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The Chinese 2009 short animated film, "Miss Daizi", is about an anthropromorphic plastic bag. During use and after being discarded by humans, she established a romantic relationship with a cup. After a period of time in the snow, the cup dies and dissolves, but not the bag, because she can't biodegrade. When Earth is being trashed and when the plastic bag realized that she harmed the environment, she attempts to commit suicide but fails and later in the future, she's hopeless. It ends with the Earth landfilled and the protagonist in solitude forever. Seriously. This is how the film explains its environmental theme.
Chapter 28 and 29 (the comic has very short chapters) of Orange Marmalade has Ma-ri, a vampire, have to deal and cope with all the racism around her, coming from all the friends she had been trying so hard to make. It's so heart-breaking when she has to make racist jokes about herself and her family to stop her cover from being blown.
The Daft Punk Rock OperaInterstella 5555, specifically Shep's death. How what is basically a extended music video with no dialogue can make you care about one of the characters enough to get choked up when they die is a mystery but somehow they manage it.
Reinforced by the next segment, where the band drives out into the countryside to bury Shep. The juxtaposition of the beautiful day, cheery families, and the solemnity of the band in their van drives Shep's sacrifice home.
The Ghost of You, oh God. The almost-insane terror on Gerard's face as Mikey dies is absolutely heart-wrenching.
No One There by Sentenced. "Let's dance one last dance, my love."
When we Die by Bowling for Soup. All of it, but especially the ending.
Gehrig: ... and some people might say that I've been given a bad break... but today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
Watching Muhammad Ali get pummeled around the ring in 1980, so far past his prime, already suffering early symptoms of Parkinson's and weakened by the prescriptions given to him by a quack doctor, by his Spiritual Successor and former protege Larry Holmes moved many boxing fans to tears. Even Holmes, who has a bit of a Jerk Ass reputation and a huge chip on his shoulder about getting respect, was disturbed and sought Ali out after the fight in tears saying how sorry he was and that he'd never wanted to hurt Muhammad.
... repeated at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympics.
Similar to the Ali anecdote, any fight in mixed martial arts where it's shown that a legend either just doesn't have it anymore, or has actually been surpassed by the sport. Here's some sad examples, among which Cro Cop's probably takes the cake for the saddest (especially when reading his critical self-examination afterward) while Sakuraba's is the ugliest... because since he went unscathed in early October against a boxer so shot that he was barred from The Contender he's supposed to fight again before the end of October.
In the unfortunate case of Chuck "Iceman" Liddell, after the Evans KO he reportedly changed his partygoing ways to train hard for a fight with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, as he had to not only win but win big in order to continue, and showed up looking fit. Unfortunately, in the first round both of them threw a left hook almost simultaneously, their right hands well below their unprotected right cheek... but Shogun had his chin tucked, was lunging forward (Liddell was standing upright/slightly rearward), and landed first.
Speaking of the Shogun, Shogun lost to Forrest Griffin when he debuted in the UFC in 2007 in a fight that many people thought was a giveaway victory. Then when he finished his rehabilitation from blowing out his ACL (which could potentially end a career) not once, but twice - only to barely win a fight against Mark Coleman at UFC 93, many people thought that his best days were behind him, and he wasn't even 30 yet. Then he came back and beat Chuck Liddell in April of 2009, winning impressively and showing a glimpse of the Shogun that plowed through PRIDE. With this fight, he earned the title shot against the LHW Champion Lyoto Machida. He spent months training hard for this title fight, not being able to tend to his wife who was pregnant with his unborn daughter. That October, the Shogun that fought Lyoto Machida came out in the best shape of his life and exposed weaknesses in Machida's karate style, but at the end of the fight it was Machida's hand that was raised in victory - in a judge's decision that shocked, upset, and enraged the vast majority of those who watched that fight. Even the UFC President, Dana White - was so shocked at the decision that he offered Shogun an immediate rematch. Shogun, one of the most dangerous men in the world, was reduced to sobbing into his hands backstage in his locker room - robbed of the victory that many felt he deserved.
Cheer up — Dana White had the UFC cover the taxes on Shogun's purse (leaving his family with more money for their now-newborn daughter), and even Lyoto's own father — who'd developed the Machida family style — complimented Shogun on his successes against that style.
So much for that, he knocked Machida out cold in their rematch on May 13th, 2010 and is currently, as of this writing, the champion at 205.
Ken Shamrock's fall from grace as the "World's Most Dangerous Man". In particular the Ken Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz "trilogy", which was essentially three straight fights of Tito Ortiz beating the hell out of Ken Shamrock.
The scene in HBO's documentary "The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Extreme Fighter Mark Kerr", where he's in the hospital after he overdoses on narcotics. His old friends joke with him about the experience for a second... and then tell him how badly they want him to get help for his drug addiction, very emotionally. Seeing this giant of a man, a guy nicknamed "The Smashing Machine", who you grew up watching him EARN this nickname, break down in tears is heartbreaking.
The entire last minute of gamesix◊ of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals. Even moreso with what happened in game seven.
The end of Michael Jordan's basketball career. In his final game against the Philidelphia 76ers, Jordan only scored 13 points before getting benched with 4 minutes and 15 seconds left in the third quarter. The crowd at the First Union Center, basically began chanting for Jordan to get back in the game. He did, and he was intentionally fouled by 76ers player Eric Snow, just so he could step to the foul line one last time. After making both shots, and with 1:45 left in the fourth quarter, Jordan stepped off the court for the final time, earning him a three minute standing ovation from everyone in the stadium. Signaling the end of an era for basketball fans everywhere.
The 2004 World Series. After 86 years of heartbreak and disappointment, the Boston Red Sox finally reclaimed their champion status. Tears were shed throughout New England, and there were news reports of fans going to their loved ones' graves leaving copies of the Boston Globe with the victory headlines.
The finish to the Plano East Panthers/John Tyler Lions Texas high school football game on November 26th, 1994 John Tyler had decimated Plano East throughout the game and with 3:00 left in the fourth quarter, led 41-17. Then Plano East began a miraculous comeback in which they scored four touchdowns, recovered three onside kicks and somehow managed to take the lead, 44-41, with just 24 seconds left in the game. Then on the ensuing kickoff following the go-ahead score, the John Tyler returner ran the ball back for a touchdown, nullifying the incredible comeback and giving John Tyler a 48-44 victory that moved them ahead in the playoffs.
Michael Irvin's induction speech at the 2006 Pro Football Hall Of Fame ceremony.
Bernard "Boom-Boom" Geoffrion was a Montreal Canadiens (the New York Yankees of hockey for the uninformed) legend from the 1950s dynasty who was known as one of the originators of the use of the slap-shot. The Canadiens announced that his number 5 would be retired on the night of March 11, 2006. Sadly, Geoffrion died that exact same morning. With heavy hearts, the banner-raising ceremony went on as planned, with Geoffrion's surviving family in attendance, including his wife Marlene, the daughter of former Canadiens legend Howie Morenz, who tragically died in 1937 due to injuries sustained during a game (Morenz's number 7 was the first number the Canadiens ever retired). If all that wasn't enough, here is how Geoffrion's banner was raised to the rafters.
Friday: Rubens Barrichello's car flew into the air and crashed into the tire barrier, rolling many times before stopping. He suffered a broken nose and arm. He was lucky.
Saturday: Roland Ratzenberger, in only his third race, lost control of his car and crashed, dying of a basal skull fracture.
Sunday: A crash between two cars at the beginning of the race injured nine spectators with flying debris. After the race restarted, three time world champion Ayrton Senna crashed at Tamburello corner-the site of accidents before. Debate still ensues on what caused his crash and when specifically did he die. The tragically ironic part was that in response to Ratzenberger's death the day before, the drivers reformed the Grand Prix Drivers Association (a safety organization) with him as leader. To make things even worse, Senna had been carrying an Austrian flag with him in the car - intending to wave it after he won the race, in memory of Ratzenberger (who was Austrian).
Dan Wheldon's death was bad enough, but adding to the tearjerking nature of it was how ESPN announcer Marty Reid signed off after everything was over:
Marty Reid: Many people ask me why I sign off 'til we meet again.' It's because goodbye is so final. Goodbye, Dan Wheldon.
The entire end of the 2001 Daytona 500. What should have been a celebration for Michael Waltrip as he got his first victory in 462 consecutive cup races — and it was the Daytona 500 — turned to tragedy very quickly as emergency personnel rushed to the car of Dale Earnhardt, who had hit the wall in turn 4 on the final lap. And then the press conference after, where we learned what happened: "We've lost Dale Earnhardt." Going back and watching the crash as it unfolded, especially listening to Darrell cheering his brother on and then suffering the Mood Whiplash, is heart-rending.
Mario Lemieux's comeback game against the Phildelphia Flyers after he was diagnosed with hodgkins lymphoma, he recieved a standing ovation from the Flyers fans (Who hate the Pittsburgh Penguins).
An Australian Rules Football example, the Richmond Tigers, famed for finishing ninth, just one place outside of the finals, finally made the finals for the first time in more than a decade in 2013. At long last their suffering fans would have something to smile about, and when Richmond led by 32 points in the 3rd quater against bitter rivals the Carlton Blues, things finally seemed looking up. Then Carlton proceeded to kick twelve goals to Richmond's three for the rest of the match, eliminating Richmond in their first final. The kicker? Carlton had technically finished ninth, and had only made the finals because another team had been suspended.
Mythology and Religion
Pretty much any mythology with a built-in Twilight of the Gods event. Norse mythology being the king of this, giving us Ragnarok, where a string of tragedies climaxes in the apocalyptic war that slays everything except for a small handful of the gods (two of which have to be resurrected from Hel) and two humans.
Loki is a shockingly tragic figure. He goes from the prankster to the one who brings about Ragnarok, probably partially due to being chained with his own son's intestines with caustic poison down on his face for who-knows-how long. In the original version, he apparently wasn't even the one who didn't cry for Baldur — he was punished for something else. Before that, his lips were sewn shut after wriggling out of a bet with some dwarves. Yes, he wasn't exactly morally upstanding, but did he really deserve all the gods laughing at him, and then being tortured constantly?
The online serials. The body count just keeps getting higher. Off the top of my head, there's Botar, Ancient, possibly Lewa, and several matoran.
The death of a troop of Ta-Matoran who attempted to find refuge on the island of Mata Nui... not realizing that the "island" is actually the massive robot's face, and that face is, along with the rest of the robot, currently flying through the vacuum of space. Guess what happened next.
This utterly heartbreaking tribute to Bionicle and all those who grew up with it.
The epilogue of the book Time Trap is of the happy variant, as Vakama and his fellow Turaga, along with the entire population of Mata Nui return to Metru Nui's shores and are greeted by friends (and Turaga Dume, their former governor) they haven't seen for over a thousand years.
While it's not as much of a tearjerker, the normally-happy Lalaloopsy put out a couple of dolls called "Sir Battlescarred" and "Lady Stillwaiting." Since the dolls gained the personality from the fabric that created them, there's probably a very sad story surrounding them (since their names even suggests this).
This dance is performed by a woman with only one arm and a man with only one leg. It is beautiful.
The Big Bad of the arc murdered a dragoness right in front of her three-year-old adopted wyrmling, even when she Disney Deathed back and became angelic because she threw herself right in front of the wyrmling and her other adopted son.
The Children of Dune miniseries: The end of part 1, and the section in part 3 where Leto meets his father.
Neil Gaiman's current (January 2010) journal entries about the last days of his cancer-stricken blind cat Zoe are enough to melt a heart of stone.
A logo gag of MTM was played during the finale of St. Elsewhere in 1988, of the mascot kitten, Mimsie, being hooked up to life support (kind of makes sense, the show was hospital-related). At the end of the credits, we hear the long, high beep of the machine, meaning that Mimsie didn't make it. Even sadder when you find out that 1988 was the year the real Mimsie died at age 18.
But hey, most cats don't make it that long.
Part 6 of Seven Ages Of Rock, which focuses on American alternative rock such as REM and Nirvana. It mentions Kurt Cobain's life, and in a couple of his interviews, he sounded kind of sad. You can't blame him; he's been through a spiraling depression that not even good friend Michael Stipe can get him out of.
'From the bottom of Heart', a Visual Novel, is one in and for itself. 'Let's go to an amusement park together!'
This picture, especially if you remember classic Disney, remember going to Disneyland as a kid and meeting those mascots, and...
As funny as Christopher Titus's stand-up routines are, there are some bits that hit hard. For instance, when he talks about his dad.
Titus: What did he tell me my entire life? "You’re gonna need grandpa around to raise that kid. Grandpa’s gonna turn that kid into an adult." What else did you stuff up my ass all my life? “Step up, or step aside." Isn't that right? "Step up, or step aside.” AND WHAT HAPPENED?! THE WORLD IS FALLING APART, I’VE GOT TWO LITTLE KIDS and you’re not here.
There's a very well acted Documentary about the French Revolution, and they showed the part about Madame Du Barry. Supposedly, it was Enforced Method Acting, and the actress playing Madame Du Barry must have really been a good actress... because the people playing the extras looked shocked as the actress struggled and screamed as she was lead to the scaffold, managing to break away several times only to be caught and dragged back before collapsing and shouting, "You're going to hurt me! Why?!" and then they showed the scene of forcing her into the (obviously fake) guillotine, with the really nervous looking extras. It also didn't help that the narrator said it took several people to bring her there, and that her screams could be heard from across Seine.
Amiga Power's review of Kick Off 96, in its farewell issue, was terribly depressing. Longtime reviewer Stuart Campbell debates a Kangaroo Court over who bears more responsibility for the Amiga platform's demise: publishers who shoveled out broken games with no playtesting, or him for refusing to grade them on a Four Point Scale. He is found guilty of killing the Amiga, and executed by firing squad.
This Comic. Its really heartbreaking that genuine interest in a culture is dismissed as childish.
While most of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas concerts tend toward warm and fuzzy, they do sneak a tear jerker in every now and then.
One notable occasion was their 2002 concert, where they portrayed the story of the World War I Christmas truce, narrated by Walter Cronkite.
Another came from the 2004 concert, called A Christmas Bell for Anya. It tells the story of a Russian village renowned for their bell makers, and their traditional bell ringing by 12 young girls around the village's scene of the Christ child, and Anya is having her own bell crafted for her by her father. The bell is completed three days before Christmas and Anya eagerly awaits the day. The day before, a band of marauders roaming the country in the chaos of the Russian Revolution come to the town. When the dust settles, Anya's father is found cradling her body. As Christmas approaches he suddenly has the sense that she is near and asking that he ring her bell on Christmas.
One educational video about the horrors of drunk driving and the consequences that came from it: It was showcasing several instances of the consequences of drunk driving, and although the video had a very somber tone overall, one woman in particular stood out. She was very young, and pretty, and had been hit by a drunk driver. It didn't kill her, but she was completely immobilized and mentally handicapped. She spent the rest of her life rotting away in a bed. Her parents came to visit her, and you could tell she recognized them, but all she could do was stare at them, and her dad held her hand while he was there. Her hand was so tiny, and weak looking, and limp, and just kind of lay there, and she just looked so helpless.
A variation on that was one of the "home movie" drunk driving promos, you'd see happy healthy kids doing something and then "Killed by a drunk driver" and the date. This one had a teenage girl who was mostly paralyzed, being taken gently through some physical therapy. It was clear she'd never walk again or have any kind of normal life. "Jean Smith was hit by a drunk driver and died... Sixteen years later."
Or one featuring a couple dancing and laughing at their wedding, with the date of death being the day after.
ThisTED conference about depression. It goes into detail about it and how you can help it. While it has some funny and hopeful moments, the worst parts is when he describes it and how others describe it. If you have depression, it may help, but you're probably not going to get through all twenty minutes without some shedding some tears.