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Tear Jerker / Pokémon

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Even the wonderful world of Pokémon can have its own sad moments that would bring a tear to even Arceus himself...

Here are some songs to help with the mood.

The following entries have their own page.

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  • Magical Pokémon Journey gives us a singular example. In a series that's usually sunshine and rainbows, smack at the end of volume 7 we get a random story of a senile Quagsire looking for the Charmander he used to love. They find the hill where they promised to meet only to find her grave. She'd died three years before. Quagsire stands at the grave and sobs his tiny little eyes out, his memory fully returned. Her spirit shows up, and the two of them fade away. He's alive though—turns out what we'd seen was an astral projection. But when we see him again, all his memory is gone. It was for nothing. The ultimate kicker is that this is what Viz finished their run of the entire series with.
  • Pokémon Golden Boys has Black's Bayleef, later Gold's Bayleef. After its been released by the Jerkass that is Black, it takes quite a lot of time for it to get over Black's notion of it.
  • Pokémon Zensho has a small example in what happened to Shigeru's mom. All other adaptations tend to keep their "mysterious disappearance" ambiguous, but this manga makes it quite clear that they died in a car accident when their children were quite young. It makes even Shigeru look sympathetic to an extent, though the tears tend to be shed more on his sister.
  • Everything involving Mitsumi in Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure!. It's similar to Blue's, if she was raised and made into a fighting machine.
    • On the same token, the redemption of the one responsible for this, simply through the protagonist Hareta's showing him compassion even when he has no reason to, may also bring out the waterworks. It's especially poignant because it is - so far, at least - the only storyline in which Cyrus is able to perform a Heel–Face Turn. For anyone who's a fan of Cyrus in normal canon, this is especially therapeutic.
    • Koya has a backstory MADE of Kick the Dog. His best friend and main Pokemon, Growlithe, was beaten up so badly by a Gyarados that it had to go to the ER. It was so traumatized by the battle that it shrank away when Koya tried to touch it.
  • Phantom Thief Pokémon 7 has Hiori's search for his long-lost sister, and the events after they meet. His sister, who has Identity Amnesia, has been taken by a terrorist group and turned into a dangerous monster. He tries to snap sense into her, and she just beats him.

    Video Games 
  • The final battle with Red in GSC is uncharacteristically poignant for the series. No words, not even a flashy departure.
    • Also a CMOH at the end of the HG/SS credits when your character is shown running across the screen to your mom before the screen fades to black and the music box starts playing.
  • Not a scene but rather a music piece (and fan-made, at that), but this remix of the Dark Cave from GSC/HGSS is just...ugh...
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, Kangaskhan's phrase upon reaching low health qualifies. "I'm done... Please, take care of my baby..."
  • The Pokémon League Theme in the gen 4 games.
  • In the Lost Tower in Diamond, Pearl and Platinum, you may encounter Roughneck Kirby. His only Pokémon is a Cleffa, a definite change from what Roughnecks are known to use (and an initial source of amusement). Then Kirby states before the battle that the rest of his Pokémon were killed by Team Galactic. That Cleffa he has? It's the only one he has left.
  • Cyrus's backstory. Especially when you find out that his grandfather knew he was going insane and almost intervened... but for some reason didn't.
    • According to the old man, Cyrus was an aloof but otherwise relatively normal child prodigy, who was slowly broken and then gradually turned insane as he was forced to live up to his parents' unreasonable expectations. Grandpa saw what was happening. Why didn't he save Cyrus? He didn't consider it proper to tell them how to raise their own child. Listening to that, and the regret he expresses as he tells his story, and especially knowing how twisted Cyrus ended up, and knowing that if the old man had intervened Cyrus could have grown up happy and heartbreaking.
      • It's even sadder if you're aware of the Real Life Values Dissonance that this story reflects: in Japanese culture, it is considered extremely improper to "butt in" with other families when you suspect that bad things are happening in that family - this causes many children to suffer from physical and/or psychological abuse from parents/friends/grandparents, such as what happened to Cyrus. His grandfather's regret is a Take That! to the destructive social attitude of Pride, as well as the fear of social reprisal, that ruins children from a young age and leaves them messed up in later life - Cyrus represents that "worst case scenario" as the potential consequences of people not saying Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right! more. In addition, Cyrus' parents are the absolute extreme of the attitude in Japan that you must try your utter best no matter what - what was his best was never good enough for them, it's small wonder he was left damaged and nihilistic, when he could have grown up to be one of the greatest heroes the Pokémon-world has ever seen... even without his intelligence, it's a massive waste because he wasn't predestined for evil (as opposed to someone who consciously ignored morality out of selfishness or a cruel streak), but the callousness of his parents ruined him.
  • In the original games and their remakes, there's the aftermath of when you defeat your rival. He had just achieved his dream of becoming Champion, only to have to ripped away from him immediately. Then his grandfather, Professor Oak, arrives to escort you into the Hall of Fame, but not before saying "I'm disappointed in you" to your rival. As if losing wasn't bad enough, he then gets chided by his own grandfather. Even if he was an egotistical asshole, he didn't deserve this. However, things got better for him in GSC/HGSS when he becomes the Viridian City Gym leader.
  • In Pokémon FR/LG, in the Sevii Islands, there's a boy whose Onix died, and he is polishing a monument for it.
    • It turns into a Heartwarmer if you decide to leave a Lemonade on the monument, which was the Onix's favorite drink. The boy thanks you and gives you a TM for being so kind.
  • The endings of all of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games.
    • The ending for the sequel was much more heart-wrenching than the first (although that was sad, too) but what with the tearful, sudden goodbye bid to your partner before you cease existing, then your partner later breaking down on the beach (where they met you) and the credits rolling. It's such a sad ending, until Dialga brings you back.
    • One line: "Though the parting hurts..."
    • Manaphy's departure...
    • Grovyle's Heroic Sacrifice could count if it wasn't for Dusknoir's second mouth beforehand dampening your pants. Heck, Nightmare Fuel is a common cure to these sad moments.
      • The anime adaptation of the scene only makes it even more heart wrenching. "I'll leave it to you to protect... this world's beautiful mornings."
      • The true tear-jerking moment began when Grovyle said:"And Chimchar! You take good care of Piplup!" —> Chimchar: "But I can't do what you can do!" —> Grovyle: "You'll do just great!" He begins to fall towards the portal. "You two are a great team, and don't you ever forget it!". He falls into the portal. Right before he enters, he says: "The future of the world is in your hands. Protect the sunrise... for everyone's sake."
    • "I am, up to the very end, not wavering, honestly. I lived because of you Grovyle. Thanks to you I have no regrets."
    • Add to this the Igglybuff Special Episode on Explorers of Sky. You play the episode as Igglybuff, who makes a friend in Armaldo, a retired explorer. The two of them go exploring dungeons together, and the two grow to enjoy adventuring as a duo. Then the bomb gets dropped at the very end when it is revealed that Armaldo is actually an outlaw that has been avoiding capture for quite some time, and is arrested. Poor Igglybuff has to bear witness to all this, and Armaldo tells Igglybuff that he has had fun exploring with him. And when the day came that he was released, if he felt the same as he did now, he'd gladly explore with him again. He then gives Igglybuff the first treasure that the duo had found together, and is escorted away by Magnezone. Igglybuff breaks down crying for his friend as he's taken away...
      • "There are plenty of criminals out there... they are caught and punished, but... but... truly bad Pokémon... don't really exist anywhere." Cue horribly tear-jerking credits music!
    • Thankfully, Super shows that not only has Armaldo been released but he's even befriended another Igglybuff.
    • Gates to Infinity also had those too... especially when the player character breaks down and cries.
      • Bonus points on the English version ending:
    Player: (Sob... [Partner's name]... Even when you said... you wanted me to stay... Even though I promised you...)
    Flashback appears. After it ends, it cuts back to the player.
    Player: (But... You already knew, didn't you? That I... wouldn't be keeping that promise... That I would have to leave you someday. And... in the end... When our eyes seemed to meet across the sky...)
    Flashback appears.
    Player: (Those eyes... The way those eyes fixed on me...)
    End of flashback.
    Player: [ (I'm sure of it... [Partner's name]... everyone... You didn't forget about me. You remembered me, didn't you? You looked up at that light, knowing it was me... to say goodbye... You even managed to overcome your fate to forget me... [Partner's name] still... Everyone still... They still remember me... [Partner's name]... My... friends... Sob...)
  • The very first Pokémon generation, as well as their remakes, include the Lavender Town plot. The Lavender Town music is slow and kinda sad on its own, and its biggest feature is Pokémon Tower, a graveyard for departed Pokémon. That's not why the town's plot is so heartbreaking. Apparently, Team Rocket tried to capture a rare Cubone, but its mother saved it - and the Rockets killed her. You actually meet both the little Cubone and the vengeful spirit of mama Marowak... and it's up to the player to calm her spirit by facing her in battle. Mr. Fuji is praying alone for Marowak's spirit...
    • Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! do not help in this area. You get to see the ghostly Marowak herself, and the end of the plot arc involves reuniting her and her child one last time. Cubone rushes up to touch its mother's hand, but inches away from comforting her child, Marowak's ghost Disappears into Light. Cubone can only stand there, longingly raising up its hand to where its mother was, until the heartrending realization sets in.
  • The fourth generation games manage to pull off one hell of a Player Punch as well. The main character arrives at Lake Valor too late, and Team Galactic has already set off a bomb in order to drain the lake and capture the Legendary Pokémon living in it. As a consequence of the explosion, you see Magikarp and Gyarados that were also in the lake, now flopping feebly on the dry lake bed in their death throes. A nearby Galactic Grunt just shrugs and states that those Pokémon are useless, so their mass slaughter is acceptable in order to Take Over the World.
  • While it's common knowledge now, fighting through a game that can take 120+ hours to beat and finding the first game's protagonist isolated and alone, completely silent, at the very end was a kick in the face.
    • The Fridge Horror sets in when you realize that he's been up there for a while, shutting himself off from the entire world, including his own mother, whose dialogue implies that she hasn't seen him at all in a very long while. Some of the possible reasons for this behavior are awful in themselves, one of them being that, despite being only 14 years old he's done everything he set out to do and then some, and he never figured out the answer to the question, "And now what?". Many fan works actually run with this idea, usually featuring Red completely unable to enjoy battles anymore, feeling trapped, unable to go anywhere, and essentially silently begging for Ethan to defeat him. Basically, he's 14 years old and already going through a crisis.
    • Oh, and speaking of his mother... She bought a new game system for her son, probably out of some hope that he'll come back someday.
    • The same fanworks also usually have a concerned Blue trying to convince Red to come down or feeling like he's unworthy of doing so. Considering that in canon they used to be the best of friends until Blue started bullying Red for seemingly no reason... Remember, kids, treasure your friends, otherwise you'll do something you might not be able to take back. It's made better in Sun and Moon, however, as the two are confirmed to be best friends once again, if not even closer than before.
  • Finding Cinnabar Island completely desolated in Gold and Silver. Surfing south from Pallet Town to go back to a favorite place from the first game...and it's gone. The saddest part is the story about Blaine, and how he's now all alone on the Seafoam Islands, no trainers, no gym, just him and his Pokémon. Thank God there were at least no casualties (as told to you by an NPC in the Cinnabar Pokémon Center), and he's also got company and a renovated gym in the remakes. Blue being there, humbled by the desolation, only drives it home further.
    Blue: Anyway, take a good look around you… A volcano erupts, and just like that, a whole town disappears. We can go on winning and losing in Pokémon, but if nature so much as twitches, we can be overwhelmed in a second… That's the way it is…
    • And the remakes add this.
  • Finding out, after you've beaten him and sent him into self-imposed exile, that Cyrus has a grandfather who cares deeply for him and blames himself for the boy's life winding up so terribly.
  • In R/B/Y, Giovanni reforms after his defeat, which is solidified in G/S/C when Team Rocket's attempt to contact him gets nowhere. In the remakes, he pretends to reform after his defeat in FR/LG, was willing to join his team again in HG/SS, and by US/UM he's back to planning world domination actively.
  • Silver screaming after Giovanni about how he'll be the strongest and never have to rely on anybody. The boy's only around eight or nine in that scene and just watched his failure of a father walk off on him. It's worse when you realize that he was probably groomed all his life to inherit Team Rocket, convinced that his father was the strongest person there is and that he'll follow in his footsteps someday.
    • Pretty much anything in the GS remakes where Celebi is involved. You just end up feeling sorry for both Silver and Team Rocket; the former was a sociopath because his dad was never there and he quite possibly grew up knowing nothing but crime, and Team Rocket's big takeover of the radio station is now all for naught. Neither of them will ever see the most important figure in their lives again. Worse, he doesn't even turn the radio off before the game suggests he's jumped...
  • Yamask, full stop. Just look at its PokéDex entries!
    • This takes it even further.
  • The Lavender Town music for G/S/C and the remakes sounds really sad and a bit somber. You find out that Tower that used to hold the graves for deceased Pokémon is converted into a Radio Tower, which sounds really disrespectful at first. Then you find out the graves were moved into Mr. Fuji's home. It's that the town really changed and moved on from its dark and tragic past, which is heartbreaking especially if the story of Lavender Town in R/B/Y left such a huge impact on you.
  • A very serious example of Real Life Fridge Horror: The space shuttle in the Pewter City museum is supposed to be the Columbia. On February 1, 2003 the Space Shuttle Columbia was reentering Earth's atmosphere over Texas and Louisiana, only to disintegrate and kill all 7 members on board. This happened shortly before it was supposed to conclude its 28th mission.
  • It's implied that Maylene's father is a gambling addict who rarely ever leaves Celadon Game Corner. Maylene doesn't look that much older than the eleven year old protagonist, and she's implied to be rather poor.
  • In Pokémon Conquest the whole game might be one when you consider that everyone in the game actually gets along compared to their real life counterparts, so when their profile says that they are loyal to their master until the very end, you look at history and want to cry.
  • Speaking of Pokémon Conquest, Hanbei's ending comes off as this along with a Fridge Horror. In the game, Hanbei is portrayed as a young boy. In real life, Hanbei died of tuberculosis during an important battle that Hideyoshi instigated to another nation. In the game, after he wins the junior battle, he starts coughing uncontrollably. Hideyoshi asks if he's sick and Hanbei just replied he got too excited. Kanbei looks at him and Hanbei glares at him telling him "Don't say anything" before switching the subject. It's very obvious that the ending implies that Hanbei probably died shortly after the whole battle and what's made worse is that unlike his real life counterpart who died in his mid thirties, Hanbei is at least a teenager and would probably die even younger than his real life counterpart.
  • The credits of Generation III. The music is part of it, but what really kicks you in the face, especially when you come back to your original save file that's been around for almost ten years now, is that last picture. All through the credits, it cycles through all of the Pokemon you've captured over the years, and then, the very last one, it shows a picture of your original starter.
  • In Pokémon X and Y, probably the biggest tearjerker in the entire game was the story of a general in a war 3000 years ago. He was best buddies with his Floette and they did everything together, but in said war his Floette died. He was ultimately heartbroken, so he created a device to bring his Floette back to life, but in doing so he had to sacrifice the lives of other living Pokémon. When his Floette was revived, and found out what he did to bring it back, it was beyond repulsed and ran away. The device had also made Floette and its trainer both immortal. So the man traveled the world ever since, looking for his friend to beg for forgiveness...
    • And then it was revealed that he was alive all along... for 3000 years. So he's been Walking the Earth for that long, atoning for what he has done. Then he gets kidnapped and imprisoned by the person who wants to use the device he built, the very same device that caused him his eternal punishment. Imagine the heartbreak and sadness he feels thinking of that single incident that robbed him of his best friend. Granted, it ended in a Heartwarming Moment, though.
  • In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, when one goes to Sea Mauville, the player can find a series of notes in one of the rooms which were written by a child (revealed to be Cozmo, an NPC professor you save early-ish in the game) addressed to his father. In these notes reveal through lots of subtle clues that Cozmo's parents are divorced and are clearly have a very rocky relationship. These notes also reveal that the divorce was due to the long periods of time that Cozmo's father had to spend away from his family due to his job. It ends with Cozmo wishing for his father to come home soon; begging him to come home more often. It even possibly implied that even young Cozmo (despite missing his father) was starting to resent him, as he traded away his Salamence (Which his father fondly gave him, and was probably the last thing he ever gave him) for a Solrock. Though young Cozmo's reasoning was that he preferred Pokemon that resembled rocks more than others. Yet there could still be deeper reasons implied for that trade.
  • A major plot point in Sun and Moon is the Ultra Beasts, Pokemon-like creatures who are explicitly not Pokemon and came out of nowhere, wreaking havoc on the world. The worst part is they are heavily implied to have attacked at least one world, the world of the GBA and DS Pokemon games. Meaning everything that players strived for and everything they accomplished were almost ripped away offscreen with no way for them to protect it themselves, with an amnesiac Looker and Anabel having escaped. It's a good thing they're never explicitly or implicitly stated to have actually destroyed that world.
  • Violet's PokéDex entry for Hydreigon suggests that the line really isn't as innately brutal as they seem... and only became that way because humans attacked them for looking evil.
    • Which gets worse when you remember the most high-profile trainer with a Hydreigon, Ghetsis.

  • The Japanese trailer for Sun and Moon is surprisingly moving. It's about a little boy from Japan who is moving to Hawaii as a New Transfer Student. He doesn't know English very well, he feels out of place at school, and he misses his home... So when he gets the new Pokémon game, he's immediately struck by the fact that it begins with the player character arriving from oversees and being greeted in a new land an awful lot like Hawaii. And the sad tears slowly morph into tears of joy as the little boy meets a local kid who likes to play Pokémon too, and they become friends.
    • A follow-up trailer has the boy, Shohei, get in a fight with his new friend, Hoku, because Hoku keeps mercilessly beating him down in Pokémon battles. For a majority of the trailer, Shohei is distant and hurt, but eventually he remembers that Pokemon is what brought them together, and all of the fun they've had. They trade Miniors nicknamed Hokulele and Ryusei, which mean "shooting star" in Hawaiian and Japanese, respectively, and both apologize.
    • In the third and final trailer in this series, a group of older kids take over Shohei and his friends' 'base', and mockingly challenge them to a Pokémon battle for it. Shohei and Hoku lose horribly. But rather than give up and sulk as in Trailer 2, Shohei immediately perks up and suggests they all seriously train their Pokémon. What follows is a montage of the kids figuring out the best moves and abilities they can get for their 'Mons, battling other kids and doing incredibly well. Then Shohei comes home to his mother sitting at the table, laptop open. She turns to him and nods wordlessly - her assignment in Hawaii is over with, and they have to return to Japan.
  • The Pokémon Christmas Bash CD is filled with generally happy songs about Christmastime...and then there's "I Keep My Home in my Heart", about how Brock and Misty miss spending Christmas with their families.
  • The "GOTCHA!" music video posted after Pokémon Sword and Shield's Crown Tundra presentation is basically an emotional thank you to longtime players, showcasing all of the characters from the games over the years.
  • In the Pokémon Learning League "Cyberbullying" segment, Team Rocket (in a surprisingly cruel move) decide to target Zoey, posting nasty messages in an attempt to break her spirit and convince her to not only give up on Coordinating but give up her Pokémon; while they fail, it's pretty disheartening to see Team Rocket behave in a way that is somewhat reminiscent of the way some fans call Zoey The Scrappy, simply for being herself and Zoey is realistically scared, confused and hurt by the messages she's being sent.
    • In a different video, Dawn fails at basic Internet safety and while she herself doesn't get hurt, her lack of caution nearly gets her Pokémon kidnapped by Team Rocket. Not to mention that she's hurt that the new friend she was expecting was just someone wanting to use her.

Alternative Title(s): Pokemon Games