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Anime moments that keep you up at night

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Exactly what it says on the tin. Have you ever watched an anime that had one particular scene that has stuck with you? Something burned into your memory either from how emotional, profound or even insane it was? Was it just so beautiful and inspirational you felt moved? Is it something that’s changed your perspective on life, even?

Anime at its core is an art medium to tell stories through, and thus, there’s no shame in the fact that it can leave marks on our memories for touching us emotionally in some way. I’d like this to be a thread where we discuss segments of anime that have remained in our thoughts one way or another. If you aren’t exactly sure why you held onto the memory of something, I urge you to hypothesize and self-reflect. Think of this thread as a way to get recommended anime while learning about each other!

Now of course, some dramatic moments in anime tend to be full of spoilers, so if you would like to talk about those, before you explain the scene I ask that you mention what anime it is, and then spoiler hide the content of your post as necessary. Keep in mind you may have to summarize your memory in a way for others to understand who have not seen the anime you’ve watched.

With that out of the way, I’d like to talk about a few of mine! (I’m sure there’s more than this, but these are a few I’ve been thinking about lately).

An anime I watched a while back was known as Vivy: A Fluorite Eye’s Song. The anime follows a dated android known as Vivy who lives in a world that has seemingly left her dated tech behind. Humanity had perfected AI by giving each AI one sole purpose, each defined for whatever role the AI is meant to fill. Vivy wants to make people happy with her singing, though reaching her dream is put on the back burner when an AI from the future contacts her with a plea— that soon AI would end humanity and Vivy was the only one who could stop it. And thus, Vivy is led by this time-traveling robot to stop cataclysmic events from happening that created the rift between AI and man. If you’ve seen anime such as Kino’s Journey, Hell Girl, Shigofumi and Violet Evergarden, you can get a feel for the flavor of this anime as it is one of those ‘observer’ types— where the main character serves as a window into the stories happening around them. This is the case for Vivy, most of the anime follows Vivy being exposed to the stories of others in her ever-changing world.

The scene in particular that’s been burned into my mind happens in the fourth episode, where Vivy is told by her robot ally from the future that she must stop a space-hotel (yes, a hotel in space. it’s the future okay.) from crashing into earth and causing the deaths of everyone on board. During her time aboard the hotel, she meets a kind AI known as Estella that watches over the hotel, who is rumored to have killed the previous owner and taken over to sabotage the hotel and cause it to crash. (Spoilers for the episode start here) This however, turns out to be far from the truth. It is revealed Estella has a younger twin sister, Elizabeth working for the organization that wishes to sabotage the hotel, who spread the rumors of Estella being malicious in order to crash the hotel successfully without the public catching on to the organization. Elizabeth was the result of a failed AI cloning experiment from Estella, and was disposed of, where she was picked up by AI separatists. Vivy gets involved in a scuffle between the sisters, trying to stop Elizabeth from sending the hotel back into the atmosphere. Sparing you the specifics, the twin sisters reconcile, but far too late, as the hotel is already crashing down. Estella makes a last ditch effort of separating the hotel into pieces, both saving the guests and sacrificing herself and her sister as the hotel will now burn up in the atmosphere.

This is the part that stuck with me most.

In order to soothe the panicked hotel inhabitants now safely away from danger, the twin sisters broadcast a song together, singing to the guests one last time to send them off for rescue happily, while the two of them are waiting to burn up with the rest of the building. I had only met these characters in the span of an episode, but that scene was so tragically sad, I remember tearing up. Something about the way the two AI spent their final moments together aside for the sake of the humans they protected in a world that treated them like products just got me. It’s a beautifully rough scene.

I’m a really big fan of any anime involving sad robots, so maybe my internal bias just hit that hard.

The other is one I’ve thought about for YEARS. One of my favorite anime growing up was called Rozen Maiden, and to be honest with you, I don’t know if this anime is as good as I remember. That aside, I still deeply love the concept, the designs, the overall aesthetic and personality of the dolls. Rozen Maiden’s plot is a bit more straightforward, a man named Rozen brought life to 7 dolls he created, casting them out into the world to participate in the Alice Game, where all the dolls must bond with a human to battle each other for the right to become human. (Are you noticing a theme with me? LOL)

I loved this anime when I was about 14, and watched all of it, including the OVAs, read all of it, and just took in everything I could. But there was one scene I still remember so vividly, so much more than the rest. It was an episode from the OVA, about the creation of the dolls. The first doll is named Suigintou, and throughout the entirety of the anime she is framed as the antagonist doll to the others, and seems to despise them— but we don’t really know why without it seeming like for the sake of being a force against the others. The OVA explores this.

We see Rozen crafting Suigintou, his passion and love for his creations being the magical force that brings them to life in the first place. Suigintou comes to life mid-production, Rozen hadn’t even finished refining her limbs or even making her dress. Suigintou cannot speak to him, so she is left admiring her father’s work in her thoughts. However, one day Suigintou is suddenly shelved, left as a work in progress, unfinished, and Rozen begins working on other dolls. This leaves Suigintou worried and confused. Why did her father not finish her? Why did he move on to other dolls? Of course we can assume that this is merely because Suiginotou was the first doll he ever made, and thus, she was surely full of flaws, and Rozen had felt she was a scrapped project not knowing she was alive. The OVA then takes a painful turn, us watching through Suigintou’s perspective as one by one her sisters are completed, sat in their pristine dresses and craftsmanship. Suigintou continues to hold onto hope her father loves her, and he will return to working on her, the entire display is reminiscent of the story of the dog Hachiko.

Unfortunately for Suigintou that day never comes. After selling every doll but one (besides Suigintou), Rozen packs his things and closes his store to move elsewhere, leaving Suigintou alone and abandoned within his workshop. Suigintou in anguish and disbelief her father would just leave her, drags herself off the shelf and manages to piece herself (somewhat) together, and takes a scrapped dress left on a chair to outfit herself in with the new goal of reuniting with her other sisters, if nothing else— and to eventually find her father.
I don’t know if it was just truly that long and painful of a scene, or how much of it is the moment playing out dramatically long in my memory, but this moment left child me absolutely devastated. I didn’t cry, but I do remember laying awake after just feeling incredibly sad.

It doesn’t stop there though.

Eventually, Suigintou does find her sisters, and happily greets them partially out of desperation to feel like a complete doll like the rest of them. Unfortunately, none of them were welcoming of her, and one in particular going as far as to call her a piece of junk, given her unfinished state. You can guess how Suigintou becomes bitter of the others enough to become the villain from here.

I know villains with tragic backstories is a trope that is at times criticized, but Suigintou’s past was just so heartwrenching for me. She was a girl who had nothing, and all she wanted was acceptance and love, something she would never be given due to the circumstances of her birth. It just felt truly awful to watch her mental decay as the world was so unjustly cruel to her because she was not a perfect doll. Like I said, I saw this anime when I was 14 or so. (Maybe even younger? It’s been so long.) But that entire OVA episode just felt like so much to stomach. I’m not sure how well it’s stood the test of time,
or if my attachment to the series as a whole made that scene feel much worse than it was, but god, it’s never going to leave my thoughts. You’re always there Suigintou, LOL. Part of me wonders if it stuck with me because I felt some of myself in Suigintou, with how bad my bullying was in middle school and yet I still tried to remain kind, only to become embittered later, but it’s definitely not a connection I made right away back then.

I have some other burned-in moments, but I’d like to hear some of yours first!
 
Steins;Gate episode 9 finale

the main character sends a time travelling message to the past, it seemed rather inconsequential and would just help a friend out, but soon after he contemplates if their tampering with time can cause unintended butterfly effects they cannot undo... Only to find out all the stores IN THE ENTIRE TOWN of Akihabara have changed! Its entire culture, there is no more moe and it is full of appliance stores. Ending starts playing before the scene is over. It is kinda deep to think about.
 
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Steins;Gate episode 9 finale

the main character sends a time travelling message to the past, it seemed rather inconsequential and would just help a friend out, but soon after he contemplates if their tampering with time can cause unintended butterfly effects they cannot undo... Only to find out all the stores IN THE ENTIRE TOWN of Akihabara have changed! Its entire culture, there is no more more and it is full of appliance stores. Ending starts playing before the scene is over. It is kinda deep to think about.
I remember this! It has been a long time since I’ve seen Steins;Gate, but it’s an anime that continued to surprise me once it really got going. The butterfly effect stuff was insane. The part you mention is interesting to think about because it’s not exactly a bad change to history, but it can’t help but feel almost ‘not right’ because it’s not the Akihabara we know. At least that’s what I think. Maybe I’m just allergic to grandiose change.
 
I haven’t watched much anime until relatively recently, so I’m afraid that my qualifications for answering a question like this are rather limited. With that said, I’ll try anyway, haha.

It might sound silly if you’re someone who’s, well, not exactly a fan of Sword Art Online’s character development, haha, but I found that Sachi’s final message to Kirito in Episode 3 really did a number on me, more so than I would’ve expected from such a scene. It was what convinced me to continue investing time in the series, actually, as I was kind of on the fence beforehand.

Besides that, there’s the ending of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind as well as the original Japanese version of Mewtwo Strikes Back in its entirety, specifically my first viewing of both of them which absolutely floored me. If you’re a fan of either, you’ll know exactly what I mean. With the latter especially, I was surprised with just how hard everything hit even already knowing exactly what’s going to happen, which is a testament to both just how different the original is from the dub and how truly effective the former is, even with its own flaws.

And finally, Kiriya facing his doom in Episode 21 of Futari wa Pretty Cure — and the events leading up to it both in that episode and the one before it — was also a very powerful and rather sad scene, demonstrating exactly why that series is so much more than the sum of its parts to me and why I continued watching it even with all of its flaws compared to later seasons (and even as I wished that there were more episodes like that).
 
I've been watching anime for a long time but there was a lot of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann that really influenced my life, but I suppose that excitement and life changing perspective might not count...

I suppose it's when Kamina dies in the series, I remember crying my eyes out. I was pretty young and I had no father figure in my life, I had really connected myself to him and his bravado. I had always considered myself a coward and weak and Kamina showed me someone who was truly brave. Seeing him gone was probably the first time I had even felt the grief of loss despite it being a fictional character hahahah! I still miss him as though he was alive, that's how much he meant to me, how much he still means to me. that's what really keeps me up at night.
 
A lot of the dark Digivolutions in the Digimon series stand out to me. Especially
every time GulusGammamon appears in Digimon Ghost Game. I love how he isn't a mindless rampaging beast like SkullGreymon or Megidramon. He's fully aware of what he's doing. He also can one-shot Ultimate level Digimon despite being a Champion level.
 
A lot of the dark Digivolutions in the Digimon series stand out to me. Especially
every time GulusGammamon appears in Digimon Ghost Game. I love how he isn't a mindless rampaging beast like SkullGreymon or Megidramon. He's fully aware of what he's doing. He also can one-shot Ultimate level Digimon despite being a Champion level.
I'm now reminded of the original series where Greymon digivolved into SkullGreymon during the Crest arc. I remember being shocked that Tai was forcing Greymon to evolve with all the stress he was putting onto his Digimon, honestly seeing SkullGreymon appear and that creepy noise he would make really unsettled me as a kid. I didn't even want to watch more unless my brother or parents were with me, it genuinely scared me that I would say that's my earliest "anime moment that kept me awake at night" lol.

_

As for any other moments aside from the above, I don't really have many at all. A lot surprised me, or made me sad or hype, but nothing really that I overexaggerated over. Though, I guess ones that stick out to me were:

  • Pochita's "death" in Chainsaw Man. Yeah, he's not really dead in the truest sense, but seeing him and Denji getting chopped up very early did shock me somewhat, but from what I understand he's not exactly his own existence either. I'll miss seeing his cute chainsaw dog form though, makes me cuddle my Pochita plush often cause of that.
  • When I still followed One Piece consistently before taking a bit of a break from it, Whitebeard's and Ace's deaths, especially in the way they died; also cemented both Akainu and Blackbeard as one of my most disliked characters in the series. I know a lot of the fandom still miss and mourn over them to this day, and honestly just the whole arcs of Impel Down and Marineford were pretty tense and filled with shocking moments. Then, a few arcs later, Dressrosa happened with Law's backstory with his family and Corazon, which made me pretty sad, and Sabo being alive all this time (albeit with temporary memory loss) was quite surprising as well.
  • I'll just say Attack on Titan in general, especially towards the end of the series. I may not like the ending, but it did bring genuine shock to me with how Eren was treated/written. Though I think for me, Eren telling his dad to kill the Reiss family was probably the biggest moment that showed me he's serious and there's no going back for him; later events only prove that.
  • In Kuroko's Basketball, Aomine telling Kuroko he can't remember how to catch his passes. Say what you will about sports anime, and it may be overdramatic for some, but that moment made Aomine my least favorite "Miracle". Also, the whole Teiko vs Meiko match, 111-11 speaks for itself; I still feel for both Kuroko and Ogiwara.
  • Haikyuu has a lot of moments I felt were very heartwarming, but I think my favorite was in S4 with Hinata telling Yudai to "Take it easy." That moment of friendship between them in that moment was so cute. Gives hints of a reminder of when he (Hinata) performs a receive during the Inarizaki match.
  • Tokyo Revengers, this one is manga only for now but I'm still adding it anyway, but the second time leaper being Shinichiro Sano, Mikey's older brother, surprised me. Now, my brother was following the manga before I did, so I knew quite a few stuff that should be spoilers for me currently (though it's whatever, never really cared with that lol), so I was told about this with my brother ranting about it for a while. And, to be honest, yeah it kinda is a bit disappointing in a way, though for me it's not the exact same reasons as most others I've talked with and seen mentioned. Still, I preferred the Sanzu is the second time leaper theory a lot more; even more so than the Hanma version of the theory. I think with Sanzu it actually makes way more sense, but it's whatever now. Probably the only one on my list that was successful in making me think on it for, almost, a whole night lol.
 
Code Geass has one

when Lelouch after "killing" Charles/Marianne just showed up at the throne, geassed all his siblings in the room and became the new Emperor
 
Got a couple.

  • Anytime the protagonist gets to flex on people who have treated them badly is usually a great scene in my book, but the final episode of "Katanagatari" has to take the cake. After eleven episodes of struggling to collect the Deviant Blades, only for the heroes to be betrayed at the last second by the Daimyo who ordered them to collect them, Shichika decides to say eff it and proceeds to walk straight into Osaka Castle and starts climbing it, meeting wielders of all twelve Blades along the way and one-shots all of them except Emonzaemon who is the only one he considered a true rival in strength. They're all shocked naturally as are the viewers, but Shichika so casually reveals that Togame had been limiting his strength the entire time and now that she's dead he doesn't have to hold back his power anymore - and he is more than happy to take out his anger on the villainous Daimyo and his servants.
  • Pretty much the entirety of "The Big O". It's deliberately written to be open to interpretation and even after twenty years since it ended, I still question what the hell it all meant.
  • The entire final episode of "Gungrave". Most of which is just the Protagonist and Antagonist sitting in a café talking might sound boring, but when you're two of the best written characters in anime who are discussing the tragedy that has unfolded over the story whilst the ghosts of almost the entire cast silently judge the two men from the café windows. It's incredibly haunting and when the pair pick up each others pistol and decide to end it all with one final shot...only for the screen to pan up to the sky as a gunshot rings out...it's both great but also frustrating that it leaves you hanging.
  • I usually say that playing the OP during the final episode is an extremely tired cliché, but there was one show that absolutely nailed it. Considering that "Nerima Daikon Brothers" is a fourth-wall breaking Musical Comedy, it leaning into the cliché was to be expected but... the fact that the final weapon given to the Brothers by "Pops" (literally just the anime's director self-insert) is a microphone and the Brothers proceed to launch their final attack which is to sing the OP with such heart and force that the entire Earth starts vibrating and the town they're trying to protect is vibing along with them was really cool to see and the fact that it's the actual actors via the characters singing the OP together is so cool.
  • Conversely, I say the same about playing EDs during the episode as well, but there's this one scene is "Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans" where Biscuit has been fatally wounded during a clash and is instead worried about his comrades so he proceeds to crawl through the blood and dirt as the first ED "Tears of Orphans" starts playing in the background and Biscuit is thinking about how the other child soldiers are basically his family and just as he's about to reach them, he passes away with a smile on his face. I'll admit it, I cried like a bitch during that scene.
 
Cyberpunk Edgerunners.

"I'll take you to the moon."

  • I'll just say Attack on Titan in general, especially towards the end of the series. I may not like the ending, but it did bring genuine shock to me with how Eren was treated/written. Though I think for me, Eren telling his dad to kill the Reiss family was probably the biggest moment that showed me he's serious and there's no going back for him; later events only prove that.
  • In Kuroko's Basketball, Aomine telling Kuroko he can't remember how to catch his passes. Say what you will about sports anime, and it may be overdramatic for some, but that moment made Aomine my least favorite "Miracle". Also, the whole Teiko vs Meiko match, 111-11 speaks for itself; I still feel for both Kuroko and Ogiwara.
  • Tokyo Revengers, this one is manga only for now but I'm still adding it anyway, but the second time leaper being Shinichiro Sano, Mikey's older brother, surprised me. Now, my brother was following the manga before I did, so I knew quite a few stuff that should be spoilers for me currently (though it's whatever, never really cared with that lol), so I was told about this with my brother ranting about it for a while. And, to be honest, yeah it kinda is a bit disappointing in a way, though for me it's not the exact same reasons as most others I've talked with and seen mentioned. Still, I preferred the Sanzu is the second time leaper theory a lot more; even more so than the Hanma version of the theory. I think with Sanzu it actually makes way more sense, but it's whatever now. Probably the only one on my list that was successful in making me think on it for, almost, a whole night lol.

Eren's writing was so good until the final stretch. He was him.

The Aomine part is funny cause Aomine is my favourite miracle. I always interpreted that part as Aomine having put so much value in just his own play and having evolved so far away from Kuroko's level he genuinely can't do it anymore (And it makes sense. Even in real life there's countless examples where the weak hold back the good because they are simply not on their level). Though, I have to admit Aomine is my favourite cause that showdown with Kagami is just chef's kiss.

Man, Tokyo Revengers was also such a trainwreck. I enjoyed it so much until all that portion happened. I did not mind that spoiler part but then all that happened after it, I could do without. I expected it to be
Hanma, though. There was so much hinting to it being him that when it turned out he was just some regular dude I just outright gained an error in my brains.
 
The ending in Hotarubi no Mori e, where when Gin dissipates, he realizes it's his last chance to hug his human friend, and the TEAR JERKING EMBRACE. HE DISAPPEARS IN HER ARMS (still crying about it)
 
Not from an anime (I hope this is ok!) but the ending of scvi still stuck with me… I love how while it’s like a really emotionally tense moment, they’re just kids. Let them have some fun! I liked that. Arven just found out his parents are dead and are replaced by ais, effectively making half of his life pretty much a lie. I swear I didn’t cry when I beat it (lie)

I don’t know, I think I’m just emotionally attached to fictional characters, and with the song in the credits adding to the mood, it was perfect (also why the frick is ai Turo so hard to beat it took me about two days of sitting and retrying after school to beat him, plus one of my friends decided my homework was to beat violet (it was like May and I didn’t beat it yet, even though we both got the game release day. I did finish the teal mask before him though so take that) but I think the fact that he was a harder battle than Geeta or even Nemona is sort of… unsettling in a way. The ai is stronger in battle than two champions. Maybe it’s just all the paradoxes idk

If we have to go for anime, the ending of the x and y anime is just… well for me it was sort of sad but it was a great way to end the series
 
episode 100/the finale of dragon quest: dai no daibouken. after Dai manages to kill Soveirgn Vearn (who we had been fighting both in and outside of this form for nearly 10 EPISODES), he finally reunites with his friends… only for it to be revealed that Killvearn, one of the supporting villains, was not only just a puppet controlled by one of their ally’s (and was working with one of Vearns opponents, Velzar), but has a Black Core in the puppets head, which if it goes off, will set the previously stopped Black Cores from earlier on, and destroy the world. Dai grabs the puppet, goes into the sky… and it goes off with Dai still there. even though the end of the episode implies that Dai might be alive, the fact that they pretty much killed off the main character at the end of the series shocked me. so thank goodness they did it well.
 
In Futari Wa Pretty Cure Splash Star (third Precure series), the 24th episode takes place after two friends of the main characters disappeared.
In the beginning of this episode, you see the heroine crying in her bed and then pretending to be alright.
When she has to tell her sister that they won't be able to play together with their friends, the little sister doesn't understand who she's talking about.
Right after that, there's a shot of her facial expression with a "shock" sound effect, to show how horrified she is after realizing nobody remembers these beloved friends.

I didn't expect to see such a scene in a kids show.
 
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