11 Devastating Anime to Watch if You Cried During “Your Lie in April”

11 Min Read

R E C O M M E N D A T I O N – A N I M E

Tōron Team

This year, sakura came early in Japan. In a normal year, April would probably bear witness to the remnant of the hanami custom (an ancient tradition of appreciating the transient beauty of flowers). But even in this withering pink blossom, with summer in the breeze, many of us are reminded  of the “lie” that Kaori wove just for Kōsei. April, with the scent of spring giving into summer, brings back the memory of her lie. And for those of you who are pining for something just as soul-crushing as Your Lie in April, here follows a list of devastatingly heart-breaking anime and manga that the Toron team has come together to curate. 

Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You                    

Genres: Coming-of-age, romance, slice of life

Kimi no Todoke wouldn’t be your first pick when thinking about Your Lie in April. But since the essence of YLA is coming-of-age romance, it fits on a different ground.

“On the surface, Kimi no Todoke might seem like your generic shōjo anime with the shy girl and the popular boy falling in love, but it goes much deeper than that. The concepts of first love, of discovering yourself through that experience, are explored with extreme care and complemented by comedic elements. For those of you who were stricken by the tragic ending of YLA, this might redeem your heart.”

– recommended by Noosrat Tasneem

Hotarubi no Mori e

Genres: Romance, occult fiction

Hotarubi no Mori e is a short film about the love of two individuals — a human girl and a spirit who resides in a forest — which is supposedly ‘forbidden’. The reason behind this is made clear by the emotional rollercoaster of an ending. The story keeps you engaged throughout its 44-minute runtime through the slight yet significant developments in the characters’ relationship.

“Hotarubi no Mori e tries to show how the desire to love and be loved transcends the restrictions of age and kind. It reduced me to a sobbing mess in less than 2 minutes near the end.”

– recommended by Seeam Marjan

Anohana: The Flower We Saw that Day

Genres: Coming-of-age, drama, tragedy

Anohana follows a group of high school students grappling with their past, lost friendship, complicated emotions, and one lost friend. Menma died 5 years ago, and with her died the childhood friendship of the Super Peace Busters. But after all these years, she’s back at Jintan’s place, and in an effort to make her wish come true, the old friends meet again and rummage through their secrets and guilt.

“Teenage love, the subsequent unease, the grief of losing someone so early, and the consequent effect of that on each of them unfold like a line of dominoes. The visuals are eye-catching, as you’d expect from the creators of Toradora! and Your Name. Apart from one cross-dressing incident and the embedded exaggeration of the shōjo genre, Anohana is a very intriguing watch.”  

– recommended by Noosrat Tasneem

Will You Marry Me Again if You Are Reborn?

Genre: Romance

While the name may sound like a hyper-fantasy isekai, Will You Marry Me Again if You Are Reborn? is a beautiful tale of two childhood lovers in their old age reminiscing the moments that led up to their ultimate parting.

“If I wasn’t a cold-blooded monster who laughed at both Grave of the Fireflies and Wolf Children, I’d go on and on about the flurry of emotions this manga imposed on me — constantly shifting from happiness to depression to anxiety. Instead, I’d recommend reading this manga for the underlying narratives of growing as individuals, along with the thematic beauty of each chapter. While the ending was foreshadowed in the very beginning, the journey makes that destination 5x better. With innate story-telling and perfectly apt artwork, this is definitely an underrated gem.”

– recommended by Ayaan Shams Siddiquee

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas

Genres: Coming-of-age, romance

This might be the closest in story pattern to YLA, tragedy inborn yet a journey nonetheless. I Want to Eat Your Pancreas begins with the overly introverted protagonist accidentally reading the popular kid in class Yamauchi Sakura’s diary in a hospital, only to find out that she’s suffering from a terminal pancreatic disease. Sakura is simultaneously surprised and charmed by his unfazed reaction and starts dragging him along for her ‘before death’ wishes.

“For a film that stays vague about its romance for the most part, I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is very assertive in the physical manifestation of romance. There are some very nice visuals, hearty music, and an epilogue to almost cry over.”

– recommended by Noosrat Tasneem

Clannad: After Story

Genre: Drama

Clannad: After Story is the sequel to the brilliant slice-of-life Clannad, following the story of Nagisa and Tomoya as they move from the shelter of high-school into the variegations of adulthood. We not only see the two develop together as a couple but also as individuals in their own right. It is a great commentary on growing up, friendship, and familial relationships.

“As a dude who has watched nearly all the top animes of every genre out there, I vouch for Clannad: After Story. It’s the only anime that made me cry.”

– recommended by Shadique Mahbub Islam

The Garden of Words

Genres: Drama, romance 

Garden of Words is a calm, romantic drama exploring melancholic solitude and passive romance in a rainy Tokyo. This seinen anime film is widely recognised for its art. The visuals are a stunning epitomisation of the lush natural landscape portrayed. The story is slow, reeling with comfortable inertia. Rain, Japanese gardens, and the Man’yōshū — all of these motifs unite to create an exploration of a disjointed romance between our protagonists.”

– recommended by Noosrat Tasneem

Anime that are not like Your Lie in April, but which will reduce you to a heap of melancholy nonetheless:

Shinsekai Yori

Genres: Dark fantasy, coming-of-age

Though set in a strict utopian society some thousand years into the future, Shinsekai Yori hardly strikes as being a dystopia due to the subtlety with which it draws parallels between our world and theirs. As we follow our protagonist Saki and her friends from their teen years till adulthood, we see them question who they are as people, what it means to be moral, and whether the society they live in promotes or stifles humanity. We experience the complexities of the human mind through the characters’ ruthless self-scrutiny while exploring the variations in people’s perception of the world through the characters’ actions.

“Its interpretation and portrayal of sexual tendencies and of a society where homsexuality is the norm for teenagers make it truly commendable. Though definitely not in the same vein as Your Lie in April, Shinsekai Yori is definitely worth checking out. This thought-provoking anime will make you sad beyond reason as you will be left pondering over the importance of its themes.”

– recommended by Adrita Zaima 

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Genres: Adventure, drama

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is a humane story set against the backdrop of a natural disaster. In this tale, contrasting siblings help each other develop on their quest of finding their way back home in an earthquake-struck Japan.

“Just when you feel connected with the characters, the plot, brimming with reality, hits you hard and your heart is broken before you know it.”

– recommended by Mahdi Dayan Sadol


Genre: Dark fantasy

Dororo (2019) starts with a child sacrifice. One father makes a deal with demons to bring prosperity to his land in exchange for his son’s limbs. The anime is the story of the skeletal son’s quest to retrieve his limbs by slaughtering the demons with swords instead of hands, accompanied by an orphaned child thief, Dororo. 

“There’s very little about Dororo’s storyline that won’t tug at your heartstrings. It starts off with us rooting for the limbless warrior and Dororo, and progresses to us watching them begin to realise the depressing world around them, shadowed by war. The show does a good job of balancing the heart-wrenching with the heartwarming, making those teary moments hit just that bit harder.”

– recommended by Joyita Faruk 


Tōron is the anime team of The Dhaka Apologue.


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