- The bit when Haku has just taken Chihiro/Sen to see her parents in the pig stable, and he gives her a rice ball to eat, and she starts tearing up as she takes the first bite, and then halfway through finishing, just begins bawling from all the trauma she has accumulated over the past 16 hours or so. The music at that point certainly helps.
- If Chihiro crying her eyes out when it hits her that she is by herself in a strange world with only three people who actually care about her doesn't get you, the Bittersweet Ending will.
- The moment where Chihiro figures out Haku's real name, and he returns to human form.
- The soundtrack, especially "Reprise".
- She may act immature at the start, but Chihiro is ten years old, around the age when most children start to desire autonomy from their parents. She calls them 'Mom' and 'Dad' instead of 'Mommy' and 'Daddy', and she has no trouble walking off alone. However, when they turn into pigs, she runs into the street and starts desperately calling out for them because she refuses to believe that those were really her parents. It's even worse in the English dub, where she starts hyperventilating and crying, and just screams, "MOMMYYYY!" It's absolutely gut-wrenching to think of how terrified she must be in that moment.
- The moment where Lin tells Chihiro not trust a thing Haku says, right after his advice led her to sign away her name to Yubaba. Her reaction is to crouch down on the ground and start sobbing. The next morning shows that she's still miserable, and struggling not to cry since it would wake the other girls up.
- In a way, No Faces interactions with Chihiro. He offers her a series of gifts in the hopes of seeing her smile and maybe earning her affection. However, he gets a little pushy with the gift-giving like him offering a bunch of bath tokens when she only needed one. When they meet up again later, he offers her a huge pile of gold, which she rejects since shes busy trying to find Haku. The look on his face and sound he makes is quite sad. He doesnt understand why shes refusing his gold, especially since everyone else in the bathhouse has been accepting it, and is upset. It could also be that he thinks the only way to win over someones friendship is to shower them with gifts.
- When Yubaba calls Boh "that dirty mouse", as she doesn't recognize him in his cursed form, he looks like he's going to start crying.
- The train journey. Granted, it's simply showing Chihiro, No-Face, Boh and the bird traveling to Zeniba's, but there's something so melancholy about it, particularly with the music. Chihiro has already traveled so far from everything she's known, and the train ride gives a sense of even greater, growing isolation.
- Haku's backstory: He was a river spirit. The river has been dried up by humans and houses were built in its place. And that's why Haku forgot his name and lost himself.
- The moment when Haku/Kohaku River bids goodbye to Chihiro, telling her not to look back once. He's brave and happy for her—to go home to her own parents— but when she lets go his hand and starts down the stairs, his outstretched hand lingers. The parting hurts him more than he shows.
- A meta-example: Yasuyoshi Tokuma died ten months before the film's release, making this his last Ghibli film.
Tear Jerker / Spirited Away