Again, surprisingly, there are a few moments:
- When Pacha returns to his village in the beginning of the movie. Poor guy just looks so defeated. When he gets home, he acts as if everything is fine around his family, even with the knowledge that everything they have may be destroyed very soon.
- A moment is given to Pacha looking around his house, knowing it'll be the last time he'll ever get to before it's destroyed.
- Kuzco's discovery that Yzma and Kronk (but mostly Yzma) are trying to kill him and instead of bringing him home like he initially believed. He may have been an arrogant jerk, but he genuinely trusted those two. And when the awful truth is revealed to him, he realizes that he just abandoned Pacha, who he'd grown fond of, for nothing. And now he has lost his only hope of returning home and becoming human again. The honest, down-to-earth Kronk's throwaway remark afterwards really rubs salt in the wound. Ouch.
Kronk: No one really seems to care that he's gone, do they?
- A bit of a fridge tearjerker, but Yzma comments earlier that she "practically raised Kuzco", and given his behavior, it's not hard to believe. Kuzco wasn't hearing just anyone saying that she dislikes him—Kuzco was listening to his Parental Substitute flat-out saying that she despises him and wants him dead. No wonder he's so broken up about it.
- It's a little sobering that Yzma is so angry that she's fired. Sure, she's the bad guy, but she raised Kuzco, and she'd like to think he's going to respect her and be grateful for that. She's served him, and his parents, and she's not done anything disloyal so far, at least not to them. The level of ruling she is shown doing is rather tedious and pretty much takes a weight off Kuzco's shoulders. And she's been kicked out by this Ungrateful Bastard.
- Yet despite all they might've been through, her (mild) desire for power, and her grudge against Kuzco, outweigh any sentimental feelings towards him.
- Right afterwards, Kuzco finally realises how much of a jerk he's been, to everybody. He settles gloomily into a swamp and himself as narrator maintains his selfish attempt to blame everything on others. But Kuzco finally knows that ALL of this is his fault and tells it straight to himself.
Kuzco: They saw the whole thing, they know what happened. Just... leave me alone...
- It's a throwback to when Pacha tells him "One day you're gonna wind up all alone, and you're gonna have nobody to blame but yourself." And he knows it's even his fault that Yzma wants him dead.
- The prologue came off as comically overdramatic, but it becomes Harsher in Hindsight when you replay the entire scenario with the sad theme from later in the movie. Kuzco isn't just crying because 'life is so unfair' and he's a spoiled brat for thinking so. He's miserable because he's a broken brat who just lost the only real friend he had.
- It's pretty short, but Kuzco seemingly resigning himself to live as a llama. Not even the herd he stumbles on seems to accept him, only rubbing in more how utterly alone he is now in life.
- Arguably, the whole reason Yzma making Kronk cry by insulting his spinach puffs is as funny as it is is because it's genuinely sad. You even see her grinning sadistically when she says that punctual "NEVAH!" making it clear that she knows that that's going to cut him deep. In a goofy sort of way, that's what keeps the viewer from Rooting for the Empire.
- META (at least depending on one's opinion of the original Kingdom Of The Sun treatment): Former director Roger Allers' ultimate failure to get the epic Aztec movie he wanted to create after one retool after another.
- One from Kronk's New Groove: During Kronk's flashback to his childhood, we see an absolutely adorable child!Kronk happily baking what appear to be either muffins or fully-iced cupcakes and offering them to a group of squirrels. The cuteness abruptly dies off with the appearance of Papi's imposing silohuette, who immediately sends Kronk to his room. Kronk has three seconds to cry on his bed before Papi comes in and takes away Kronk's oven mitts - after Kronk gives them a final, tearful hug. Kronk had to grow up with a parent who refused to allow him to persue the hobbies he most enjoyed, likely because those hobbies are stereotypically girly.