- Pacha's return to the village at the beginning of the movie. Poor guy just looks so defeated. When he gets home, he acts as if everything is fine around his family, even with the knowledge that everything they have may be destroyed very soon. A moment is given to Pacha looking around his house, knowing it'll be the last time he'll ever get to before it's destroyed.
- Yzma's reaction to getting fired, from two points of view, depending on which you take:
- Sympathy for Yzma: Sure, she's the bad guy, but she raised Kuzco, and she'd like to think he's going to respect her and be grateful for that. She's served him, and (presumably) his parents. The level of ruling she is shown doing is rather tedious and pretty much takes a weight off Kuzco's shoulders. And she's been kicked out by this Ungrateful Bastard.
- Sympathy for Kuzco: Despite all he and she might've been through, her (mild) desire for power, and her grudge against Kuzco, outweigh any sentimental feelings towards him. And he was still willing to let her live in the palace and get settled in another way. It's not hard to see where Kuzco got his ungratefulness from.
- Kuzco arguing with Pacha after the latter learns of Yzma's plan to kill former. But Kuzco blows him off, thinking they were there to bring him home, and he falls out with Pacha, believing his claim to be a plan to save his hilltop from destruction and then orders Pacha to go away. Kuzco makes his way over to Yzma and Kronk, only to overhear them discussing that they are seeking to kill him. He may have been an arrogant jerk, but he genuinely trusted those two. And when the awful truth is revealed to him, he realizes that he just drove away Pacha, who he'd grown fond of, for nothing. Now he has lost his only hope of returning home and becoming human again. The honest, down-to-earth Kronk's throwaway remark about how no one really misses Kuzco really rubs salt in the wound. Ouch.Kuzco: What are you doing?
Pacha: Look, there's two people in there looking for you.
Pacha: A big guy and a skinny old woman.
Kuzco: Wait. Was this woman scary beyond all reason?
Pacha: Oh, yeah!
Kuzco: That's Yzma and Kronk! I'm saved!
Pacha: (grabs Kuzco by the collar) Trust me, they're not here to save you!
Kuzco: They'll take me back to the palace. Thanks for your help. You've been great. I can take it from here.
Pacha: No, no! You don't understand! They're trying to kill you!
Kuzco: Kill me? Their whole world revolves around me.
Pacha: No! I can't let you! (tries pulling Kuzco back)
Kuzco: What? Oh! Oh, I get it!
Kuzco: You don't wanna take me back to the palace. You wanna keep me stranded out here forever!
Kuzco: This has all been an act, and I almost fell for it!
Pacha: Will you just listen to me?!
Kuzco: No, no, you listen to me! All you care about is your stupid hilltop!
Kuzco: You don't care about me, now just get out of here. Go!
Kuzco: Go on! Get outta here!
(Kuzco turns his back on Pacha and struts off. Cut to Yzma and Kronk leaving the diner.)
Yzma: Oh, this entire mess is all your fault!
Kronk: What'd I do?
Yzma: If you hadn't mixed up those poisons, Kuzco would be dead now! (At Yzma's statement, the smile on Kuzco's face instantly falls and is replaced with shock and horror) There'll be no more diversions until we track that llama down and kill him!
(Kuzco retreats and hides in the bushes)
Kronk: Said I was sorry. Can't just let it go. Not even on your birthday.
Yzma: Kuzco must be eliminated. The empire will finally be rid of that useless slug.
Kronk: Well, you got a point. Nobody really seems to care that he's gone, do they?
(Kuzco stares in shock as he watches Yzma and Kronk leave.)
Kuzco: Pacha! PACHA?!
(Pacha has left; Kuzco hangs his head in despair)
- A bit of a fridge tearjerker, but Yzma comments earlier that she "practically raised Kuzco", and given his behavior, it's not hard to believe. Kuzco wasn't hearing just anyone saying that she dislikes him — Kuzco was listening to his Parental Substitute flat-out saying that she despises him and wants him dead. No wonder he's so broken up about it.
- Right afterwards, Kuzco finally realises how much of a jerk he's been, to everybody. He settles gloomily into a swamp and himself as narrator!Kuzco maintains his selfish attempt to blame everything on others. But Kuzco finally knows that ALL of this is his fault and tells it straight to himself.Narrator!Kuzco: So, this is where you came in. See? Just like I said, I'm the victim here! I didn't do anything and they ruined my life and took everything I had --Kuzco: Hey, give it a rest up there will ya?Narrator!Kuzco: What? I'm just telling them what happened.Kuzco: Who are you kidding, pal? They saw the whole thing, they know what happened.Narrator!Kuzco: Well, yeah, but...Kuzco: Just leave me alone...
- It's a throwback to when Pacha tells him "One day you're gonna wind up all alone, and you're gonna have nobody to blame but yourself." And he knows it's even his fault that Yzma wants him dead.
- The prologue comes off as comically overdramatic at the time, but it becomes Harsher in Hindsight when the movie returns to the same scenario with a sadder version of the movie's theme after we've gotten the context. note Kuzco isn't just crying because he's a Spoiled Brat thinking "life is so unfair". He's miserable because he's a broken and betrayed teenager who just lost the only real friend he had.
- It's pretty short, but Kuzco resigning himself to live as a llama. Not even the herd he stumbles on seems to accept him, only rubbing in more how utterly alone he is now in life.
- Arguably, the whole reason Yzma making Kronk cry by insulting his spinach puffs is as funny as it is is because it's genuinely sad. You even see her grinning sadistically when she says that accentuated "NEVER!" making it clear that she knows that that's going to cut him deep. That Yzma does not return the loyalty of the one person in the whole movie who's been undyingly loyal to her is, in a twisted sort of way, what keeps the viewer from Rooting for the Empire.
Tear Jerker / The Emperor's New Groove
Again, surprisingly, there are a few moments: