Afterschool Charisma is not kind to its main character, Shiro. Not only does he have to deal with the only non-clone in a school of clones, but then he discovers that he might be a clone after all, and then Joan dies despite all of her efforts to Screw Destiny. Hitler doesn't take that last one very well either, especially considering that just beforehand he learns that Rasputin and Einstein made up the whole "Almighty Dolly" thing as an experiment. More troubling, the formerly shy and kind boy is beginning to show signs of becoming like his original.
In Akitos backstory, he was forced by Kaito to murder someone. This broke him so badly he actually created Agito to handle killing for him.
In the past, Kilik was a great guy to be around; idealistic, selfless, and honest and forthright. Then he was betrayed by his friends and he became the cynical Well-Intentioned Extremist he is in the series proper.
In Ai Yori Aoshi, we're introduced to Kaoru Hanabishi post-breaking. In the period of the first chapters / episodes, he's partly recovered, but distant and lonely. Then Aoi shows up, and the process of reconstruction begins. As for the breaking part, we see through flashbacks that he was subjected to Torture Technician-as-guardian: he lost both his parents, had most of the few keepsakes he had left destroyed, was beaten to the point of horrible scarring by said guardian, and never again saw the cute girl he used to play with. Then he struck out on his own to work as a menial and go to school, in the hopes of making it on his own. Only the efforts of Tina, and later Aoi and the rest of the True Companions, were able to help him be a whole person.
In the first chapter of Akame ga Kill! Tatsumi loses both of his childhood friends and it just goes downhill from there. Averted by his Foil Wave of the Jaegers, who despite getting just as much shit thrown at him manages to hold on to his idealism while Tatsumi edges closer to Pragmatic Hero.
In AKIRA, taken to the most literal extent possible with the poor sweet Love Martyr Kaori. Squish.
Amatsuki : Tsuruume after the reset. This trope also applies to Toki himself after he loses Kuchiha and Kon as a consequence of his own decisions, and if we get to count the past, Hiwa/Bonten, Shinshu, and Ginshu. Though one might argue that Ginshu was broken from the start.
Tsuyukusa blamed himself for Byakuroku's death (it was revenge for some miko shooting Tsuyukusa), nearly going insane with grief in the process.
Shinshus relationship with Ginshu never recovered following the Byakuroku incident.
After the person Tsuruume loves most is killed off and replaced by someone else, she's the only one who remembers the real Ginshu, and she is assumed crazy and thrown in jail, where she goes half mad worrying and fighting with her emotions.
Sakihisa Konoe tries to do this to Nobuna in the latter half of The Ambition of Oda Nobuna. It almost works until she remembers events in the past in which Yoshiharu told her not to turn into such a monster.
Alien Nine takes glee in doing horrible things to the cute girls who make up the cast, from mind rape to complete memory erasure to being eaten alive.
Prince Juda from Anatolia Story really gets dragged through a lot of crap, thanks to his mom's plans.
In Angel Beats! Yuri had her siblings killed in front of her by robbers when she was a kid. The worst part is that it was Yuri's "fault" that they died because she couldn't find money in the house to give to the robbers. They probably would've killed them all regardless, but that doesn't really help Yuri's feelings of guilt.
Iwasawa had an abusive Dad and generally a broken household. She found her savior in music, but that was taken away from her when her Dad hit her causing her to lose her voice first, then die.
Angel has a lesser example but Her rank as Student Council President was taken away, the teachers and students have lost all respect for her, and her comfort food was taken away from her all because of the SSS's actions. It's also sad when you realize that Angel probably is a human like the rest of SSS and was just trying to fulfill her duties as Student Council President. Her reputation and life in the after world is ruined because she was trying to play by the rules. (And in the end, it turns out that yes, she is.
Otonashi has a bit of one with Angel, or better said Kanade Tachibana, at the near the end of the series, reveals her desire to thank him for the gift of his heart during her life (which was the only thing keeping her there) fulfilled. She manages to say her thanks... and then she disappears in his arms.
He crosses the Despair Event Horizon when he finds out what happened to his first child: she was subjected to vivisection, died, and then her remains were kept on ice in a research facility. After that, Yuuji is quietly broken and makes remarks that show that he's reached a point where he doesn't much care if he lives or dies.
Ritsu from Assassination Classroom. To her dismay, her creators tried to revert her new-found personality from cheerful back to emotionless killer machine. However, she was able to save and hide her memories from them and retain her personality.
Rei and Jin went through a serious case of this as kids in Area D.
Holy hell, Riko from Aria the Scarlet Ammo. She lost both her parents at age 8, only to be taken in by Vlad, who proceeded to shut her inside a prison cell, taking away her precious rosary (a gift from her mother) and depriving her of even the most basic needs. One botched escape attempt resulted in severe punishment for her, until she was forced to join I-U and slay a Holmes in order to break free of Arsène Lupin's legacy and take back her rosary, her identity and her freedom.
Ashita no Nadja: Colette was very broken at some point. As a rich noblewoman who fell for her piano teacher, they eloped and lived a simple but happy life together in Paris. Then her hubby died in an accident. Then she had to support herself and her baby daughter alone as a seamstress, which was harsh but not unlivable until they both fell very sick. And then she was tricked by the envoys of her rich family into believing that he daughter perished of said illness, thus making her return to her clan. She gets somewhat better, but never forgets her former life.
And later? Said daughter, the main character Nadja, also lives a simple but happy life as an orphan girl and then a dancer. Then finds herself in a love triangle with two very troubled young men who are also twins - one is a cynical but goodhearted Gentleman Thief, the other is a softspoken but very troubled Sheltered Aristocrat. And then she puts pieces of her past together and gets closer to her mother... but then, her former best friend who has snapped on her due to a huge misunderstanding and her Evil Uncle plot against her. And holy shit, Nadja gets more and more broken since then.
Attack on Titan does this to pretty much anyone that started out idealistic and naive.
This is Mikasa's backstory in a nutshell. She was a sweet, innocent little girl until a gang murdered her parents in front of her and then kidnapped her, with the implications she was going to be sold into sexual slavery. She ended up being forced to murder one of the men, and came to accept that the world was a cruel place where only the strong survive. While already broken, she got an extra dose when Wall Maria fell and her foster mother was eaten by a Titan in front of her.
Connie started out as the Plucky Comic Relief, and managed to handle his first few traumatic ordeals pretty well. But then a mysterious horde of Titans appeared inside Wall Rose, seemingly passing through and destroying his village without actually eating anyone — they've all simply vanished without a trace. The one crippled Titan they discover in the ruins of his house speaks to him, and he realizes that it resembles his mother.....something the others desperately try to keep him from thinking about. And when it finally seems like the crisis is over, his surrogate big brother turns out to be The Mole.
Reiner was shown in flashbacks to be a happy kid who just wanted to make his mother proud of him by becoming a soldier. He ended up inheriting the Armored Titan, but learns that it was only because Marcel begged the military officials to give it to Reiner instead of Marcel's brother, Porco (who ironically ends up with titan powers later on anyway). While still processing this information, Marcel is eaten in front of Reiner, Bertolt and Annie while they're unable to do anything, which causes Reiner to suffer from some serious Survivor Guilt. That guilt manifests itself tenfold after his mission on Paradis, where he's the only one of his friends to make it back home, to the point where he attempts to kill himself but is (unknowingly) stopped. And that's after having to fight in another war for four years. Then he finds out that Eren has snuck into his hometown, used one of the child soldiers he's looking after to do so, and that Eren is planning on killing all of his hometown if Reiner doesn't cooperate. He's so broken by this point that he even asks Eren to kill him.
Falco, who is responsible for helping Eren infiltrate Liberio and Marley's military, does not take the news that it's his fault very well.
In fact, pretty much anyone who has witnessed a Titan attack tends to have a Thousand-Yard Stare and PTSD flashbacks. The commander at basic training for new soldiers completely ignores any Titan survivors among the recruits when doing his Drill Sergeant Nasty routine: they're already broken, and he knows it. Breaking them further would serve no purpose save pointless cruelty.
In Axis Powers Hetalia. Russia was already under Tatar's rule which, according to Hungary and Lithuania's pity for him, is a bad situation to be in. But Russia's most noticeable Freak Out! takes place during the BloodySunday strip. Russia is doing his best to try and make the people in his country happy, but they aren't satisfied. In this particular strip, the people are protesting, and demanding freedom and higher wages. Russia can take no more of the people blaming him for everything, but manages to endure it. However, when the Romanovs are killed, he horribly snaps.
The revolutionary war also counts as one for England. While not so much cute, he seemed genuinely happy with America, and then America left, making it clear that he wanted freedom rather than being with England, and unintentionally broke him in the process. Most fans couldn't help but feel bad for England when he, the Great British Empire who had seen through countless wars and battles before, threw away his gun and started sobbing as America said that he "used to be so big"...
Barefoot Gen seems to be leading towards this for Gen and all of his family, given that they're a family of war protestors in World War II era Japan... specifically, Hiroshima. They're mocked for being traitors, refused food, Gen's father is arrested and beaten, have their field of wheat which is the only hope they had of not starving destroyed, Gen's sister is accused of stealing money and stripped naked, the sweet potatoes they get from some friends in the countryside are taken away when a policeman accuses them of buying them on the black market, and plenty of other constant insults by their neighbors and times when they almost starve to death. Then the atomic bomb goes off. This finally breaks Gen's mother, who has to watch her husband, son, and daughter burn to death in the remains of her house. She does get better, though.
Everything that happens to Princess Oboro in Basilisk. Her fiancé is the leader of an enemy faction despite both being really in love, the peace treaty that would allow them to marry was messily broken behind her back, her lieutenant steals the command from her and attempts to rape her twice in the course of the story, very powerful people meddle in the clans' feud to make it worse, and all of her servants/warriors/friends/enemies die, all of them VERY messily. No wonder she ultimately decides to kill herself and die with honor rather than fighting her injured, blinded, almost dead True Love in the end. Who, having become broken as well, promptly commits suicide as well.
Poor little Enjyu was forced to take a dive on each of his battles so his dad could pay for their rent. At the Junior B-Daman Tournament he was disqualified after unfairly being accused of cheating due to his refusal to continue with the charade, thus being betrayed by his only friend, Enjyu took out his anger on his father in a B-daBattle, resulting him into changing his hair from blue to red and changing from timid and meek to cold and ruthless.
As a child, Cain went through training of his strict father, turning him egocentric and power hungry.
The Berserk storyline specializes in taking sympathetic characters and putting them through horrible shit.
When we first meet Casca, she's an intelligent and capable Action Girl who at one point leads the Band of the Hawks to rescue Griffith from his horrific year-long torture ordered by the King for having sex with his daughter. But when Griffith later does his infamous FaceHeel Turn, she loses everyone in the Hawks to a whole mess of demons summoned by the evil Godhand, and then gets stripped naked by demons who have naughty tentacles in mind for her before being raped by the newly-transformed Griffith, who has joined the Godhand as their fifth member Femto, right in front of Guts, the man she loves, who is forced to watch. The horror of the experience completely shatters poor Casca's mind and leaves her unable to speak. Gutsismad at Griffith both for this and the betrayal that led up to it.
The universe hasn't been kind to Guts either. A poor innocent baby who is rescued from under the tree where his mother was hanged while she was pregnant, Guts is a pretty nice kid early on his life. He willingly serves the mercenary group that raises him, and gives all of the money he earns to his surrogate father, Gambino, and devotes his life to trying to please him. After Gambino sells him to a mercenary named Donovan for three silver coins, who proceeds to rape him despite Guts's best efforts to fight him off, he starts to lose his innocence (as if living day to day by killing people wasn't enough of a stressor), this loss of innocence finally solidifies when Gambino, having lost his leg in battle and no longer able to fight or lead his men on the battlefield, gets massively drunk and attempts to murder him because he believes that Guts is cursed and blames him for the death of his lover Shisu, Guts's surrogate mother, from the plague, and Guts is forced to kill him out of self-defense. Guts still has nightmares about the experiences as an adult, even before the Eclipse goes down.
Griffith was once a nice guy (albeit with a Manipulative Bastard streak), highly charismatic, who lead a mighty group of mercenaries and, through his leadership and strategy, was on the fast-track to becoming a noble and realizing his dream of leading his own kingdom. Then Guts, his best friend and closest confidant, decides to leave the Band of the Hawk in his own effort to be Griffith's equal. Beside himself with grief, he sneaks into the Midland Kingdom's castle and takes the virginity of the princess, getting him arrested and tortured over the course of a year, leaving him unable to speak, walk, or even use his hands. Then his closest friends, who rescue him, take pity on him, something he wanted least. After all that, it's not so hard to see why he would decide to become a demon, kill off his men, and make Guts and Casca's lives a living hell from that day forward...
Many Apostles have had their lives go completely to shit as part of the process of causality leading them to their Despair Event Horizon, their sacrifice and their transformation, but none more tragically than Rosine. An imaginative and clever little girl from an abusive household, strongly hinted to have been a Child by Rape (her mom was raped during the war and her dad abuses both mom and kid due to this), all she wanted was to find the elves that she always believed in and get away from her horrible home situation. When she runs off looking for the elves, she doesn't find them, but her parents find her. Her mom is just glad that she's okay and alive, but her abusive father is furious, and starts viciously beating on her. The blood from the beating and her despair activates the Behelit, which leads to the poor frightened little girl who just wanted elves to be real finding out that she could have been one herself and not just some filthy cruel human, and proceeds to sacrifice both her parents in order to become what she thinks is an elf.
Theresia, a twelve-year-old girl and the daughter of The Count, one of the early Apostles that Guts kills in the series, is a classic case of an innocent daughter sheltered from the world and wanting more than anything to be free of her "cage," as she explains to Puck, who the Count has captured and brought to her as a "pet." She tells Puck that her mother was killed by pagans, and her father became different ever since, almost like he wasn't even human anymore. When Guts's battle with the Count makes a wreck of the castle, the door to Theresia's room becomes undone, and Theresia can finally escape. But when she arrives at her father's chamber, she is horrified upon seeing the monstrous Apostle form of her father, is taken hostage by Guts in a What the Hell, Hero? moment, and then is forced to watch as Guts puts him through the same torture that he puts other Apostles through. And then the Count's Behelit activates and the Godhand arrive. After a brief battle with Guts, Femto, the newest member of the Godhand, demands that Theresia be sacrificed so that the Count can continue to live. And then, as Theresia watches in terror and horror, the other Godhands reveal to her the truth about her mother's fate — that she had joined the pagans and was conducting an orgy in the Count's own castle when he arrived, that he found himself unable to kill her despite her utter betrayal, which drove him over the Despair Event Horizon and allowed the Godhand to show up, and that the Count himself sacrificed her in order to become a demon. This ordeal, along with having to watch her father get Dragged Off to Hell after refusing to sacrifice her, is enough to drive Theresia to attempt suicide, but she finds the will to live again when the ground below her gives way and she grabs Guts's outstretched Dragon Slayer. Poor little Theresia is left with an utter hatred for Guts, manifested in one of the scariest Death Glares ever as she vows to kill him one day.
Binbō-gami ga!: As if Kurumi's betrayal isn't enough, Ikari decides to turn everyone in Ichiko's hometown against her just when she has finally gained some trustworthy companions.
When we first meet Bitter Virgin's sixteen-year-old Hinako Aikawa, she had already endured serious sexual abuse from her stepfather. Abuse which her mother refused to acknowledge was happening until it got Hinako pregnant for the second time. Readers saw these events transpire in a flashback that occurred while Hinako was in the process of being raped again by a random molester. Fortunately, that time she was rescued, and the series as a whole focuses on Hinako's recovery from these traumas.
Enju Aihara, numerous times in Black Bulletfrom being rejected in the school she attends to after her status as a cursed child was found out to seeing Rentaro "dying" and having her new Cursed Children friends being killed off.
Ciel Phantomhive is already broken and toughened up by the time we see him. In flashbacks he appears to be a very happy, cheerful, and loving little boy who has a close relationship with his family. Then things go horribly wrong. After his parents, house staff, and dog are killed, his home is set on fire to destroy any evidence and Ciel is kidnapped. Flashbacks show him in a cage with other children his age and cultists around them who apparently used the children kidnapped as sacrifices. Ciel witnessed these sacrifices and when it was his turn he accidentally summoned a demon in his desperation. Three years later he is the successful owner of a toy and confectionaries company, but also very bitter, jaded, and cold.
The anime's second season did something of the sort to Alois Trancy. In episodes 7 and 8, Alois, who before seemed like a complete jackass, is stabbed and ignored by Claude for a bit who's busy practically orgasming over the taste of Ciel's blood. Alois's tearful response "Oh, you look like you've seen a bunch of maggots squirming in a dung pile," to Claude's indifference towards him is heartbreaking; then we learn his backstory, where his little brother died and left him alone and he was made to become a sex slave to a perverted old man, and he later practically confesses his love for Claude, telling him he's the only one he has left in the world, before Claude tenderly holds his face and then crushes his head in.
Revy is heavily implied to have been broken at some point in her past. Confirmed when we learn that THE breaking event was being tortured and raped by a policeman when she was a Street Urchin.
The entire Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise arc is this for Yukio AND Ginji.
Believe it or not, Balalaika used to be an idealistic little girl whose only goal in life was to regain her family's honor by competing in the Olympics. You had better bet that she got hit hard by this trope in order to make her into whatsheistoday.
Garcia in the El Baile De La Muerte arc. It started the minute he stepped foot in Roanapur and just kept getting worse.
Years ago, Rukia's mentor and object of worship, Kaien, was demonically possessed trying to avenge his wife's death, forcing Rukia to kill him. Believing she deserves to die for this, she accepts her execution sentence over Ichigo without a fight, until Gin offers to save her life just as she's walking to the gallows. When he reveals he's joking, she finally breaks, collapsing on the bridge and screaming in despair.
When Aizen has Orihime kidnapped, Orihime is subjected to psychological conditioning, mental torture, implied rape threats, physical abuse and being forced to watch Ichigo have a hole ripped through his chest, Uryuu having his arm diced off and the enemy being completely untouched. Her mental breakdown resurrects Ichigo as a single-minded monster so focused on his goal of saving her that he not only kills her captor but also nearly kills Uryuu, too.
Hinamori dearly loved Aizen, who took pride in grooming her for decades to be unable to survive without him. He even manipulates her into thinking her adoptive brother betrayed her, before leaving her deeply traumatised, broken-hearted and almost dead. Just as she's finally recovering, Aizen manipulates Hitsugaya into stabbing her almost to death.
Aizen takes advantage of Hitsugaya's youth and lack of experience to manipulate his adoptive sister to the point of insanity. Eventually, Aizen fools Hitsugaya into thinking he's successfully killed Aizen, only to reveal he's actually stabbed Hinamori. Cue Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
Rangiku and Gin were childhood friends but she was betrayed by him when he joined Aizen's side. After she was victimised by Aizen's Hougyoku experiments, Gin vowed to avenge her. He plotted revenge for a century, but ultimately fails, and Rangiku is reduced to a sobbing wreck as he dies.
By the time Tsukishima gets through with everyone, Ichigo finds himself alone in the world as friends and family are all completely brainwashed against him. His one single ally turns out to be the real villain and promptly steals the power Ichigo's worked so hard to regain, leaving Ichigo a spent, sobbing wreck.
Lilo from Bloodline is a big victim. Anything that brings flashbacks to what did this trope to her is a Berserk Button.
Overall, all the characters in Bloody Maiden: Juusanki no Shima via the killer. Specifically, Miaki right after seeing Risa, her big sister figure, killed and thrown off a windmill as the fifth sacrifice.
The series manages to break the same cutie twice courtesy of Easy Amnesia: Saya Otonashi starts out as a carefree young girl until her twin sister Diva, who Saya had set loose, murders Saya's foster father Joel and everyone else who was attending his birthday party, turning Saya's entire life into a mission to hunt Diva and her Chevaliers down and kill them. Then, after the Red Shield's disastrous meddling in Vietnam causes Saya to awaken in the present with no memories, Saya is once more a normal, cute Ordinary High-School Student... who is forced to fight Chiropterans, manipulated by her enemies, and has to deal with realizing that she's not human. When Diva rapes and murders Saya's adopted little brother Riku, Saya has a full-blown Heroic BSoD.
Aside from this, averted with Lulu, who sees all of the other Schiff die off in ones and twos, and faces her own premature death from the Thorn. Despite this, she remains happy and chipper, and eventually they find her a cure.
Pulled yet again in regards to Haji. Through a flashback, it is shown that the reason he went from being somewhat stoic to made of stone was because his blood turned his One True Love and reason for living into a murdering psychopath who forgot who he was and cut his arm off during her rampage.
Marika starts the manga as a chipper, innocent cutie pie who thinks like a 1970s shoujo manga. Her choice in friends puts a dent in that. In particular her relationship with the below mentioned Tamura, who started out nice enough seeming, causes her to become much more cynical and depressed. Her gender dysphoria and issues with her budding sexuality only make everything worse.
Tamura starts as a somber, quiet middle school boy with a crush on a straight classmate. They begin an abusive sexual relationship which helps spur Repressed Memories in Tamura. Once those memories surface Tamura's personality takes a horribleturn and he displays suicidal and overall self-destructive ideation. Unlike Marika, he's troubled as adult.
Bomberman Jetters: Both White Bomber and Shout get this around the halfway point on discovering Mighty's death.
Cleo Saburafu from Break Blade doesn't handle her comrades' deaths too well, though she seems to have recovered.
Life gets progressively harder and harder for Marin Asagi with each episode of Brigadoon: Marin and Melan and just when you think things can't possibly get any worse for her, they do.
The second AD Police OVA is told from the viewpoint of an idealistic young policewoman who is trying to prove that the serial killer in the episode is human (both to the police and herself) while struggling with the decision to replace her right eye with an artificial one. The episode ends with her going under the knife, narrating that this was the story of how she lost part of her humanity.
Nene undergoes this in the 2040 episodes My Nation Underground and Woke Up With A Monster when her bratty arrogance finally comes back to bite her in the ass after she tries to play match maker between Priss and Leon, earning her a long overdue scolding from Sylia for endangering the team's secrecy, and then gets her ass handed to her in a boomer fight when she tries to rush in and beat the boomer by herself in a misguided attempt to prove herself.
Cuties of all kinds are broken on Canaan, but Hakko takes the cake. Her voice can literally kill people. When she accidentally kills her lover she breaks down and it ends up in all kinds of messed up. Mari and Yunyun also qualify.
Candy Candy thrives on this since the main character, Candace White Andree, has led a hash life that incluides orphanhood, having her best friend Annie adopted and taken away, being employed as a maid for a rich family and being treated like shit by the bosses' spoiled brats, losing her First Lovevery messily right after another rich family, etc.
Taro Misakis familiar problems make him suffer more than once, but he's not completely broken. By WYC, he retakes contact with his Missing Momand gets along real well with his kind stepfather and Moe half-sister.
Roberto Hongos backstory, specially his childhood, as told by the J and Road to 2002 series, and his eyesight problems, which forced him into retirement.
Yoshiko-chan almost. The poor little girl took her half-brother's accident hard, and even more so since he got hurt to save her, but Misaki managed to calm her down.
Played hard a couple of times in Cardcaptor Sakura. Both out and in-universe, Sakura in tears is considered an incredibly heartbreaking sight (interestingly the dub downplays a few of these scenes, likely to make her seem like a less vulnerable protagonist, though the remaining examples are still valid).
Misaki Tokura's perfect memory has one major flaw to it: she can't forget her parents' deaths. She doesn't play Vanguard that much because the cards remind her of them and she quits Team Q4 when she realizes she can't separate her past and the game. Although she does snap out of it before long.
Cavalier of the Abyss: Learning how her mother died pretty much drove Iffrita insane with hatred for the Demon Clan, especially Serin.
In the backstory of Chrono Crusade, Joshua was an imaginative Ill Boy that desperately wanted to be strong so he could overcome his illness. So when Aion offers him the chance to be powerful with the use of a pair of demon horns, he quickly accepts...and almost immediately goes insane because the power of the horns is too much for him to bear. The rest of the series has him acting as both the reason for Chrono and Rosette to fight and a Psychopathic Manchild that proves to be a dangerous opponent.
Rikka's dad's death in Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions had a traumatic impact on her, thus watching Yuuta and later creating her "Wicked Eye" persona is her coping mechanism. She gets broken again at the end of episode 10 where the last support she has for her delusions, Yuuta, suddenly turns on her and tries to make her face reality right before they were supposed to perform at the school festival and not even a day after they had confessed to each other.
Claymore's in general tend to have tragic backstories, but Clare gets it particularly badly. Priscilla has set the groundwork for the entire plot. "I killed my daddy while he ate my brother's innards..." Brrr.
Shirley Fennette was convinced by Mao to try to shoot Lelouch, as he knew exactly what to say due to his mind-reading powers. Lelouch tried to fix everything by giving her amnesia, but she still wound up really insecure and timid. In the second season, Gottwald accidentally brings her memories back while testing out his Geass Canceler, which leads to her eventual death at Rolo's hands.
Nunnally maintains a happy smile and only wants to be with her brother, despite being blind and crippled as a result of her mother being murdered in front of her. Although many things happen over the course of the show to separate them, she never lets them get her down. And by the second season she comes into her own, as Viceroy of Area 11. However, at the end of the show, her brother uses his Geass to force her to give him the key to a WMD, chains her up as a prisoner in a parade, then winds up dead (by his own orders) in an effort to unite the world in hating him. All this gets to her and she wails over his dead body. Even then, she still manages to take his place on the throne in order help finish bringing peace.
Mao, the orphan whom C.C. gave Geass to, went through this as well. He Used to Be a Sweet Kid but his mind-reading powers drove him completely insane, rendering him the most irreparably broken character in the entire series, who had to be mercy killed by C.C.. He's even famous for it.
Suzaku starts off at the beginning of the series as a chivalrous and gentle person before the series starts getting darker. As it runs its course, he suffers a Heroic BSoD when it's revealed that he killed his father, and then later he's given a "Live" Geass order from Lelouch which means that he has to stay alive at all costs, after which his girlfriend gets killed off in a very ugly fashion and then later he ends up deploying nuclear weapons while under the effect of his Geass, and ultimately gets pushed across the Despair Event Horizon. And then finally he's left to a potential Fate Worse than Death by killing Lelouch as Zero as soon as he manages to hook back up with him, and has to spend the rest of his life as Zero all Lonely at the Top.
Princess Euphemia is the one genuinely nice royal, an All-Loving Heroine who wants to genuinely make a better world for everyone. Then a terrible accident on Lelouch's part turns her into the Massacre Princess and she ends up dead.
Lelouch himself in the backstory; flashbacks and extra materials paints him as a happy child when younger. Then his mother was assassinated, his sister crippled and blinded by trauma, his father rejects both of them as "weaklings" and sends them as hostages to Japan, they are thrown away as collateral in the war against Japan, and Lelouch is forced to get himself and Nunnally (plus Suzaku) through battlefields to safety. By the start of the story he's a Broken Bird...and the series somehow manages to break him even more, wiping away what innocence and hope he has until he becomes a Death Seeker.
Minako goes through one hell of a Break the Cutie process at the ending of Codename: Sailor V. After a year of fighting youma all by herself, with indications that she felt that it was too much for her interspersed throughout the series, she learned that Kaitou Ace, her only true love was Danburite, a general of the Dark Kingdom, enemies of the Moon Kingdom. She had no choice but to kill her one true love, something she'd wanted all her life, and she renounced all of her former dreams in favour of her mission. Also, she learned that in her previous lifetime, she was the leader of Princess Serenity's warriors (aka the Sailor Senshi), and that all of the Senshi, Princess Serenity and Endymion had all died, and their world was destroyed because of the Dark Kingdom. The responsibility of preventing that from reoccuring lied with her. This symbolizes her becoming focused solely on her mission to protect Princess Serenity, and her going from a genuine Genki Girl to a Stepford Smiler.
Court Intrigue, a Sailor Moon RPG set in the 30th Century, has a race of aliens called the Argenians who have their planet destroyed. Among the survivors are 8-year-old Mirek and 9-year-old Keiki. The former becomes a mute and latter starts to act out because the events are so upsetting. Neo Queen Serenity, King Endymion, Sailor Venus, Sailor Mars, and Artemis all get killed and they don't get better? You can imagine what this does to (Chibi) Usagi and Diana.
A Cruel God Reigns: Jeremy. For the entire series. He's just a sweet, loving boy who would do anything to make sure his mother is happy. Unfortunately for him.
Erika from Daimos, basically a requirement when you're supposed to be the Juliet equivalent in a dramatic Super Robot show. The girl carried the Survivor's Guilt of thinking of being responsible of the deaths of her own father and the emissary of peace from Earth, then lost her memory and then fell in love with the son of said emissary, Kazuya, all while her homeland was at war with Earth because of that death and her brother Richter was spearheading the attack and too stubborn to back down and her boyfriend was the main defender of Earth. When everything came to her together, it just utterly breaks her whereas in normal mode, Erika is usually the sweet All-Loving Hero and Proper Lady. Thankfully, Erika finally earns herBittersweet Ending, which is after tons of suffering, including Richter performing a Heroic Sacrifice out of shame of that invasion.
Baran; Hadler and Vearn's numerous attempts at making Dai snap and/or join their ranks in Dai no Daibouken
In Danganronpa 3, we have several over the two story arcs. In the Future arc, we have Aoi Asahina and Makoto Naegi being put through another murder game, with the death of their friend and classmate Kyoko Kirigiri being a significant blow to their morale. And even worse, Episode 12 reveals that this was the whole purpose of the game in the first place: to break Ryota Mitarai and drive him to use a brainwashing video to destroy all negative emotions at the cost of everyone's humanity. In the Despair arc, we have the torture of Chisa Yukizome, and the turning of class 77 (a.k.a. the cast of Super Danganronpa 2) into Ultimate Despairs through being forced to watch their classmate Chiaki being executed via. a brainwashing video.
Happens to Tohka and Origami when they think Shido has been killed by the latter.
Yoshino also. She created the Yoshinon personality to limit her own power so she wouldn't hurt anyone. And yet the AST still indiscriminately attack her. In fact Yoshino would easily have ended up like Kurumi if not for Yoshinon.
Poor Miku. After she refused to sleep with a TV producer, false scandals about her popped up and ruined her Idol Singer career, and her fans (over 90% of them are males) turned against her. And on top of that, she lost her voice due to all the stress. For someone whose only talent was singing, it was as if she lost everything. No wonder she hates men so much.
Chiko from The Daughter of Twenty Faces has a rare double Break the Cutie. In the two-part Wham Episode early on, Chiko makes friends with a local girl whose dad is head of security at the local museum. The girl has a major crush on Chiko's disguise as a member of a circus, and invites her over, allowing Chiko to discover many weaknesses in the security. And turns them over to her thief comrades, who steal the major artifact from the museum... breaking the girl in the process. In part 2, the girl falls in line with some thieves gunning for Chiko's comrades, and the resulting carnage and death of the girl fighting Chiko breaks her as well.
The main character Ganta is imprisoned in a maximum security prison/theme park after emerging from a Heroic BSoD after his entire class gets slaughtered by a mysterious "Red Man" right before a field trip to said prison/theme park. In short order he's sentenced to death, befriended by Ax-Crazy Shiro, discovers that a piece of candy he lost was actually antidote for the poison that's being constantly injected into his body, that he actually does have the power that killed his classmates, courtesy of a red diamond implanted into his body by the Red Man, and discovers other "Deadmen" and is forced to learn how to use his power to fight them in a tournament. And that's not even half of this manga's current chapters.
This also happens to Nagi after Genkaku reminds him that he has no hope of seeing his child by escaping out of Deadman Wonderland. He later kills himself and attempts to take Genkaku with him (the monk ends up in a coma). And then there's Genkaku himself, who was shown in the past to have been a timid, cute monk that got repeatedly beaten and raped by bullies, with the elder monk in charge being unsympathetic and uncaring, and seeing the little wounded kitten he was taking care of die - all of this causing him to go insane.
There's poor Sayu Yagami, Light's sweet, adorable little sister in: During the second arc she gets kidnapped by Mello and ends up so traumatized that she goes catatonic and her mother has to use a wheelchair to move her around(!) She appears in a brief scene later in the manga. Word of God says she hasn't fully recovered, but she's improving. Thank the Gods.
There's also poor Touta Matsuda, who is a genuinely good (if a little dumb) person who hero-worships Soichiro, L, and Light and always gives his all to the investigation, even if he ends up hindering it more than helping it. Everyone makes it very clear that they don't think Matsuda is very important to the investigation despite that he's as committed as everyone else, and he ends up developing a pretty big inferiority complex. Then two of his heroes (Soichiro and L) die, and in the Yellow Box Warehouse he finds out that Light was responsible for both deaths and that he is the killer that they've been hunting this entire time. When Matsuda tries to take him down before he can kill Near, Light starts screaming that he's an idiot.. The poor guy has his idealism, mentors, and self-esteem slowly demolished throughout the series... No wonder he completely snaps and almost kills Light in the spot, screaming his head off and with Berserker Tears running down his face. He's back to normal in the epilogue of the manga, but a little bit less trusting.
Chiyuki from Death Parade was a promising young ice-skater who injured her knee. She was unable to skate anymore and ended up Driven to Suicide. Chiyuki is the amnesiac protagonist of the anime.
Tsuzuki's whole life (and afterlife) in Descendants of Darkness. Man does that guy have a sad story. To a lesser extent, Hisoka and the rest of the bureaucracy too.
The manga has a really nasty example of this in a flashback: Kanda's childhood friend Alma Karma. Despite a horrible life as a test subject for the Black Order, Alma was a Cheerful Child and the optimist to Kanda's cynical Jerkass. But after he got fried by the Crow while trying to save Kanda and only lived because he managed to synchronize with Innocence, he decided that the world was such a horrible place that it was doing everyone a favor to kill them. Which he attempted. Enthusiastically. When Kanda finally found him, he was standing in the midst of dozens of corpses, drenched in blood and smiling serenely, with another corpse still impaled on his "razor wing" Innocence. And he'd been trying to kill himself, too; his Healing Factor just kept closing it up.
Lenalee Lee. Parents killed by akuma. Abducted from the home she shared with her older brother after she was found out being a innocence host. Tortured, losing mind, possibly even driven to attempted suicide (specuialted by fandom, but still) - and all this before she was 13. She got better after her aforementioned older brother joined the Order itself to live with her. Just to have serious breakdowns whenever one of her True Companions dies (which for her is like her world falling apart). Good for her she's also a Plucky Girl, leading to her being an Action Girl. Then again this habit, altogether with her True Companions thing leads her to be a Stepford Smiler who has to admit how broken she is to become a better person. She still suffers trauma from her early years in the Order.
Miranda Lotto. Especially when she is forced to release the activation of her innocence, knowing that the people she kept alive with this and who protected her will ultimately die.. And her backstory was not nice either, conidering how she was shunned all of her life in her home due to her clumsiness and bad luck, to the point that she took broken dolls and fixed them in an attempt to not feel lonely.
The plot tries to do this on Allen Walker frequently. Up til now it did not succeed completely. He has some serious cracks now but is not completely broken, due to his status as Iron Woobie. (Just think about it. Parents abandoned him. Lived in an abusive circus where he was beaten by clowns, along with suffering from some really horrible mental and emotional abuse. Things get better after he gets adopted by Mana. Then things get horrible again as he has the lovely time of seeing his foster father die, said foster father getting turn into an Akuma (triggered by a fat guy with silly top hat), and then, his arm goes berserk and kills said Akuma... just after Mana (as an Akuma) tells him that he loves him. Next person who took care of him... left a trauma that's usually played for laughs but still leaves a bad taste in your mouth if you think of it. And basically, he's already crossed the Despair Event Horizon once by the time the series starts. Not that you'drealize that lookingat him right away. He wants to save the souls of people who got tricked by the same fat guy that tricked him. Just to realize that somewhere along the way he probably is going to kill some humans too. No matter how bad they are. And THEN, just to sweeten the pot he learns that one of those Big Bad guys resides within him, and that this guy will eventually erase him, that same guy was the brother of his foster father, said one was nuts already when he adopted Allen and probably never loved Allen but his brother (not that it influenced him being a good caretaker, as it seemed... or Allen's love for said foster father. Woobie indeed.) - and just now he's in prison, damocles' sword of execution or some other Fate Worse than Death above his head... and as it seems this is not the end of it. Really now, if things continue at this rate, he'll definitely fall into the trope.
Juri Katou of Digimon Tamers started out as a Genki Girl with a hand puppet to emphasize her childlike nature. She is the penultimate innocent of the cast, as well as the shy, sweet girl that main character Takato has a crush on. Then, once on the adventure, after a promising start as a potentially excellent Tamer, she loses her Digimon partner and gets kidnapped and possessed by the Big Bad. The Big Bad then proceeds to conjure up monsters based on her worst memories (revealing in the process that she was a Stepford Smiler all along, completely broken after her beloved mother dies of illness and her father tries to raise her alone but can't do a lot for her) in order to feed on her sadness.
It's not quite the same as Jeri,but Keenan in Digimon Savers fits the bill. As a baby he falls into a gate to the Digiworld crying helplessly for hours. So he gets adopted by a Frigimon,that gets killed right in front of him via Kurata and he's only 5. So he comes to think Humans Are the Real Monsters already. But even his own compatriots don't trust him and turn on him at proper excuse. Finally his father figure Merukimon also gets killed in front of him.
Takeru's companion, Patamon, also gets a lot of this. He is the most childlike, innocent and cute out of the main digimon, who is always looking out for Takeru, yet he easily goes through the most hardships aside from Tailmon. In the first episodes where he gets to be the main focus, he has a lot of issues with self confidence due to being the only one who cannot evolve, and even breaks down crying over this. When Ogremon and a brainwashed Leomon show up, Patamon tries to think of a plan to bring Leomon back to his senses and rescue Takeru, but is too weak to do anything and nearly gets crushed to death in the process. When Devimon is about to kill Takeru, Patamon attacks Devimon with all his might, only to realize that his attacks do nothing and, in a last desperate effort, flies in front of Takeru to shield him. This causes him to finally evolve into Angemon... Who instantly sacrifices his own life to kill Devimon. He comes back in the next episode as a baby, and then a few episodes later evolves into Tokomon. Then, as Tokomon, he gets kidnapped, beaten up and poked with sticks by a gang of Pagumon who lock him up. He gets rescued by Agumon and is reunited with Takeru... For a short while. A couple of episodes later, due to Picodevimon's influence, Takeru ends up fighting with Tokomon and abandoning him, even though Tokomon saved his life. Tokomon is left on the beach alone, depressed and nearly starving to death. After Tokomon reunites with Takeru once more, he evolves into Patamon to beat up Picodevimon and things seem to be going his way again. Then, in the movie Our War Game, Patamon participates in the fight against Diablomon and before he can evolve into Angemon, he gets attacked and beaten to near death by Diablomon. Then in Zero Two, the Digimon Emperor kidnaps Patamon and tries to put an Evil Spiral on him, and it's only thanks to Garurumon's interference that he doesn't succeed.
Everything culminates for both Takeru and Patamon in Digimon Adventure tri. movie "Confession": Patamon is the first of the eight main digimon to catch the infection and ends up biting Takeru. Takeru brings Patamon home in order to quarantine him from the other digimon. When Takeru gets home, Patamon realizes that he has been infected and, with a smile on his face, asks Takeru to kill him if he starts acting violently. Patamon tries to keep up the happy demeanor and says he has made peace with his fate in order to not make Takeru sad, but in the end they both completely break down crying. Realizing that Takeru is unable to put him down, Patamon meets with the other seven digimon and asks them to do it instead, saying that "You guys are everything I have!"
Speaking of the original series, Tailmon/Gatomon may be a badass, but that's partly because she went through this a long time ago. She was accidentally dropped in the forest as an egg when the Chosen Digimon were being transported to where they'd meet their partners, hatched and spent her entire early childhood isolated and lonely but still with a desire to be with her partner that she couldn't place, when she reached her Child/Rookie stage set off looking for her only to be captured by Vamdemon/Myotismon as a recruit for his army. She resisted for a while and ended up regularly beaten for it to the point that she gave in just to stay alive and eventually forgot the whole thing and got to be noted as one of his more valuable servants. When she does finally find Hikari and remember her past, nothing gets easier, seeing as she gets kidnapped and used to lure out her own partner and Wizarmon, her only real friend during her time under Vamdemon's service, is killed right in front of her (twice), and after Vamdemon seems to be defeated, her experiences don't entirely leave her.
Gohan in Dragon Ball Z. He starts out as something of a nerdy crybaby, but then he's kidnapped (twice in the same day!), abandoned in the wilderness, watches his father get beaten and killed, watches his kidnapper-turned-father-figure get beaten and killed, watches a bunch of his father's friends get beaten and killed, and watches his father's best friend get beaten and almost killed, all in the first story arc! This is repeated in the following story arc, with the deaths of Krillin and Dende, and more beatings for Goku and Piccolo. It finally culminates in the Cell arc, when Cell deliberately goes out of his way to piss Gohan off and he dutifully shows us why we should Beware the Nice Ones by reaching the first level beyond Super Saiyan, by shifting from All-Loving Hero Jr. into a brutal, sadistic, homicidal maniac that would make Frieza proud. Then his father dies. Post-Time Skip, aside from the Super Hero gig, Gohan's retired from fighting in order to attend high school and take a shot at just being a normal kid, but once he re-takes a level in badass and finds out the Big Bad murdered everyone, including his Love Interest and mother? DBZ is nothing if not repetitive! The Future Badass version, who suffered the permanent loss of everyone he knew at a young age, does not even approach this level of power or heartbreak.
Speaking of Bad Futures, poor Trunks grow up in a world slowly dying because of the androids. Everyday more people are pointlessly killed until his best friend, master, and spiritual brother is brutally murdered and left to rot in the middle of the street. This breaks him and causes him to finally go Super Saiyan. Unlike other examples, however, he's still too weak to fight the androids and can't avenge his master even three years later. In the timeline where Cell comes from, Trunks is unceremoniously killed by Cell and his time machine stolen. Poor guy suffers so much.
Gohan actually got an episode seemingly centered around this. Early on, Gohan had apparently been watching too many Disney movies, as he's constantly trying to make friends with butterflies and squirrels, asking them their names, etc. Then an early Z episode shatters any illusions he may have had about nature being cuddly and cute. He meets a wounded dinosaur and attempts to nurse it back to health, applying a poultice to its injuries and gathering food for it. There's a short scene where he imagines how cool it will be to keep it for a pet and have adventures with it, illustrated in a cute super-deformed style. Then a short while later, another dinosaur attacks it, and Gohan fails in fighting it off and gets knocked senseless, awakening to find his new friend's bones scattered on the ground. The lesson: stop baby-talking at nature, little five-year-old, it doesn't like you. He spends the latter half of his training eating that other dinosaur's tail, bit by bit, for breakfast. Payback is not only a bitch, but apparently delicious.
Much more mild, and much, much shorter versions of this trope were applied to Gohan's younger brother Goten, who watched the Big Bad murder his mother in cold blood after his father returned to the Afterlife and he was led to believe that Gohan himself was dead, and daughter Pan, who was nearly killed by various Brainwashed and Crazy family members, including Gohan himself. Surprisingly, unlike the others, she didn't go super saiyan or have a nervous breakdown by the end of that story arc.
The King Piccolo Saga was anything but kind to poor Goku. First, he loses to Tien because he has the bad luck to hit a trunk while he is falling. He then forget his Power Pole and Dragon Ball because he's tired and hungry, so Krillin go to retrieve them. In the anime, Goku has a bad feeling about letting Krillin go, but didn't voice it. After waiting for Krillin to return, he gets a vision that his friend is in grave danger and rushes he to the stadium, only to arrive too late. Krillin is dead. In a complete fit of rage, he runs to find his friend murderer. When he does, he gets the crap beating out of him because he's too weak to put up much of a fight. He's left unconscious in a forest, presume dead. When he does finally get his revenge on Krillin's murderer, Piccolo finds him and nearly kills him and takes the Dragon Ball he was guarding off his lifeless body. Broken and barely able to move, he's driven to Korin's Tower so he can get more powerful. Only to find out that he has surpass Korin long ago and he can't teach him anything. He also learns that his farther figure, Master Roshi, was murdered by Piccolo. By this point, Goku reaches his breaking point and is ready to charge Piccolo, not caring if he gets killed. Knowing he can't stop Goku from going after Piccolo, Korin gives Goku access to the Ultra Divine Water that greatly increase his power. Goku is finally able challenge Piccolo, but near the end of the fight, Piccolo takes Tien hostage and breaks his arm. He's then told that moment that the Eternal Dragon has been destroyed so no one who has died can ever be wish back, just before Piccolo breaks his leg, making him unable to even stand. As Piccolo flies up to give the final death blow, you can see just how piss off Goku is about everything that has happened to him.
Broly, since his birth, had to endure several life-threatening situations. For one thing, King Vegeta attempted to have Broly executed just because he felt he would have been a threat to the royal family due to his power level of 10,000. Shortly after that, as well as being tossed into a dump along with his father (who was also nearly executed because he attempted to stop Vegeta from executing his son), he also narrowly escaped with his dad from Planet Vegeta's destruction by Frieza, and was also implied to have spent most of his childhood constantly in hiding and also in constant pain and fear, and eventually started developing Ax-Crazy tendencies. Later, his dad also forced him to wear a Hypno Trinket / Power Limiter due to fearing his power, and was later used to destroy the South Galaxy as part of a revenge scheme against Vegeta.
Masomi Kida from Durarara!! goes through hell and back through the third arc of the series. Seemingly happy and go lucky, he was broken before the series started. Let's start that he had uncaring parents (or at least hinted), so he started a gang known as Yellow Scarves because of his insecurities of wanting to be someone in life. Then his life went to hell when he met both his girlfriend Saki Mikajima and the informant Izaya Orihara. While he got to know them both, fights were breaking out more with the rival gang Blue Squares. It got to the point where Masomi needed to ask Izaya for help in order to defeat the rival gang. And then hell strikes and Saki is kidnapped by their leader and have her legs broken. The person that he started to trust ends up not responding to the phone calls and in a panic, Masomi tries to save Saki...only to freeze up. While Saki is saved by Kadota and his gang after they quit Blue Squares, Izaya then accuses Masomi for letting Saki get hurt. He then tells him that he'll have to live with the guilt forever. Cue the series starts and he invites his friend Mikado over to Ikebukuro so he could save him but by the time that his other friend Anri is injured by the Slashers who is hinted to be part of the Dollars, he's forced to rejoin his gang and then is thrown back into the hell by relying on Izaya again and having him reveal that the leader of Dollars is his best friend and then later getting bitchslapped by Anri after he accuses her of "sucking up" to Mikado. What finally sends him over the edge is jerkass Horoda telling him he's out of the group because he was hiding information from them about Dollars and declared that they would kill his best friend. Finally, he tries to kill Horoda to make up for what happened to Saki but almost dies in the process. Luckily, Mikado and Anri appear to save his ass. By the end of the anime series, he seems recovered... but in recent novel chapters, he's going back to hell after finding out that Mikado is going throughthe same thingbut is taking it a different way. This kid needs a hug and therapy.
What no mention of Anri? The fact that she was abused by her own father, and seeing her own mother Sayaka kill him and committing suicide at the same time using Saika, resulting in her without a heart and being Saika's new owner, must've been hard for her. It's hard not to feel sympathy for her.
Mikado as well. He starts off as this adorably idealistic boy, just moved to a new city, all excited about making new friends and watching the growth of his ideal group, the Dollars. But then his best friend leaves, the girl he likes might be a psycho but they don't talk about it, and the Dollars starts filling up with low-level gangsters who just use the name. He's manipulated and used by Izaya and Aoba, to the point that his dark side pops up and he stabs his kouhai with a pen.
However, this might be a subversion as Aoba points out that Mikado had this dark personality from the very beginning and if that's the case, his whole idealistic nature might as well be a facade for hiding the darkness in his heart. Aoba is the first to realize that they're both using each other. Though in a sense, it could potentially be worse: how broken you have to be to do that, huh? Broken enough that when he gets a gun from Aoba's big bro (on behalf of the Yakuza), he's practically gone into Slasher Smile territory: making even the Yakuza men react.
Essentially, the above three get broken multiple times throughout the story/seasons, to the point they each dare the Despair Event Horizon. It's Mikado who finally tries to cross only to be saved at the last second by Celty. Only when they hit bottom can they finally start getting better.
From the Elemental Gelade manga, Cia, the adilraid Ren promised to meet in Adil Garden. They broke her good.
There's a fair few characters in Elfen Lied that are this "fair few" meaning every single protagonist, without exception. Nana gets a special mention. Nana is an extremely clever inversion. It's explicitly stated that her "Cutie" persona is a psychological defense mechanism that she developed as a result of the universe's constant attempts to break her. Without that, she would be every bit the killing machine that Lucy and Mariko are.
There's Mayu, who ran away from home because her stepfather was molesting her and her mother blamed her for it and was repeatedly exposed to scenes of carnage and horror and her dog being taken away. Though, in a fashion that's something of a theme of the story, he comes back.
Future Lucy, it is made quite clear with her emotional state that her life became a living hell because of the dragons destroying everything. In the anime the tone of her voice shows just how broken down she is.
Natsu got hit with this hard near the end of the Tartaros arc. Throughout the series, it's been specifically stated that his Goal in Life was to see his fosterfather, Igneel, again. They finally reunite...but only because the Dragon KingAcnologia was about to kill everyone. Igneel faces off against him, telling Natsu they'll talk afterwards. So, Natsu and company work together and manage to beat down what's left of Tartaros, and Natsu's all ready for that talk. Igneel dies graphically against Acnologia, right before getting finished off by the monster's Breath Weapon. Natsu has a front-row seat to watch too, and while all of this is happening, Igneel is using his last moments to tell him why he left and that he always loved him. The look on his face says it all...
Final Fantasy: Unlimited : The entirety of After is based on the forces of Chaos putting Lisa through as much emotional turmoil as possible. This is also just Chaos' favorite game, seeing as how it feeds on negative emotions and all.
The entire Hong Kong arc was basically seeing how much rape and physical/mental torture Takaba could take before he snapped. It took a lot. Apparently a few days on a tropical island makes it all better though...
The High Loft arc describes how Feilong's world falls apart after he meets Asami. He's later explicitely described in Naked Truth Zero as being so broken that he doesn't even care about the assassins sent after him in jail.
Practically the whole cast of Fruits Basket. If there's a Cutie, the Cutie either is broken or will be shortly.
Tohru, whose father died when she was 3 and whose mother died when she was 16. Her whole family hates her except for her grandfather.
Kyo, who's rejected by everyone for being the Cat of the Zodiac. And he blames himself for the deaths of his mother and Kyoko Honda.
Yuki, who was psychologically abused by Akito while his family completely ignored his pleas for help.
Momiji, whose mother rejected him for being a member of the Zodiac and now doesn't remember him.
Hatori, who had to erase the memories of the woman he loved and break off all contact with her.
Hanajima, whose sixth sense resulted in her almost killing a boy in sixth grade and hearing everybody's thoughts until well into her teens, when she finally learned to control it.
Kisa, who was bullied so much she stopped speaking.
Isuzu, whose parents pretended to love her and then started abusing her when she found out. And that's not counting what Akito did to her...
Akitoherself, since her mother hated her ever from before she was born for utterly petty reasons, and ever since her kind father died was driven by her mother to hate, abuse, and break everyone in her surroundings.
Riza Hawkeye is a retroactive example. She used to be a cute and meek girl before her parents died (and it's strongly implied her dad was rather unbalanced, which is confirmed later), leaving her an orphan, and she trusted Roy with the secret to Fire Alchemy, inadvertently creating a Person of Mass Destruction. She then joined the army and went through Ishval, forcing her to toughen up the hard way, but without tossing all of her feelings away. How she got that secret: by having it forcibly tattooed on her back. And Roy later had to add more scars by burning said back so no one would be able to discover it.
The identity of the Rockbells' killer differs between the 2003 anime version and the manga/Brotherhood anime. A young and traumatized Roy in the first series, Scar in the manga/Brotherhood. But it's played amazingly both times.
Ed and Al, in all continuities. They started out with a happy family, but then Daddy left for very good reasons, Mommy died, they attempted to bring back Mommy only to fail and mutilate themselves in the process. And THAT'S all before the story even begins!
The 2003 anime version has Rose, who just wanted to help people. She felt the full swing of the show's gradual slide away from the idealistic end of the scale when she was protecting some children during an invasion of her home town. She was gangraped by soldiers and left pregnant and mute (due to trauma), and ended up so empty that she was used as a figurehead of a religious movement, and then just as an empty shell for the Big Bad to possess. She thankfully recovers by the end.
In Full Metal Panic!'s backstory between Sōsuke and Kalinin, you can get a taste of young Sōsuke's Break the Cutie (though most of what you see is the huge contrast and aftermath). Especially noticeable from this to this.
Full Moon o Sagashite: Takuto, Meroko, AND Izumi all have major breakdowns while remembering their (manga-only) suicidal pasts. Mitsuki's backstory as well.
In the anime of Full Moon o Sagashite, Mitsuki loses the will to live after finding out Eichi was dead all along and goes into a doll-like state (complete with Dull Eyes of Unhappiness) until Takuto convinces her to live for her own sake.Takuto goes through severe emotional and physical pain from his previous memories.
Fushigi Yuugi revolves around this trope. Yui is raped within 5 minutes of her second trip there, and becomes a vengeful, hateful villainess, primarily because of her bishonen bodyguard Nakago, who warped her mind to the point where she blames her best friend Miaka for the rape, since she wasn't there to help her. Eventually, it turns out that Yui was never actually raped, but the entire thing was a ridiculously complicated plan by Nakago to pit them against each other as a part of a larger plan to stage a coup in Genbu. Later he tries to rape Miaka as well but fails, though he does get her to believe that it happened until someone else explains the mess.
Also, that whole arc where Yui drugs Tamahome to make him betray Miaka, who was temporarily broken until she breaks the spell with The Power of Love. Then, Miaka's own mistakes make everything worse for her, Tamahome, and their friends
Chiriko, Chiriko, Chiriko. This is a ten-year-old boy who initially Refused the Call when he realized he was a designated Suzaku warrior, because he was terrified of going to war (like any normal child would be). His final fate, in which HE STABS HIMSELF IN THE CHEST as a Taking You with Me attack on an enemy warrior, is so heartbreaking that even his adult comrades Tasuki and Mitsukake are brought to tears by witnessing it.
Yukiteru had this happen to him. Originally a more naive pacifist who just wants to get along and save anyone he can, he eventually breaks after his father is revealed to have only come back so he could destroy Yukiteru's Diary to clear his 3 million yen debt (although he doesn't seem to know that doing so will kill Yuki), kills Yukiteru's beloved mother in a moment of extreme stress and desperation, then buys a telescope and tries to "start over" with Yukiteru only to end up getting stabbed to death by men working with the Eleventh. It probably didn't help that Yukiteru had a psycho Stalker with a Crush after him that probably whittled away at his sanity.
Yuno herself qualifies. When we see Yuno in the past, she seems to have been a sweet, optimistic girl, who still believed the best of her parents ("Mama's just sick...") despite their horrific abuse towards her. But sadly the abuse kept going on for the Yuno of the 1st world until she became twisted and locked her own parents in a cage, just to get away from it all for a minute and so they could know what they were putting her through. Unfortunately, they starved and she went completely over the deep-end. When the 3rd world changes and Yuno's parents stop abusing her, she seems to have grown up to be a perfectly normal, nice girl.
Arus confrontation with Deus. It's a real shocker to find out that you're not even human and then denied the things that made you you. The pride in his detective skills as well as his love for Yuki were denied by God himself. Fortunately, he breaks out of this quickly.
Poor Genzo, who got his wife horribly killed in front of his eyes. Also Otsuru in volumes 1 and 5 when she's almost raped and quartered by Denzaemon.
Kouko in Golden Time when she gets dumped by Mitsuo. On the one hand, she deserved a verbal beatdown from Mitsuo for her borderline stalking and harassing Chinami just because Mitsuo was so nice to her; on the other hand she got hosed down so badly she is reduced to a tearful mess.
Happens again, only without the haughtiness when she falls asleep at the wheel and gets into an accident. It got worse when Chinami got injured in the process.
Punpun from Goodnight Punpun starts the series after a Cheerful Child however the extremely cynical tone of the manga kills that very quickly. To start off the series he walks in on his father beating his mom, though later we learn he was stopping her from committing Murder-Suicide with her son, and his father gets arrested. By his adulthood Punpun is a suicidal loner with a dysfunctional obsession for his (deeply troubled herself) childhood crush Aiko, or more so he is in love with the idea of her rather than Aiko herself.
Gosick: OhMyGod. Episode 19 - The Birth Of Victorique. She was never married to Marquis Albert de Blois. He simply realized that Cordelia Gallo was a stray superhuman suitable for breeding him a Tyke Bomb. He kidnapped her that very night, then raped her. For months on end, as she was his prisoner for a solid year before the Screaming Birth... which probably had something to do with having to squat out Albert's superbaby while chained to a stone altar and surrounded by scary guys in hooded robes. Afterwards, she sees her baby for maybe three seconds before passing out and waking up in a Bedlam House because Albert had no more use for her. Worst part? Even though her first love broke her out of the Bedlam House, she picked up a severe case of Babies Make Everything Better at some point in the pregnancy and can't bring herself to get the hell out of Sauvile because that would mean leaving Victorique in Albert's sick hands. Her only bright(ish) spot is one of de Blois' men having a microsecond of regret at the whole thing and slipping her Victorique's picture.
Green Blood: Brad was broken hard as a child. Then Luke was. Jenny Macy gets it when her mother dies, and Ned Huddleston later on. However, all of them become stronger people for it.
Poor Noriko pretty much goes through hell and back in GunBuster directly due to her insecurity and codependency issues before finally shaping up and becoming a Hot-Blooded badass. Kazumi doesn't exactly get off easy in Episode 5, either.
Mika Asagi from Gungrave anime. Her mother wanted her to live a normal life without knowing anything about Millenion and her parents' involvement, but things went very bad once the Millenion agents found them. Her mother sent her away with the butler to find a man named Brandon Heat, but as Mika and the butler left, she saw her mother being shot down. Soon, they encountered an Orgmen during their escape, and the butler was killed while trying to buy some time for Mika to continue her journey. Mika finally found Dr. Tokioka and Brandon (who was now called 'Beyond the Grave'), and things appeared to be fine until Grave left her with Gary and Widge (Grave's old friends). Mika watched Gary's and Widge's gruesome death before being kidnapped by Balladbird Lee. Soon, Grave arrived to rescue her, but during the battle, Dr. Tokioka shielded her with his body from Lee's attacks, which resulted in his death. Things went From Bad to Worse because with the equipments left, Grave could only live for about ten days. And Mika soon found out that Grave's body had begun to crack, indicating that he wouldn't last long anymore. Because she loved Grave, she begged him to forget about Millenion and asked him to go faraway with her and live together, but Grave knocked her out cold with a punch to the gut. When she woke up, Grave had gone, and she tried to find him. Unfortunately, Grave had truly died by the time she found him, leaving her alone as everybody she loved had gone.
The titular heroines of Gunslinger Girl get broken from the inside by their own cybernetic implants and by the brutal mental conditioning they receive to function as cold-blooded assassins. And that's not even mentioning the singularly horrible things that happened to them in order to necessitate them becoming cyborgs to survive. For example, Henrietta was a normal little girl until a home invasion ended in her parents being killed in front of her and her being severely raped multiple times to the degree that it's implied that is why she can't menstruate. She ended up suicidal however it was deemed she was a perfect candidate for being made into a cybernetic Child Soldier. Her traumatic memories were repressed so that she acts like a happy child throughout the manga, even despite her horrible life and the fact she's often treated as sub-human. However, late in the manga her personality and memories are removed which causes her to act robotic and emotionless. She only gets better right beforeher death.
Haou Airen: Kurumi, despite her Love Martyr tendencies, finds herself pretty broken. A good example would be her huge Heroic BSoD after Reilan's Thanatos Gambit. The fact that immediately afterward Hakuron raped her repeatedly in an effort to stop her from leaving him didn't help.
Phil gradually tears away at Myuu to demoralize her in episode 9, by telling her she'll be used as bait to lure out the dark clans, that she must have seduced Akatsuki to save her own skin, and even if she somehow stopped him, more would be sent after her, putting her friends on Earth in danger.
He tries it again in episode 11. However, he's much less successful this time around due to words of encouragement from Akatsuki prior to the fight.
Haibane Renmei: Rakka hits this after Kuu's Day of Flight occurs and she leaves. It gets to the point she hits rock bottom, literally (in a dry well) and figuratively. She becomes suicidal and sin-bound, which causes her white wings to turn grey. This in turn causes her to cut off the affected feathers. Eventually she gets better after she comes to terms with everything.
Mikuru Asahina from the Haruhi Suzumiya series can be viewed as a work in progress for this trope. Haruhi has no hesitation in abusing her both consciously (like having another student grope her and photo it for blackmail) and unconsciously (like giving her eyebeam powers which requires Nagato to bite her in order to inject counter-nanobots). Arguably future Asahina seems well adjusted, but since Haruhi can alter the timestream that's not a guarantee. You have to worry for someone when they ask "will you still marry me, if I'm unable to" after a session with Haruhi.
Haruhi and Yuki gets the treatment too. Let's start with Yuki.
Yuki lives through over 15,000 (15,498 in the novels, 15,513 in the anime) repetitions of the same 2 weeks without aging, remembering everything to do with it. And she can't do a single thing because her job is to observe. By the end of it, Kyon notices that The Stoic, turned Up to Eleven is now openly showing her sadness. No wonder. She lived for nearly 600 years without aging a single bit.
Haruhi is closer to a Broken Bird than a Broken Cutie. She learns, rather painfully, that she isn't all that special, and in her quest to make her life special, goes on the hunt for aliens, time travellers and ESPers after some inspiration from Kyon. This leads to her general sociopathy, and her obsession with cosplaying Mikuru. A good part of the plot is her learning how to be a good person again, as noted by Kyon.
Nymph gets stomped and beaten on quite a bit early on.
Chapter 47 is completely devoted to breaking Chaos. She finally realized what love actually is and attempted to go back to Synapse, but the Master blasts her with his strongest weapon. She survives and goes to Tomoki's house but accidentally overhears him say that Angeloids should leave and never come back. She starts crying, and decides that love is pain again. Then she dives to the bottom of the ocean. The entire time, she held on to the shoes Tomoki gave her.
What makes this even worse is that the scene then shifts to Tomoki sitting in the playground where he met Chaos, and he has a bunch of toys all set for her to play with.
And now she not only has all the memories of one of the kindest and most loving cast members all wrapped up in her head, but she just stabbed Tomoki through the friggin' heart. Seems like the author is dedicated to pushing the poor thing until she finally snaps so bad that she has to be put down.
Hellsing: Seras, who seems a cheerful and upbeat girl for most of the manga, has a rather dark and disturbing backstory, which seems to have happened when she was very young. It consists of her father being murdered by burglars, her mother hiding her in a cupboard to protect her, and her mother's subsequent murder by the same burglars. Seras tries to exact revenge by stabbing one of the guys in the eye with a fork. She gets shot for her trouble and one of the perpetrators proceed to rape her mother's corpse, due to it being "still warm". In full view of Seras who lies on the ground bleeding profusely watching it happen and unable to do anything to stop it.
The seventh OVA is specifically dedicated to having Zorin Blitz do this to Seras as well. She delves deep into Seras' memories, forcing her to relive her painful childhood. While Seras is trapped in the illusion and crying profusely, Zorin hacks off her arm, stabs her through the back, and slices her eyes. Pip and his two remaining squad members arrive and manage to temporarily disable Zorin before she can kill Seras by shooting her multiple times. Pip tries to escape with the badly wounded Seras, but Zorin stabs him through the back. He kisses Seras in his agony, then tells her to bite him before he dies. Tearfully, she does so, healing most of her wounds. Seras then goes into Roaring Rampage of Revenge mode and utterly destroys Zorin's forces and Zorin herself.
Integra didnt have it easy, either. She used to be a shy girl; then, her father died when she was twelve, leaving her the leader of Hellsing and a member of the Royal Order of Protestant Knights. Almost immediately after his death, her remaining blood relative, Richard, tried to murder her. Escaping through the air vent and fleeing for her life, she stumbled upon Alucard out of pure luck. If Richard hadn't shot her in the shoulder first, Alucard would not have awakened in time to slaughter the two henchmen and block the bullet for Integra. She then shot and killed Richard, effectively losing the last of her family on the same day.
Further attempts of breakdowns consist of the attack to her mansion by the Valentine brothers that forced her to shoot down all her troops that had been turned into ghouls, what happened later on in London (she witnessed how it was destroyed to the ground and was the only real survivor of the attack), the deaths of Penwood and Walter (coupled with his betrayal), and Alucards disappearance.
Neither had it as bad as Alucard himself with his captivity and rape as a child. Quite honestly, he was a goddamn saint for Christendom throughout his entire life and was very repeteadly screwed over. He might have very questionable hobbies, but was very mucha warrior of Christ. And the manga makes his position very, very clear in the scene of his human form's death, with him kneeling to lap at the blood of his homeland. The man, the most devout of the knights of God, stripped of everything that ever meant anything to him and left to see as the enemies of his faith are left to ravage his beloved homeland. And today, readers would bet every single one of you, reading this article, has only known Vlad III of Wallachia as Dracula. A monster.
Laila reaches this point in Hero Tales when she finds out Taito's fate as the Hagun resulted in death of her parents and their adoptive father, going so far as to try and kill him in anger before she comes to her senses.
In Himitsu no Hanazono, the anime version of The Secret Garden, Camilla and Max Hawkins were horribly broken in their backstories, which also influences Max in his revenge quest against Archibald. Not to mention, we get to see exactly how badly Lillias's Death by Childbirth broke Mr. Craven himself...
The plot of Honoo no Alpen Rose pretty much bends over to try breaking Jeudi. And it's very, VERY close to succeed. But she pulls through more than once.
Tenshou from Soul Hunter. I mean, his mom and aunt both kill themselves, he watches his dad die by acid rain right in front of him, and his older brother kicks it soon after. It is seriously no wonder the kid developed an abandonment complex.
Possibly Ou Eki too, although we never see what specifically broke him.
Neptune of Hyperdimension Neptunia is a goofy, 4th Wall Breaking, game loving bundle of happiness...who falls into two separate depressions in Episodes 9 and 10. The first is due to Peashy missing and Neptune keeps forcing herself to ignore how bad she feels since the last time they were together they had a big fight and Peashy said she hated Neptune. She gets better thanks to Plutia/Iris Heart...and then she finds out Peashy's been brainwashed and turned into a super powerful CPU, Yellow Heart, at the end of the episode. Then comes the absolutely heartbreaking events in Episode 10 where Neptune had locked herself in her room...only to force herself to face Yellow Heart and do her best to make Peashy remember. She doesn't get better by the end of the episode, which ends with Peashy remembering her just as she's taken back to her home dimension. Leaving Neptune to look over Peashy's drawings and cry.
Idol Densetsu Eriko: Viga of Idols of Anime described the show as "Break the Cutie: The Anime". In the first episode, Ojou Eriko's parents get into a car accident which kills her father and leaves her mother in a coma. That sets the tone for the rest of the series.
Ie Naki Ko Remi: Remi, Remi,Remi. She's been through harsh winters, was nearly sold off to a slave trader by her adoptive dad, and beaten by someone who couldn't care less about children!
The second season of Inazuma Eleven was surprisingly relentless with this, but the one who suffered the most is Fubuki. If losing his whole family in an avalanche accident and developing a Split Personality of his brother isn't enough, he spends the whole season struggling to get over his disorder, especially when Epsilon was their main threat. He manages to earn his happy ending after merging with his brother.
Pretty much the entire plot of the story is breaking down Etienne's faith and driving him to suffering. From his miracles being faked, to watching his friends die one by one, to seeing the true evil of the church he's devoted his life to, to finally being executed by that church, Etty does not have an easy time.
Nico starts out as an innocent kid looking for glory and fun. He winds up a broken shell of a man who's watched numerous friends die in front of him, been too late to save the most important person in his life, and has to live with the guilt of knowing it's all his fault.
Marc starts out as a happy go lucky kid who lives to clown around and make people laugh. After his best friend is killed in front of him, he turns into a broken, nervous wreck bordering on an empty shell.
Henri starts out as a sweet, young crybaby who already has some issues with being weaker than his peers. After being unable to fight properly, earning Nicolas's hatred, accidentally killing one of his friends, and being raped and tortured by Hugo, he's so broken he tries to kill himself by impaling his own throat on a spiky branch, claiming that he'll never be brave enough to be a knight.
As if everything else that happens during the course of the Children's Crusade, including multiple deaths and growing cold with his brother and best friend, isn't enough, Laurent gets to feel his twin brother's death over their telepathy. Meaning he got to experience every second of what Lillian was feeling.
Remy's entire life has been one long series of this. He started out as the cutest boy in the village, and then developed leprosy that made everyone but his family and Etienne hate him. He sets out on the Children's Crusade in search of a cure, but only gets to experience his body slowly falling apart under him as exhaustion and trauma get the better of him. He finally dies, confused and believing that God will turn him away, and by that point, he's missing a lot of body parts on top of it all
It has been suggested that Mari from Inside Mari had this happen prior to the manga. She was a Cheerful Child until her grandmother died. Her emotionally abusive mother hated her mother-in-law and went as far as to change Mari's name from "Fumiko" - which was chosen by her grandmother - to the name she had wanted. This all ended up having an unexpected toll on Mari's psyche to the point where as a teenager it's implied she developed a Split Personality and has dissociation issues due to that. She's also generally aloof and has Stepford Smiler tendencies in her "Mari" persona.
Suzu from In This Corner of the World goes through quite a bit of this. We're introduced to her as a sweet and carefree girl living near Hiroshima in the 1940s. After getting engaged, she moves to Kure to live with her new husband's family, but their lives become increasingly more difficult as the effects of World War II start to take their toll. When Suzu is returning from an errand with her daughter-in-law Harumi, a severe air raid starts and they take cover in a public bomb shelter. The raid stops and all appears to be safe, but then they come across a time-delayed bomb that suddenly goes off, killing Harumi and taking Suzu's right hand. And that's beforethe infamous nuclear bombing of Hiroshima happens...
Kohaku from InuYasha. His village was destroyed, he was possessed and forced to attack his companions, wounding his sister Sango almost fatally and murdering his father and friends, and then got killed. He was revived and brainwashed by Naraku (the one responsible of all of the above) to be used against his sister and her new friends and to help in his plots by slaughtering a lot of innocent people. When he finally regained his memories, two of his "protectors" were killed (Kagura and Kikyo), he can't stand being near his sister because of the guilt and he thinks the only way to atone is to die killing Naraku. If that wasn't enough, he was later forced to relive the day he killed his father and friends over and over again for days. He used to be a shy, gentle and happy 11 year-old boy.
Also said older sister Sango. The poor girl is as plucky as she can be after witnessing how poor Kohaku was Brainwashed and Crazy into killing their dad and almost killing her, but seeing Kohaku lose his memories upon all of this shit and not being able to remember her because it'd mean he'd also remember killing their dad and friends... it often ends up breaking her into tears. It's not helped by how her Chivalrous Pervert love interest, Miroku, is getting closer and closer to fall victim to Power Incontinence.
Iron Man: Flashbacks reveal that after Yinsen miraculously avoided his Death by Origin Story, he was taken in by a rural village, where he began to recover in both body and soul. However, the Big Bad then destroyed the entire village using Stark weaponry in order to turn Yinsen against Tony.
None of the characters are actually broken in I"s, but they do suffer some damage. Here is a tally.
Iori's rehearsal regime is designed to break her on the theory that it will make her a better actor.
Itsuki when she realizes she'll never have Ichitaka's heart.
Aiko when her boyfriend dumps her.
Iori when she is almost raped for the second time. It is amazing she didn't need therapy by the end of the story!.
Jack Frost: Why exactly is Noh-A dead in the first place? She committed suicide in life after realizing she was a Doom Magnet and being unable to stand the loneliness and the rumors.
Sora is the target of lots of bullying in the first season of Kaleido Star, until she proves she's more than Kalos's protege and has her own worth as a performer. And in the second one she's also the target of ridicule and lectures for her rose-tinted vision of circus life and her own self-esteem problems.
Also, a terrible Break the Cutie process made Leon Oswald the cruel, bitter person we meet. He gets better.
Maron from Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne has been the victim of one of these, planned and executed since her birth, due to being the reincarnation of Jeanne d'Arc.
Karas: Sagisaka's daughter Yoshiko is a post-break example, having become a near-catatonic mute after witnessing a mikura slaughter her entire class. She gets better, with the help of Kure.
Hiyori from Kare wa Tomodachiespecially when she finds out she's pregnant and gets a miscarriage and Kotone in her back story as her mother's admittance that she should have never gave birth to her and Mizuno ignoring Kotone during middle school drove Kotone to online dating websites.
Kasei Yakyoku: And how. Specially Sara, who gets forcibly stripped and almost gangraped by yakuza in the second OAV, but the worst comes in the fourth, when she nbrely survives the Kanto Earthquake, loses her and Junichirou's mother, witnesses Saburo's death after barely escaping from more thugs, and learns that Taka and Junichirou have left. Wah!
Kiba: Rebecca's physically manipulated into stabbing her father by her teacher and forced into marriage with Dumas, only to be given to Hugh instead in a plot to get one of the key spirits. Then her father is killed.
Then there's Noah, who landed in Neotopia. Despite being rescued by a kindly couple and temporarily regaining his strength, he results in Gale, the couple's son, killing his father due to the country's laws. Then Gale fights Keith and dies along with Aisha, both of whom Noah had befriended, after Noah unintentionally sets everything on fire. Then Noah ends up with some Seekers and finds the key spirit Sachira, causing everyone but Sagiri and himself to die. After he becomes Neotopia's top shardcaster, Hugh attacks the capital and Zed drags Hyrum to him in exchange for the many civilians that are about to be eaten by Spirits. Hyrum kills himself, and Diana and Sagiri appear to die when the building collapses. Let us not forget about the debilitating illness that has plagued him since childhood, which will eventually kill him and renders him practically catatonic by show's end, nor the fact that the thing that started this series of events was his desire to help Zed... who's joined up with the opposition, becomes Noah's enemy, and ultimately takes him down.That kind of sucks. Is he a Woobie yet?
Misaki in Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer is a friendly, cute, sometimes shy and sometimes very energetic little girl...who has been repressing feelings of inadequacy and sadness due to her mom being gone for a large portion of her life. Her Break the Cutie moment comes in the Tearjerker filled Episode 25 when she sees her mom is not only the Champion of Angelic Layer, but has had multiple opportunities to see her and never did. She starts question why her mom never saw her and runs away crying because she thinks she was bad and her mother didn't want to see her. She gets better.
The title character from Kimba the White Lion also had it pretty rough. Before he even was born, his father was shot by hunters, while his still pregnant mother was put on a boat to become a zoo animal. After several weeks Kimba was born, a storm was coming right towards the boat, so his mother forced him to leave her behind while she drowns in her cage. Not the smoothest way to start out a series.
All the magic users come prebroken for your convenience in Brynhildr in the Darkness. You could think that further breaking is on the menu and we wouldn't blame you for it, anyways.
Episode 9 of Is This a Zombie? is this for Eucliwood Hellscythe when her previous zombie servant returns and outright gives her a Breaking Speech about how her powers could potentially put in danger anyone close to her if she loses control of emotions. When she witnesses firsthand what she's capable of, she distances herself from Ayumu and the others in order to protect them from herself.
Agnieszka! So much that, right after vampire!Dimitri kills Theo and rapes her, she stabs herself to death.
Dimitri himself, as his vampirism kicks in. Which is what kicks the Rape as Drama incident, in an attempt to kill himself.
Last Exile: The character Dio. His sister Delphine kidnaps him while his friendLuciola stands by and does nothing (although, to be fair, they were outnumbered by Delphine's elite guards). Then, while he screams for Luciola to save him, he is brutally Mind Raped on his sister's orders. Pre-Mind Rape, Dio was a cheerful, if odd and extremely hyper, young man with a great fondness for glomping people and flying vanships. Post Mind Rape, he is a mentally unhinged killer with a tendency to stare off into space giggling and engage in BrotherSister Incest with the one who made him that way. The birthday party scene made this even worse. Though he got better.
How exactly did he get better? He snaps out of his Mind Rape in a vanship, alone, just after having hallucinated being in a race and telling Luciora (who was already dead at that point) to jump out to reduce weight. Hard to imagine anything more heart-breaking.
Happens with surprising frequency on Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing. Victims include Giselle (who the Skyship Hunt took its toll on) and Augusta Sara (who couldn't take her generals trying to kill each other).
Robin is probably the happiest and most optimistic member of the main cast early in Le Chevalier d'Eon. By the end, however, he's become so angry and disillusioned he changes his name and becomes the historical Maximilien Robespierre, responsible for the Reign of Terror.
The Legend of Maian: Felix got hit very hard by Felicia's sacrifice. And it's implied that something bad happened to the Regis Knights during the Time Skip.
Ruby gets this treatment also as her formerly kind, loving master turns into a Jerkass who abuses her.
Judgement Knight in his training.
Ice Knight's training was this, too, as revealed in his side story.
Happens to Youji in Loveless during his confrontation with Seimei (though Natsuo helps him through it), and Soubi almost directy after (though he was pretty broken to begin with). Also Ritsuka, when he realizes quite how far Seimei is from the person he Ritsuka thought he was. Nana has a relatively minor one when she realizes it was the flaws in her security system that let Nisei and Seimei into the academy. Everyone in Loveless was either already broken, gets broken during the series, or will eventually; it is a Crapsack World afterall.
Ritsuka Aoyagi from Loveless counts as one of these. First off, he's constantly suffering abuse at the hands of his mentally-ill mother Misaki because of his personality change after he lost all of his memories; because of this, he believes he isn't even the real Ritsuka and lives in fear that someday he'll disappear (he even needs therapy to try and recover his lost memories). Then he discovers the burned up body of his brother, the one who protected him from his mother, in his classroom. He had no friends and didn't really believe in love because of the trauma he experienced. After this, the only people who show him any kind of love are pedos and Yuiko. He's told that his real name is Loveless, which means "one without love". Plus the villains keep showing up trying to capture or kill him, and because he's the Sacrifice while Soubi's the Fighter, Ritsuka has to take all the damage whenever they fight. Plus when Seimei finally comes back. Turn's out that he only faked his death... and he also murdered people, caused so much suffering for his little brother, even going as far as to try and convince Misaki to kill him. And all this is just because he's insecure and wants to "test" Ritsuka's love for him. It's even implied that he sexually abused Ritsuka when they were younger! And through all this, Ritsuka remains a forgiving pacifist who just wants to be loved.
Lisette from Ludwig Revolution, who was tricked into slaughtering her family, as well as Hansel and Gretel, who had a poor abused childhood made much worse by an extremely deranged and savage experience, which turned them into cruel killers.
Lisette probably loved killing her parents, as they forced her into prostitution as a child.
Macross Frontier smacks SherylNome with this one. Hard. Along withBreak the Haughty. She ends up getting most of the example bad things: Her manager/best friend/practical foster mother turns out to be the Big Bad and takes an openly sadistic pleasure in verbally beating Sheryl down and telling her that she is going to die, because Grace infected her with a V-type infection ten years ago in an extremely painful medical procedure that was supposed to help her, which turns out to now be in the very late stages, making it incurably terminal with Sheryl's remaining lifespan measured in weeks. Faced with all this, she is finally confronted with the notion that she may not even be remembered, as her former interstellar stardom is suddenly forgotten in favor of Ranka's, and she roams the streets without disguise completely ignored. And it's raining at the time. She finally breaks down into a sobbing wreck when she finds one of her concert posters discarded on the sidewalk and left in the rain like common trash. When she recovers, she becomes a better person overall.
All three main girls of Magic Knight Rayearth started out as up and coming and quite eager with their mission to save Cephiro and Princess Emeraude from the clutches of the rogue High Priest Zagato, and it's getting a bit too much like a cliche, yet fulfilling RPG game. Then in the next moment, they were hit with the Awful Truth that to save Cephiro, they had to kill Emeraude, who admitted being the culprit on the chaos of Cephiro just because she fell in love with Zagato and he was trying his best to prevent her death out of love as well. Between seeing Cephiro completely destroyed or fulfilling their mission, they had to pick the latter. And so their quest ended... with all three girls utterly traumatized that they just killed two people screwed up by destiny. The second season reveals that the cheeriest of the three, Hikaru, got hit with it the hardest that she secretly harbored a self-loathing that it became her own Enemy Without that got manipulated by the ultimate Big Bad; and everytime she acted confident, her other friends start to worry that she's going to do something really reckless. Thankfully, by the end of the series, Hikaru started recovering herself and all three also restored their spirit.
Fate Testarossa from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is an inversion of this trope. When she is introduced, she is a cutie broken by severe emotional and physical abuse perpetrated by her deranged Mad Scientist of a mother, Precia. Through The Power of Friendship, a nice adoptive family and an interesting job, she ends up unbroken... But not before getting further broken shortly after being "befriended" when she found out that she was merely a clone of Precia's real daughter, Alicia, and Precia has despised her since the moment she was born.
Subverted with Hayate in A's. After being Forced to Watch two people slaughter her family in front of her on Christmas Eve, she seemingly snaps and is promptly possessed by the Book of Darkness. However, she is perfectly fine when she regains consciousness two episodes later and immediately sets about reviving her family and stopping the destruction of the planet.
Rinne in ViVid Strike! was picked on a lot as a kid for her background as a poor orphan, and it only got worse after she started attending school and others found out that she was adopted. Her not being able to keep her adoptive grandfather's keepsake safe and to arrive in time to meet him before he died as a result of being knocked out by bullies was the final straw that turned her into a girl "who despises the weak".
Mel never completely breaks, but she's put under a lot of stressful and on occasion, dangerous situations over the course of Magical × Miracle.
Negi of Mahou Sensei Negima!: his hometown gets destroyed by demons at age four or so, and at age ten he ends not only with the responsibility of protecting his students after they get Trapped in Another World (and sold into slavery, get amnesia, and framed for terrorism), but he discovers that his mother was framed for genocide, and the people who did it are trying to kill him. And then there's the whole "having to prevent the magic world from collapsing" thing... Fortunately, all the crap that happens to him only drives him to become stronger.
Also Ako. She starts as a doormat with major self-esteem issues, then accidentally gets trapped in the magic world, where she gets a disease, forcing her and two of her friends to sell themselves into slavery to pay for the cure. To top it off, she then falls in love with someone who turns out to be Negi's aged up alter ego and thus not even really exists.
And Asuna as well who gets so broken, her memory is blocked so she can have a chance at a normal life.
Then has the block removed later to cause a Heroic BSoD, then after being sealed for 130 years, gets shattered TOTALLY on seeing everyone she knew dead and finding out that she would have been able to see her best friend one last time if she hadn't overslept. She probably would have crossed the Despair Event Horizon if Chao and Eva hadn't shown up.
Mai Tokiha from Mai-HiME was a loving sister that worked hard for her sickly brother's sake and an all-around nice girl, willing to sacrifice herself for others. However, the combined weight of having to try to prevent her friends from killing each other, watching Shiho order Yuuichi to kiss her to deliberately make Mai jealous, and then watching her brother Takumi die in her arms (apparently at the hands of her best friend Mikoto, but it later turns out that Shiho killed Akira's child out of jealousy) finally pushed her over the edge. She calmed down a bit when Mikoto temporarily came out of her Brainwashed and Crazy state and tried to apologize, but was unable to call off Kagutsuchi's attack in time and watched as it seemingly burned Mikoto to ashes. With her brother who she built an identity around working to provide for dead, her love interest stolen by his childhood friend, her best friend having just died by her own hands, and with other HiMEs after her own life... Well, she breaks.
Venus to Mamoru!: When Ayako was a child, her parents abandoned her because of her power. This is why she's so hostile to others and why she can't bring herself to trust them.
Snow had been locked up and all alone as a child, and constantly had visions of Ginta and Koyuki in the other world and wished nothing more than be friends with Ginta. She wanted Ginta to rely on her the same way he relied on Koyuki back on Earth but Snow just kept failing. By the time she realizes this, she experiences a Heroic BSoD so bad she's willing to simply fade away and disappear forever. She's just a fragment of Koyuki's soul that was used and treated like an object instead of a person, destined to die to bring pain to others when all she wanted to do was help people. Ginta manages to pull her out of this despair with a Cooldown Hug and some kind words. Things get even more sad when she dies in his arms two episodes later after confesses her love to him.
Anime fillers love do this to Alvis specifically the last arc where he finds out that his idol Danna is actually the King that killed all of his friends. He cant bring himself to fight back and thats all King needs in order to stab him which said wounds would later kill him.
And of course there's the Ghost Chess arc. In fact, Phantom was intentionally trying to break him so he would submit to the Zombie Tattoo and be forever immortal with Phantom.
Phantom was just an innocent, 10-year-old kid who was attracted to the Caldean Orb due to his own unusually strong magic power, and was charmed into committing a taboo by that same evil presence. He was promptly chucked into prison, all the while quite clueless to the magnitude of his transgression. After a while his parents came to bring him back home, and all seemed well, his mom even cooked him a good meal. Next morning, he woke up to find his parents both dead, having taking their own lives because they couldn't find the resolution to kill him. He ended up in prison for ten years and would likely have rotten there until he died, had Diana not gotten him out, and then he fell under the influence of the same dark force that caused his parent's deaths and his imprisonment. Then he managed to find a girlfriend, but she left him the moment she knew he consented to being a zombie, a curse bestowed on him by the bad guy above, again. Oh, and this bad guy is also responsible for her death, and barred her and her friends from entering heaven by sealing their souls inside a cave (note that they won't be released until 6 years later, when Ginta arrives in MAR-Heaven). He spent the next ten years fighting and dying, then resurrecting only to fight for that bad guy. After he loses, said bad guy releases his hold on him, allowing him for the first time to reflect on his life: everyone he ever loved are dead thanks to said bad guy, his opponent's ideals completely trumph his, and all he's left with is the immortality he no longer finds cool. No wonder he becomes such a depressed wreck of angst after the War Games.
Chaton. Break the Cutie: In the anime, she is forced to watch Loco sacrifice her age to save them from the Ghost Chess and then she is forced to watch Alan die in front of her which sets her off.
The whole world of Mawaru-Penguindrum seems to bend over to break the three Takakura siblings as well as their friend Ringo Oginome. And this is not counting how Yuri and Tabuki were broken in their own pasts.
Mirage of Blaze: Kagetora's adoptive father sent him off as a hostage of the Hojo, he was raped and then forced to commit seppuku to escape dishonor when the castle fell.
Mitsudomoe: Yabe suffers from this after episode two of Zouryouchuu. After having the worst Christmas ever by getting rejected by Kuriyama, sitting alone in his apartment while wearing a Santa outfit with a mannequin with glasses wearing a female Santa outfit in front of him, having his beloved mannequin fall face first onto his Christmas cake and then catch on fire, becoming Santa for Futaba when Soujirou is running late, getting the crap beat out of him by Soujirou after a misunderstanding and finally walking home in the freezing snow in nothing but a Santa hat and his boxers, his personality changes in the next episodes, becoming easily irritated, resigned and unsurprised of the weird attitude of his classmates.
Louise Halevy from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 falls into this trope after Nena Trinity obliterates her family at a wedding, leaving the girl without her left hand and completely distraught. Starting with the second season, she joins the A-Laws, the secret police of the Federation, as she tries to get revenge on Celestial Being for the murders of her family. She finally finds the said murderer and gets her revenge, but it only serves to BREAK her further. She didn't find any satisfaction, she didn't find any praises from her dead parents from avenging them, and she has become a murderer, just like the murdered. She got better, eventually.
The other Gundam pilots also get quite broken. Examples?
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Quatre. Although, his is an odd example, since it's the system he was hooked into to that psychically broke him. And then he bounced back.
Before piloting Wing Zero, Quatre was already distraught over his colony's betrayal, his father's death and one of his sisters being critically injured during the attack. The manga says she died, but in the anime she just vanishes - and later, the light novel says she lived on.. The system was merely a catalyst: he would've have been broken anyway without the Zero system, which sped up the breaking process.
Setsuna F. Seiei murders his family as part of a requirement to fight for God. Too bad the person who told him to do it really wasn't a messenger from God, and just got his kicks from killing people, something Setsuna finds out quite crappily when he finds this same person serving as a commander in an unrelated PMC.
Lockon Stratos (The first one) starts out as a cute kid who's life is torn apart when his family is killed in a terrorist attackperpetrated by someone who turns out to be one of one of Setsuna's True Companions. And then he dies, left as a wreck of a man who gave hope and help to others, but was himself consumed by his desire for revenge, and he actively refused to meet the only relative he had left: his twin younger brother.
The second Lockon (and said twin brother) didn't have it much better. He tried to get over his own revenge desire, but had to deal with his teammates distrusting him at first and comparing him to the first one for a while. And then his girlfriend turned out to be a Manchurian Agent, and when he was THIS close to subvert her brainwashing... she got brainwashed AGAIN, and Setsuna has to Shoot the Dog. He almost breaks.
As long as we're talking Gundam pilots, most of the non-Char non-Bright cast in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. Four comes prebroken, but Rosamia, who seems like a Cloud Cuckoolander (if perhaps mildly mentally challenged) completely breaks during the series. Kamille himself in the finale. What can you expect from a series with a mobile suit named the Psyco Gundam?
While not the main Gundam pilot, After War Gundam X has a picture of a young, happy Jamil Neate prior to his stint as the GX's original pilot. Fifteen years later, he is much more subdued, has a huge scar across his face, (the girl who's with him in the picture has been turned into a Girl in a Box and disappeared), he is put into extreme pain when he uses his Newtype powers, and has a major "cockpit phobia" that prevents him from operating a mobile suit. (Not that any of these factors make him less of a total badass.) Plus the whole blaming himself for the apocalypse thing.
And while not shown openly, his adoptive daughter and fellow Newtype Tiffa Addil is strongly implied to have been treated as a little more than a lab rat for most of her 15 years of life, which left her with a strong phobia of people aside of Jamil and the Freeden crew. A good part of her Character Development consists on this particular broken cutie managing to put her own pieces together and remaining quiet, yet not as fearful as she used to be.
As of the third generation, his grandson Kio Asuno is getting quite broken as well. In episode 32, i.e., the death of his Cool Big Sis figure Shanaluahurt. And it gets worse when he finds himself empathizing with a dying colony and falling for the Ill Girl Lua...
In Monster, Johan is especially prone to doing this to his victims, even simply to screw with them. For example, in volume 12, sending an abandoned small boy to look for his mother, telling him that if he sees her, and she sees him, if she truly loves him and wants him she'll take him back (naturally, Johan is crossdressing as the much more wholesome Anna at the time, making it that much creepier). He sends him to look for his mother in the red light district of Prague — where the boy witnesses rape, depravity, a drug addicted prostitute dying from withdrawal begging him for money and the prostitutes themselves taunting him. Tenma and Grimmer have to talk him out of jumping off a bridge after this. This still doesn't quite break the cutie. But it comes damn close. This boy is perhaps 7 or 8. This is one of Johan's most despicable acts of the series, and considering that he commits quite a few of them throughout, that's saying something.
And Anna! Poor, poor Anna... Johan crushes her so many times in so many ways that she comes this close to suicide.
In Mother Keeper, Syal's backstory takes her from a happy life with her adopted family to being sold as a slave, drugged and forced to fight to the death for around 6 months before being forced to kill the woman she cared about most. Then as the woman dies, she begs the authorities to save her life and let her die instead, only to be misunderstood and made into an immortal cyborg.
In MPD Psycho, a Serial Killer kidnaps the girlfriend of the lead detective investigating his case, mutilates her, rapes her repeatedly (in that order), then delivers her — limbless but still alive — directly to the detective's office.
Mr. Fullswing: The reason why Inukai and Tatsuragawa's friendship with Miyanagi broke off is because of the death of their mentor Ookami.
The utter hell Hiroko goes through at the hands of Aki Honda and her Girl Posse, culminating in being raped with a test tube. That they then threatened to break while it was still inside her. When Hiro-chan gets her shadow dragon, things turn very, very ugly for everyone involved.
Averted by Norio Koga, which is impressive given what ends up happening to him. Sure, he was raped to death but he didn't dwell on his situation, and instead focused on helping out Tsurumaru and Shiina by taking out bombers, despite the giant pedophile on his back.
The deaths of Jiraiya and Kakashi, near-death of Hinata, destruction of Konoha, and having the truth of the ninja system quite brutally explained to Naruto almost breaks him. However, thanks to a few well-placed flashbacks, Jiraiya's book, and a pep talk from Iruka, Shikamaru and his father, Naruto recovers just in time.
Actually, if you think about everything that has happened in the series, Naruto kinda qualified as a 'break the cutie' from the outset. First, his father sealed a demon inside him as the only way to save their village, his parents are dead, and he grows up ostracized by the entire village. Then, finally, when things start looking up, his best friend decides to turn on him, cue battling with the power inside him for control, his best friend tries to kill their female teammate, tries to destroy his village, and everyone is trying to get him to kill said best friend. And his parents gave their lives to save him when he was a baby, and he was made to house the Kyuubi inside of him, the very same Kyuubi that his mother housed for a time, killed his parents, and tried to kill him. Really not fun.
Happened to Sasuke TWICE. Despite how he is now, in flashbacks he was shown to be a cute, naive kid. Until Itachi murdered their family... and then showed it to him... twice. The second time leading to his FaceHeel Turn.
To be more specific, the first mind rape and the actual massacre occur when he's about seven, and the second time, aged twelve-thirteen, had him forced to watch everyone being slaughtered hundreds of times, over and over, leaving him in a coma that only Tsunade is able to bring him out of. No wonder he freaks out, and then he gets worse and worse.
Another possible candidate is Gaara (hear me out). He was initially a kindearthed child who just wanted some friends. Then he killed the one person he cared for because they were trying to kill him (on Gaara's dad's orders, no less,) due to the beast within him was something the village would rather forget. We've seen how this turns out...
Possible? Gaara was six years old when he realized that no one loved him. His father hated him for his inability to control Shukaku, his uncle hated him because Gaara's mother, his sister, died in childbirth, everyone else hates him because he's a "monster" ... he himself tries to hurt himself (in the flashback, he's trying to stab himself, and is disappointed when it doesn't work; later, he cries after being called a freak). His uncle tries to murder him — on his father's orders, which he actually questioned — and Gaara kills him in self-defense. He is effectively abandoned by everyone who should have cared. And the result? Sociopath at six, after he realigns his life's philosophy to fit with what he's learned; and serial killer by twelve, after he puts that philosophy into effect. No wonder he latched on to the idea of Shukaku as a "Mother" — the demon was the only thing making any effort to protect him (it was only doing so out of self-interest). When you've been starved for love all your life, anything will do. Even after he reforms (which Naruto brings about by giving him a good heart-to-heart talk about caring for others) and builds a family with his brother and sister, he is still haunted by his past — listen to what he says to Lee after saving him from Kimimaro, or what he says to Matsuri in what was one of the few good scenes in that filler arc. Six years of solid hate and horror? I'd call that broken. Made all the more meaningful by him actually getting much better in the current arc. Specially now that he can call out his old man on all the shit he did to him, leading the Kazekage to acknowledge said shit and telling him that Shukaku's sand was sorta directed by his mom's spirit, and that said uncle who attempted to kill him only did it on orders from his father. In reality, Yashamaru never hated Gaara-the guy he actually hated was the Fourth Kazekage himself.
One other example is Nagato/Pain. He was a cute kid that Jiraiya trained and was so cute that he cried when he had to kill someone to save his friend's life. Then we found out about his childhood. He watched his parents get killed because they were trying to protect him from ninjas from Konoha (though it was mainly a case of mistaken identity), bonds with a dog and makes friends. He subsequently loses the dog when an explosive kunai blows it up as collateral damage from Konoha ninjas fighting some guy. Years later he loses his best friend because a Konoha ninja Danzo set him up to die. Not surprisingly, Nagato isn't too fond of Konoha.
Sakura now fits this trope. It went like this: Sasuke's defection, then Naruto failed to bring him back. Then Naruto went 4 tails against Orochimaru and Kabuto makes her realize it's at least partially because she made him promise to get Sasuke back and he agreed that he would, and he's still trying to do that no matter what. They find Sasuke but he leaves with Orochimaru and Kabuto. Danzo gives permission to have Sasuke whacked. Sai gets her to realize Naruto's feelings for her, and everything Naruto is going through: the burden of expectations she and the village pile on Naruto, and especially the suffering he's going through because of both her and Sasuke. Then Naruto calls her out on her painfully fakelove confession, outright rejects her, and then tells her that his promise to her was no longer the reason why he's trying to bring Sasuke back, for he has his own reasons for doing so. And then, she tries to kill Sasuke herself and fails, since she just can't go and kill the only guy she ever loved, no matter how far gone he is. And then Sasuke tries to kill her. If the girl doesn't end up as a Broken Bird, it'll be a miracle.
Also Kakashi, who was entered into the world of shinobi at the ripe old age of five and became a Chunin at six. Even with someone like Minato as his teacher, he must have seen some pretty bad stuff. And that was before his father committed suicide in front of him. Jeez, so much for a happy childhood!
Haku watches his Mother get killed by his Father and then kills his Father. Now an orphan he's forced to live on the streets fighting off wild dogs for food. Ends his life as Zabuza's weapon.
Itachi of all people. He witnessed the horrors of war at just four years old, then grew up to dedicate his life to peace. Unfortunately, [[spoiler:the Uchihas decided to attempt a coup (for offenses that don't even seem to really exist) and his parents made it clear they saw him as a weapon and not a son by forcing him to spy on the village. He then became a double agent and put his faith in the Third Hokage to solve the issue through negotiations, but due to Danzo's interference and the Uchiha's stubbornness, this fell through. His best friend tried to use mind control to stop the coup, but was overpowered by Danzo and shortly thereafter committed suicide in front of Itachi so he'd be strong enough to stop the coup. Stopping the coup, unfortunately, entailed killing his friends, family, and lover, tormenting his beloved little brother and abandoning the village to lead the life of a wanted, hated fugitive at the age of thirteen. He then spends his time spying on Akatsuki for Konoha while waiting for said beloved brother to kill him and "avenge" the clan. Did I mention that he was battling a terminal illness too? And he still managed to die with a smile on his face.
Obito also counts as one. The dude was basically an Uchiha version of Naruto: he grew up without ever knowing his parents, he had a one-sided crush on his female teammate Rin, who was in love with his rival Kakashi, and he dreamed of becoming Hokage and bringing peace to the world. His entire right side is crushed by a boulder while saving Kakashi, and he makes Kakashi promise to protect Rin. He is rescued by Madara, who tells him that he can't ever be a ninja again and goes on to tell him how pointless the ninja world is and how it will only bring him misery. Obito refutes his ideals and goes through a painful rehabilitation process, with the only thing to keep him going being the thought of his friends. And when he finally leaves what is the first thing he sees? Rin dying by Kakashi's hands and the realization that Madara was right. No wonder the dude lost it.
Shinji got traumatized to the point of snapping into a psychological breakdown and destroying humanity. It's particularly heartbreaking when we're shown a flashback of a toddler Shinji right before witnessing the death of his mother: a young child who's smiling and constantly laughing, without a hint of bitterness and actually seeming outgoing. His 'break the cutie' process started at 4 years old and just kept going downhill.
Well, things slowly started to look up for him and it looked like the series was going to progress towards a more positive ending...and then came Episode 18 with the Eva-infecting angel Bardiel and Shinji's cycle of misery began anew.
Asuka Langley Sohryu is -seemingly- prideful and annoying. Then we learn, in episode 22, that a full-blown Break the Cutie chain of events made her arrogant and aggresive: her mother Kyouko went crazy after having half her soul sucked in by the EVA 02, completely ignored Asuka and started seeing a Creepy Doll as a replacement for her (and may have tried to strangle little Asuka at least once), then hanged herself in her room with said doll (after breaking the doll's neck) in the same day Asuka was chosen as the EVA 02 pilot. And the poor little girl was the one who found the body. Her "arrogant, annoying" self in reality is a fake persona that she donned in order to push everyone away because she -much like Shinji- was afraid of getting close to someone and get hurt again. Her real personality is a vulnerable girl with zero self-esteem that MAY be nice to someone that shows that genuinely cares for her. And how do we find that out? When she's under a horrendous Mind Rape that forces her to relive those memories.
At least we get the hints that Shinji and Asuka (and most EVA characters) are messed up right away. But poor Maya Ibuki is probably the only character that manages to remain cheerful and well adjusted throughout the series. Which all falls apart in End of Evangelion when all their hard work was seemingly for naught and the JSSDF (their supposed allies and fellow humans) start breaking into their base and slaughtering people. Upon being given a gun and told to fight off fellow humans Maya proceeds to hide under her desk and hug her stuffed rabbit pillow for dear life while everyone else fights. She later graduates from this to completely snapping and turning into a bubbering shrieking mess as she watches Asuka get torn apart, and Lillith Rei appears moving right through her, and she watches her fellow staff melt into orange liquid all around her. She finally only calms down when Ritsuko appears, except it's just Lilith Rei messing with her head, who promptly melts her as well.
Night Wizard: Poor Eris. She learns that she is the reincarnation of Shaimal, the God of Destruction; all of her memories before meeting Renji and the others were fabricated; of her friends, only Renji stays with her and he ends up fighting Akari and (almost) Kureha; and finally, just as Kureha joins them, she is killed by Kirihito, who then reveals himself to be Eris' mysterious benefactor and planned everything so that she'd fall into a Despair Event Horizon and awaken Shaimal within her. She gets better though.
Ian from Not Simple, pretty much the whole time. Even as an adult he has that wistful, innocent look that makes all the unsimple things even worse.
Every likable character from Now and Then, Here and There — but especially Sara, who, after being mistaken for Lala Ru, gets abducted, beaten, and repeatedly raped, eventually committing murder in order to escape into the desert with no supplies, where she ends up buried in a sandstorm. She survives that only to later learn one of the rapes got her pregnant. She eventually chose to keep the child..
No. 6: Sion in the Correctional facility during episode 10.
Onee-chan ga Kita: Fujisaki's past reveals she was bullied, and even when she tried to be nice as told to by a teacher, boys still treated her with contempt.
One Piece: Almost every time a Straw Hat pirate member has a flashback. The combination of Oda's skill at drawing cute kids and writing cruel back stories is just plain lethal.
While the Straw Hats do tend to have traumatizing backstories, the only ones who have Break The Cutie moments are Nami, Robin, Zoro, Chopper and Franky. Luffy's trauma just makes him more obstinate than he was, Usopp's backstory has a Break the Cutie moment for his best friend/possible love intrest and not for him, Sanji's back story was more encouragement to his dream than trying to break him, and Brook is more of a The Pollyanna than a Cutie.
Nami has the added bonus of being broken by Arlong again when all her effort to buy back her village is destroyed when the Marines confiscate all her collected money. Her obviously forced smile when she tries to tell the Kokoyashi villagers that she can just get more money just makes it all the more heartbreaking, especially so when she breaks down after they've resolved to take down Arlong, no matter what the end result. By the time Luffy arrives, she's in full Heroic BSoD mode and a step or two away from Despair Event Horizon. It's here, in a voice uncharacteristically meek and helpless, she begs Luffy, "Help me..."
And then there's Vivi, whose Broken Cutie status is built up throughout the whole Alabasta arc, and completely explodes during the climax of the civil war.
Enies Lobby revealed that CP9 managed to reopen the old wound that broke Nico Robin and cause her past 20 years to come crashing down on her. By the time the Straw Hats caught up with her, she was slipping past the Despair Event Horizonwishing nothing more than to die, but Luffy's rousing defiance of the entire world sets up one of the series' most powerful heartwarming moment.
Second backstory for Luffy, and it fits right in. More like the entirety of the Impel Down and Marineford arcs in addition to the flashback serve as one huge moment of this.
In the Monsters story of Wanted! (1998), Flare breaks down when Cyrano, the man she viewed as her hero for years, was actually the one who destroyed her hometown and killed her father and everyone else in the village, directly or not. What made it even worse is that Cyrano was laughing about the whole thing. She tried to hold her tears, but eventually broke down and cried.
And a full-blown Break the Cutie process is what made Boa Hancock the huge bitch that we meet. More exactly, she and her sisters Sandersonia and Marigold start out as normal little girls in the Kuja Pirates, then are kidnapped by slave drivers and fall in the hands of the World Nobles. They branded them like cattle, force them to eat Devil Fruits for their own amusement, and torture them and many others nonstop 4 years. When the Boa girls manage to escape thanks to a really badass fish man, the damage is already done, and Hancock has specially become a total bitch.
Nanako Misonoo from Oniisama e.... Mariko, Rei, and Nanako's classmate Junko, too, although Mariko and Rei were already broken to begin with. And Rei herself is so broken that she commits suicide in the manga. (In the anime she dies too, but it's an accident. One that happens when her life was starting to get better.)
And Claudine...! (another Ikeda work) features Claudine, who ends up committing suicide, Rosemarie and Maura as well.
Otome Youkai Zakuro: Tsukuhane was repeatedly broken by the Elder of the Village of Oracles, then broken by her own son. By the time she returned to the Village of Oracles she was a shell of her former self.
Oz from Pandora Hearts should be the poster boy for this trope. He's determined to be cute and cheerful in the face of horror so his friends won't worry about him, but that doesn't last long. He was abandoned by his own father and called filthy when he was trying to get his fathers attention. And then his father sent him to the Abyss because of the sin of existing. This is just the first chapter.
In the Cheshire Dimension arc, he freaked out and almost destroyed the dimension when he saw Alices corpse which has been murdered 100 years ago.
And dont forget the infamous Jacks Intention arc. First off, Jack took control of his body and stabbed his friend. Then Jack revealed to him that Jack caused the Tragedy of Sablier, using Oz himself as his Living Weapon. And then he saw that his dearest friend and sister figure killed herself in order to keep Jack from using Oz to hurt more people, right in front of Oz. And then he was shot at point-blank range by his other best friend. And then after a touching bit of reconciliation, his beloved uncle was stabbed by the girl who tried to comfort him when he was awaiting execution by the Baskervilles, again right in front of Oz, and finished off by Oz's own adoptive father. Said girl then later dies in his arms. Oh, also, Oz was never a human being, but a soul born inside a children's comfort toy that, due to the Will of the Abyss thinking sentient children's toys are the perfect murder weapons, ended up being given to Jack Vessalius as a "guide" and sharing his body when Oz's own was destroyed.
Peacemaker Kurogane: Suzu goes insane after he thinks that Tetsunosuke (his only friend) killed his master Yoshida (whom he admired and was the only person who cared for him). He was taken in by a Depraved Homosexual old man from off the streets when he was alone and starving and subsequently raped.
Mima Kirigoe from Perfect Blue starts off as a typical Idol Singer, with the usual cherry personality and cheesy themes, but in real life she comes across as a genuinely sweet, sympathetic, attractive woman. Then the trouble hits. By the end of the movie she's deranged, a murderer (depending on your interpretation), and suffering from severe identity crisis.
Shigeko from Pieta deliberately tries to crush Rio's spirit whenever she can, and finally manipulates Rio into attempting suicide by playing on her missing memories of her sister and insinuating that Rio actually killed her, which is not even remotely true (even Rio's father admits this when Shoumitsu confronts them about it).
Planetes: Heavens above, Ai Tanabe. Physically, by way of her severe nerve damage, and almost mentally, when she begins to consider taking Claire's O2 tank as her own runs out. She gets better, though.
In Pluto, the titular villain may be a seething mass of hatred, but after what he goes through Tetsuwan Atom/Astro Boy's hatred is greater by far.
Dawn fits this to a T. She was bubbly and cheery in the beginning, then when she failed at one too many Pokémon Contests, not even getting past the Appeals stage in her last, she was absolutely crushed. She proceeded to fake being cheery and bubbly, crying when nobody's around, and experienced a LOT of self-doubt until the Wallace Cup.
Not too long after Dawn got broken, the group learned Maylene was in a similar situation — Paul had recently kicked her ass and called her a weakling after getting his badge. The girls end up in a Pokémon battle to get each other back in fighting spirit.
Ash went through this after being beaten in a Curb-Stomp Battle against Paul, where he got beaten 6-2. He spent an episode moping until he finally pulled himself together, but though his attitude improved, his battle skills have suffered tremendously, in the form of him not winning a single non-gym battle for quite a while.
Ash was broken way back in The Indigo League. In the Indigo League Championships, the day of his match with Ritchie, he was kidnapped by Team Rocket. After spending the entire episode using all of his Pokemon to escape (almost missing the match, and only not missing it because Ritchie kept stalling for time), he finally makes it back. Most of his Pokemon are too exhausted to battle by this point, meaning that he's handicapped. On top of that, he lost solely because Charizard refused to listen to him, thinking Ritchie's Pikachu was too weak to battle. Ash, feeling that his dreams were now over, was understandably depressed the next day, only everyone treated him like he had no right to mope. He bounces back, but after all he went through (not just losing the match for arguably unfair reasons, but also Team Rocket's harassment), a little depression was understandable.
After having to develop her training abilities from scratch, pulverizing a Drilbur in lieu of a Pokemon battle so it can serve as her starter, and wiping 99 trainers in a row, Iris had every right to brag. Then Drayden came along and stomped her so hard she lost her composure and Excadrill stopped obeying her out of despair. It takes losing to Langley for Iris to begin rediscovering herself and helping Excadrill out of his funk. It seems to have paid off, as the rematch ended in a draw between Excadrill and Beartic. We'll see how long that lasts.
In Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure! this happened retroactively to Koya and his Growlithe. After battling a trainer that was way above their level, Growlithe was so traumatized that it didn't even want to be touched by its trainer. Koya became more aggressive and serious.
Blue (Green in English releases) just barely averts this, which is a refreshing change, given that she has every right to wangst. Being kidnapped by a frickin' giant flaming bird at the age of five will do things to you. She managed to stay reasonably upbeat as she spent a lot of time carefully planning to take down the Big Bad responsible for all her misery. (Admittedly, there are a few cracks now and then, especially when confronted with the crippling fear of birds that he had instilled in her.) After spending most of her time getting over everything (doing so in almost complete solitude), she finally found her parents and headed off for a joyous reunion... only for them to vanish right before her eyes. Ouch.Angst Coma was immediate, though she did wake up quickly enough to keep fighting.
White gets hit hard as N reveals to her that her star Tepig actress may have never shared her dreams alongside of her. When White tries to jump out of the Ferris Wheel car that she is currently stuck inside, Gigi decides to stay with N. The shock makes her slip out and fall, and she ends up on the ground, barely conscious, with her eyes full of tears.
Black doesn't get it much better, as N proves to Black all of his Pokemon don't want to fight N's team, and know they will lose. N then follows this up by showing Black that Musha only went with Black to eat his dreams, and now that Black's dreams don't appeal to him anymore, Musha bails on him. He hits a Heroic BSoD almost as bad as White's, and apparently a week later, he's still in a funk about it.
Both Rue and Fakir have this as part of their backstories in Princess Tutu. In a flashback, we see Fakir as a cheerful, imaginative child — in stark contrast to his Ineffectual Loner personality in the main part of the story. It's revealed that a mixture of his parent's deaths because of his powers and stress over feeling responsible for Mytho's safety slowly wore on him until he became the Jerkass we see at the beginning of the story. Rue, herself, is shown as being sweet and caring as a child, but snobby and harsh when she's older (to the point where she insists on being called Rue-sama/Lady Rue). Her personality change is revealed to be the result of constant emotional abuse from her father, the Raven. It only gets worse in the second season, when Mytho begins to physically abuse her and manipulate her.
Mytho himself! He was first just an adorable Cloud Cuckoolander, later after having a piece of his heart soaked in raven's blood he becomes quite... well, bat shit insane. Not so cute anymore. It takes Rue's Heroic Sacrifice to fix him.
"Don't you love the look of women who've been broken?"
Shiino from Q·Ko-chan: The Earth Invader Girl...constantly. First she gets involved in a firefight, then her mother wants to move from town, then she thinks her only friend, Mei, has abandoned her for RKKo, and finally, she snaps from finding out that her supportive older brother is keeping an Alien child in his room. She does NOT take this well...
Maya suffers this A LOT! Starting from her Dark and Troubled Past to losing her best friend, Alice, whom she kills due to her being unable to recognize Alice in the monster form and believing that the monster has killed Alice, and eventually witnessing Jiltus' Heroic Sacrifice / Redemption Equals Death for her as a sign of friendship.
Yufa sees her brother being killed in a Heroic Sacrifice for Roan, Iruga, and her. Soon, it is revealed that Keough is alive, but unfortunately, he is now evil. Yuufa also witnesses Keough injuring and even poisoning Iruga.
Heck, Roan too. He is often implied or even stated as weak or useless when he is a Swordsman, which saddens him to the point he becomes emotionally unstable.
Almost everyone in Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin, even the side characters, has gone through some amount of this (the rule seems to be that you are either broken or the one responsible for said breaking). That being said, Joe has it bad even by the usual standards of the series, his life being a mixture of Parental Abandonment, Rape as Backstory, being seperated from his sister (and only known family member), his But Not Too Foreign looks getting him labelled as 'exotic' in a So Beautiful, It's a Curse sort of way that attracts the attention of many, many an abusive pervert and so on, even before he ends up in a Hellhole Prison at the age of 16. The fact that he eventually comes to agree with his sister that, as orphans, they "have no other choice but to be used by other people" says it all, really.
Rave Master: The ending to the Levin bonus storyto Haru and Elie's shock.
Ellie's a heck of a lot more prone to tears after getting back her memory.
The protagonist Natsuki Subaru in Re:Zero gets hit with this multiple times. Strangely enough, the classic video game scenario of teenage boy whisked away to a magical world to help a beautiful girl—complete with a new ability to return to a save point and redo things if you die—isn't very much fun to actually live through. It means you die (usually painfully) whenever you mess up, sometimes the people you've grown to care for die before you do, and precious memories you've made with new friends vanish from their minds after the next reset if you haven't made it to a save point before you die again. Suffice it to say he does go catatonic for a while after one particularly bad incident where he comes back to the manor and finds everyone he was trying to protect slaughtered before he's flash-frozen to death. Unfortunately, being catatonic just makes the next go-round even worse.
Mayo Tohdoh in volume two of Reiko the Zombie Shop. When we meet her she's in a wheelchair, but still a cheerful, upbeat child. Then she witnesses her brother Yuki turn traitor and kill their friend Rudoh on the promise that one of Rurika's henchmen can fix Mayo's legs. And then Rurika goes back on the deal and has Yuki killed. When Reiko finds her Mayo is a full blown Stepford Smiler and cheerfully tells Reiko what happened.
Utena only wanted to become the prince she admired. It didn't happen.
When Kanae snaps, she snaps. Being practically Mind Raped by Mikage and Mamiya did NOT help.
Ring ni Kakero: The Takane's past. They go to Tokyo pretty much to run away from their stepdad, in addition to fulfill their dad's dreams.
Rinne no Lagrange: Done to Muginami in episode 5 after Villagiulio tells her that she is just a parasite and that she never was a part of his team.
Rosario + Vampire: Kurumu has come to the conclusion that, no matter what she does, Tsukune is going to try and make Moka his girlfriend and not them. Mizore states she won't give up or change in her feelings, Rubi seems to be of a similar mindset, but it has serious adverse effects on Kurumu. She's a succubus so she runs on love and when she is forced to acknowledge that Tsukune isn't going to love her, she breaks down and reveals that for a Succubi unrequited love is fatal, in chapter 40 of Rosario Vampire II. Though after they kissed it seems Kurumu has gained some insight and is no longer in danger of dying.
The Flower Offering arc included a very serious intent of doing this to Mizore.
Rozen Maiden: Suigintou in Overature. She starts out a very friendly doll despite the fact that her father abandoned her (incomplete) and she's been crawling through N-Fields to find him. She happens to find Shinku, who takes her in and acts as if she cares. However, once Sugintou is killed the first time by Souseseki, Shinku reveals that Sugintou is not a complete doll, and looks on coldly as Sugintou begs Shinku to save her. Shinku refers to her as junk several times. Sugintou comes back, because Rozen decided to quit being a Jerkass, and tries to grab Shinku's Roza Mystica.
Jun's backstory about why he became a hikikomori is also this. Put simply: having a non-masculine hobby (sewing in this case) would make one a social pariah and eventually cause severe self-image issues. He's an unstable mess of self-hatred by the time the dolls came into his life that Nori needs to look after him.
Happens to Kenshin as a result of being an assassin.
As a child, Amakusa and his sister saw their family die horribly, which embittered him very much)
Magdaria was a happy-go-lucky Christian little girl from the countryside. Then, shit happened. LOTS of shit.
Fujis backstory (which involved being shunned and treated like a monster for his abnormal height, getting shot by armed guards and being manipulated into serving as a weapon by Saizuchi) is completely heartwrenching. Notice that in the manga, we're only given hints about his past by Saizuchi; in the anime, we see it all.
Anji was once a sweet, caring monk. Then, his adoptive children were murdered and his shrine was burned down. He... snapped.
Chise from Saikano. She asks for death before the series is even half over. But she's not that lucky.
Sailor Moon also tends to do this, sometimes slow, other times taking place in one episode, other times being a full-blown Mind Rape.
In episodes 45 and 46 of season 1, the inner soldiers die, leaving Usagi without her friends before confronting Queen Beryl. Then she is forced to fight her love interest who's been possessed by Metalia's energy, who then dies protecting her so she can fight the Big Bad. Although she wins the last fight and dies, the experience makes her wish things back to the way they were before she was awakened as Sailor Moon. It didn't last.
An even stronger Usagi example is during the third season. It's Usagi's birthday, but her boyfriend doesn't remember, so she slaps him and spends a few hours feeling extremely guilty, then realizes she never told him her birthday in the first place. He makes up for it by buying her the glass shoes she wanted... which turn out to be possessed by a Daimohn after her Pure Heart. Worse, judging by the sheer shininess of her Pure Heart, which is pretty damn bright, she might just be the possessor of a talisman. Tuxedo Mask comes to her rescue, but her broach is stolen by Kaolinite so she can't transform, and it's only a matter of time before the Daimon tracks her down. Usagi, Tuxedo Mask, Kaolinite, and the Daimon end up facing off in an under ground parking garage, where Tuxedo Mask is turned into a glass sculpture and Kaolinite gets away with him and her broach. Kaolinite uses the two of them for ransom, and Usagi ends up going to Tokyo Tower and offering her Pure Heart up. It turns out it isn't a talisman and everything's okay in the end - Uranus and Neptune even killed off Kaolinite - but it was sure a hellish day for Usagi. Oh, and to top it off, the glass shoes Mamoru bought her broke.
It gets worse in the manga version of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars. First, Mamoru is killed off by Galaxia in front of Usagi, and Usagi blocks the incident out of her memory. Then the Inner Senshi are murdered in front of her, and the Starlights trigger her memories of Mamoru's death, sending her into a near breakdown. Next, the outer soldiers are killed one by one after they return to their bases, Usagi again loses her memory, and the cats and the Starlights are killed. She nearly gets burned to death by one of Galaxia's minions and is forced to watch Princess Kakyuu get impaled by another minion. If poor Usagi hasn't had enough to deal with, it gets even worse when she turns up at Galaxia's base and is forced to fight the reanimated sailor soldiers and Mamoru. After having the crap beaten out of her, she manages to get her strength back and kill the evil soldiers, only for Galaxia to toss Mamoru off a cliff (but not before making him kiss her boots), which in turn kills Chibiusa as she can't exist if Mamoru is dead. It's a wonder Usagi isn't driven completely insane. Luckily, everyone gets better.
The anime may remove one or two things, but it's still not easy to deal with. First, Galaxia releases Nehelenia, who then sets up a whole world takeover that has her transforming people into empty shells, which includes Mamoru too. Then the Inner and Outer Senshi are captured one by one and sealed away in mirrors, while Usagi sets out to release Mamoru and face Nehelenia despite having lost a good part of her powers. She then almost is mindwiped, and how she gets released? By seeing Jupiter's rose earring fall to the ground after Jupiter is tortured to near death by Nehelenia and then is captured. When Usagi gets better, she reaches Nehelenia's lair... and since Mamoru is brainwashed and has forgotten abut her and Chibiusa, poor Chibiusa is killed/fades out of existence in Usagi's arms. It takes all of Usagi's willpower and then redeeming Nehelenia (another broken cutie in this particular continuity) to fix all of this shit. And then the incident that kills Mamoru happens, but Usagi wasn't there to witness it, thus the poor girl believes that Mamoru is way too busy to contact her in the States. She lives her life as much as she can, hiding her bad feelings as she fights alongside her Senshi and the Starlights, but the truth starts to surface slowly. And soon afterwards, Princess Kakyuu reappears only to die protecting Usagi and the Starlights, then Galaxia invades and kills the Inner Seishi in front of Usagi and the Starlights... only to drop a huge bomb by showing Usagi Mamoru's starseed, the proof that she killed him. And then comes Haruka and Michiru's Fake Defector act where they kill Hotaru and Setsuna in front of Usagi again, then die as they fail to bring down Galaxia. Again, it's a wonder that Usagi isn't driven insane, and that she manages to ultimately get better.
Sakura Gari: First time, we see Masataka getting horribly and painfully broken in the Saiki household as time passes. Then we learn Souma that became so broken by the end of his childhood that he grew into an Empty ShellStepford Smiler who allowed anyone to screw him if he could get by in life in return. And then we see other characters being very broken, like Asayo and the unnamed maid Honestly, the base premise of the entire series is this trope.
Samurai Champloo: Koza in "Misguided Miscreants" is already broken before the episode begins, because she's been living on a destitute island all her life with no family or friends, only sticking around Mukuro because there was nobody else, and she knows she can't survive on her own. This trope is kicked Up to Eleven as her situation only gets worse.
Rose-Haired Sweetie Yuki was hit with this prior to the manga. She couldn't deal with the Zombie Apocalypse and was melancholy until she underwent a Sanity Slippage, especially after her close friend and teacher Megu-nee was killed by zombies. The only reason she isn't a Broken Bird is because she hallucinates no zombies exist. She starts to snap out of it after being forced to kill a zombie. She still pretends to be delusional because her cheeriness makes her the Living Emotional Crutch for the others.
Sensei-chan Megu-nee was shown to have had deep guilt over worries that she could have stopped the zombie apocalypse if she had opened the emergency manual given to her earlier.
Miki snapped due to living in haunting isolation for weeks. She was the Sole Survivor of a group of humans stick in a mall surrounded by zombies. She gets better after being rescued by the School Live club and displays the least overall trauma of the group, not to say she isn't prone to tears and anxiety though.
Cool Big Sis Rii has been hit hardest with this. After losing Megu-nee, almost having to kill a zombifying Kurumi, the rescue helicopter crashing, being forced to evacuate the school, and remembering she has a little sister her mental health has taken major damage. It's heavy implied Tagalong Kid Ruu is really a stuffed animal.
Joe Asakura has this as his past in Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, losing his parents and nearly dying himself at the tender age of eight. Worse still, his parents were Galactor agents looking to defect with Dr. Nambu's help. Being orphaned thanks to Galactor was bad enough, but Joe was not happy to find out his parents were actually involved with them!
Scrapped Princess Pacifica. Yeah, kinda inevitable when everyone in the world is trying to kill you. The Breaking finally comes in the forest night scene of episode 22.
Ritsu in his backstory is full of this. He was an All-Loving Hero in his high school days but miscommunication with his boyfriend Takano caused him to have a freak out and leave Japan to study aboard. The series introduces him as a jaded individual who does not believe in love. To make matters worse, his self-esteem was hit before transferring to the manga industry when he hears that the people he worked with in the literature industry are jealous of his success and claim that he's only getting the top authors because of connections and not because he worked hard at his job. Combine this with Takano's friend Yokozawa constantly telling him to leave the manga industry and stop playing with Takano's heart, it's no wonder he doesn't break down as much as the other characters would.
When more of his backstory is revealed, this trope really stands out. Ritsu was basically a Love Martyr, and Takano initially only got into a relationship with him in order to hurt him. Then while Ritsu does everything in his power to be a good boyfriend to Takano, out of the blue (to Ritsu at least) Takano gives him a "Reason You Suck" Speech about how annoying and disgusting he is. Despite this, Ritsu continues to stand by Takano up to their breakup. The fact that Takano comes to love him for real seems lost because of their continued miscommunication.
Chiaki has it worse in the current timeline. He's your typical idiot protagonist that is oblivious to love. However, given his arc is a deconstruction of the love triangle, Chiaki ends up brutally raped by his best friend Hatori who thought Yanase was going to win him over and took action. The worse part unlike most yaoi series, Chiaki is seriously hurt physically, mentally and emotionally screaming the entire time he's raped for Hatori to stop. Naturally, this scene was toned down in the anime with just a kiss but the implications are still there. Alas, Chiaki ends up forgiving Hatori who ends up being a Karma Houdini as a result and Chiaki ends up becoming more of an asshole with each episode as evident with his relationship with Yanase being strained.
Even Yanase goes through this, and it might be more serious than what the series implies. For one thing, he's been in love with Chiaki since middle school. Yanase has then dedicated himself to his friend and constantly turns down jobs that are more worth his skill and better pay because he loves Chiaki too much to leave his side as an editor. He doesn't seem to realize that Hatori beat him to the punch by raping his best friend, but regardless still hates him for being an obstacle, but by trying to be the Nice Guy, he ends up losing Chiaki to him. And it gets worse. When Chiaki and Hatori start dating, his relationship with Chiaki starts getting strained due to the trauma Chiaki faced and Hatori constantly harassing Chiaki to stay away from him. It gets to the point where he ends up directly in the middle of their fight and has his heart strings pulled over and over again. Given that Yanase hates people lying to him, he flips out in episode 15 when he calls Chiaki out on his actions for lying to his best friend about a family issue Chiaki supposedly had on his birthday when in actuality, he went to go see Hatori and apologize for their fight (and Yanase even mentions that Chiaki could have just seen him the next day and apologize) leaving Yanase drunk at a hot spring that he planned for them both. Even when Yanase confesses in the heart of the moment, Chiaki refuses to take his love seriously and by episode 16, Yanase finally breaks down crying when Chiaki punches him and rejects him a third time. And Hatori makes it worse by harassing Yanase on the phone, and then barging into his own house and trying to beat the shit out of him. The episode implies that Yanase had a full blown Heroic BSoD and that after Yanase uses the last of his strength to kick them both out, he breaks down crying. This makes his whole Break the Cutie a huge Tear Jerker and slams Chiaki and Hatori into the scrap heap. The worse part? This is the conclusion of the Domestica pairing in the anime so we don't know what happens to them afterwards.
While being rejected by Chiaki was a definite Break the Cutie moment, Yanase is far from being a Woobie. He was fully aware that Chiaki and Hatori had started dating, but since the two kept it a secret Yanase decided to ignore their relationship and still pursue Chiaki. This fake ignorance allowed him to try and repeatedly sabotage their relationship, including coming on to Chiaki in front of Hatori on the pretext that he was being friendly. Realizing that Chiaki wasn't going to ever love him that way broke Yanase, but the heartache is cheapened somewhat by the way he kept manipulating Chiaki.
Seraph of the End has this in spades for Yuu and Mika. They started out as orphans who managed to create their own little family with the other children at the orphanage before they were taken by the vampires and treated like cattle. They all try to escape after Mika comes up with a plan, but said plan fails and all the children aside from Mika and Yuu are killed, while Mika is ripped apart. Yuu is forced to leave him behind and for the next four years he believes him to be dead. Meanwhile Mika is forced to become a vampire. And that's just the first episode. All in all Yuu manages to handle this much better thanMika.
Shigurui: Irako, though he doesn't stay broken for long, and Mie. Subverted by Iku, who has horrible, horrible things happen to her and her breasts but stays fairly constant throughout. She's a tough lady.
Shiki: Kaori goes Ax-Crazy in Chapter 32 when her undead father tries to kill her. She applies a baseball bat to his head multiple times, and when that doesn't kill him, she gets out a pickaxe to finish him off. She then proceeds to shove his unrecognizable corpse into a closet for good measure.
Happened with Hibiki in Shinigami-sama ni Saigo no Onegai wo. Initially somewhat averted by the fact that Shizuka was not yet dead, but later played straight when Shizuka is killed right in front of her eyes. He was later revived (albeit illegally, in Shinigami law) by Hibiki.
After Sora wins Tomoko, the boys figure out that Exaclan only protects against physical harm, not threats or emotional abuse. A group of boys isolate Tomoko and proceed to terrorize her in the worst way. Tomoko doesn't handle it well.
What happens to Little Sparrow in Shut Hell.The transformation is so great that it turns her into a psychopath.
In Silent Möbius, not long after Katsumi's FaceHeel Turn, Yuki Saikou starts seeing disturbing visions of the future. Needless to say, she doesn't take this well at all. And we're not counting Yuki's own past as well...
In A Silent Voice, Shouko Nishimiya, a Cute Mute deaf girl spent her first year in her new elementary school being constantly mocked, bullied and harassed for her disability, with her every effort to make friends rejected and destroyed without fail. It's so bad, she's not the only Cutie broken by it. One of her tormenters, Ishida Shouya, ends up as the scapegoat for his entire class, taking all the blame for Shouko's torment and spends the next few years suffering treatment almost worse then Shouko at the hands of students and teachers, while also bearing horrible guilt over what he did to Shouko before she left school. He completely shuns his class and foresees nothing but a life of endless suffering ahead for him, which eventually makes him plan to kill himself early in the series. The results of Shouya's bullying is revealed late into the manga when flashbacks show Shouko ended up suicidal as a result.
Amelia, princess of Seyruun, reaches this trope several times, but she manages to snap back without breaking. It's kind of strange, granted that her mother was killed by an assassin when she was young, and her older sister left her because of it. The closest that she was to it was in NEXT, when she thought her father was dead too, and she collapsed in tears over that.
Averted with Sylphiel, who lost her Father and hometown in one night, only for Hellmaster Phibrizzo to bring them back with a half-life, where Sylphiel's Father has to reveal to her that he isn't really back, and that he has no heartbeat. Then she witnesses several of her friends murdered by Phibrizzo quite casually, only to end up joining them. And later, when she is brought back, she finds that the Lord of Nightmares has consumed Lina Inverse. Despite all of this, Sylphiel never actually breaks.
The first arc of Sunday Without God focuses on this. Take our young orphan protagonist, make her lose her foster parents and everyone else she knew, and finally, make her lose the father she had just met and force her to bury them all. No wonder poor Ai, who was used to digging graves for people, finally breaks down crying after burying her father.
His parents died in a car crash when he was little. When he finds out about this at the age of 10, he withdraws from his adoptive family and finds escapism in video games to cope with it.
He gets stuck in a VRMMORPG world where if people die, they die for real. This includes having to contend with the Laughing Coffin, a Player Killer guild.
Has to contend with a corrupt and deviant CEO Nobuyuki Sugou who held his love interest after the SAO incident ended, and during the fight, Sugou sexually assaults Asuna to spite Kirito.
He gets six months or so of happiness after the Death Gun incident, but then out of nowhere, Johnny Black, one of the perpetrators of the Death Gun incident and also the last remaining member of the Laughing Coffin, attacks Kirito with a succinylcholine syringe, nearly killing him.
Watches Cardinal and Eugeo get killed by Quinella close to each other. After attempting to log out of the Underworld after defeating Quinella, it turns out that the Ocean Turtle got raided by Glowgen Defense Systems, leading to the power being turned off and further crippling him. During his incapacitance, PoH, the founder of the Laughing Coffin guild, tortures Kirito entirely to spite him and his True Companions.
The very first thing he does after finally logging out of the Underworld is to mourn the loss of Eugeo. Eugeo's death hit him that hard.
Happens to Mio in The Testament of Sister New Devil. Her adoptive parents were killed while she was young, then her real father, a demon king, was also assassinated by a rival faction, and she just recently learned that she was to be his successor. Basara also kicked them out of his house after they tried and failed to alter his memory, but he changes his mind after learning more about her past, and ends up saving them from some demons that attack the girls.
Poor, poor Kaneki Ken of Tokyo Ghoul. Where do we begin?
His father died when he was only four, leaving only books to remember him by.
His mother, whom he repeatedly refers to as kind and a wonderful person, beat him as a child before working herself to death to support herself, her sister, and her son when Kaneki was ten.
After his mother's death, he was sent to live with his aunt, who was verbally and emotionally abusive towards him, excluding him from family meals and instead giving him a meager amount of money to buy his own food.
He gets six months or so of happiness after leaving for college, until the universe decides he hasn't had enough trauma lately, and he goes on a date with Kamishiro Rize, who turns out to be a ghoul and tries to kill and eat Kaneki. After what seems to be an accident involving steel beams falling and crushing Rize. To save his life, her organs are transplanted into Kaneki, turning him into a half-ghoul hybrid. And all of this is just up to the first episode.
After that, he is tricked into becoming a meal in the Ghoul Restaurant, kidnapped by Aogiri, tortured psychologically and physically by having his fingers and toes torn off repeatedly with pliers and a centipede left to crawl around in his ear for ten days straight. His defining breaking moment is when he is forced to choose between killing a mother and a child. He chooses himself to die. His tormentor kills them both.
Trans girl Nitori from Wandering Son deals with a lot of garbage over the course of the manga. Between being bullied for being too feminine, having a bully of an older sister, dealing with gender double standards, and dysphoria she has more than a few moments where she crashes. Early in the manga she is especially prone to fits of Tender Tears however her Character Development has her gaining a stronger backbone.
Happened to Marnie from When Marnie Was There prior to the film. She was a sweet girl growing up whose parents were never around and who was left supervised by abusive staff. When she grew up she married her childhood sweetheart Kazuhiko, but he ended up dying when their daughter Emily was young. Marnie broke down so badly that she was sent to an asylum for several years, which ruined her relationship with Emily since she was sent Off to Boarding School and this broke her badly enough to resent her mother for it. They never mended that bond, so after Emily's death she took in her young granddaughter Anna before dying herself. She was a Doting Grandparent until her death, but everything caused her to 'come back' as a ghost child and befriend Anna, while she visited the countryside.
Cool Big Sis Fu snaps when she discovers her currently Cute Mute younger sister had a dream to become a singer. She blames herself and goes on a berserk rage only to be calmed by her friends and a Cool Down Hug from Itsuki.
Togo spends most of the series seeming calm and collected but has the most emotional moments out of the characters, most memorable when she breaks down after meeting her ex-friend Sonoko who she has no memories of but can tell was close to her and when she starts sobbing when it seems like her crush and best friend Yuna will stay in a canatonic and comatose state forever. It's understandable when she learns the Awful Truth about both being a Magical Girl and their universe itself she snaps and decides to Kill All Humans. Due to her frequent breaking it's left up to interpretation if her various suicide attempts were due to anguish or her testing out her powers.
He's not the only one. Yuzu also has a hard time with the whole Yuto/Yuya thing making her wonder if she's insane and confused about what's going on. Plus being a Living MacGuffin isn't easy, especially since she has no idea why she's being hunted. Though it's unconfirmed, Yuto, Kurosaki and Reira are implied to have already gone through this due to their various Dark and Troubled Pasts.