We are caring people, and we have a nasty habit of getting over-invested in fictional characters, and their plight often becomes as dear to us as our own. When they suffer, do we not suffer? We explore the depths of our emotions with them as our guide, feeling their pain as keenly as we would our own, and when they die as all things must then we mourn them as profoundly as we would our flesh and blood.
In games, in anime, in film and television we find ourselves as easily brought to tears as we are by the struggles we encounter in our every day life, and those who have it far worse. So here we gather, once again, to elevate those moments to glory, our Top 10 tearjerking moments.
Have tissues to hand.
10) Fall of Yoshi – Mario
Sometimes tactics demand the fall of a Knight that the King may survive, but there are moments when the decision is not made easily, for what we lose in that moment may be far more than a mere piece, a tool, but instead we have lost a part of ourselves, something that once made us strong.
Yoshi, poor Yoshi, so readily cast aside for a simple leg up. Does it say too much about us that we happily abandon an unquestioning ally to further our own needs? Or is it some kind of terrible lesson taught to us by Nintendo? “Your friends must be sacrificed if you are to survive.” Do you cry for him when you throw him into the pit? Then cry for him now! Cry for Yoshi, and shed a far more bitter tear for yourself, for you have become a far greater monster than that which you hunt.
9) Anonymous (2011)
For indeed there was so great a tale of woe as Juliet and her Romeo. The tale of the voice behind the man, the mind behind the face, the truth behind the name of William Shakespear. Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford and the theories that swirl about his name were brought to life by Rhys Ifans and created by Roland Emmerich, the theory held by a certain faction of scholars that he was the true playwright of the works attributed to Shakespear in an effort to sway the court and the balance of political power whilst keeping his name clean.
But what is a man if not his legacy? Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? Though his words are woven through the centuries, a planted seed in the beating heart of the people to flourish through the arts and leave an indelible mark on a nation, on an empire, and all of it attributed to an oaf who can barely mark the paper. Denied his name, his son, and the love of his life by heartless fiends and boorish imbeciles, and as illness slowly claims him, only one man ever knew the truth for sure.
8) Aerith killed by Sephiroth – Final Fantasy VII
Anyone who’s played Final Fantasy VII will know immediately why this is in the list and it’s not necessarily because it’s a sad moment (which it is). This made you cry, admit it fanboys! This made me sad and I’m not even a big fan of 7. I’m not a fan of Cloud, I’m not a fan of Tifa… I’m not a fan of Sephiroth. This moment was really pretty sad, which obviously makes it a great contender for Top 10 Tearjerkers.
The fact of the matter is, we all shed a tear because a majority of us invested time in this character, as she was utterly lovable and believable. She was a well thought out, well balanced character who could go on to do some really great things. They say you can have too much of a good thing and in this case, Square thought the same. They took away a life of a character who became a pivotal part of Clouds and our lives. They took her away in a cutscene at that, making you utterly powerless to help her. You could never have saved her from her fate – and that’s the worst part of this. You just had to watch her have a sword go through her.
7) The Execution of Lt. Gaeta – Battlestar Gallactica
“Alone she sleeps in the shirt of man.”
Here is a man who suffers greatly during the terrified exodus of humanity’s last remaining survivors. Those of you familiar with Battlestar’s most recent incarnation may be familiar with the events on New Caprica, the first real attempt at making a safe haven for humanity away from the terrifying metal nemesis that awaits them. After years of peace, suddenly the Cylons are upon them again, and those who do not collude are subjgated or executed.
Felix Gaeta saw the worst of it, working within the Cylon government to pass messages to the resistance movement. He survived their terrible inquisition, only to watch as humans he loved and respected fall into cahoots with Toasters. Little wonder he started to go rogue, no surprise then that he grew to hate those above him, and lead an insurrection against the leadership that he saw as having completely gone mad.
For those of you left shocked at this loving and caring character’s sudden transformation into the hard-bitten insurrectionist, watch the mini-series entitled “Face of the Enemy”, following the loss of his leg, he loses so much more. And in the end, it costs him his life. His final moments sharing a cigarette with Gaius Baltar are one of the most gut-wrenching and heartbreaking moments in a sci-fi series that pushed the limits of the human experience.
6) Death of Spock – Wrath of Khan
Spock shall forever live in legend. Half human, half vulcan, with the heart and mind of both, and the greatest part of the original Star Trek series, though he may be immortal in geek-history (and the J.J. Abraverse) he proved more mortal than we could have imagined. We can attribute that to the red uniforms donned in the Wrath of Khan, or we can blame his nobility, the sacrifice he made going into an irradiated room so that ship and crew could be spared a worse fate.
“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.”
Dying words that inspired generations of trekkies, and even a role-reversed remake of the scene. The subsequent funeral was one of the more stirring moments of Shatner’s career, which shouldn’t say a great deal but it truly cemented his place amongst the greats of sci-fi history. The fact that the sequel then negated the death makes the moment in Star Trek II no less harrowing.
5) Brother – Pokemon the First Movie
What a weird name for this scene from Pokemon the First Movie, but basically if you’ve seen this scene you’d probably call it Brother too. See, if it wasn’t bad enough that all of the cloned Pokemon are fighting the normal ones, it all goes slowly. With a Pikachu slapping another Pikachu, senseless violence and outright frustration at both sides knowing that what they’re doing is just wrong, everything is looking incredibly bleak for the battle of Mewtwo and Mew.
But to make things worse, we have this music of “Brother” playing in the background. It’s really sad, okay?! Just trust me, if you’ve not seen this, you’ll go and watch it at some point and say “Oh no… Is this what we’ve been doing to our Pokemon in games?!” We’ve been making them fight one another and they don’t know why! They’re just Pokemon! They’re like making your little pet dog Fido fight another pet dog called Odif! That’s just wrong, stop it immediately! Oh and Ash Ketchum gets zapped, which is actually a bit of a relief for most people. Thanks Ash!
4) Kamina’s Death – Tengen Toppa Guren Laggan
Here’s a character that really should have been immortal. Kamina is a high-energy kind of guy who could never be trapped underground for long, and getting hold of giant mechanised fighting robots only makes his life more epic. He drags his terrified little buddy Simon along for a whirlwind adventure complete with adding sunglasses to everything and yelling really loudly so that you definitely win and that everyone knows who the hell you are.
And yet, one battle, one hard fought battle took too much out of him and left him unable to carry on, hanging from the cockpit of his Gurren he simply dies, smiling, bleeding in the rain. It’s tragic, and unexpected, and his madcap adventures have endeared him to people who once hated his arrogance, and have earned him the respect of his enemies. His death follows a pep talk, an epic showdown, the ass kicking of a lifetime, an exploding volcano and an incredible anime-style finishing move. It’s how he’d have wanted to go, but we never wanted him to leave.
3 & 2) Bambi’s Mum vs Mufasa’s Death
Bambi is a wonderful film about a young deer who has to grow up. So far, so normal. But unfortunately, relatively early on in the film, Bambi is met with a really grave sight. Whilst we do not see anything happen on screen (thank goodness), we all know what has happened. In a frantic escape from a hunter, Bambi and his mother are running as fast as they could – Only for the mother to get shot and ultimately killed. This is a particularly powerful scene which leaves you speechless. The pity you feel for Bambi, the shock you feel for witnessing one of Disney’s most iconic deaths… But yet, there’s another iconic death in Disney films.
Listen, if your brother is called Scar, you know you should really start to think about your trust levels for the fella. Mufasa is the king of pride rock, king of the lions… Oh and somehow a bird and a baboon, but whatever. The point is, Mufasa is the king and his son Simba is learning about how to be a lion! Until one fateful day when Scar tricks his brother and pushes him off a ledge as he’s trying to save his son from danger. Clinging for his life, Mufasa asks Scar to help him. Scar responds with an emphatic clawing of Mufasa’s paws and pushes him down into the raging stampede below. Simba sees his own dad get trampled to death. But what’s worse is the scene afterwards, when Simba asks his dad to “wake up”.
We now leave this vote to you, to decide which of these two Disney deaths was the most tearjerking moment. But, there is one moment even more sad than even these two powerful Disney scenes. One moment that happens to come from an anime, that is so sad, that if you even utter these words around a convention, people will not look at you the same. Ladies and gentlemen, it can only be…
1) Tuckers Chimera – Fullmetal Alchemist
Before I tell you about this one, I want you to visualise for a second, what a perfect little family looks like. Perhaps it’s two parents, a child and perhaps a family pet along with it? Imagine how caring, how warm and cosy this household would be. Whilst mummy goes about her day, daddy goes about his – And they come back and make sure their little one is well looked after, well fed. Safe.
Doctor Tucker was indeed in this situation – A perfect little family life for him. But, you know, being an alchemist is hard work. Sometimes, your research keeps you up until the crack of dawn. Sometimes, you just need that breakthrough and sometimes, breakthrough needs sacrifice. And what better to show you’re devoted to your craft, than to make your own family dog… And your daughter… Become one creature? A creature that’s miserable and suffering, but the point is, the creature is living, breathing and you made it. It can speak… It can feel pain.
… Pain Doctor Tucker caused.
You made us do this, always remember that you asked to be brought this parade of misery and woe. We are in buckets over here, this is just too much emotion to get through, but we do it all for you. While we pick our way with care through the shards of broken hearts at our feet, please enjoy those last few remnants of our hopes and dreams, those whose greatest tragedy is to be cast into the Honourable Mentions list.
American Dad – Tearjerker
The clue is in the name. The Seth MacFarlane Bond parody staring Stan Smith most heavily revolves around the criminal plots of one charismatic nemesis, Tearjerker. From his tear-themed lair he enacts a plot to crumble the movie industry by forcing the production of countless bad films using android clones of actors, forcing the viewing public to watch his film, the only good film left in the world, and it’s a tragedy so heartbreaking that everyone in the whole world will cry themselves to death!
Yeah, it’s a weak idea, and the film is just a catalogue of all the bad things that could possibly happen and it’s all kinds of awful, but it’s a cartoon, and it’s one of American Dad’s better episodes and that says a lot. While we may all have some very clear opinions of MacFarlane’s works, there’s no denying that there are some superb moments from both American Dad and Family Guy, and this mocking take on early James Bond is actually worth a watch.
The Poptart Tragedy
Because you know you cry everytime.
We covered this recently in our list of weird YouTube videos, but there’s no denying the strange emotional impact of this tale of love and loss. The tension begins building from the moment gurl stops meking out. For poptarts? No, something greater is at play here. Here are characters that we can really empathise with, and a story doomed to a woeful end.
Those of you who enjoy having your feelings torn out and stomped on might also want to watch 5ever, a cautionary tale that warns us to choose our words carefully, especially with those who we love.
While we take a moment to gather ourselves and dry our eyes, we ask you to consider our choices. Were there any moments we didn’t include that made you go all misty-eyed? Were you so moved by any of our entries that you felt they should have been higher? Or was it an even greater tragedy that they were in the Top 10 at all? Bear your heart in the comments down below, or on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
For now though, cast your vote for next week’s cheerier Top 10.
Thanks for joining us once again for our Top 10. More every Saturday, and don’t forget you can always get involved by contacting us, and submitting your own ideas to be put up for vote. Or join us on Facebook and Twitter to have your say.