We’d submit that almost every adult in the world has watched at least one adult-themed cartoon post-childhood. Despite this, a vast majority of people think that animation is childish, or something exclusively meant for children; something incapable of riveting story-telling. To add salt to the wound, not a single animated film was nominated for Best Picture at the recent Oscars. Sure, it wouldn’t beat the other movies, like Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, but it’s the recognition that counts.
Though it’s something we normally consume for a quick laugh, animation can be and has been a tool for excellent storytelling and can make us cry one way or another. If you think otherwise, then here are 5 animation series and films that will make you weep due to their themes – and probably give you a bad time…
Mary and Max
If we were to describe Mary and Max, we’d say “imagine a narrated cartoon, like Pocoyo, but with black humour.” Despite being critically acclaimed, this 2009 Australian film has largely gone unnoticed, which is unfortunate to say the least, as it is a masterclass in telling a soul-crushing story that still manages to pull off a seemingly happy ending. It’s about a long-distance friendship formed by two people: a lonely Australian girl named Mary and a morbidly obese middle-aged man with Asperger’s syndrome named Max. If you’re already concerned about the main characters, don’t be, because it’s not that kind of story.
This stop-motion animation, even though it was framed in a cute and adorable way, is incredibly dark as it has dark and even black comedy that you’ll feel bad for laughing at, but it can be depressing as it touches on substance abuse and even suicide. However, it also has bright spots that teach the value of friendship and self-love.
The life of a Japanese idol can be terrifying. Perfect Blue follows Mima Kirigoe, an idol who decides to end her career on stage to begin one in front of the camera. It’s a terrifying story of a girl who has lost her sense of identity and is fighting tooth and nail to get it back. She begins to lose herself the closer she is to becaming an actress.
The film focuses on one person’s serious battle to become mature and closing a chapter in their life, while struggling to remain the same. It also has some dark themes like mental illness and obsession, making it an excellent thriller that borders on becoming a psychological horror. This film is so impactful that it has even been used as a reference for popular western films, forever cementing itself as a noteworthy title of 90’s anime.
Dororo debuted in the 1960s and even has period-appropriate animation, but in 2018, it was updated and – dare we say it – improved upon. The gritty anime follows a demon hunter named Hyakkimaru in a quest to have missing body parts retrieved from him by demons. However, he seems to kill a lot of people in his path of vengeance and becoming whole, which hints that humans are no different than demons.
Though it is not as sad as any of the other titles on this list, it still has sad scenes that make us question whether there will be a happy ending for the characters, even if all the demons have been slain, considering that it’s feudal Japan and all. Alternatively, it’s also sad because this Japanese feudal-era epic only had a run time of 24 episodes, because the original manga only had three volumes. We just hope this means there will be more demon-slaying adventures to come.
This series is nothing short of a masterpiece. Though it takes place in a video game universe, Cyberpunk Edgerunners follows an original cast of characters in the deadliest city in the world. Its vibrant and fluid animation lulls you into a false sense of security, with wacky hijinks and exhilarating action scenes, making you think that it’s going to be a fun and happy anime, until you reach halfway through the series. It isn’t a slow shift either; it’s a total nosedive into a sea of depression from that point on. And when Rosa Walton’s song plays once more at the end, we just can’t help but burst into tears.
Studio Trigger is a master when it comes to pulling the rug from under their audiences’ feet, a craft they have perfected with previous animations like Kill La Kill and Little Witch Academia, and we still fell for it. Despite being based on an existing IP, we still can’t help but fall in love with this series, and for the vast majority, it was also the main reason why they revisited or even tried out the game for the first time.
Yes, we’ve seen and heard about this series before; we understand that it’s funny, et cetera, et cetera. At least it’s not another Bojack Horseman. Regardless, we love it because of its unique way of telling its story. It follows Philip J. Fry, who wakes up 1000 years in the future and explores a super-advanced version of Earth. Even though it’s consistently more of a comedy than a drama, we argue that because of the comedy, the drama in the show is better.
As you might expect from someone who is sent 1000 years into the future abruptly, Philip never got to say goodbye to his family properly, and so he goes through the process of reconnecting with them and saying goodbye properly. These episodes can be found halfway through the series, and they will catch you off guard, especially if it’s your first time viewing the series.
Sources IMDb , , , , A Good Movie To Watch
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