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Tear Jerker / Transformers: Animated

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  • Admit it, you cried when Optimus Prime died. And again when Transformers: Animated had Optimus die in the Five-Episode Pilot, even though you knew he'd be Back from the Dead in short order (in fact, it took seventy-five seconds).
  • Sari tearfully admiting to Ratchet in 'Lost and Found' that she tried to use her key to sabotage the Autobot's ship so they couldn't leave and how it wouldn't let them. Especially sad given how it's shown that they're the only real friends she's ever had. It becomes a heartwarming moment when Ratchet admits he's grown attached to her and he'll miss her when they eventually leave.
  • Issac Sumdac upon realizing that the same robot head that he'd rebuilt and helped out of the goodness of his heart is holding him captive, keeping him from his daughter, and is forcing him to work against the Autobots under the threat of death. Truly a The Farmer and the Viper scenario...
  • Sari's breakdown in the episode "Return of the Headmaster" after finding out that she has no home and doesn't legally exist, and then Bumblebee and Bulkhead comforting her.
  • When Prowl breaks the nest of bird's eggs in "A Fistful of Energon". Oh, it just breaks your heart to see the look on his face. You're ready to burst into tears. Broken bird's eggs! Oh, it's so sad, go on and admit it...
  • Omega Supreme's line to Ratchet when he's slowly losing the battle against Starscream's control.
    "Shut me down. I want to sleep again."
    • And the first time he shuts down, with Ratchet reassuring him that he's still a good person.
    • Everything about Omega Supreme. Everything.
  • Prowl's Heroic Sacrifice in Endgame Part 2. Try to watch his "I'm sorry, Jazz, I have to do this" face before he lets himself be absorbed by the Allspark and not at least feel sad. Made even worse by Jazz calling to him that they'll find another way as well as his final act to save Optimus.
    • What makes his smile so effective is how he does it. Pretty much every episode before has him either pull off a simple, normal smile (which is rare) and a smug grin. Cue the last episode when he dies and pulls that particular smile which he has never done before. It culminates all the Character Development he got (the selfish, stoic loner to a willing soldier and loyal friend) and works perfectly for his Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Watch and listen when everybody gathers after the Lugnut Supreme exploded, and Jazz arrives with Prowl's dead shell. Optimus is the first to move towards Prowl while uttering a single, quiet, disbelieving "No".
    • Megatron shoots at Optimus when he reaches for Prowl's body. The Decepticon should have been killed by the explosion, but instead, Prowl had to sacrifice himself so the same explosion would not obliberate Detroit and everyone in close vicinity. Prime's quick, vicious counter-attack against Megatron shows no heroics, no speeches, he simply smashes him down and refutes his request for a quick death in battle. Optimus just lost one of his closest friends who promised him just a short time ago he would 'always be at his side'. Now Prowl is dead, it's all because of Megatron, and Optimus has no interest in his grief and rage to be 'merciful'.
  • Yoketron telling Prowl about the need to sacrifice one's self for the sake of a better future - that Prowl shouldn't try and cling to the past at the expense of what comes tomorrow. Prowl can't bring himself to understand during the moment, but Yoketron tells him that when his own time comes, he'll come to understand this final lesson. And he's right.
  • Optimus, Elita, and Sentinel's interactions before it all went downhill, the way they had each other’s backs while fending off the spiders, and Elita being left to the spiders with Optimus and Sentinel believing her to be dead is quite sad.
    • While the loss of his friendships with Sentinel and Elita are the worst casualties of that event, Optimus being expelled from the Autobot Academy and losing the chance at a promising career in the Elite Guard by taking sole responsibility for the tragedy as the Senior Cadet on site (Sentinel spitefully refused to contradict this statement by citing it as his idea to go in the first place) is definitely a somber note as well.
      • Ultra Magnus himself seemed very sad at Optimus's court martial, citing his high hopes for Optimus as an Elite Guard and even Magnus candidate, but carries through with his prize student's expulsion due to lack of evidence for less stringent punishment. While Ultra was later able to give Optimus the rank of Prime and supported him during his time on Earth, it's still a black mark on both his student record and self-esteem that would haunt the young Autobot for a long time.
    • Blackarachnia in the episode definitely needed some hugs too. It must have been unbearably painful for her to live for such a long time in such a disoriented state, and you can't really blame her for switching alliances and not trusting Optimus. And by the end of "Along Came a Spider" she looks off into the moon, crying alone.
    • Later, Sentinel discovers the truth, and doesn't take it well at all.
      Blackarachnia: So that's it?! You just slag your old friend Elita-1?
      Sentinel: Don't say that name! You don't deserve to say that name! You're not Elita-1, you mutant freak. Elita-1 went offline a long time ago.
    • By the end of the episode, Sentinel apologizes to Optimus for what had happened. And his dialogue implies that he hates himself for what happened, more than any organic. Elita-1's story is one he will never move past.
      "Yeah, I guess I'm sorry too. Sorry we ever went to that stupid planet in the first place. Besides, it's too late for apologies now, Optimus. Too late for all of us."
  • Ratchet in "The Thrill of the Hunt" summing up his war experiences:
    "It's not that I don't want to remember. I have to remember... for those who can't."
  • When Bumblebee rushes to help an out-of-control teenage Sari, while she screams for him to stay away... and accidentally stabs him. The looks of disbelief and anguish on both of their faces are just heart breaking. Sari can only stare on, devastated at what she's done to her closest friend, while Bumblebee weakly tries to give her a comforting smile to let her know he doesn't take it personally. The looks of horror on the other Autobots' faces are just the final nail in the coffin. Later, Ratchet gets one when he has to stop Sari in a way that almost kills her.
    • Worse still, it feels like a rather cruel Ironic Echo to how their friendship was built on one being able to save the other, like the very first episode alone. But not this time. This time, not even Bumblebee can save her, and is even a casualty in Sari's mistake.
    • When Bumblebee lies on the ground from his injuries, Sari quietly tears up. Unlike the other times where she cried, this feels slightly more powerful for how profoundly she realizes she's really done it this time.
  • Blurr's fate. Even if he did survive being crushed into a cube, and even if Cliffjumper is shown carrying the cube around with him in the comic, there's no telling if he'll ever be fixed back into his old shape again.
  • Wasp wasn't the most likable Autobot, but no one deserves his fate when he's fingered as a spy and sent to the Stockades. When Bulkhead and Bumblebee learn the true identity of the spy, Bulkhead's quiet horror says it best for both of them, having seen what imprisonment did to Wasp.
    Bulkhead: (to Bumblebee) You sent an innocent bot to the Stockade.
  • Bumblebee's guilt when he learns the truth and later attempts to make it right takes this a bit further, as he knows it's too little too late but he wants to try anyway. Sadly by the time Bumblebee apologizes, Wasp does eventually forgive him...but Waspinator doesn't.
  • The fact nothing gets better for Wasp since even when he believes he gains his first ally in Blackarachne, who turns him into the techno-organic Waspinator. He learns she was just using him and doesn't care at all if he were to die from her experiments with the now enraged Waspinator foregoing his revenge on Bumblebee to focus on attacking Blackarachne.
  • Bumblebee and Optimus arguing with each other in "Megatron Rising, Part 1". Especially sad considering how much respect Bumblebee has for Optimus in other continuities. (Fortunately, Character Development means that their relationship has evolved to this level by the third season.)
    • The reason for this argument, Optimus taking the Key away from Sari (even if he just did it to protect it & her), is NOT easy to watch, either, namely her desperate struggle as it's being ripped from her grasp! Finally, the broken look in her eyes, upon essentially being rejected by her only friends, before she runs off crying just rips you a new one...
      Sari: Why won't you trust me? I trusted you!
  • During Black Friday, it seems for several moments that Optimus has failed to save Bumblebee and Prowl, who were poisoned by Blackarachnia. You can feel the grief in his words as he quietly apologizes to their comatose and dying bodies.
    Optimus: I'm sorry... I tried to save you.