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Memorable Moments in Anime - The Tear Jerkers


Hang on to your hankies - this is a list of the scenes we feel used more kleenex than any other...

Maison Ikkoku, Episode #94 - Alright! Godai's Courageous Proposal.

This has got to be one of the finest pieces of screen-writing I've seen in a long time... rather surprising, considering how old this series is. Godai, carrying Kyoko's father on his back, softly asks Kyoko to marry him. Kyoko replies:

Kyoko: Just keep this one promise...
Godai: Yes.
Kyoko: Please... Even if it's only one day longer... live longer than me. I... I can't live all alone any more...
Godai: Kyoko-san. I won't let you live your life alone.

The background music, uncomfortably long pauses and the utter conviction in each of the actor's voices all combine to make this an incredibly touching moment. I get misty-eyed just thinking about this powerful scene. My approximate English translation doesn't do this scene justice; the original Japanese dialog is prose-like in nature, and as such, a literal translation is simply not possible. If you're looking for a reason to learn Japanese, this has got to be it.

Lodoss to Senki, Episode #13 - Lodoss, the Burning Continent

The last scene; a scene which has no dialog, save the omnious intonations of the narrator. A wind-blown couple on horseback pay their final respects to a fallen comrade, his monument gathering sand. His once gleaming battle-axe now rests against his grave, rusting. Beautifully composed scenery, expressive character faces and mournful wailings of cello leave their indelible mark in your mind's eye...

Gunbuster Top o Nerae, Episode #6 - At the End of the Endless Stream

Proof positive that even simple, black and white animation can draw upon your emotions, when directed by persons of vision and skill. GAINAX once had such talent, and what better showcase than the final minutes of this episode, when Noriko and Amano manage to detonate the Black Hole Bomb. Realizing that the effects of time dilation would make it impossible to see any of their friends ever again, a desparate Takaya Noriko cries out:

Noriko: Gomen, Kimiko! Mo aienai! (I'm sorry, Kimiko! I won't be able to see you again!)

At that very moment, the scene cuts to Kimiko and her daughter, dressed in yukatas, hanging wishes in a tree. Kimiko looks up at the stars, as if she had heard something. This is a beautifully directed scene, brilliant in execution.

Just after this scene, a crippled Gunbuster makes it to Earth, some 12,000 years later... and as the inhabitants of the planet greet their arrival, one of the finest musical compositions to grace the screen swells in our ears... and then, there's one final homeage by director Hideaki Anno to another classic movie, The Wizard of Oz.

Grave of the Fireflies

No list could possibly be complete without mentioning this heart-wrenching film. Hardly a moment passes without putting your emotions on a wild roller-coaster ride. But of all the hardships born by young Seita, none could have been harder than the slow, inevitable death of his sister, Setsuko. His desperate attempts to nurse her back to health was bound to fail, yet his persisted until starvation and disease overcame her. This movie made me cry like no other before it. It is emotionally draining and utterly devastating to watch -- and I can't recommend it enough.

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