A noteworthy case is when they depict sadism in an episode talking about it (Due to the game Hatred gaining a lot of attention at the time), the way that they draw how vulnerable the victims are in the picture and what happens to them can be upsetting, in fact they warn viewers beforehand about this.
Extra Credits does not shy away from how some people can ruin games and gaming for other people, and the effects are shown. The episodes on toxicity show the hurtful things said to other people without censorship. In the local multiplayer episode, a cartoon of a man is reduced to tears when his partner is raging.
The Lost Izalith episode is just a bummer all around. Dan first meets Solaire, when the latter is having an existential crisis over not finding his personal sun, and later Siegmeyer (aka. Onion Knight), who dies from exhaustion after fighting the Chaos Eaters, even though he arguably fared better then Dan against them. Dark Souls veterans may also note that Dan unknowingly passed the point-of-no-return to save Solaire, too, so he's not going to last much longer, either.
The start of the next episode really rubs it in. Dan is still mourning Siegmeyer and almost immediately finds Solaire who, as was already known, has gone insane, forcing Dan to kill him. These two deaths in quick succession really hit Dan hard and he begins to mournfully wonder who else is going to die before it's all over, while sad piano music plays.
Dan: Who is still around? Who is still alive? Who still likes me?
Extra History - World War 1: The Seminal Tragedy - Chapter 2: One Fateful Day in June. The last words of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. It's Daniel's delivery that does it.
Daniel Floyd: The Archduke looks over, barely noticing the gendarmes wrestling the young man by the car to the ground. His only sight is for his wife, lying quietly on the floor of the car. He reaches out with a hand weak and heavy. Something is wrong with his neck. He can't quite think straight. He sees her and he utters one last wish "Sophie, Sophie, don't die! Live for our children." A man leans over and asks if he's badly hurt. He thinks he says "It's nothing, it's nothing..." He repeats the phrase, each time a little more quietly, and neither of them live through the hour.
The ending montage in Extra History - World War 1: The Seminal Tragedy - Chapter 4: The Final Act. No narration—just "In Flanders Fields" and images of the scars left behind by the war.
The fact that the poor German ambassador was pretty much on his hands and knees begging his Russian counterpart to call off the mobilization. What did he get? Just one word, "No." And just like that, the very thing he was desperately trying to avoid happens. The only heartwarming moment to come from this is that his Russian counterpart did at least offer to help him pack his things to go back to Germany.
Again, it's Daniel's delivery.
Daniel Floyd: Then Pourtalés rises to his feet, and takes the piece of paper from his pocket, and says "In that case, sir, I have the honour to inform you that...we're at war." He's still struggling to collect himself, saying "*sighs* I never thought I'd be leaving Russia like this. I don't know how I'll be able to pack." *opening piano notes to In Flanders Fields start to play* Sazonov kindly offers to send somebody to help gather his things. And a month later, a million men are dead. The Seminal Catastrophe has begun.
For a bunch of cartoon characters with no arms and sticks for legs, they can get remarkably expressive.
The entire Seminal Tragedy series, as we all know what's going to happen. We keep seeing opportunities where maybe, just maybe the tragedy would be averted, but we know they won't, and the show misses no opportunities to remind us just how tragic the events are.
Anyone who knows of the full tale of Justinian's reign knows that his successful campaign to retake Rome wouldn't do much good in the long haul...should they return to his story, it won't end on a happy note.
Spare a penny for Belisarius.
The way everything in the Byzantine Empire seems to fall apart following the Plague: a quarter of Constantinople's population is dead, with most buried in mass graves or stuffed into the city's walls, war resumes with Persia forcing Belisarius leave Italy to defend the homeland again, leading to Rome being lost to the Ostrogoths yet again; and compounding all this is Theodora dying to cancer which destroys Justinian emotionally.
What makes it somehow worse is that Justinian still worked hard to get his empire back in order. He never failed to remember his duty, to rule the empire that he worked hard to maintain. As Daniel says, most men would have given up and let the empire slide, but Justinian kept carried on even though he had lost some of his passion and joy for life.
Daniel's last words on Justinian's life, his death, his possible last thought and what might have been.
The First Crusade. The one that's considered the successful one no less. So. Many. Lives. Wasted. For seemingly no other reason than... well... nothing. To think that this was only the first.
The sheer amount of bullshit Admiral Yi goes through to protect Korea despite the actions of corrupt and/or cowardly men who did just about everything to hamper him short of swearing loyalty to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. At one point busting him all the way down to Grunt after refusing to fall for an obvious trap, only to have an incompetent waste all the resources and technology he had built for the war on another trap.
Even better, that was the second time he'd been demoted to the rank of a common soldier, and the third time he'd been demoted overall due to corrupt officials being more interested in petty grudges than the good of the nation.
The end of Admiral Yi's life. He dies to a stray bullet trying to avenge his fallen countrymen, but immediately has his descendants take up his mantle to finish the battle. The Chinese Admiral who he'd repeatedly saved wanted to celebrate with him, but broke down when he realised what had happened.
Daniel Floyd: Korea was free, but Yi would never see it. Thousands turned out to see his body returned to his small home village. People lined the road and wailed at the passing of a man they may never have met. The Chinese Admiral wrote for him a eulogy, and even the court and the king tried to make their recompense. And so passed the man so ill-treated in life; so often demoted and accused. The man who would forever be known as the Martial Lord of Loyalty.
The "Lies" segment of Admiral Yi says that James was only able to find one critical work of Admiral Yi's life... Yi's own autobiography. In spite of everything he did, he still did not think himself worthy. Fortunately, history was a lot more forgiving.
The followup to the Odenathus episode, where James talks about one of the world's oldest heritage site being ripped apart. Goddammit, ISIL...
The death of Tiberus Gracchus and The Purge of his supporters. He had the best interests of Rome at heart, and tried to restore an old agrarian law that had gone unenforced and his reward for that is a shockingly brutal death. His famous speech quoted by Daniel is also quite sad in its eloquent observation about how the state exploits its citizens:
Tiberius Gracchus: "The savage beasts in Italy have their particular dens, they have their places of repose and refuge; but the men who bear arms, and expose their lives for the safety of their country, enjoy in the meantime nothing more in it but the air and the light.They fought indeed and were slain, but it was to maintain the luxury and wealth of other men.They were styled the masters of the world, but in the meantime had not one foot of ground which they could call their own."
The video montage for the Gracchi Brothers video is incredibly sad, the music is emotive and the images showing the rise and fall of the brothers is heartbreaking, including the awesome legendary statues at the end.
Despite how much he fought and try, Simon Bolivar's Gran Colombia dream of a United South America failed due to distrust, corruption, a lack of unity and bankruptcy between all of the former Spanish colonies. Simon died a sick man who saw his dream as a failure.