And Flash giving Ultra Humanite a Christmas Tree to say "Thank you" for not only helping the Flash get the orphanage a toy, but for improving it by making it tell the story of The Nutcracker. Even the guy in the Japanese factory, who had the very last copy of the toy, manages to tug heart strings when he says "Merry Christmas" ("Christmas omedetou gozaimasu"). And finding out that Flash spends his Christmas with orphaned children.
J'onn's song at the end of the episode was haunting in its otherworldly beauty.
Emphasized by the Kents' reaction to it: both parents are admiring it silently and are visibly moved, as for Clark...
Even more heartwarming from that moment: The cat which had earlier hissed and fled from J'onn is now contentedly sleeping in his lap as he sings and pets it.
Clark's insistence that his Christmas presents came from Santa Claus, and his parents humoring him. This is made even better because his Fortress of Solitude is in the Arctic in the Animated Universe, but he still believes in Santa.
Clark's parents' tradition of encasing his presents in lead, so he can't peek through the wrapping, furthers Clark's childhood innocence in this episode.
The ending of the subplot with the Humanite and Flash. Flash gets him a simple aluminum Christmas tree, and has a moment of concern that he won't like it... but the Humanite is quite touched, reminiscing how he had one just like it as a child.
In short, this episode is amongst the most touching ever.
"Tabula Rasa" part 2 has a great moment. During this episode's B-story, J'onn has done a psychic sweep on the entire city in an attempt to locate Luthor but can now hear everyone's thoughts. Struck by the sheer amount of human selfishness, he hides in the forest to ponder who he is fighting for anyway. That's when he stumbles upon a group looking for a little girl that has gotten lost, and all of their thoughts are on finding her - even those who don't know her at all. So J'onn finds the girl and delivers her back, but when they all try to thank him he modestly phases through the ground and re-emerges on a hill nearby... only for Wonder Woman to remark "You're not getting away that easy" and give the big Martian a heartfelt hug... which he returns.
And then they deliberately give AMAZO telepathy so he can find out he's been tricked, which is just as awesome in its own way.
You're a total cold fish if you didn't crack a smile at Flash and Kilowog greeting each other in "Hearts and Minds."
Hell, any time Flash and Kilowog are on screen at the same time, it's awesome AND heartwarming.
In "The Terror Beyond", a Cthulhu homage threatens Earth. Solomon Grundy, a huge, hulking, semi-intelligent zombie is the key to sealing him due to his mystical nature or whatever. Solomon is convinced that by sacrificing himself, he will get his soul back. After killing Cthulhu from inside its brain, Solomon is poisoned and dying. Hawkgirl comforts him.
Grundy: Do you think... Grundy's soul is... waiting for him?
Hawgirl: Grundy, I don't beli- [stops upon seeing his hopeful smile] Yes. It's waiting for you.
Grundy: Then... Grundy... gets his reward.
What really gives the scene its power is that Hawkgirl counts as an atheist, and that she was willing to put her religious beliefs, or lack thereof, aside to comfort an old foe. In addition, any scene which has Hawkgirl cry should have any viewer feeling the same way.
It helps that when she buries him, we get Hawkgirl saying solemnly that she 'tried her best to do it according to human customs'. Cue the tombstone, saying "Solomon Grundy - Born on a Monday" quoting the nursery rhyme he got his name from.
And then, this exchange:
Hawkgirl: He was happy at the end. I still don't understand why.
Aquaman: It's faith, Hawkgirl. You're not supposed to understand it. You just have it. (And then he bows)
Considering how rude Aquaman can be in this series, it was a very heartwarming moment.
After Grundy's body is reanimated by a bunch of wannabe-wizards, Aquaman's response is touching in its own way:
Doctor Fate: Solomon Grundy's grave is empty.
Aquaman: Tell me where to find those responsible — then dig more graves.
From the second season finale, "Starcrossed", after Hawkgirl resigns from the Justice League, convinced that none of them will ever be able to trust her again, Flash (who, in the previous scene, had been arguing vehemently in her favor) immediately walks up and hugs her, letting her know that, even if nobody else will forgive her, he already has.
Harkened back to in the Unlimited episode "Divided We Fall", when Shayera is the first to reach into the Speed Force and literally drag Flash back from the brink of death.
Later, as she is leaving Wayne Manor (where their meeting was held, since the Watchtower was destroyed), John comes to bid her farewell in private:
John: So, where are you you gonna go? Shayera: I don't know. Someplace where the fate of the world isn't in my hands. Someplace where there are no more secrets... No more lies... John:Was It All a Lie? Shayera: I love you, John. I never lied about that. [flies off] John: [sheds a tear] ...I love you, too.
The correlating moment with this one in the following season. When Shayera returns and is sure that she was voted out of the Justice League, and Green Lantern reassures her that no, actually, "Superman broke the tie." Superman's response?
"I believe in second chances. I believe in redemption. But mostly, I believe in my friends." *lays his hand on Hawkgirl's shoulder*sob
May also be a Tear Jerker - he knows how she feels (that she'll never be trusted by anyone ever again) because he's been through the same thing.
And immediately afterward in the same scene, when Hawkgirl is surrounded by an angry mob screaming for her blood, and John Stewart's angry protest that she shouldn't have to take that kind of crap from anyone is answered by a sad comment from Hawkgirl that yes she does, because she deserves it. Right then a woman whose life she saved earlier in the episode steps out from the middle of the hostile mob and defies them all to grab Hawkgirl's hand.
Woman: You saved our lives. God bless you, Hawkgirl.
John Stewart: (softly) You deserve that too.
"I am neither a superhero nor a soldier, so I'm hardly qualified to judge your actions by those standards. But I do know this; without the sacrifices you made, we would not be here to share this nice pot of tea. Whatever they decide in that room, in my eyes, you will always be a hero." Well said, Alfred. Well said.
A very subtle one from "Starcrossed": When the superheroes have to go undercover, it's Batman who offers to masquerade as themselves and proceeds to reveal his real name. If you've watched BTAS, you know how paranoid and protective of his true identity Batman is, so this is an extremely powerful gesture of trust towards the other League members, coming from him.
A minor but cute one from that same scene, when Flash removes his mask and hood.
Another subtle one comes during the heroes' escape from the prison ship. Superman is imprisoned in a room with artificial red sunlight. He is very weak by the time Batman breaks him out
Superman: The light... Batman: Lean on me.
Let's not forget 'Hereafter', where Superman is sent to the far future of Earth, where immortal supervillain Vandal Savage has been the last survivor of the human race for hundreds of years, after a failed attempt at global conquest accidentally brought about global devastation. Having come to repent for his crimes, Savage prepares to send Superman back using his time machine (which Vandal can't use himself) armed with the knowledge to prevent this from happening, even though that means this particular version of Vandal Savage in the future will never have existed.
Superman: What happens to you?
Vandal Savage: Redemption, if I'm lucky. Don't worry about me. Return to your friends. Do what you do best... what you were born to do. Save the world.
And then at the very end of the episode, after Superman has returned to his proper time, we cut to future Vandal Savage sitting despondently among the ruins of future-Earth, convinced that all efforts have failed... until he notices the ruins and himself starting to fade away, to be gradually replaced by the proper 30th century of Earth-DCU, with Savage staring in wonder at the restored future of the human race. And the last words from this incarnation of Vandal Savage as he fades from the timestream are:
Vandal Savage: Thank you, my friend.
Back in Superman's original time, he appears to have been killed, leading to many other heartwarming moments such as Batman visiting Superman's memorial.
Batman: I've got some things to say. I should've said them when you were here, but... Despite our differences, I have nothing but respect for you. I hope you knew... know that. You taught me that justice doesn't have to come from the darkness. I'll miss... (explosion off in the distance) What did you call it, Clark? The "Never-Ending Battle"?
That momentary stumble is particularly wrenching — Batman has been refusing to accept Superman's apparent death, but even he seems to be losing that hope.
And let's not forget the eulogy:
J'onn: Though we gather here today bound together in sorrow and loss, we share a precious gift. We are all of us privileged to live a life that has been touched by Superman. The Man of Steel possessed many extraordinary gifts and he shared them with us freely. None of these gifts more remarkable than his ability to discern what needed to be done and his unfailing courage in doing it, whatever the personal cost. Let us all strive to accept his gift and pass it along as an ongoing tribute to Kal-El of Krypton, the immigrant from the stars who taught us all how to be heroes."
Lex Luthor shows up at the Superman memorial, and an angry, crying Lois Lane asks how dare he come when he always wanted Superman dead. She ineffectually punches at his chest before breaking down, and he actually wraps his arms around her and says he misses Superman too. It could be another Villain with Good Publicity stunt, but come on, it's Lex Luthor showing a tiny fragment of human decency. Now that's special.
Also in this episode, at the end when Superman returns, Flash starts crying, but claims that there's just something in his eye. GL's responce is CMoH right there.
"Yeah, tears — It's okay man, we all feel the same way."
In the background to the memorial service, along with the muffled voices, two lines of conversation stand out:
"He saved my life once."
"He saved everybody's life more than once."
Batman's adamant refusal to believe Superman was really dead was heartwarming in its own way.
In the episode "Injustice For All", Lex Lethor finds out that he has a rare and incurable form of blood poisoning. Superman's immediate reaction leaves no doubt that he actually still cares about Lex in some way.
Superman: Lex, if there's anything I can do...
And then there's Batman, rescuing the little girl from the apartment fire:
Little Girl: "I'm scared." Batman: "Don't be. It's going to be alright."
For some reason, Lobo showing up to take Superman's place is a pretty touching moment as well. Sure, it's Lobo, who's best described as "Abrasive," and he shows precisely zero respect for practically anyone in the league, but the fact that as soon as he heard that Superman died, he went immediately to Earth to try to pick up the slack that Superman left speaks well to a (very small) part of his character.
Pretty much every episode featuring the League going back in time to World War 2 or meeting the veterans of the war has one. Two quotes come to mind: "Not all of us are bad" and "It was worth it."
The German man who says the first quote. It's just great to see.
The very last scene of "The Savage Time," where Wonder Woman goes to the nursing home to visit Steve Trevor (who, FYI, is her canon love interest from the Golden Age). Cue Manly Tears indeed.
Steve Trevor: "Angel..."
The Man Hug that Superman initiates upon returning home and seeing Batman.
Another one from "The Savage Time" regarding the alternate Batman, who is the leader of the Resistance. Most of his recruits are children who lost their families to the oppressive regime. Some of them look rather familiar: a dark-haired young man in a loving embrace with a red-haired girl and a dark-haired boy playing with a young girl. The young boy and girl are Tim Drake and Cassandra Cain, and the couple are definitely Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon. So the Batfamily cannot be broken... and though so much has changed, Bruce still takes these kids in, cares for them and gives them something to fight for.
Doubles as a Tearjerker for this troper, knowing how the Batfamily eventually ends up, with Dick, Tim and Barbara all extremely bitter and not on speaking terms with Bruce. And Cassandra never even shows up, so presumably no one ever saved her. Just goes to show that even in a crapsack world that Batman was happy to rid himself of, precious things will always be lost when time is meddled with.
A two-in-one from the episode "The Brave and the Bold": First, when Wonder Woman crashes into the ground underneath a rocket and Batman tries desperately to dig her out with his bare hands, and two, after she sees that his hands are dirty from trying to dig her out and gives him a kiss on the cheek. D'aww.
Not just dirty, but covered in a corrosive, radioactive material. 'Twas a nuke, remember?
J'onn gets one per hero, as he helps Superman, Green Lantern and Flash shake the nightmares Doctor Destiny has trapped them in.
Quickly swamped in horror, but Dream!Jimmy Olsen's one line: "I'm here for you, big guy."
"Legends" had a great Heartwarmer/Tearjerker moment near the end when, while the League battles Ray (though they're outmatched by his powers), the Guild sees what's going on. Realizing that defeating Ray will end their existence, they quickly decide it doesn't matter. In the end, they manage to strain the mutant boy to his limits. Without his concentration, the city disappears... and so does the Guild.
GL: It's stupid really. Why should I feel like this? I mean, they weren't even real.
Hawkgirl: They gave their lives for us. That's real enough for me.
The entire episode's message is a broader CMOH: for all the corny one-liners, contrived plots and over-the-top antics, comic book heroes can and have inspired people. They might be fictional, but what they represent is real.
Then there is the fact that the whole episode is dedicated to Gardner Fox, the man who created the concept of DC's multiverse.
A small one in "Twilight": When Brainiac's cannons blast them out of the sky, Superman quickly positions Hawkgirl above himself so he could cushion the impact when they hit the ground.
Really, any time a Leaguer shields a more vulnerable member with themselves count. Also in "Twilight", when Martian Manhunter jumps in front of Darkseid's Omega beams aimed for Hawkgirl, which knocked him out for a while; Hawkgirl has to drag him all the way back to the surface.
Near the beginning of "Twilight", Hawkgirl and J'onn are talking about themselves being the last of their kind. Hawkgirl suggests, "Maybe we should call ourselves the Just-Us League?" She gets a small smile from J'onn.
Kind of symbolic since that was the same word used by protesters against the Justice League, accusing them of saving the world solely for personal glory.
Justice League Unlimited
In "Flash Point" when Huntress has rescued Question and taken off his mask:
The exchange between Green Arrow and The Flash when several civilians find out that the Watchtower's BFG fired on their city, and refuse their help:
Green Arrow: I'm not even sure what I'm doing here anymore...
Flash: People need us. We help them.
In "Divided We Fall", after Flash beats the crap out of a Brainiac-powered Lex Luthor and disappears into the Speed Force, the remaining original seven Leaguers' desperation to pull him out of the Speed Force and their delight as he returns safe and sound really manage to pull at one's heartstrings. And just take a moment to think about this here. Six people have just dragged somebody back from a force with the power to defeat Brainthor. Granted, they were all superheroes, but still...
What was really touching was Batman at the end of the line, visibly pulling as hard as he could. He might not have had as much strength as Superman, Wonder Woman, or the Martian Manhunter, but damn if he wasn't going to give it his all to help save Wally.
"Divided We Fall" once again... what about Green Arrow's speech to Superman at the end of the episode?
Particularly notable if one remembers back to the first episode. Green Arrow wasn't exactly jumping to join the League.
The Flash coming back to his hometown in "Flash and Substance" also has a CMOH when Flash, Batman and Orion go into the Bad-Guy Bar looking for the Trickster. After convincing Orion not to use the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique, Flash actually sits down with the Trickster, asks him if he's off his meds (which he is), and in his costume (which the Trickster is surprised to find that he is), and then manages to get him to turn himself in, all while keeping a friendly tone. The total kindness Flash shows in the scene coupled with the music really sells it.
The best part of that: After the "interrogation", Flash asks the Trickster to turn himself in after he finishes his drink. The Trickster's response? He raises his glass and says "Got me again, Flash!" And Flash then walks out, confident that Trickster will do so.
He also manages to pull the Trickster out of his sulk at being snubbed by the other Rogues.
The episode in general was a heartwarmer. Sure, all the Leaguers save people on a regular basis, but Flash remembers their names. And their health conditions.
When Flash shows Batman and Orion (respectively one of the richest men on Earth and a literal god) his modest apartment, which he's almost absurdly pleased with ("Get this; there's a laundry room on the same floor!"). It's a surprising and touching revelation of just how humble the boasting, seemingly-self-absorbed Flash really is.
It gets even better when you realize that as the fastest man alive, a laundry room being on the same floor is no real problem for him, but he doesn't even realize this.
Flash tries to convince Batman to come to his award ceremony...and he actually does. It was sweet beyond words, further proving that Batman is cold on the outside but he genuinely cares about his friends. Especially Wally, who's basically a walking Crowning Moment of Heartwarming anyway.
The reason he asks Batman is because he wants some of the other Justice Leaguers there too — not to see him honored, but because he views it as an honor to all of them.
"Dude. The bad guys went down, and nobody got hurt. You know what I call that? A really good day."
You can actually see Batman smiling after Flash delivers the above quote.
Orion was actually questioning before why Flash was so adored to the point of having statues and museums. Flash, a guy who has been shown to be a jokester, flirt, and actually cordial with his enemies like the Trickster. You can hear the disappointment in Batman's reply to this exchange.
Orion: I just don't get him.
Batman: No, you don't.
And in the museum itself, if you look closely at the pictures of Flash's Rogue's Gallery, they are in action poses, smiling. They are being shown at their best, which indicates a respect for his opponents that you do not see in every hero.
Perhaps more incredibly, given that they are all posing in those photos, it's possible that his Rogue's Gallery posed for all of those pictures, taken for the express purpose of appearing in the Flash Museum... indicating that level of respect, for the majority of them, is mutual.
A small one is when Flash finds the little girl in the club. Sure, it was a hologram, but Flash was very kind to her (it?) before he knew.
In the JLU episode "Epilogue", that served as the real series finale for Batman Beyond, Batman saving the day not by using the weapon he'd been given but simply by sitting next to Ace (the hypnotizer girl from the Royal Flush Gang) and keeping her company as she was dying.
Also the way this reaches clean around to the very first episode of Beyond, turning a simple Mythology Gag in the name of old man Wayne's dog into something much more endearing.
The end with Terry and Bruce as well, where the old man has gone through all the trouble of making soup for Terry (may not sound like much, but you have to remember Bruce is in his hundreds here and has a heart condition). Terry likewise tending to the old man shows that same care is returned in kind.
This scene was also very reminiscent of the times when Alfred would try and make sure that Bruce's health was in good order. Now Bruce does the same for Terry, and it is perhaps the clearest indicator that the younger man has truly EARNED the role of Batman.
Given what happened to two of Bruce's previous proteges (falling out with Dick Grayson, Tim Drake effectively getting mindraped) and Batgirl (left him and moved on), the fact that Terry is still around with both of them having a functional (and sometimes) vitriolic relationship really cements the heartwarming aspect of the two working and staying together through all those years.
Just to add to the above: Consider that Terry is still dating Dana who not only knows about his secret but is also fully willing to stay with him, making that one of the rare heroes who has a normal significant other that works, despite Terry's own fear for her safety.
Amanda Waller's closing speech to Terry McGinnis.
Amanda Waller: But when you're making a Batman, genetics is only part of the story; the rest is tragedy. Stop me if you've heard it before. You're eight years old. Your parents have just taken you to a rousing adventure film, a grand time is had by all. But unknown to you, a mysterious figure hides in the shadows. My plan was simple: the killer would leap out at you and kill your family. The trauma would put you on the path to becoming Batman. One problem: my assassin wouldn't pull the trigger. I argued with her, but deep down, I knew she was right. People say Batman's obsessive, that he'd do anything to achieve his goals, but he'd never resort to murder. So if I was to honor all he stood for, neither could I.
Terry McGinnis: And yet my dad wound up getting murdered anyway. Don't you get it? No matter what you did or didn't do, I was gonna end up being Bruce's carbon copy. It was fate.
Amanda Waller: You know, the Lord's been a great comfort to me all these years. Try not to look so surprised. Yeah, I've got a lot to answer for when I meet Him, but I'd like to believe that for all the harm I've caused, I've also done some good. Maybe the angels need a sharp sword too. Like the Good Book says, He moves in mysterious ways. His plan is a mystery, but here's what isn't. He gave us free will. We choose our own fate, for good or ill. I've known Bruce Wayne for over fifty years, and I've been keeping an eye on you your whole life. You're not Bruce's clone, you're his son. There are similarities, mind you, but more than a few differences too. You don't quite have his magnificent brain, for instance; you do have his heart though, and for all that fierce exterior I've never met anyone who cared as deeply about his fellow man as Bruce Wayne, except maybe you. You want to have a little better life than the old man's? Take care of the people who love you. Or don't. It's your choice.
Even more heartwarming if we consider how antagonistic Waller has been in JLU Cadmus arc, in a Well-Intentioned Extremist grudge against the League. The way she, after the fight against Brainthor, came to be respectful to the League (even trying to demote Eiling from his extremism in "Patriot Act") and genuinely admire Batman is really heartwarming.
The entire episode was this. ANYONE who wants to know what the appeal of Batman is only needs to watch this episode.
And it's one giant Earn Your Happy Ending for Bruce. Batman Beyond did a lot to give Bruce a Downer Ending, starting off the series with no connection to many of his former friends, retired from the superhero life, living alone and with most of his company taken over. By this time, he's found someone to continue the fight, reconciled with the friends he has left, got his company back, and has found a son in Terry both figuratively and literally, as Terry is Bruce's biological son. Given that this is Batman, he might hold on just long enough to see his grandkids. Even better when you apply a little Fridge Brilliance: Bruce became Batman after losing his family. And now he has his own.
The entire episode "For the Man Who Has Everything" was awesome, but at least 1/3 of it qualifies for CMOH. The stand-out contenders are Batman's speech trying to snap Clark out of his trance and Diana's unrelenting attempts to get to Bruce and free him from the Black Mercy. The devotion the Trinity shows to each other in this episode makes a person's heart melt every time.
The ending to "Patriot Act". The non-powered heroes get beaten around something awful and were underappreciated right before the incident but the moment the old woman walked up to Shining Knight and took his hand, this episode inspired one of the best CMOHs in the series.
Furthermore Shining Knight, about to be taken to hospital, insists that he first be allowed to thank the woman who saved him.
Even seeing how the opinions of the children had changed after all was said and done could put a smile one your face. For all their complaints about wanting to see Superman around the start of the episode, they start playing as Shining Knight and Vigilante by the end. It really goes to show that it's not the powers that make the hero.
From earlier in the episode, Vigilante, after hearing some in the crowd mumbling on how they weren't seeing the cool heroes, improvises showing off all the trappings of his team, and planting the seeds of change in showing how despite not being Superman, they still have flying horses and magic staffs.
Stargirl:(Impressed) Wow, you really know how to work a crowd.
Vigilante: Shoot, if I had my guitar I'd have 'em eatin' outta my hand!
From "Destroyer" when Giganta gives up some of her "escape" time to give Flash a kiss. While a bit out of left field, it was still very cute.
Also in the episode, the teamwork between the heroes and villains qualifies IMO. There are lives saved by both sides toward the other (Shining Knight goes out of his way to save Star Sapphire), and while it's not real surprising the heroes will make an effort to save even the villains, the other way around is pretty heartwarming. These guys all hate the League, and could easily chalk up a hero's death as happening in battle, but there are least a couple of instances shown where the villains are not just fighting the enemy, but actually go OUT OF THEIR WAY to save one of the heroes. One that comes to mind, Hawkgirl, whose wing has been speared preventing her from flying, uses her mace to destroy the power core of one of the Apokolips drill machines. She receives a powerful electric shock in the process, then falls to the ground, weakened, and unable to fly away from the machine which about to explode. Atomic Skull then, rather than running away from soon to be exploding machine, runs over to Hawkgirl, helps her up and helps carry her to safety.
The end of "Double Date," when the Question reveals that the huge mysterious reason he was helping Huntress the whole time is...he cares about her.
She drags him off by his tie at the end, despite having been making disparaging jokes about his mask ("I usually prefer my dates to have a face") for much of the episode, because she's not going to give up a chance with a guy who'd do all that for her.
Equally adorably on his side; despite all the mean jokes she's been making, he never objects and remains perfectly willing to help her out. Most likely he wasn't even planning on telling her why he was doing it, let alone expecting to get anything out of it.
Long Shadow getting to live out his dream of being a member of the Justice League before his body completely breaks down. More so, this was after Batman and Aquaman refused to let Cadmus take him away with the rest of the Ultimen.