- For a few brief moments in Partly Cloudy, it looks like the long-suffering stork has abandoned the storm cloud and his beloved-yet-very-dangerous baby animals. The storm cloud takes this quite poorly, at first fuming at the betrayal and kicking up lightning storms then, upon realizing the stork is likely gone for good, sobbing hysterically. Fortunately the stork returns a few moments later with football gear received from one of the other clouds. Not that it helps him with his next delivery...
- The baby from "Tin Toy" crying after the Tiny Toy hides under the bed. Tinny sees all the other toys hiding under the bed from the baby, and is ashamed when he realizes he's making the child unhappy (which Toy Story will explain is the worst thing a toy can do).
- The ending of "Red's Dream." There's a reason John Lasseter called it "Pixar's Blue Period." The moment with the unicycle just sitting in the shop waiting for someone to buy him just gets so many people.
- The bulk of Lava, featuring star-crossed volcanoes. It does have a happy ending though!
"He filled the sea with his tears...
- When the first Volcano realizes that the second one can't see him and that he may end up dying without being loved, we get this heartbreaking lyric:
And watched his dreams disappear..."
- In Sanjay's Superhero Team, from the father's perspective, he tries his best to get his son interested in the family's Hindu traditions, only to see him using the meditations as an opportunity to steal back his toy. The defeated look on the father's face as he lets his son go back to watching TV is heartbreaking. But then he sees Sanjay drawing the Hindu deities as his new superhero team, leaving it to end happily.
- Earlier, there's a blink-and-you'll-miss moment: when the heroes are trying to peacefully bind the monster with the power of serenity, pay close attention to Sanjay's face. When the monster reaches for its weapons, there's a slight trace of recognition, like he knows all too well what it's like to disregard something spiritual for something else you want. Just like how he disregarded meditating with his father, just to reclaim his action figure earlier on.
- Borrowed Time. Just...Borrowed Time. It's probably the darkest, saddest, and most mature short done by Pixar staff.
- After Luxo Jr. pops the ball and sees it can't roll anymore, it just looks so upset. Not helping is the noise it makes as it hangs its "head" in sadness.
- Lou gives us J.J's Freudian Excuse: once, a bully had stolen J.J's favorite plush toy. One can only wonder how much time passed since that boy was deprived of his beloved toy. Luckily, it turns out Lou was holding onto that toy until he found its owner.
- Bao has a mother bond with her dumpling son. But during a particularly vicious argument the mother accidentally eats the dumpling son. Her reaction after that is nothing short of heartbreaking.
- She swallowed her dumpling "son" to swallow her bittersweet memories. It's implied she used the dumpling as a stand-in for her bygone son.
- Just the process of her dumpling son growing more and more distant as time passes. It's saddening to feel second-hand what it's like for your child to.. outgrow you..
- In commentary, it's mentioned that the whole thing was meant for the mother to cope with Empty Nest Syndrome.
- The reunion with the mother and her real son. It comes off as a bit heartbreaking as it's obvious he wanted to live his life, but as a result, he threw her to the side and probably did/said something that hurt her emotionally.
- Add to the fact there are no words exchanged. It's just the mother and her son slowly making peace, eating the muffins they ate together when they were young, all while slowly crying. Then the mother slowly lays her head on his shoulder. Twice.
- The new short Kitbull has hit many right in the feels with the antics of the kitten, how the two animals are basically homeless, how they long for warmth and love as the pitbull seeks out his cold owner's attention while the kitten cuddles a stuffed animal in his makeshift cardboard box house.
- Then the pitbull is revealed to be forced into dog fighting by his owner to the point of being covered in scratches, only for the owner to kick him outside cruelly. All the while he cries for his owner's affection. The kitten, after scratched the dog from self-defense, come to realize his mistake and seek out to comfort the pitbull and helps him escape from the abuse.
- After everything, they finally find a kind person who adopts them and gives them a loving home, and at the end, the kitten and pitbull are never seen apart and spend a lot of time with their new sweet owners, finally has a loving home they deserved and always wanted.
Tear Jerker / Pixar Shorts