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Tear Jerker / Splatoon

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    Series as a whole 
  • Some of the losing animations can be considered this. Especially for the female Inklings.
    • Losing with a gun-type weapon will have them slamming their weapon to the ground out of frustration.
    • Losing with a Charger as a female Inkling will cause her to fall and cry.
    • Losing with a Slosher as a female will have the Inkling throw the bucket up into the air and hit her on the head, which also makes her cry.
    • With the release of Octo Expansion for Splatoon 2, many of the Octolings' losing animations have them falling to the ground in defeat. The Octoling boy's losing animation with a Brella in particular is rather sad - he just collapses to his knees and hangs his head, looking utterly depressed. Given that it's all but stated that the playable Octolings are former Child Soldiers... yeah, that can't be good for their mental health.
  • One must admit it is quite sad to hear the sad little sounds the Inklings/Octolings make after getting splatted. It almost makes you feel bad for the splatting, because by the sounds of pain it must hurt like hell. Then again, getting blown up and shot by ink at fast speed (this is why paintball players wear protective gear) does not feel like a pleasant experience anyway even if you're able to respawn.

  • Depending on how you view it, the homes of the Octarians, and their situation that caused them to steal the Zapfish in the first place. They had to live underground after the Great Turf War and eventually, they were losing precious power causing their homes to deteriorate rapidly. And according to Sunken Scroll #6, they even state that the future doesn't look good for them. Even when Octolings start moving to the surface in search of a better life, it's because things are that bad and the main thing that kept them from leaving was mind control music and propaganda.
  • Spyke is a Street Urchin. Both literally and figuratively. While he doesn't seem to mind it, one can't help but feel at least a little sorry to see him living in a back alley like that. Alleviated a bit in the sequel, where Word of God has it that Spyke has made so much money off of his business that he no longer has to work.

    Splatoon 2 

Promotional Material

  • In the lead-up to the game, the Squid Sister Stories that have cropped up are legitimately tear-inducing. The worst part is that the way Callie and Marie are said to have drifted apart is all too realistic, as their different career choices turn their timetables around so they have less and less time to spend together.
    • Even worse? It was implied at first that this is all because of the last Splatfest. The sisters broke up the band...and it's all your fault. Later on, this was revealed to not be the case, but the actual story isn't much better: Marie went on vacation, and Callie was set to join her one day in...but she never showed up. After a whole day of waiting, Marie cut her vacation short to go home, but could not find a trace of Callie...but she did find that DJ Octavio escaped from his snowglobe, and the Great Zapfish disappeared again.

Single Player

  • Imagine growing up with a beloved family member, spending years together as an inseparable pair, but slowly growing apart as the two of you slip into different walks of life, always meaning to get back in touch one day but never actually going through with it. Now imagine that you see your cousin again, for the first time in potentially months, to discover they've fallen in with a known criminal, having seemingly renounced their former life with you. Now you have an idea of Marie's situation in Splatoon 2. For such a lighthearted game, the writing and soundtrack do a commendable job of expressing Marie's worry and horror at what has happened to her cousin. It becomes even more clear when she destroys Callie's hypnoshades and begins to sing "Tidal Rush", a lovely orchestral medley of "Tide Goes Out" and "Bomb Rush Blush". Marie is audibly trying (and failing) not to cry, and around the second verse, Callie seems to begin remembering how close the two were and herself desperately tries to hold back tears. All in all, it makes for one of the the most emotional songs, and moments, in the entire series.
  • BOTH. CREDIT. THEMES. They were made to touch your heart with the stories behind the Squid Sisters.
  • If you fail anywhere in the finale of Octo Expansion (between the blender scene and the final boss), Pearl, Marina, or Cuttlefish will frantically call out for Agent 8 before you cut back to the last checkpoint. In a developer interview, it was revealed that Agent 8 dies if the player fails in the finale. Dying on the final boss instead shows you a brief scene of Inkopolis getting decimated by Tartar's slime as any of the previous three lament its destruction, and worst of all, the ultimate fate of Earth itself, once destroyed by humans and then ravaged once again.
  • During one of the chat logs Captain Cuttlefish reveals to Pearl that Marina is not only an Octoling but one of their chief weapon engineers. Pearl is surprised but then immediately comes to Marina's defense and would not accept any threats thrown her way. When Marina discovers what happened needless to say she is stunned that Captain Cuttlefish revealed everything about her past. What's awful is that Marina is on some level ashamed of who she is. Rather than being angry about her past being dug up, she was very scared that Inklings would not accept her for being an Octoling, which can speak to people on various levels about being ashamed about who they are and having difficulties accepting themselves.
  • It's a happier kind of tearjerking, but watching the sunrise with Off The Hook, Cuttlefish and Three as you view the credits to Octo Expansion while Into The Light plays is likely to wring tears of joy and happiness out of you. Particularly when, at the end, Eight looks back at the camera, e.g. at you the player, in wonder before giving a smile and turning back to Inkopolis.
  • The dead scientist who preserved Judd and developed Commander Tartar clearly had good intentions. But not only did he fail to save his species and only managed to save his pet, his AI went rogue, completely failed to pass on humanity's knowledge to its replacements whom it grew to hate beyond all measure, murdered thousands of innocent people and even tried to destroy Earth. And if that wasn't bad enough, despite cloning Judd to make sure he wouldn't be lonely, all that resulted in was Lil Judd becoming resentful of the being he came from to the point of scheming against him. This poor guy just can't catch a break in the slightest even discounting the extinction of humanity.
    • In a way, the Big Bad for the Octo Expansion, Tartar. Even as an Omnicidal Maniac Misanthrope Supreme, it's hard to not feel bad for this thing once you figure out its Start of Darkness. It's still loyally devoted to the professor that made it, and all it was programmed to do was pass down human knowledge to any sentient life remaining, but unfortunately, it saw right through the Inklings and Octarians and noticed their flaws first i.e. how vain, lazy and hedonistic the former was and how unreasonably vindictive the latter was - and to say it was distraught with how these two species turned out would be an understatement. Its defeat dialogue even has it hoping to reunite with its creator in the afterlife. It gets even more worse when you discover in Splatoon 3 that the Inklings and Octolings were in fact, the closest successors to humanity to be created, making this situation a sibling trying to kill his other siblings without knowing who that they were family. Remember, too, Tartar’s initial goal was to pass down all of humanity’s vast knowledge. With its destruction, this knowledge will be forever lost to the ages.
  • The story of Acht, aka Dedf1sh, the sanitized Octoling in charge of providing the music of Octo Expansion, is quite depressing. Once an up and coming DJ in Octarian society, they willingly underwent the sanitization process in order to cast away their doubts and fears and fully focus on their music. What they got was the loss of their free will, left only as a mindless zombie who does the one thing they're capable of remembering. The titles of their songs are their way of warning others about the truth behind the process. The worst part is that they are never encountered in-person in the Octo Expansion, leaving their fate uncertain. Luckily, Side Order gives Acht's story a happy ending by showing they're not quite the Empty Shell their backstory implied, having them escape the Order Sector with Pearl, Marina, and Eight, and implicitly living a normal life in Inkadia after the story ends.

Final Fest

  • Marina's dialogue during the Chaos vs Order Splatfest announcement gets very emotional and it's obvious that for the first time (until the final few lines that is), she really doesn't want to participate in it. Specific points she makes is that she's worried that she'll never see her friends again (Agent 8 and Cpt. Cuttlefish to be exact) as well as she's worried what the outcome of her friendship and career with Pearl will be if Chaos winsnote . It's probably the most uncomfortable and emotional bit of Splatfest dialogue since Marina's outburst during the Fork vs Spoon results.
    • Some of Marina's comments in the pre-fest banter are genuinely upsetting, even if you don't put them into any greater context. She's absolutely terrified of what's to come, and she basically admits to having had clinical depression at one point, outright saying that Off the Hook and her friendship with Pearl are "the only thing[s] she [has] in this world". Now think back to the chat logs from the Octo Expansion; Pearl and Marina first met on Mount Nantai. Marina had just learned everything she knew was a lie, was going through a very dark time in her life, and was climbing a mountain. It isn't hard to put two-and-two together. note If Pearl hadn't shown up at just that moment... In her dev diaries in Splatoon 3: Side Order, Marina drops further hints that she was contemplating suicide at the time, saying that she felt "lost and directionless" after leaving the Octarian army and that Pearl "showed her hope."
    • When the results come in, Pearl accidentally makes Marina think they really are breaking up via a poor choice of words (the "breaking" she meant was actually "into new genres of music"), and Marina doesn't take it well until Pearl clears things up.

    Splatoon 3 


  • While taking the train to Inkopolis Plaza or Inkopolis Square can make for a very nostalgic journey and plenty of things stay the same, it's still clear that their glory days are long over. The mailbox in front of Inkopolis Tower is painted over and no longer has the Miiverse logo, the arcade machine in Inkopolis Plaza that allowed you to play minigames is refitted into a Hotlantis contact point, the Squid Beatz machine in Inkopolis Square is completely gone, the Battle Dojo in Inkopolis Plaza is now a Shoal, Judd's box has been removed from Inkopolis Plaza, and Octo Valley, Octo Canyon, and the Deepsea Metro are permanently cut off since their entrances are covered up by new bits of scenery (and the Tableturf Battle Dojo in the latter case). In the Plaza's case, this also comes with a huge dose of Reality Subtext considering 3 was released a year or two before 1's official servers shut down for good.
  • During the announcement for the Friends vs. Family vs. Solo Splatfest, after Big Man and Frye solidify their plans to spend the holidays alone and with their family respectively, Frye notices Shiver has a bunch of coupons for karaoke, bowling, and an all-you-can-eat-sweets buffet. Specifically, three of each. The other two quickly catch on that the friends Shiver was planning to spend her holiday with were Frye and Big Man (which is now ruined thanks to them having other plans), and she seems genuine downtrodden even as she attempts to deny it.

Return of the Mammalians

  • One of the Sunken Scrolls describes the behavior of Smallfry that get lost and separated from the rest of the Salmonid society, noting that they start to starve during their quest to come home and featuring an image of one looking somberly over an evening horizon. Poor little guy.
  • Like Tartar, the backstory of Mr. Grizz adds a sense of tragedy to the character. He was the Sole Survivor of the Ark Polaris, which was an attempt to preserve Earth's wildlife. It failed, and the ship crashed, killing everyone on-board save for him, who was in a cryogenic slumber at the time. When he woke up, he couldn't find any other mammals, the years of isolation wearing away at his sanity until he decided to try and bring them back through the fuzzy ooze you've been encountering throughout the campaign. Seriously, ouch.
    • There's even more sadness, because unlike Tartar, Mr. Grizz is...honestly pretty polite and friendly. Rather than a raving xenophobic madman like Tartar, he's calm, straightforward, and professional - to him, resurrecting humanity isn't eradicating a species he hates, it's just something he's been tasked to do. He even commends his employees for their work, despite the fact that his plan requires him to annihilate them all. He recognizes why you're against him, and he respects your dedication to the job; even when beaten, he somberly accepts defeat and wishes you well and hopes that your kind will succeed where humanity had failed. It gives a sense of melancholy to everything he does since at the end of the day, he just yearned to complete the Ark Polaris' mission of preserving Earth's life somewhere else all on his own.
  • Reading the Alterna Logs can be quite sobering, as you learn that it was humanity's last refuge after everywhere else on Earth has been destroyed by war and climate change. They thrived well thanks to technology and sea life they managed to breed, and survive for a few generations... until it ends with them killing themselves off anyway when one final escape attempt to the surface causes the bunker to fail on them.
    • And the reason why they wanted to escape? They knew what Earth's skies really looked like and wanted to see it in person just one last time after untold years of living Beneath the Earth. The fact that this reflects the Inkadian Octolings' situation makes it hurt worse.
  • The scene just before the Final Boss where Cuttlefish seemingly dies from dehydration shortly after Grizz flies away on his rocket. At least Captain 3 shedding a tear over his dehydrated body saved him.

Side Order

  • Upon seeing the Brainwashed and Crazy Marina, Pearl is clearly distraught to see her partner like that. She later admits that she was worried that, if they didn't beat her, then she would never get Marina back.
  • Visible inside the crates are figures of what appear to be primarily children's toys. Octarian children's toys to be precise. Once you've read Marina's Dev Diary, it quickly becomes clear that these are the childhood memories of all the Octarian victims of Kamabo Co, and you come to realize just how much Commander Tartar took from them just for the sake of making them its pawns.
  • While in the Order Sector, Marina continues to beat herself up and blame herself for Order going rogue and it gets worse once it's revealed why she created the Memverse-she wanted to help the Sanitized Octolings that were still trapped in Kamabo Co regain their senses of self and yet the program that was intended to help others instead got turned into the device that a malevolent AI hoped to use to pretty much sanitize everyone. It's hard not to feel bad for her.
  • In one of the elevator conversations, Marina will express worry about the belongings she left back at home when she defected from the Octorians, and Acht will confirm that they've probably been shoved into a trash compactor at some point.
  • Acht's letters to Marina all have a very melancholic tone to them, as they reminisce on their past with Marina before everything went wrong. The last letter is especially gut wrenchig with the implication that Marina's sudden departure is what kickstarted their obsession with "breakbeat perfection" in their music, something that would inevitably lead to their sanitization by Tartar.
  • The first time you de facto defeat the Overlorder, it executes its grayscaling program, and it assimilates Splatsville and Inkopolis Plaza, causing the places to discolor and freeze, with Acht just about to reach Marina before they're frozen too. But then Agent 8 barely frees themself and their companions, tuned to the beat of Spectrum Obligato. The fact that you press ZR to strengthen the music at that point, after you were left with a blank gray screen, makes the scene all the more cathartic.

Alternative Title(s): Splatoon 2, Splatoon 1, Splatoon 3