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Tear Jerker / Mega Man X

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"I won't apologize to you... because this is the path we've chosen. Instead, I will carry them... your souls, your faces in death... the faces of those I killed."
—The thoughts of Zero in the Rockman X4 manga, just before he kills Colonel, knowing that Colonel's sister Iris will die as well due to the mechanical link they share as Reploid twin siblings.
  • Many of the Mavericks may come across as Grade A Jerkasses, but, if you looked into the backstories of several of them, you'd find out that quite a few were actually innocent casualties that meant no harm, but were forced into their position by several circumstances (such as being forced into submission, infected by a virus, etc.), such as Magna Centipede, who was kidnapped by Sigma and brainwashed into becoming maverick. What makes this a true Tear Jerker is that several, such as Storm Eagle and Shield Sheldon, seem to have resigned to their fates that their lives would end very soon, and they might as well give it their all before they literally Go Out With A Bang.
    • Worse was the manga adaptation of Storm Eagle: He was still a good guy. He was the Maverick Hunters' inside man, but he couldn't break cover until it was too late.
    • Perhaps one of the most tragic Mavericks in the series in Volt Kraken, in which the hunters and the player get to witness his last moments of sanity before he gets completely overtaken by the Sigma Virus and sent into a berserk frenzy, forcing the hunters to put him out of his misery.
  • Vile's death at the end of Maverick Hunter X in Vile Mode. Shoot the Shaggy Dog doesn't even begin to cover it.
  • The flashback of Dr. Light in Maverick Hunter X, as well as the recording he leaves. Seeing Dr. Light with an Incurable Cough of Death, telling X or whoever finds X his hopes and dreams, and lamenting how he won't live to see them. However, it is heartwarming to hear Light voice just how much faith he has that X will be a good person.
  • Zero's death after the fight with Vile in the first game. Made even more of a Tear Jerker in the remake with the voice acting and improved animation. In the original, Zero simply said his last words to X, who was kneeling next to him, and disintegrated without any dialogue from X. In the remake, Zero says his last words, clearly pained, while in X's arms. X's pleading for Zero to hang on doesn't help, especially when Zero finally goes limp and X quietly lays him down. Seeing Zero's remains laying there sparking is just the cherry on top.
    • The ending to the remake added an extra punch to the gut. It has X getting ready to board a landchaser. He glances at the one next to his, only to remember that Zero's not joining him this time around. Because the sequels to Maverick Hunter X got cancelled, Zero is pretty much dead permanently in this continuity. Adding to it is the flashback of Dr. Cain finding X's capsule and we see a near-death Dr. Light explaining X's purpose.
  • Iris' death in Mega Man X4. In particular, Zero's reaction to it, and his cold outlook on the world afterwards.
    • It's easy to miss, but take a close look at Iris's face as she transforms. She's in pain.
    • One of Iris's pre-battle lines before she fights with Zero also counts as one.
      Iris: Stay with me, brother!
    • Iris' death in the manga is much more heartbreaking. During the Repliforce rebellion, Iris is working as a nurse treating both sides of Reploids injured in the conflict. When a malicious A.I. named Cyber Peacock hacks into the network and thus severely hampers her ability to help Reploids, Zero enters the virtual network and defeats Peacock, who then self-destructs in a futile attempt to take Zero with him. Although Zero escapes, Peacock's actions cause a computer terminal near Iris to explode and seriously injure her, filling her with body with bugs and putting her into a coma, thus forcing her subordinates to keep her in a stasis pod. Zero gets the vaccine from Slash Beast to cure her of the bugs that are killing her. Colonel breaks military regulations to go to the base and save his sister Iris. Despite the fact that Zero outright tells him that there is no need for them to fight now as Iris is being healed by the vaccine, Colonel attacks him anyway, telling him it is their destiny to fight because of their irreconcilable ideals. Zero agrees and holds nothing back, slicing off Colonel's right arm. Zero then notices that Iris's right arm was suddenly corroded in her pod, and realizes that because Colonel and Iris are Reploid siblings, damage to one sibling is extended to the other. Colonel charges at Zero one last time with his remaining arm, and Zero, with a very pained look on his face ultimately kills Colonel by slicing him in half, despite knowing that Iris would die as well, and the fact that he could have been able to stop him without killing him. Sure enough, Iris does die a short time later, directly because of Colonel's death. Colonel himself did not die with hate and bitterness in his heart, and even smiled at Zero in the end, realizing that Zero did what he felt was necessary to stop a lethal opponent and to end the Repliforce war.
  • In Zero's storyline of X4, the fight against Iris, and the result. Unfortunately, hammy 90s voice acting kind of ruined the moment a bit for American audiences, although the scene as originally done is far more effective at getting Zero's voice-ripping anguish across. "WHAT THE HELL ARE WE FIGHTING FOR?!", indeed.
    • The take done by Lucas Gilbertson (Zero's VA for MMX8, CM, and MHX) of it is also a fitting example. And something of an awesome moment as he did it on his own free time. This take is perhaps much better than the original dub.
      • Even Johnny Yong Bosch had a go at the infamous line in the Zero Trailer for Teppen, and you can definitely feel the emotion from Zero in nothing more than one line.
    • The fandub done by Sebastian Todd is also phenomenal and superior to the official dub, almost entirely due to the raw emotion and shock in Zero’s voice to the point where it legitimately sounds like Zero is traumatized.
    • This is even more tearjerking in hindsight after the untimely passing of Yuko Mizutani, Iris' Japanese VA.
  • X's objective since the very first game is to fight for a world where humans and Reploids co-exist peacefully. Dr. Light even expresses this wish in his video to Dr. Cain in the ending of Maverick Hunter X. How does it all end? Peace is finally achieved when Zero sacrifices his life at the end of Mega Man Zero 4, but neither he nor X live to see that peace.
  • In the manga version of X3 Chapter 9 (here), the Maverick Toxic Seahorse has drowned an entire town, poetically proclaiming it to be "holy ground", upon which our heroes X and Zero should stay away. He also ominously says that he is "already dead". They do battle across the town, and eventually come out victorious, forcing Seahorse to flee. When X and Zero follow him, they see he has escaped to the top of a tree, and is quietly hugging a frozen, female Reploid, who was presumably his girlfriend. Seahorse is also about to liquefy his programming. X wants to apprehend him, noting that Seahorse will be gone forever and die if he liquefies his main program, but Zero convinces him not to, saying they have finished their task of defeating Seahorse and fixing the dam he ruined. The look on X's face when he realizes what is going on just sells it.
    Narrator: It was then when X remembered. Seahorse had called his dam his "holy ground" and he had said that "he was already dead"... But there was no way X could have understood the true meaning of those words. The honorable dam recovered its original function again. The ruins fell into silent sleep. And Seahorse too became unknown... The metal liquid gently embracing the Reploid who stands still.
    • Axl's scene about Red's death is no less of a tear jerker than that of Zero, perhaps even more so adding to the music accompanying in the background. Again, however, this only applies to the Japanese version; the English version is turned into Narm, as Axl sounds less "grief-stricken" and more "complaining about not getting your dessert". Here is a video of Axl's Japanese version of him screaming at a dying Red, starting at 5:00.
    • And there's this line from Zero's ending in X4, which implied that Zero could've saved Iris when he had the chance, and as he left the exploding Final Weapon, he realizes that he blew it:
      Zero: So... this is what happened to me... this is my fate. I couldn't save anyone after all... IRIS!!!!
  • Zero's final moments during his ending in X5. Utterly broken and defeated, he finally remembers what he was built for, apologizes to Iris's memory, and says that the world will finally be peaceful when he dies, right before he says goodbye to his best friend X. Zero's said death is accompanied by this music track, which is a Dark Reprise of his opening stage theme.
    • Given that Mega Man X5 was originally intended by Keiji Inafune as the final chapter of the X saga, it would have been Zero's final demise — until he is revived in Mega Man Zero.
    • Then there's the alternate endings for both Mega Man X5 and Mega Man X6 where Zero isn't around at the end. Those endings imply that, with Zero neutralized, the world will finally be at peace, even though Sigma's alive at the end of Mega Man X6. It really hammers in how badly Zero's mere existence messed things up.
  • X5's remix of Dr. Light's Mega Man X theme... even sadder than the SNES one.
  • The unused track from X5 entitled "Armageddon", for when the space colony crashed. It sounds like a rock ballad, but there's a sense of the Earth being wiped clean.
  • "Mizu no Naka", the Japanese credits song for X5, is a heartbreaking recollection of how much Zero meant to X as his partner-in-crime, and to have to leave him behind leaves X feeling unable to move on. What makes the song all the more depressing is that it's sung by part-seiyuu, part-rock star Showtaro Morikubo, who also voices X in X5, meaning that the words said are all coming from the mouth of the grieving Reploid himself.
  • The Alia and Gate track from Mega Man X6. It's a haunting piano melody that plays when Alia is talking about the Nightmares to X or Zero, but it sounds like what's played if somebody recently died. Even sadder when it's pitched down.
  • The unused track for Zero's death in X5 is even sadder than the one they ended up using in some ways.
  • The ending narration for the first game.
    The war has ended for now and peace has been restored. But those who sacrificed themselves for the victory will never return. Exhausted, X gazes at the destruction he helped cause and wonders why he chose to fight. Was there another way? Standing on the cliff, the answers seem to escape him. He only knows that he'll fight the Mavericks again before he finds his answer. How long will he keep on fighting? How long will his pain last? Maybe only the X-Buster on his hand knows for sure...
  • The song that plays during the recap cutscene in X6, "Moonlight", has lyrics that sound like they're coming from X. What makes it even better is that the vocalist, Showtaro Morikubo, is actually X's Japanese voice actor! The lyrics truly put into perspective how lost X feels in a world on the edge of ruin without his partner Zero at his side.
(Lyrics translated from Japanese): Oh, moonlight, illuminate my path! Illuminate for me the path I must take! Oh, moonlight, shine on me! Envelop me, who has lost the sun, with your light!