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Tearjerker / The Emperor's New Groove

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The haughty has never been broken like this before.
Again, surprisingly, there are a few moments:

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  • 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's discovery that Yzma and Kronk (but mostly Yzma) are trying to kill him instead of trying to bring him home like he initially believed. He may have been an arrogant jerk, but he genuinely trusted those two. Furthermore, when the awful truth is revealed to him, he realizes that he just abandoned 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 afterwards really rubs salt in the wound. Ouch.
    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)
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    • 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 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.
    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 the sad theme after we've gotten the context. 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.
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  • 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. In a goofy sort of way, that's what keeps the viewer from Rooting for the Empire, simply because it proves her lack of loyalty to anyone, including Kronk.
  • Actually, it's hinted at that she has no loyalty toward Kronk as early as his introduction. Kuzco refers to Kronk as the "latest model" in her line of assistants. She doesn't care about (or even seem to acknowledge) any of the positive characteristics that endear him to the audience; to her, he's just another disposable lackey with another few years on the clock before she washes her hands and repeats the whole cycle with someone else.
  • One from Kronk's New Groove: During Kronk's flashback to his childhood, we see an absolutely adorable scene of Kronk as a child happily baking what appear to be either muffins or fully-iced cupcakes and offering them to a group of squirrels. The cuteness abruptly dies off with the appearance of Papi's imposing silhouette, who immediately sends Kronk to his room. Kronk has three seconds to cry on his bed before Papi comes in and takes away Kronk's oven mitts - after Kronk gives them a final, tearful hug. Kronk had to grow up with a parent who refused to allow him to pursue the hobbies he most enjoyed, likely because those hobbies are stereotypically girly.
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