Crying is a fascinating mechanism. I’m not talking about shedding a few tears to get rid of a speck of dust in your eye, I’m talking about what we call psychic, or ‘crying’ tears. Basically, this is the good ol’ fashion bawling we do in response to emotional rather than physical stimuli.

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why hasn’t another season of Konosuba been announced????

We know for a fact that these tears serve a number of sociological and physical purposes and have some effects which aren’t entirely understood yet. It’s plain to tell that they make us feel better in a very real sense, but we don’t use them much.

In live action, tears are generally used sparingly and often implied rather than shown. It’s my theory that crying in a way that’s both realistic and photogenic is a rare and difficult art, which is why directors will avoid it or work around it whenever possible. Generally, we will hear people whaling or see a single manly tear impossibly make its way down an impassive cheek. Maybe artistically smudged mascara. We have to infer the rest.

Anime however, doesn’t have these restrictions. As such, characters cry ALL THE TIME. Macho super heroes and sports stars shed tears of frustration without hesitation. Romantic leads of all sorts will soak in their sorrows at the drop of a hat. Joyful occasions will be celebrated will teardrops and kindnesses will be acknowledged alike.

There’s something very beautiful and freeing about embracing our weepy side.

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that was my favorite hand towel

I was never much of a cryer. I’m not a particularly emotional person to start with and eastern Europeans tend to favor stoic demeanors. I was taught to avoid displays of emotion in general. Personally, I always had a lot more trouble with not laughing too much part. My parents sort of gave up on that. To this day I’m a disgraceful public laugher. But crying just wasn’t my thing.

I’m selfish with my pain, I don’t like to share it. I ball it up and keep it inside like a little treasure just for me. Aside from a few particularly sad events, I really never cried at all, unless I managed to laugh myself to tears, and that’s unfortunate. Because I’ve come to realize, crying is wonderful tool. It relaxes and centers you.

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some people take it too far though

Maybe I’ve just grown sappy with age and it’s a coincidence, but since I started watching a lot more anime again (a few years ago), I also started crying a lot more frequently. I guess something in my brain got switched on as the sight of tears became such a common thing. Or maybe, on some level, I’m imitating my favorite characters. I wouldn’t put it past me. I will buy clothes because they kind of look like something Maka Albarn would wear. I legit dress exactly like Izaya on a regular basis. No one has ever notice but I know! I also cook character’s favorite meals whenever I can. What I’m saying is that I’m a big old dork that’s super easily swayed. So yeah, if Killua can cry – so can I!

I’m still not very prone to crying due to negative feelings but give me anything that can pass for heartwarming or just plain sappy and here come the waterworks. The only reason my Natsume manga survive is that I have glasses to catch the overflow.

And I’m not at all embarrassed by it. I’ll tear up in public and happily explain with a huge smile to a stranger wondering if I’m ok, that the guys on the team just lost that big match they’ve been practicing so hard for and although they are super disappointed and sad, they are still rallying together, and friendship and perseverance is just so wonderful…sob…

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and more sob

This regular release has done wonders for me. Not that I needed any help with it, but I think it’s made me a happier and more optimistic person but much more than that, it’s infused me with a sense of balance and serenity. It’s made those little things that touch my heart seem more present and important. They linger with me longer now that I’ve marked them.

We really don’t cry enough when we’re happy I think.

Through anime, I’ve reframed my concept of tears. I see them as a celebration and meditation. They aren’t something to be hidden or ashamed of in any way. As natural and healthy as stretching, which is something else I should do more of.

So next time you feel those tears welling up, don’t hold back. Share them, use them, enjoy them!

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54 thoughts on “The Power of Tears in Anime”

        1. Well you’ve come to the right place. Honestly everyone here is really nice.
          I’m looking forward to your post and of course we could. Fell free to let me know if ou need help with anything

  1. I cry a lot. Budweiser commercials get me every time. Dang puppies and horses… I also cry a lot with emotional moments in anime. Shoot I just cried yesterday at the ending of the game Code: Realize and then the latest episode of Megalobox… Someday I think I will dry out from tears.
    You are right, it is good to cry. Aristotle said it was something like catharsis.

  2. I never thought about how much crying there is in anime before but yes there is a lot of waterworks! I’m the complete opposite to you as I’m a huge crybaby 😂 always have been and there have been many occasions when I have shed tears along with anime characters. 😆 really interesting and fun post! 😄

  3. I normally like that anime character embrace tears. Everything is so exaggerated in anime and some of the characters really get put through a lot so tears seem perfectly fitting for a lot of these situations. And given the number of anime that make me cry, it seems only fair the characters should cry.
    That said, Inuyashiki really pushed it with the amount of fluid that seemed to leak from pretty much everywhere on the character’s faces all the time. Given the short run time of the show, I’d really like to know what percent of it the main characters spent with tears, snot and other fluid running from their face.

      1. Well, the scenes are representative of the topic rather than of the show (though they do fit in seamlessly, it’s not a downer; it’s alternately relaxing [aka boring, maybe, for people not into slice of life], hilarious and occasioanlly touching].

        And, yes, classroom pets are a horrible idea. When they show up in anime they usually expire within one episode (if it takes that long).

        In this case, though, the pet in question was something like a waterflea (with a very low life-expectancy to begin with), and the show ended with the new batch hatching.

  4. Hm…
    Tears…
    Can’t say I’ve cried at any point in the last few years. Last time I think I cried was probably at my grandpa’s funeral. I thought it would make my grandma feel more comfortable.
    *shrug*
    I’ve just never really felt anything from crying. A good show can make me feel teary, but I’ve never cried while watching anything. (Besides to comfort my mom while watching or something)
    I dunno. I’m always aware of my emotions, so I don’t have much to cry about. Other people crying gets me emotional, but that’s about it. My emotions aren’t really linked to crying.

    1. That’s not unusual when you’re still forming your neural net. We all go through chemical changes with age but hey if it’s not your thing it’s all good.
      I remember I was just like that too.

  5. This is soo relatable that I’m going to cry right now.
    *Ok don’t take that literally* *I know you won’t :)*
    It’s wonderful that there are always those tear-jerking anime series available (somehow at least one in each season) to do a systemic cleanse of the soul. And we get to become emotionally stronger even though we don’t experience the events directly.

    1. …i would cry no matter what the medium is (anime, series, movies…even irl).
      I also like pain….maybe I’m a masochist.

      Ps: i accidentally entered my message…wtf…lel

  6. Great post! Personally, I can’t watch someone “ugly” cry without also wanting to cry. We’re starting to see some beautifully animated “ugly” crying and my lizard brain can’t tell that it isn’t a real human. Crying is primal! You just have to embrace it and make it ugly 🙂

  7. On the subject of anime tears, have you seen Shiki? The way they portray tears in that show is downright terrifying.

    Regardless, I’ve had get-togethers with my friends where we’d get drunk and watch anime, and yeah, we’d sometimes cry at the sad parts. I guess alcohol’s just a natural emotional lubricant.

  8. You know, I am relating to you on so many levels right now. I was a very emotionally guarded guy. I wasn’t introverted or anything, I mean I’m loudmouth and a fast talker, but my emotions were very staged. Jokes, shock, all that jazz was me playing it up mostly. I had no time to be sad because everybody else was sad. Instead, I was usually angry. Plus you know, being a dude means you’re supposed to be all macho, especially in my country.

    However, it was on a faithful summer week, I was all alone in my house for three days, and I binge watched what turned out to be the series that made me love anime for the first time, Clannad: After Story. I was already in the midst of confronting my own problems with family and friends around then, and watching Clannad all alone on a cold summer night just ruined me. I cry a lot now openly, because it makes me feel human. Crying has made me a better person, I think.

    Plus, I kinda use crying as a rating system now. If a show successfully brings tears to my eyes either through happiness, hype or sadness, I tend to rate it highly.

    1. What a lovely comment! I’m so glad you decided to share it. Thank you.
      I’ve always thought the social pressure on men to be unemotional was particularly stupid but that’s another story

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