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Tear Jerker / Yu-Gi-Oh! GX

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  • In Episode 25, Chazz is in the bathroom of the Duel Academy, crumbling under intense pressure and close to sobbing. It's not just Jagger and Slade, his two brothers, that he has to impress, no... it's pretty much all of North Academy that he has to prove that he's the best in the business as he claims. He keeps beating himself up over this, and to make it worse, Jaden's overhearing Chazz's plight, but he doesn't know what to tell him at the time. All of this takes place right before his big duel with Jaden, Duel Academy's representative.
  • The ending to episode 30. Jaden has beaten Nightshroud and saved Syrus and Chumley from being killed in the volcano. Nightshroud is revealed to be Atticus, and Alexis is in tears when she finds out.
  • Another first season Tear Jerker: Zane's sacrifice to save Syrus from Camula, as a slow, tinkly music box version of Genkai Battle plays in the background.
  • The reason Chazz went from having a mundane crush on Alexis to feeling painfully in love with her is pretty tragic: It was all because of them getting trapped in limbo after losing to Amnael. He could sense her soul like she was right next to him and it felt so comforting, he never wanted that feeling to end. The magic effects of wherever they were held messed with his head to the point where he couldn't get her or the feeling her presence gave him out of his mind when they returned. While it's no excuse for the stupid stuff he did in response, Chazz's feelings for Alexis truly weren't his fault.
  • Aster's memory of the night he found his father murdered. He picks up the Destiny HERO - Dreadmaster card realizing these cards are all he has left of his father while crying.
  • After Jaden loses to Aster, he temporarily loses his ability to see his cards, even Winged Kuriboh. It takes him meeting the Neo Spacians to snap him out of it.
  • While it's Played for Laughs, Bastion repeatedly being forgotten/overlooked by his friends in Season 2. They run off without him on the class trip more than once, and don't even notice they haven't seen him in a long time, not even caring after they hear there's a Ra Yellow who's been hiding in his room for a while. Aster, who has barely any contact with Bastion beforehand, notices what's wrong way before Bastion's closest friends do. It can strike a chord especially for viewers who sometimes feel like the fifth wheel in their friend group...
    • What makes his status all the sadder is that Sartorius preys upon his self-doubt to make him intentionally lose against Chazz and join the Society of Light, even though he has the means to win. All to be accepted. When he does become a member? He doesn't get to do anything and is still ignored by his fellow members. Butt-Monkey doesn't even begin to describe it...
  • In Jaden's duel to save Chazz from the Society of Light, Ojama Yellow, beaten and bruised from repeated attacks, breaks down into tears. Turns into a heartwarming moment when Chazz breaks free from the mind control and uses his Ojamas again.
  • Chazz, Alexis, Hassleberry and Atticus all being sacrificed by Brron and seemingly killed off. Along with Jaden watching in horror.
  • Jaden trapped in the mind of the Supreme King. The happy-go-lucky hero who's reactions to immensely powerful harbingers of doom and darkness have ranged from comedic to inspirational is trapped in a perpetual Despair Event Horizon where he's unaware of the horrible things the Supreme King is using his body to do, and where he can only wallow in self-loathing as he blames himself for his friends' apparent deaths.
    • Also, the build-up to said breakdown. It's really apparent that Jesse's loss in the first dimension has taken its toll on Jaden, and each dimension sees Jaden get more reckless, just wanting to find his friend. The new 'death with a loss in a duel' makes things harder, because then duels aren't even fun anymore. Jaden has to keep fighting, and by the time he faces Brron, he reaches his limit when his friends are sacrificed, putting on a stoic front for the sake of not breaking down. It's only with Syrus calling him out on his recklessness that he finally snaps.
    • Even when he's saved/revived, it's bad. He wakes up from a high fever with no idea of where he is or what's going on and is too traumatized to even process dueling. It's only when he sees Zane's sacrifice that he finally picks up a card, and even then it's clear he's not better at all.
  • The above entry is so traumatic for him that he spends almost the entirety of the final season as a cynical Hurting Hero. He rarely spends time with his friends, almost never smiles, and only duels — his passion and most joy-inducing pastime — when doing so is absolutely necessary when it comes to saving the world.
    • And because season 4 was never dubbed into English? The dub ends with Jaden seeming to have left earth forever, seemingly still suffering a mental breakdown.
  • The other Broken Ace, Zane, is just as heartbreaking. Having never lost a fair duel before, he's completely unprepared to handle a bad defeat, sending him on a humiliating losing streak due a downward spiral of damaged confidence. Originally respectful despite his stoic and aloof behavior, he finally snaps after being tricked into participating in an underground league involving shock collars and becomes willing to do anything to achieve victory even at the expense of his little brother. Syrus is left heartbroken that he can't save his big brother.
    • His duel against Syrus in season 2 gets even more heartbreaking when you realize that Syrus only keeps hold of his ideals because Jaden is there to support him. Had there been one single person who still believed in him at his side by the time he ended up in the Underground, he might not have broken.
    • Zane is more mentally balanced in season 3, but he suffers physically throughout it. He spends most of the season trying to find a perfect duel that will take everything he has, fully aware that he may not survive it. His heart condition takes a massive toll on him before the duel with Yubel even starts, and he collapses more than once, but he refuses to tell anyone because he doesn't want to be rescued. His determination and refusal to give up before the end of that final duel is both his Moment of Awesome and a Tear Jerker of the highest order.
    • His death scene somehow takes it even further, especially when Jaden promises that he'll "shine even brighter and make a miracle", and Zane responds, "I'm sure... everyone who died... wanted that too". In the dub, Jaden futilely tells him to hold on, saying that Syrus needs his big brother, and Zane replies that "he's got one" before telling Syrus that he's proud of him. Add that to the images of him that appear in the sky (as Dark Zane, then him at Duel Academy, and finally him as a child), and Syrus's sobbing going on and on...
    • He only appears in two episodes of Season 4, but it's painful to watch him in his condition. His heart condition remains, and even the powerful will that let him fight through it last season can't keep him on his feet.
    • Worst of all is this, because there is no dub for Season 4, he technically never survives the series in the English dub version.
  • Syrus in season 3. After losing his big brother emotionally, he now faces the same situation with his best friend. By the end of Season 3, the viewer clearly sees Syrus in tears, wanting Jaden back after everything that's gone down. He clearly regrets how he treated Jaden and his mere expression at the thought of Jaden sacrificing himself in Episode 155 is heart wrenching. The fact that the Japanese version has Syrus revert to his original "ANIKI!" (especially after a few dozen episodes of his calling Jaden merely by name with a monotone voice) when emotionally calling out to Jaden sell it. Thankfully, it turns Heartwarming when Jaden eventually returns, but with Season 4 and Jaden's distance, their relationship will never be the same again.
  • The scene after Zane rescues Syrus from Devil Dozer is a mix of heartwarming and tearjerking. Their relationship is obviously (and for good reason) strained and Zane is incapable of being nice, but he does encourage Syrus to watch over Jaden if the friendship is still important to him. In his own socially-inept way. On the tear-jerking side, Zane asks why Syrus was willing to stand up to him last year, but not to Jaden now... and then says, "Maybe you're better off without him. Just like you're better off without me." Zane knows he's dying. One last time, he's trying to protect his brother from how much of a wreck his own life is.
  • Jim trying to save Jaden from the Supreme King. Jim knows Jaden is Not Himself and desperately tries to reach Jaden inside. Why? Because Jaden was his honest and simple friend. Despite Jim's Determinator attempts and a fierce duel, the Supreme King cruelly kills Jim without any remorse.
  • In season 3, Aster is the only person concerned about getting the rest of the group back to Duel Academy safely. When Adrian shows up, Aster refuses to allow Echo to be forced against her will as a sacrifice and challenges Adrian in a duel to the death. During their duel, Echo confesses she knows what she's doing for Adrian and doesn't want to be rescued because everything is for the best if Adrian can be king. Adrian is able to defeat Aster with Exodia and Aster is only able to say farewell to Jaden before the group is caught in the blast as he is defeated.
  • The flashback of a young Yusuke Fujiwara losing his parents at the morgue and Honest appearing to embrace him.
  • The end of Hassleberry and Professor Satyr's duel is this and a heartwarming moment, when Hassleberry figures out that he's pulling the scheme to bring the Ras at the Red Dorm back out of loneliness, because he doesn't want to be alone in the dorm anymore.
  • Yubel's Start of Darkness. Tortured mentally and physically for a decade, until the only way their mind could survive was by convincing themself that love and pain are the same thing. Sheesh...
  • Jaden's reconciliation with Yubel at the end of Season 3. After laying everything bare in a Motive Rant, the gut-wrenching embrace they have at the end isn't that far-fetched, really.
  • Professor Viper's backstory is heartbreaking, despite how he behaves, you feel for him when it's revealed how his adopted son died. Yubel lied about resurrecting him. The Japanese version just twisted the nail further into the coffin when Yubel changes Viper's memories so that he thinks his son is still alive, walking off the tall platform everyone is standing on to his own death. Viper's death is still one of the darkest moments the franchise has had when ending a duel.
  • Crowler and Jaden's final duel has it end with him beating Crowler with the same combination of Skyscraper and Flame Wingman, as Crowler despairs about losing the students he's become so fond of.
  • Atticus screaming for Alexis after she's lost to Nightshroud.
  • From Season 4, Episode 177: Yubel being forced to attack Jaden head-on by Nightshroud. The look on their face as they're forcibly dragged across the arena an inch at a time is absolutely heartbreaking. Followed by a Heartwarming Moment when Jaden takes their hand and vows "I'll get you back, no matter what!"
  • A good version of this trope. Alexis's graduation speech in season 4 is sensational, giving a great feeling of finality for the characters of GX.
  • The Spirit of Banner asking why Jaden is leaving, with Jaden responding that his turn is over.
  • When Jaden leaves he at first wears a generic coat but switches to his Slifer Red Jacket out of sentimentality.
  • From the manga, when Midori realizes she has to sacrifice the possibility of getting information on her younger brother Koyo's coma out of Reggie to prevent Jaden from having to duel her, accompanied by a mental vision of Koyo telling her she's doing the right thing. She's unable to win, though, and collapses, comatose in front of Jaden.