Okay so, ‘sad anime girls with depressed personalities’ might invoke some negative connotations about what it’s like to have mental health issues, and how they are portrayed in anime. It isn’t just about some girls being tragic on screen and looking woefully into the distance. There is usually a lot more nuance than that, with complex histories you decipher over the course of the anime airing. Like, depression isn’t an aesthetic, you know?
But it does make people watching said ‘sad anime girls’ on screen, feel a little more seen. It’s not like we have a lot of anime where things like physical or mental illnesses are showcased, especially explicitly. And it’s understood that, for a lot of people, anime is an escape. Which means protagonists are almost above issues like mental health and all. There just isn’t a lot of appeal for characters that aren’t happy-go-lucky. So, we take what we can get.
But that’s not to say those characters don’t exist at all. I mean, it isn’t exactly a mental health crisis, but Komi from Komi Can’t Communicate clearly shows signs of a speech disorder that has led her to seeking friendship through unconventional means. And there are plenty of people in the world that could relate to something like that. So, yeah. The world of anime is varied enough to include characters that you normally wouldn’t think to be beacons of hope.
Sometimes, they are just as depressed and downtrodden as the rest of us, and that is humbling to see. And more often than not, a little tragedy is what helps us realise the importance of happiness, right? So, when you think of sad anime girls with depressed personalities, here are some of the tragic heroines that come up in another segment of Get Ranked! Let’s dive right into it.
Hanabi Yasuraoka – Scum’s Wish
What’s more tragic than unrequited love? Well, I mean, a lot of things. But a love that is not returned is definitely up there, especially when you’re a teenager with budding feelings.
Scum’s Wish is known for being rather rough on the heart with its depiction of a relationship of convenience between two main characters that are only using each other to get over their respective crushes. And the cycles Hanabi Yasuraoka, the female main character, went through in this botched relationship, were really disheartening. After all, love might be fleeting but the scars it leaves are near eternal.
Annie Leonhart – Attack on Titan
Come on, it’s Attack On Titan. The entire series is a trigger warning for intense despair, but Annie Leonhart was our first true look into it.
Sure, things are bleak in the Survey Corps but Annie being the Female Titan was one of the most shocking plot twists during the 1st season. Especially when you consider how humane she feels. Annie is intelligent, beautiful and one of the most suited to fighting. But her calm demeanor hides a depressed existence, brought on by years of a terrible upbringing. She views herself as nothing more than a monster.
LaLa-Ru – Now And Then, Here And There
I remember watching Now And Then, Here And There during a very tumultuous period of my life. Which, in hindsight, wasn’t a great idea.
The show is depressing with a capital D, and LaLa-Ru, it’s main character, is one of the saddest characters in it. Being alive for multiple millennia would do a number on anyone though, experiencing the human condition for so long. She is a water sorceress, magical and coveted, so she remains quiet and hides her true self away.
Erza Scarlet – Fairy Tail
Some might say Erza Scarlet is the true heroine of Fairy Tail, and they wouldn’t be wrong. She certainly fulfills the tragic backstory trope required for Shonen protagonists.
Despite her strength, Erza is a relatively isolated individual, strict in her mannerism and keeping to herself. It’s not hard to see why, considering the tumultuous life she had lived. Even upon joining the Guild, she was too frightened to call anyone a friend, considering herself an omen of bad luck. And honestly, that is no way to live.
Hotaru Tomoe – Sailor Moon
You know, Sailor Moon is very much known for being a magical girl show that is sparkly and beautiful. But people often forget how complex the characterizations could be.
Just take Hotaru Tomoe for example. In a cast of colorful and beautiful strong women, Hotaru Tomoe was an outlier. She is quiet, even feeling lost. At times, she even came across as robotic, with no emotions. All of this is because she couldn’t end up saving her friends, even as Sailor Saturn. Couple that with how her mother lost her life, and it’s no wonder she ended up the way she did.
Violet Evergarden – Violet Evergarden
While some might not call Violet Evergarden a sad anime girl, she does have an air of depression around her. Even if her personality is more up in the air.
Then again, how could she not be? In Violet Evergarden, she is a child soldier who ends up an amputee after losing the only person that ever showed her kindness in an operation. They won the war but she’s left a disabled veteran with no idea what it’s like to a life where she doesn’t have to struggle to survive. It’s humbling to see how she processes her emotions and finds herself, somber as it may be.
Rei Ayanami – Neon Genesis Evangelion
Ok but seriously, Rei Ayanami is one of the saddest anime girls of all time because her entire life is dictated by her worth as a mecha pilot, meaning that she is expendable. Not only that, but she wasn’t even her person, but a cloned version of the main character’s mother. Safe to say, her self confidence in herself is nearly negligible. Though, she does grow a lot as the series goes on, but the melancholy air around her is still defined.
Sayaka Miki – Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Oh boy, when I say that half of this list could easily be compiled of Puella Magi Madoka Magica characters, that wouldn’t be an exaggeration. That anime seriously cuts deep.
And seeing Sayaka Miki’s descent from this upbeat and peppy girl to a haunted, broken mess of a human is honestly disturbing. It isn’t even a sad anime girl with a depressed personality, at that point. It’s just plain despair, with nothing t salvage. And the way she succumbs to a misery of her own making is horrifying, to say the least.
Sakura Matou – Fate/Zero
Oh boy, I will never forget that worm scene in Fate/Zero, for as long as I live. Like, say what you will about the Fate/ series, but it does go hard sometimes.
Sakura Matou features as one of three main female characters of Fate/Stay Night. But her origins are better explained in Fate/Zero, where we see her being separated from her twin sister, Rin Tohsaka, when she is sold to the Matou family. There, she suffers violence of an unfathomable degree, all to make her a powerful mage. Imagine being abandoned like that, violated and groomed all to become a weapon. It’s easy to see why she’s so depressed and subdued all the time.
Homura Akemi – Puella Magi Madoka Magica
There will never be a show that is more harrowing than Puella Magi Madoka Magica, especially if you’re a Magical Girl enthusiast like me.
And Homura Akemi is one of the most complicated main characters of all time. I’m not just talking about her position being the tortured sad girl in the anime, but how depressing her story is. She was a sickly child who grew close to one person, Madoka Kaname, only to lose her time and time again due to a cycle of despair. She goes through seeing her die nearly 100 times, going mad with the experience.
In the end, we think she’s reached some closure when Madoka sacrifices herself, only to find out that it was too late. In the movie, Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion, she was so far gone in her love for Madoka, that she threw the entire universe into peril, just to keep her by her side.