The ending of Onikakushi is tragic enough in the game and the anime, but the manga pushes it right into Tear Jerker territory when Keiichi's final letter is read over a montage of flowers being placed on Keiichi's desk, the teacher announcing the deaths to a shell-shocked class, Keiichi's parents mourning their son's death, and as if you aren't getting misty-eyed already, it finally ends with Rika comforting Satoko as she sobs her eyes out over losing three of her best friends.
To add a Fridge Horror to that, you remember that the same day or the following day, Satoko will find Rika's mangled naked corpse at the shrine. And die in a Gas Chamber the day after that. Poor Satoko can't have a breaků
This still-image video kicks the Tear Jerker factor up a notch. Or ten. It's Onikakushi from Rena's perspective, and shows just how saddening and confusing it was for her to see Keiichi look so scared and not be able to do a thing to help him.
The original scene of Rena and Mion's death itself is pretty heartbreaking too. Especially if you go into the series not knowing about the series hitting the Reset Button with each new arc. Revisiting that scene, seeing Keiichi break down and apologize to Mion (who is unaware of what he is crying about), and especially witnessing Rena's last moments and words in the flashback makes it even worse.
Another Onikakushi-hen example. after you know the twist behind Onikakushi-hen, rewatch the scene at school where Keiichi yells at Mion for hiding the dam construction murders from him. It's much easier to feel bad for Mion when you know that she was never actually threatening Keiichi.
The entire Yakusamashi-hen arc, if only because nothing bad actually happened until the Yamainu came for Rika, and especially the scenes with poor Satoko near the end when she sees the corpses of everyone in the entire village in her school. Oh, and the first episode of the second season that shows the true ending of Tsumihoroboshi-hen. The flashback with that music playing in the background... * sniffle*
It's more of a tear jerker in the sound novels, as this piece of music plays the moment Takano shoots Keiichi in the head and it continues throughout the murders.
And paradoxically, the fact that everyone is shot with one bullet and dies instantly makes the punch to the gut all the more brutal. Usually in this series, either the characters' deaths are offscreen or there is some kind of "preparation" (madness or torture). None of that here. Everyone is healthy and talks with the murdererů and the second after they stop breathing.
What makes the ending of Minagoroshi-hen so awful is the knowledge that the characters were so fucking close to smashing the cycle. And even after the main characters are killed, in the manga, the final chapter focuses on the Hinamizawa Gas Disaster. You see the villagers being rounded up in the guise of an "evacuation". What makes this worse is the fact that it's clear that not all of the Yamainu are entirely okay with what's happening (one of them is actually crying under his mask and another leads a prayer for one minute before it begins). Finally, once it starts, people in the classroom start dropping dead until Tomita (you know, one of Those Two Guys? The one with the glasses that has a crush on Satoko?) is alone, terrified and confused about what's happening... and he suddenly falls over.
Shion torturing and stabbing poor little Satoko to death in front of the imprisoned Mion, because of Satoko'sattitude towards the whole thing. "Nii-nii! I'm strong now!"
Towards the end of the Meakashi-hen arc when Shion remembers Satoshi's last words to her, just a little too late. She only recalled them after she has tortured Satoko to death... and Satoshi actually asked her to protect his sister.
Satoko's last words about her nii-nii are even sadder. She just... felt so bad...
The manga version of this is pretty tough to sit through. After the rush wears off, Shion has this kind of dazed and disbelieving look on her face, which gets worse when she sees a vision of sorts of Satoko and Satoshi, who sternly reminds her of his last request. She then touches the stab wounds, and when the full realization of what she's done hits, she embraces Satoko's body and absolutely bawls her eyes out over what she's done and become. Of course, that all goes right out the window a few minutes later when she's all "Screw it", but still, tough to watch.
Despite everything she did in this arc, Shion's death, and her last minute promise that next time, things would be different is incredibly sad. They somehow managed to make it worse in the manga, where after falling from her balcony, Shion has a series of fantasies about being part of the main group; having lunch with them, treating Satoko like a little sister, all the things she never got to do because of her estrangement from her family. This culminates with her asking, "But... is this okay? Is something like this... really okay?" Cut to her shattered, lifeless body at the foot of the building.
One thing that was left out from the anime in this scene is the brief part where Shion actually falls on top of a roof, still alive, and it's here that her fantasies begin, only to then roll herself off the edge and thus fall to her death. In effect, Shion is given a brief moment of salvation, but chooses to end her life.
And of course her final words printed on that page over her lifeless body: "I'm sorry for being born."
At least we have the Heartwarming in Hindsight fact that by the end of the series, reality rectifies itself and Shion does get to have those experiences, and it is "really okay."
The ending theme of the anime.
"I just want to live a happy life, that's all I want. I want to have fun, and laugh, and spend my days surrounded by all my friends. Nothing more than that. Am I asking for too much and I just don't know it? ...I don't want to have to die." Oh, Rika...
Whenever any character asks the question, "Why did it become like this?" It's one of the most tragic lines in the entire series.
The ending of Himatsubushi-hen. When Rena finally realized that her friends were there for her and helping, they all died and left her the only person alive
In episode 13 of Kai, Keiichi getting shot by power-crazy Takano; the fact that he tells everyone to make a run for it and Mion crying and then sacrificing herself as well doesn't help things at all.
The VN and Manga version is worse. Hanyuu stops time, so everyone sees the bullet before it hits him, and talks about it. Keiichi gives a speech, everyone is either bawling or ready to bawl, and then time starts flowing again. He's shot, and Takano's men go at the gang for the last kill.
Hanyuu's past in a game-exclusive arc, where her own daughter calls her a demon and then kills her. The fact that said daughter cries at the end and says she loves Hanyuu makes it worse.
Mion's role in it. She is completely cold, emotionless, and unmoved by Shion's crying and pleading, and helps to force her through the whole ordeal without any apparent remorse. But a while later, we learn just how much she was suffering beneath this mask, and that she had three of her own fingernails ripped out afterward as penance. This is all revealed as Mion breaks down into tears, sobbing to Shion "It's wasn't fair that only you were punished! We're twins!"
In the anime, Mion doesn't quite last the whole ordeal with her stoic mask fully on. After Shion's second fingernail is ripped off and Shion starts to break down, Mion grabs her by the shoulders and says, with a hint of emotion, that she must hang in there and that it's almost over. When Shion continues to cry, Mion actually has to signal to her men to finish the job for her because she apparently can't even look at Shion anymore...if she continued looking at her, her uncaring facade would doubtlessly have cracked completely.
The third fingernail Shion had removed was not for Satoshi. It was for herself. The Sonozaki family had absolutely no sympathy for anyone in the Houjou family. Even children that had nothing to do with the dam project, other than being descended from people who were. It's no wonder Shion goes batshit and leaves dead the village head, her grandmother (by accident), Satoko, and (presumably) her own twin sister.
That last one is confirmed, when Keiichi is asked if he was sure it was really Mion who gutstabbed him, since her body was found in the well and had been dead for some time by then.
Later on, in Kai, we find out that the Sonozakis weren't involved at all in Satoshi's disappearance. Still, if someone empathizes with Shion, who has no idea about this, and never seems to find out...
Heck, almost every time a character's Dark and Troubled Past is revealed, it's a Tear Jerker if you like the character enough, the strongest ones being Shion's past, Satoshi's dissapearance and Miyo's life in the orphanage.
The ending of Watanagashi-hen in the manga was absolutely heartbreaking. Keiichi had bought another doll just for Mion and was wishing that things hadn't screwed up so badly so he could give her the doll and they could be happy. When he sees Mion, actually Shion, standing outside, he goes to give her the doll, only to be stabbed in the gut. The last pictures with him trying to clean his blood off of the doll makes it even worse.
Likewise with the sound novels. Not so much with the anime though... He doesn't bring a doll in that adaptation.
Special mention in the sound novel goes to Keiichi mentioning that Mion and Shion's parents (along with their followers) showing up at the Maebara house every day to apologize for what their daughter did.
The song "You" and its lyrics are bittersweet as well, reminding the listener of the Good End the charactersfinallyearned.
Miyo's arc in itself is a Tear Jerker. Also in this arc we see Satoko's parents, and how, and why, they died in an almost-flashback.
The manga version of Miyo's arc is just heartwrenching. The punches start when the recently orphaned Miyo is dropped off at her new orphanage. The anime plays this fairly ominously with the orphanage worker glaring at her as soon as the social workers leave, but the manga version decides to have a brief Hope Spot to make things worse. "Oh, oh look! He's patting her head, just like her dad used to do to! Surely this guy can't-" SMACK.
But what's truely the saddest thing in this arc is seeing Miyo trying to adjust to life with her "grandfather". After he rescues her from the Orphanage of Fear there's a scene showing the two eating, and remembering her punishment, the girl vomits. She then freaks out and tries to clean it up, thinking he won't want her if she's "dirty". And when the man tries to comfort her like her dad did, little Miyo can only remember the jackass from the orphanage, and recoils in fear. This shouldn't happen to a little kid.
At least she escaped. Eriko, Kikuko and Tomomi didn't.
Tatarigoroshi-hen's ending in the manga. Keiichi and Satoko find Rika's half eaten open corpse. After a few moments of crying, Satoko notices Keiichi is holding a hooked machete (Rena's too). Enter more crying and pleading here. Then Keiichi being pushed off a bridge. To make matters worse, a few hours later a battered Keiichi wakes up and walks to town. He sees the dead body bags and after a bit comes to notion that his friends and everyone he loves are dead. His life can never go back to normal. The arc ends with Keiichi saying he wants everyone to die.
How about most of Meakashi, mixed with terror?
In the Tsumihoroboshi manga and VN, Rena denies she's sad, and keeps saying that she finally got her happiness.Then she tries to laugh,but ends up crying.
The bit in this scene where Everybody is talking about their sins and apologizing for not being there, especially Mion
The entire duel between Keiichi and Rena on the school roof. Especially when Rena says, "If I win, I'd like for it to be the same reward as yours... I'd like you to greet me in the morning with "Good morning", and "Good night" at night" as well as her breakdown and recovery afterwards.
Okay, final arc of Kai, the nakama is in the Sonozaki basement, and Kasai and Shion are buying them time to escape. Mion starts yelling for Shion to come down already. Gunshots. LOTS of gunshots. Rika, on the verge of tears, says "No, no, I don't want to give up anyone! ...This is the final world. I don't want this! I don't want a future in which Shion or Kasai die!" and starts bawling. That's bad enough, right? But it gets worse. When Irie is about to give himself up so everyone else can escape, Rena says, "If you go, then what did they (Kasai and Shion) fight so hard for?" and Mion shouts back, "Then what? Are you saying Shion should die?", Satoko delivers this tear-jerking masterpiece: "Please, stop it, Mion! My heart is about to burst as well. After all, Shion is my Nee-Nee." Mion and many viewers BURST into tears.
If you've gotten used to the violence and death at this point, you might not care much that Shion and Kasai might be dead. After all, everyone is always okay again in the next world, right? Right? Then you remember that this is the final world.
Episode 4 of Rei when Rika wakes up in the hospital to see Irie there. I started shedding tears believing Rika had actually done the action. The rest of that scene was soheartwarming though.
There's still a chance that she actually did it though.
There were a few fanfics that won a contest and were officially made into non-canon manga. "Limit" mixed horror with Tear Jerker, however Hinageshi-hen and Nienagashi are this. In the former Mion is off at college and comes home for a festival. A tradition of the village is that everyone makes a doll representing themselves and send it down the river to celebrate Watanagashi. If a person's doll goes missing, however then that person will die. Mion returns, but her friends are avoiding her. She finds where the dolls are one day, and finds hers is gone. She becomes paranoid. Turns out hers broke and they were fixing it. The Tear Jerker is the end, which is post "gas accident" and Mion is the only survivor- but she's comatose, and will never leave her dreams because, in the waking world, everyone she loves is dead. For the latter, the Tear Jerker comes when Satoko almost drowns in a river. Keiichi comes to get her, but due to the rapids and the fact he can't swim he isn't much help. Keiichi remembers a story he heard on how a boy let go his friend to save himself in that river some time ago, and he begins to think of that. He lets himself go. He ends up in class, but is a ghost. He thinks everything is fine until he sees his friends crying, then figuring out how stupid his decision is. Turns out it was All Just a Dream after he sacrificed himself to save Satoko, and both of them are safe.
Hinageshi, convinced some people that doujinshi can be as good as canon. The part where Mion just breaks down, thinking that they don't love her anymore and that the village doesn't have a place for her just hits you straight in the heart. It effectively portrays what it feels like to be a leader without a group to lead and be part of.
In the penultimate episode of Kai, Satoshi is revealed to be alive but comatose due to a high level of Hinamizawa Syndrome. Irie says he's too far gone to be cured (though he promises to keep researching). Shion begs to be allowed to visit him and read stories to him, and insists she'll be there for him until he wakes even if it takes years.
If the lyrics in the series of songs in the Yours album (Sorayume, Sora no Mukou, Confession, Thanks) are to be believed, and if they're canon, then Satoshi does indeed recover. Though equal chances are they're all just Shion's Imagine Spot as she sits there by his bedside, reading and waiting...
It's hard to tell in the anime, but it looks like Satoshi starts crying while she's talking.
When Shion beats Satoko in episode 16. Satoko's just a little kid. She and her family have been shunned by all the people in the village except for a few people, and now one of her friends (Shion disguised as Mion) is beating her up and telling her to suffer and die alone. Regardless if Satoko was a crybaby or if spilling your lunch isn't a good reason to cry, considering what she and her brother were going through, she doesn't deserve to be screamed at that the world would be a better place if she was dead. And even worse, the fact that everyone thought it was Mion was just more salt in the wound in that one of their closest friends is actually screaming at Satoko to die for being a selfish, repulsive monster. It feels like one of those moments when someone actually blames a rape victim for being raped.
Satoshi's tearful breakdown afterward as he's hugging his sister sums up just how horribly these two have it in life.
Most of the versions of Dear You are this, but hope, Rika's version, is the worst.
Kokoro Musubi. Now the song itself is heartwarming, but then there's that very last verse that represents Shion telling Satoshi that everyone is waiting for him to wake up. Cue the escaped tears.
Rena's confession about the murders of Rina and Teppei Houjou to her friends in Tsumihoroboshi arc. When Keiichi asks her why she did not tell her friends about her struggles, her response is especially heart-rending.
Keiichi: Why didn't you ever talk to us about it? We're your friends, right? We're supposed to be like family! If you had talked to us, we could have helped! We wouldn't have let you get your hands dirty! If we had worked together, we might have reached a better future than this one!
Rena: A future better than now? There's no such thing. This is the best future.
Also, her belief that you can't rely on your friends for help; that you have to suffer alone and solve your problems by yourself. Who knew that under her cheerful facade; Rena was feeling so much sorrow and bitterness?
It was only a brief moment, but Mion's death at the end of Minagoroshi-hen, which was as if she was following Keiichi at that. Mion silently waves goodbye to her sister, right before getting shot by Takano. Poor Mii-chan.
It's made even worse when Mion touches her blood-covered hand just before that, the one that Keiichi held when he was dying. Really, poor Mion.
Takano's breakdown after Tokyo has abandoned her research, and the Yamainu are being arrested. She's scratching at her throat from repressed level 5 Hinamizawa Syndrome, Okonogi smugly tells her to shoot herself (because her sponsor plans to make her a scapegoat anyway), and when the Banken come for her, she desperately screams and grabs at her grandfather's notebook. Luckily Tomitake notices she's sick and arranges for her to be sent in for treatment, but damn was that pitiful. "I just wanted someone to tell me...that it was okay for me to be alive..."
"Which is green? Broccoli or cauliflower?" "Broccoli." "Correct." For those who don't understand, Takano is about to shoot Satoko but will spare her if she gets this question correct. Why this question? Satoko is said to be a bit color blind so she can't tell the difference between the vegetables. However, even if she did make the right choice, Takano still kills her.
To make this a bit sympathetic to Takano, even if she did spare Satoko the girl is infected with the Hinamizawa Syndrome. Satoko already lost all her friends and would be subjected under heavy experimentation. Even if she escapes that her insanity would leave her all alone and eventually drive her to suicide. Takano simply chose the lesser of the two evils; ease Satoko's eventual suffering by Mercy Killing her.
The ending song of the first season (Why, or Why Not?). The lyrics sound like they're describing Hinamizawa Syndrome. "The sound of footsteps became louder every day, then I realized the fact that there was no time." There's also this heart-wrenching part:
Any time Keiichi brings up his awakened memories of his situation in Onikakushi-hen in Tsumihoroboshi-hen. Worst of all is when Rena is bleeding all over, she still doesn't give in and keeps on trying to help him, and at the final moment, she doesn't even cover her head when he hits her.
The song 'Dear You- Feel' is a rare example of this trope- it's sad, but it actually makes one feel better after hearing it. It emanates this sense of calm melancholy, of acceptance.
Satoko's PTSD reaction to Keiichi rubbing her head, after less than a week of living with her uncle.
Throughout Higurashi Outbreak, Rika had been acting incredibly peculiar like she had before when she gave up hope on worlds. When her friends finally found her, she told them to leave her and run and said that she'd see them again when it was all over. It's incredibly hard not to cry when she says "Fight-o ON, nano desu~" as her friends leave and she fades out of sight.
The fate of Satoshi in Outbreak, it's implied that Outbreak is the world where Bernkastel stopped Miyo from losing her parents. However, everything is still fine and Keiichi, Rena, Irie and everyone are still there, as well as Satoshi's lack of presence. Since Satoshi isn't around, it's safe to say that similar to worlds before, Satoshi had come down with Level 5 of Hinamizawa Syndrome and was kept in the Irie Institution. However, in the world of Outbreak, after Hinamizawa was quarantined, Irie along with the soldiers working in the institution, came down with the virus they were working on and against and it's implied they all ended up killing each other except for Irie, who Ate His Gun in front of Rika. With the one person who was working on saving his life and bringing him home to his little sister gone, Satoshi's pretty much dead.
The door scene with Keiichi and Rena. While mostly scary due to it's intensity. It becomes sad when you find out what really happened. Keiichi was suffering from the Hinamazawa syndrome and acting out of fear induced paranoia, that Rena might come in and kill him. Rena's joke about stalking him didn't help and she got her fingers nearly broken by him slamming the door on them. She tried to tell him it was a joke and she was sorry, but he was too far gone to believe her. Even before people found out the truth you can still hear her hurt cries while in Keiichi's perspective.
Just as Onikakushi-hen is way more sad from Rena's (and a bit Mion's) perspective after knowing the twist, so is Watanagashi-hen and especially Meakashi-hen (which tells the same events actually) from Mion's. All the terrible things that happened were not her fault, but everyone, including Keiichi, believe Mion to be the culprit, and she is forced to watch/listen as her sister prepares to torture and kill Keichi.
Worse, Mion becomes so mentally broken that she believes it IS all her fault. She already had a massive guilt complex about failing to help Shion and Satoshi when she had the chance, and all of this just makes it that much worse.
The Saikai episode adds a whole other level of sorrow for the survivors. While Rika has the ability to transfer her consiousness when dead, other people are not able to traverse the timelines so easily. So survivors of all those horrible incidents have to remain stuck in their awful timelines with loved ones dead, which was the case for Rena who had no idea why Rika was so willing to die. Rena had to live until adulthood in utter despair at her friends dying and the guilt of going insane eating away at her.
Thanks to their medium, the visual novels add an extra level of tragic and terror in several instances, because in the editions without voice acting, the lines are colour-coded so the reader can tell who is speaking. The narration (in first-person) is usually in white, but for example in Tsumihoroboshi, it starts getting pink after a while to show Rena's Sanity Slippage, and ends up crimson red. The red text is used in earlier chapters to indicate the narrator has gone off the deep end as well.