).

He and his sister grow up in an abusive household. Him being the older brother, the abusive father constantly abuses him, the mum, and makes home life a living hell.

Remember the finger nail scene in Higurashi? That happened to Asahi in his home life pretty much.

It’s amazing how he can manage to stay so pure in spite of his experiences.

He’s relatable since his story is more realistic and true to life.


Other Anime Characters With Sad Backstories:

  • Madoka Magica).
  • Gray Fullbuster (Fairy Tail).
  • Kirito (Sword Art Online).
  • Trunks (DBZ).
  • Fairy Tail).
  • Shion Sonozaki (Higurashi).
  • Naruto).
  • Satou Matsuzaka (Happy Sugar Life).
  • Obito Uchiha (Naruto).


Who else would you add to this list?



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