Anime is well known for exploring deep emotions and complex character developments through sad anime characters. I have gathered an almost perfect list of sadistic anime characters who have suffered a lot through their screen time.
Let me be clear first, we won’t be including such anime characters whose tragic stories haven’t been properly displayed in anime. In short, anime characters with enough screen time and sadistic storylines are included in this list. So without explaining more terms & conditions, let’s figure out the most tormented and sadistic souls in anime.
Anime: Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End
Regardless of the way Frieren looks, there are hidden emotions behind her quirky Otaku facade. It is never easy to let your dear ones fade away.
Despite being an op anime character and great mentor, Frieren is a millennium year’s old elf who has defeated the demon lord along with the hero’s party and watched her human companions dying from old age.
For Frieren immortal life sucks however, she has embarked on a journey along with her disciples to meet with the souls of her dead companions. Yet she never cries out loud as she pretends to be emotionless but deep inside she cares a lot.
13: Miyo Saimori
Anime: My Happy Marriage
Amidst the awfully slow-paced storyline of this beautifully animated show, what one should enjoy is the beauty of Miyo’s eyes along with her wholesome soul.
Miyo Saimori is one of the rarest sad anime characters who never speaks ill of anyone. She has lost her mother in her childhood and now her stepsis and stepmom torment her like a useless child no better than a slave.
On top of that, she’s forced to marry a cruel man who is famous for his ruthless behavior against her fiance, who however turns out to be a kind and handsome one. However, her struggles never ended even after getting married.
12: Adonis (The Witch’s Disciple)
Anime: The Kingdoms of Ruin
While sadistic backstories work like a character development ingredient for most anime protagonists, Adonis becomes a more evil and short-tempered anti-hero.
No matter how much you hate the foolish vengeful acts of this cruel anti-hero, there’s no denying that he shares a very tormented past that has made a madman out of a wholesome child.
As a kid, he has lost the witch he loves the most and is held in prison for more than a decade. Though he returns as more powerful and cruel, this anime story is going to test him a lot by getting everything from him and making him one of the sad anime characters.
Anime: Vinland Saga
The feeling of regret is nearly invisible for a warrior whose only motive is vengeance and unnecessary killing. But our Thorfinn has grown up as a zero to hero anime character who knows the value of life after going through a sadistic character development.
Season One Thorfinn has become the symbol of vengeance who has contributed to many wars in the hope of killing the smartest pirate Askeladd. His painful journey truly begins when Askeladd dies by the hands of somebody else.
Seeing his only motive vanish, he began to redeem himself as a slave who once was a badass warrior. He has endured beating from weaklings to grow as a humble man who values life, that’s why he is one of the considerable sad anime characters.
10: Obanai Iguro
Anime: Demon Slayer
Keeping my words of including sad anime characters with the most screen time, I found Obanai Iguro the most suitable in this list. Though there are many other characters in this anime who shared insane past stories.
Spoilers Alert: Those who have not read manga don’t know that our serpent Hashira is going to lose somebody very close to him against fighting the demon King Muzan.
Honestly, I don’t know how anime will handle this tormented yet brave soul’s story but Manga’s version is a total rollercoaster of emotions.
Anime: Violet Evergarden
This anime girl with beautiful eyes was robbed of her childhood and trained solely as a tool of war. Her abilities were mechanically augmented leaving her devoid of human emotion. After the war’s end, she struggles with a deep sense of loneliness and isolation and an inability to understand basic feelings.
Taking a job as an “Auto Memory Doll,” Violet’s role involves interacting with clients and transcribing their memories into letters. This exposes her to profound glimpses into human grief, loss, and longing.
While Violet makes progress in developing empathy, the scars of her traumatic upbringing persist making her one of saddest anime characters in the medium.
8: Ken Kaneki
Anime: Tokyo Ghoul
While most shows make a protagonist an anti-hero by portraying his little tragic backstory event, Tokyo Ghoul takes this to a new level by spending a whole 1st season on this badass anime character’s character development.
Ken Kaneki is a deeply tragic figure in the Tokyo Ghoul franchise. A shy and studious young man, his life is forever altered after a ghoul organ transplant surgery leaves him a hybrid.
Struggling to control his new ghoul hunger and powers, Kaneki isolates himself out of fear of harming others. However, he longs for human connections despite his monstrous nature.
7: Tomoya Okazaki
Tomoya Okazaki, the Clannad protagonist, is a high school student who has given up on his dreams and feels his life is meaningless after tragedy took his mother and injured him, straining his relationship with his father.
This guy’s sad backstory along with a super emotional anime storyline and heartbroken ending made him one of the most sad anime characters from romance anime.
Honestly, I don’t wanna experience such a sadistic tale like Clannad After Story, If you know, you know what i am talking about.
6: Shouya Ishida
Anime: A Silent Voice
Many anime heroes battle outward enemies, but few face demons as personal as Shouya Ishida’s. As a bullied youth lashing out, he sowed seeds of suffering that would haunt him for years.
As a lonely child, Shouya Ishida sought attention through the cruel bullying of deaf transfer student Shoko Nishimiya. However, the deeper root was Shouya’s own lingering sadness over neglected emotional needs.
Emerging damaged but determined, this traumatized anime protagonist embarked on an epic internal quest: to understand his victim, make reparations, and reclaim his humanity.
5: Kosei Arima
Anime: Your Lie in April
Kosei Arima’s gifted fingers belied a tortured soul. Kosei’s abusive mother pressured him to play the piano perfectly, and he lost the ability to hear the music due to emotional distress.
All seemed lost, until Kaori Miyazono’s whirlwind entrance jolted him from his sorrow. Her exuberant violin pulled loose the knots around his heart, and uncorked feelings long resigned.
Despite coming back to life Kosei’s journey is not going to wrap up in a wholesome way as this prodigy of sad anime characters will have to bear an unbearable loss.
4: Natsuki Subaru
In the list of most underpowered protagonists, Natsuki Subaru reign supreme with his only useful but painful ability to return from death. Though this character doesn’t have any sadistic back story yet his current one is such a dreadful journey.
When Subaru first arrived in this strange fantasy world, he thought his video game knowledge and Modern confidence would see him through. But death has a way of shattering arrogance.
As Return by Death looped Subaru back again and again to failure, he saw friends perish without end. Each reset broke off another piece of his soul until nothing remained but hard-edged determination.
3: Yuji Itadori
Anime: Jujutsu Kaisen
JJK is the only anime after Demon Slayer that has given me a damn tough time picking a character for this list of sad anime character & and I ended up picking Yuji Itadori the dumb protagonist.
While every character is shown suffering in this anime, my boy Yuji is on another level. Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t watched Shibuya Incident Arc, you may have no idea what he will be going through.
He doesn’t have any parents, is not a very talented guy out there and his loved ones will be perishing either by him ‘as Sukuna’ or by other formidable foes like Mahito the scar-faced creepy curse. Just feel the misery of this poor soul when he said to himself “I wanna just Die already”.
This vengeful protagonist grew up facing unimaginable hardship, surviving a life most never would. Constant battle was all he knew from an early age, forging deep strength yet scars that never fully heal.
Betrayal by one he trusted shattered what little refuge remained, leaving open wounds preyed upon by nightmares. Guts carries burdens few could fathom – trauma that would break lesser men. Yet through sheer grit and for those he vows to protect, he continues the only path left to walk.
How much suffering can one man endure and still cling to his fading humanity? Guts pushes ever onward toward justice, yet knows no peace may be found until he and the God Hand meet their final judgment.
1: Eren Yaeger
Anime: Attack on Titan
If we can leave the fact aside that everything that happened to Eren is caused only by him, he would be the most tormented soul in the anime realm who has suffered a hell in paradise.
First, his nightmare came true, he lost his mother due to the Titans overrun, he lost his comrades, and his comrades turned out to be foes. Everything that happened in the life of this lad was misery over misery.
Spoiler Alert: No wonder why he turns out to be a cold protagonist often recalled as antagonist.
This list of the saddest anime characters is only made up to fulfill the curiosity of anime Otakus. It’s definitely not for promoting such sensitive topic, so make sure to enjoy this list.