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.
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.
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 the 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.
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…
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!
15 thoughts on “The Power of Tears in Anime”
I wrote this long thoughtful comment and the computer ate it. I think I’m gonna cry…
You should create a vlog – Irina Cries On The Bus. 🤣😂
Nobody wants to watch 4 hours a day…
Don’t underestimate your audience… 😛
I cry at least once a day, and if anybody bullies me about it I give them something to cry about ☺️💕
Good on you! That’s how it should be
I don’t cry much either, but I’m also not really a laugher. I do cry during anime occasionally, but it tends to depend more on my overall mood than the show itself; I mean, clearly not everything’s equally likely to be a trigger, but still. I, too, am much more likely to cry at touching scenes.
Also, I do seem to remember that a season 3 of Konosuba has announced? Unsure, though. I might be mixing up things in my memory.
This was written a long time ago. Timelines may have gotten crossed
I do think the announcement was fairly recent. If I’m not mistaken to begin with. Maybe it was a different show, or not a new season, what I’m thinking of.
I suppose the sweet spot’s a “positive” feeling, which is tempered by a small sense of sacrifice or loss. Kind of like your sports example, where the players lose at a game they care deeply about, but still nurture an unshakeable bond with each other. Or when you see withdrawn characters put in serious time & effort to overcome their difficulties. Their achievements are all the more poignant, considering where they start & how uncertain the road is. If you remove that little hint of bitterness, the crowning moment feels too easy, so less moving. If you put in too much, you could prematurely numb part of your audience, or make it tougher for the positivity to feel earned.
Sorry, I hope I haven’t veered too far off your post. Coming back to crying… We share a similar starting point, however I seem to be going the other way. I don’t think I’ve cried watching media, in the years since I started watching anime. Certainly, no anime has ever made me cry! Which isn’t to say I never tear up, but only “negative” feelings can get me there. Not mine — because I believe most people I know are extremely lucky, despite the small human tragedies we may face. I quickly bury & move past them, perhaps I downplay their import. On the other hand… Listening to survivors of genocide narrate the efforts made to eradicate their community, or the vile acts they were forced into to survive… Thinking of the scores of folks with normal hopes & dreams, whose stories were ruthlessly snuffed out by youngsters, often themselves victims of societal collapse… Remembering how selfish & self-destructive a species we are, how eagerly some of us choose to embrace evil so as to inject a little meaning into our banal lives… I suppose that hits hard for most, myself included. But I guess I’ve never learned how to cry the way you describe. It sure sounds nice.
The ongoing war must be tough on you. As it is on so many
The power of tears is universal across all Entertainment. And as thus tears can be used as much to exploit your viewers as much as convey a deep emotional moment. Done right, tears conveys feelings and emotions past the simple spectrum of Ow That Hurts or You Jerk You Hurt My Feels. A lot of emotion can be conveyed in a scene with tears, if done right.
But this is Anime. We also have tears that convey OH NATURE!! THE CHARACTER IS LEAKING VITAL LIQUIDS FROM HIS OR HER FACE!! WHY ARE THOSE TEARS SO COMICALLY LARGE!! DOES THE CHARACTER NEED A HUG, A COOKIE OR A PLUMBER!! HELP!!
That is so true
Unfortunately for me, crying is not an option. It is looked as a weakness, and since I’m already dealing with blindness, I can’t give my doubters another weapon against me.
That is what I say to myself while trying not to cry. Of course, it fails, every single time.
Hang in there! Also tears are super sexy and that beats strenght