Hot-Blooded Sentimentality: A Reflection on Manly Tears

giant robo ova 7 robo's tears

Men don’t like crying (obviously an intentional generalization, so relax dear sensitive reader)… so much so, that when men (I’m being generous with my extending the classification to adolescent males) watch shounen anime or robot anime and they find themselves sobbing, they feel the need to qualify their tears as manly. So yes, in this rhetoric, to be womanly is a bad thing. They must retain their manhood in the face of an outward display of perceived weakness. The male viewer appropriates the behavior and makes it a code-word for an even manlier virtue: that is to honor the fallen, or to honor a moment of heroism.

Is there a fundamental difference? I doubt it. Human beings cry when we are saddened, usually do to perceived loss (loss of opportunity, loss of affinity, loss of person cared for, loss of face, etc). To create a distinction for manly tears is sophistry. I’m not judging  it is bad, or wrong. I am merely articulating the behavior as I read it.

Overt masculinity as a character (or even narrative) aesthetic is quite popular among anime fans. I wouldn’t know how the demographics are actually represented, but I’d wager that it’s still more popular than moe (which is also due to overt masculinity being around longer). Also, I suspect that there is a large overlap, i.e. fans of overtly masculine shows would feel moe for many moe-moe characters and patronize their shows/games, and related merchandise.

Assuming this is probable, I can suppose that anime fans are not only emotional, but particularly sentimental. I’m not sure if this fits with the female ideal of the ‘sensitive male,’ but yes, male anime fans are actually quite sentimental. Their choses sentiments are quite common: rooting for the underdog, protecting those who can’t do so for themselves, become a man (grow up and be manly), trust and support your friends, and protect who you love, among others. Demonstrations and portrayals in anime of these sentiments in a powerful way is how to impart strong emotions among male viewers, and possibly make them cry their supposedly manly tears.

But I’m going to give men some slack. For men, it is sacrifice enough for them to sublimate their egos and their manhood when they feel GAR for someone. Remember that to feel GAR for someone is to be is such awe of another guy’s manliness that one agrees to follow and be protected by that dude. It is an acknowledgment of someone else’s obvious superiority in manliness. If that sounds like a big deal, I wager that it probably is (even if not overtly so). Related to this, is how moe is such an attractive feeling, since it enables the male viewer to imagine himself (overtly or not) as someone who can protect or take care of the subject character.

Anime that made me reach for the kleenex:

First Tier: The Manliest

Tenggen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Eyecatch Simon Nia

Man, this is the drill that pierced the dam. While there are many moments for this throughout the series, the finale just wrenches it out from me. Very, very powerful. While I can’t be sure, the meme I CRIED MANLY TEARS, became really popular during the heyday of this show.

Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still

giant robo ova 7 daisuke robo

This is also very powerful and appeals very strongly to a male sensibility due to the father and son themes that permeate the narrative. While there are more than several moments throughout the seven episodes that can initiate the waterworks, there are at least two in the finale that I have no defenses for. In TTGL I actually look forward to the catharsis of tears, for this show I still felt surprised at how violent my sobbing became.

Gunbuster! Aim for the Top!

gunbuster 6 takya noriko GAR

I find this case remarkable in that the hero is a girl, and in fact remains a girl throughout the story. Sure, she followed her coach’s advice of putting in the hard work and guts, but her general behavior is otherwise feminine. But my oh my, I am GAR for Takaya Noriko. Gunbuster! is also remarkable in that the specific moment that the robot itself emerges from its ship for the first time, with the theme playing, moves me to tears.

It’s quite awesome (both the scene and how I find myself sobbing while it plays). Why? I don’t think a freaking march is designed to move a man to tears. Inspire and embolden maybe, if one is marching to it on the way to battle. But as a witness to the ass-kicking about to unfold I find myself breaking down in tears.

Second Tier: Has some hot-blooded quality, but is closer to heartwarming

Macross Plus

macross plus isamu vs guld the beauty of dogfight

The finale, the most awesome dogfight in anime… where a long-time friendship and rivalry go through bitterness and explore the possibility of redemption. This did not provoke as many tears as the other examples because I was too busy oohing and ahhing at the spectacular aerial maneuvers. Nonetheless, there’s something very strong about best friends and fighting with each other. I very much felt the sentiment and this set of scenes in the finale is quite brilliant, really.

Eureka SeveN: Psalms of Planets

eureka 7 26 renton x eureka catch

I probably have sobbed more for this show than for any other anime I have ever seen. I value it as a masterpiece of ‘remembering love’ for mecha anime as a whole, but a big part of that success is its triumph in emotionally charging its big moments. No other show does falling through the sky and catching with love than Eureka SeveN. What’s pictured here is arguably not even the best example in the show.

Diebuster! Aim for the Top 2!

diebuster 06 l'alc lights 02

The finale. I won’t be an idiot and spoil it. Suffice to say that the masculinity in the feeling is in acknowledgment of all the grit and strife that led to the final moments; but the rest of it is heartwarming emotion of the strongest order.

Perhaps tiering isn’t the best way to organize these categories. After all, the second tier examples actually evoked from me more powerful emotions and more tears, truthfully. In any case I put them here to distinguish them from near complete pathos moments, e.g. Grave of the Fireflies, Hachimitsu to Kuroba 2, or 5 Centimeters per Second; or near complete heartwarming moments e.g. Aria the Origination, or Spirited Away,or Umi ga Kikoeru.

The manly sentimentality I speak of here is very much related to hot-blooded, or even stoic, heroism. Personal sacrifice is common and valued, as well as ‘shouting from the depths of one’s soult to express who one really is.’  Yes, the shouting and the hypermasculine rhetoric can make for tearful viewing, depending on the range of the character and/or the story.

Personally, I feel less and less need to distinguish my tears as manly. Usually, the source anime is enough context and there really isn’t any need for further exaggerated assertion of masculinity.

(Note: I totally cried like a girl at the finale of Revolutionary Girl Utena)

Further Reading

The most hot-blooded writing on Buster Machine anime to date (OGT 2009/06/20).
Distinguishing manly tears from sniveling ones in Kaiji (A Day Without Me 2009/02/16).
The Gunbuster March discussed (lelangir 2009/04/24)
GAR rhetoric? What is this I don’t even [->]
The Animanachronism, via ani-tations (屮゜Д゜)屮, extensive discussion and analysis of GAR (lelangir 2008/12/22).
Eureka SeveN and falling through the sky [->]
The trope: Crowning Moment of Awesome [->]
The trope: Crowning Moment of Heartwarming [->]

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
This entry was posted in analysis, comparative, fanboy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Hot-Blooded Sentimentality: A Reflection on Manly Tears

  1. Celeste says:

    You know, I’m a girl, and I really don’t ever cry during anime. Moreover, certainly not during the “top tier” you mentioned – if anything, I felt entirely energized the entire way through Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, save for the time when Simon wouldn’t stop being an angtsy prick over Kamina’s death. I won’t talk about Giant Robo, because, as I mentioned to bateszi a couple of days ago, I simply don’t have the testosterone available to appreciate it.

    I think it depends on the person, though. I generally will only cry out of extreme frustration, as opposed to sadness. When I’m particularly moved by a series, I get to excited I can’t sit still – in fact, i’ve gotten into the habit of pressing “pause”, getting up from my chair, and pacing aroung because I literally cannot sit still there’s so much emotion in me.

    Also, a fun game to play in the future: when the daughter brings her first friends/boyfriend over, watch the scenes that are guaranteed to make you cry like, right in the living room or something as they come in, so as to mortally embarrass her! (and amuse yourself endlessly!) :D~

    • I like where you’re going with this.

      Suitors will watch anime with me. If they don’t exhibit the “appropriate” emotions at the right time then they’re out.

      If they cry, I’ll make sure it’s on video.

  2. adaywithoutme says:

    I actually find it very interesting that you cried at the end of Rev. Girl Utena. I’m trying to recall how I felt at the end of it – I think I felt a kind of pride for Anthy and her evolution throughout the show at that moment when she essentially tells Akio that he’s foolish and then steps outside the Ohtori gate with Chu Chu. I can definitely get why someone would cry, though. It is definitely a legit show to cry over. In fact, I almost cried just a little while ago because it just got re-licensed for release in the U.S. – and they got the re-mastered version! YES.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Oh, yeah, and I pretty much cried my face off during the last episode of Air. And when it looked like Ayu was dead in Kanon. I’m sure when I finally finish Clannad~After Story~ I’ll be drowning on my keyboard.

      A more off-beat time of tears for me was the final episode of Tactics. I BAWLED my eyes out for almost 22 solid minutes. If more people had watched this show, I’m pretty sure you’d hear a lot more reports of such a crying jag. And I’m also pretty sure that the KeyAni fan set would likewise have sobbed their way through it.

      • I came very close to crying during Air at several parts, but I just never quite made it there. I guess Key perfected the craft afterwards, though, since Kanon made me cry at the scene where Yuuichi tries to console Nayuki after he mother was hit by a car, CLANNAD made me cry the hardest I ever have over anime at the end of the Fuuko arc, and Angel Beats made me cry through the whole finale.

        • mccurry says:

          Thank you for mentioning that moment of Kanon, made me bawl my eyes out (both in the anime and the visual novel), good to see Nayuki isn’t being overlooked again.

          I’ll also admit openly that I cried at points in all of Key’s works, some more than others (even listening to the music of Air can almost bring me to tears). Also, sorry to sound like a smart-ass but Kanon was made before Air.

          • adaywithoutme says:

            Well, yes and no – the Toei version of Kanon predates KyoAni’s Air, but it really wasn’t very good, and I’m not sure that it included the Yuuichi comforting Nayuki scene. KyoAni’s iteration of Kanon post-dates Air. And the original visual novels were ordered Kanon, then Air.

            I think it’s fair to assume that when people talk about Air and Kanon, they are referring to the KyoAni versions unless they specify that they’re talking about the Toei versions.

          • adaywithoutme says:

            Ok, I went and re-read your comment and can see you were talking specifically about the games. In which case I’d say the argument should be that it’s overall more a case of KyoAni having improved it’s pathos skills between Air and Kanon.

        • adaywithoutme says:

          I’m just waiting for Planetarian to get an adaptation. Now there’s one that’ll make everyone sob endlessly.

          • mccurry says:

            AGREED with Planetarian, its only a matter of time, and I probably should have re-read your comment first and realised you were talking about the KyoAni version…

    • I cry to “friendship pr0n” especially the heroic sacrifice kind. I think I’ve blathered in one of your more personal posts on how I struggled through friendships myself and I’ve valued friendships — and am at the mercy of friendship demonstrations in stories for almost half my life now.

      The Utena finale was a liberation through truth, authenticity, and love. The cost was ridiculously high but I soooo get why it’s worth it. God just thinking about it gives me intense feelings.

      • adaywithoutme says:

        This makes me just want to just sit down and marathon the entire series RIGHT NOW. And then cap it off with the movie. But… I have to do laundry. Damn.

        On an unrelated note, one time my friends and I tried to watch ALL of CardCaptor Sakura at once. We stopped somewhere around episode twenty-eight; we’d all gotten food poisoning from a microwave pizza. It was fairly awful.

  3. Baka-Raptor says:

    I never cry for any reason ever coughAdmiralBucockcough

    • Yeah Mar-ardetta brought me to my knees. One of my most favorite moments in anime, and it may sound weird but I didn’t feel like including it in this post. I don’t know exactly why.

  4. The phrase ‘manly tears’ gets thrown around a LOT in my house. Mostly because my brother is completely obsessed with ‘manliness’. Everything he does, he does in an attempt to achieve what he considers ‘manliness’ even though his codes are horribly, hideously misguided (basically his version of manliness is being a big pussy with a heart of gold, which really just makes you a big pussy.) Manliness can almost be used as a metric to see how much he will enjoy something lol. So yeah, when tears are shed in anything we watch, they are ‘manly tears’, and we will use the phrase ‘I shed one manly tear’ a lot (even though we usually didn’t really shed it, but we felt like we could have.)

    I don’t have any illusions that I am in any way ‘manly.’ I’m sort of a bitch when it comes to getting emotional about shows – I know that because Nana managed to be an insanely moving, depressing, almost life-changing show for me, and that shouldn’t happen to anyone with a penis lol.

    I’ve already done posts before about the fact that I have a hard time crying while watching anime. The only sad moments that I’ve cried at were the ones in each Key anime, which had less to do with actual emotional impact, and more to do with brilliant directing and production (as I detailed in my Angel Beats review). Rather than sad moments, I’ve only cried at ones that were overwhelmingly heartwarming. The best ones are the last episodes of Eureka Seven, which made me cry both times I watched them. No Name on the other hand cried like a bitch through over 25 episodes of E7. Every sad or happy part, he cried. And then after watching E7, my brother cried for nearly ten minutes, which amazed him because he couldn’t even remember the last time something made him cry.

    The other tears of happiness were shed at the end of ef ~a tale of memories~, which was perhaps the most inspiring thing ever. That was equal parts crying over the show and crying over myself for what the show was going to do for me.

    • LOL punch your bro for me. I’m not worried that you’ll hurt him, unless you smack him in the nuts~

      Here in the Philippines we have a very macho culture. Crying men are viewed with suspicion– though they can be viewed as even manlier if the context of the tears hit the right notes.

      This is why the very idea of ‘manly’ tears perhaps resonates with me more than others. The kind of crying I do when watching isn’t the manly single tear drop. I gurgle like a baby only in my baritone which is totally awkward.

      I used to never be able to cry as an adolescent, even when I felt like I needed to. So now when I cry I really let it all out. Toy Story 3 man, I cried like I’ve never cried before while watching a film.

      • Celeste says:

        Funny you should mention the Philippines and ‘macho culture’. My mom is Filipino, and my Dad is British.* They were watching news on the recent election over there once, and my mom was regaling my dad with how corrupt politics are in the Philippines – people getting arrested and then re-elected, etc. And my dad, coming from a political system with far different values, said this:

        “[as a culture] you like interesting, firey people” (as opposed to Western politics, were we like people with a spotless record)

        Moreover, machoness, in my filipino cousins isn’t directly linked to the kind of quietness men in the west often associate with being manly – Filipino machoness is loud and out-there, whereas “being a man” in the west means being a man of few words.

        * Meaning, if you had a Pacific Ocean-centered map, and made a line of people like so:
        you – me – bateszi (or Martin, or chaostangent etc)
        You would have geographically accurate gradient of anime bloggers! hurrah!

        • Wow, I have good friend who also has a Filipina mum and a British dad.

          Yes we recently had a national elections and it’s been the smoothest I believe in our history (or at least the smoothest that I’ve ever seen). There aren’t a lot of silent, stoic types here. You get a lot of loud-mouthed, posturing, ‘macho’ men.

          The thing is, your Western only covers the Northwestern Europe kind of manly. We’re a former Spanish colony you see, and the word macho itself is Spanish. The fiery stuff is still Western. Otherwise we’re a lot like the face-preserving East Asian stereotype too.

          I’d like to see a representation of that gradient in some kind of graphic lol ^_^

          • Etrangere says:

            The thing is, your Western only covers the Northwestern Europe kind of manly.
            I was gonna say that :)
            It’s typical of Anglo-Saxon / Protestant kind of cultures; but not of the Romance languages part of Europe, and probably not of Eastern Europe either.

  5. Etrangere says:

    this entry is hilarious to read as a woman :)

    You know the expression ‘manly tears’ kind of pisses me off because, while I applaud the idea of men reclaiming tears as something not-to-be-ashamed-of, it feels like it’s only doing so by portraying all other kinds of crying as womanly and thus weak.

    Yet I don’t think I’ve ever been moved to tears by anime with the sort of GAR and hot bloodedness aesthetics you mention… I loved Gurren Lagaan, but it certainly didn’t make me cry. Neither did Macross +. The other shows I haven’t watched (I dropped out of Eureka 7). Anime that did make me cry… lemme see, Gankutsuou, Wolf’s Rain (they killed my woobie!), Tokyo Magnitude 8 stole a few tears away from me, I think Ghost Hound might have, too; and Grave of the Fireflies of course. So very much more the pathos moments. Perhaps the concept of manly tears is actually onto something!

    Personally, I feel less and less need to distinguish my tears as manly. Usually, the source anime is enough context and there really isn’t any need for further exaggerated assertion of masculinity.

    (Note: I totally cried like a girl at the finale of Revolutionary Girl Utena)
    LOL

    there is hope for you, yet!

    • Hehe what’s better for all is to distinguish between descriptors as phenomena and descriptors as essential attributes.

      There is a kind of ‘womanly’ crying that is weak and powerless — I’ve seen it, going through many trials with my mother. The important thing is not to make it about essential attributes: the crying isn’t weak and powerless because she is a woman, these are circumstantial things.

      She and I are capable of crying many different ways I think. Also, it’s one thing for us men to value manliness as a virtue, but it is another thing to assume it is a universal ‘good.’ The problem only lies in the latter, wherein all kinds of ideological violence (which can lead to economic and physical violence) can come from.

      So yeah words are powerful, but context is decisive. The ‘macho’ kind of manly is an easy target for both caricature and earnest criticism, but I don’t think it is wise to dismiss it or hate it too much. There is value in it for me, even if only as a cultural construct.

      • Etrangere says:

        The important thing is not to make it about essential attributes: the crying isn’t weak and powerless because she is a woman, these are circumstantial things.
        Yes, absolutely. And the problem is that by calling them either ‘manly’ or ‘womanly’ (or various other gender-related adjective) one implies that they are essential attributes to gender.

        The ‘macho’ kind of manly is an easy target for both caricature and earnest criticism, but I don’t think it is wise to dismiss it or hate it too much. There is value in it for me, even if only as a cultural construct.
        That I also agree with. And the reverse also is true (you find that sort of stuff in some feminist circles, bashing against traditional feminine attributes because they are traditionally feminine, and thus seen as aspects of oppression. Thankfully for the most part feminism has moved away from that.)

        I find values in a lot of the qualities of both traditionnal manliness (for example courage, strength, determination & action) and womanliness (for example patience, negotiation, politeness, hard work that isn’t necessarily flashy but still necessary), but I find they’d be easier to value without problem if we celebrated them without tying them to gender, even if they may be more frequent in either gender, because that way we won’t shame people for failing to properly relate to the quality of their gender or for relating with the qualities of the other gender.

        • Or better yet, disassociate ‘failure’ to adhere to traditional gender roles or exhibit traditional gender values with/from failure as a human being.

          This break from failure narratives in the general sense I think would make it less dangerous to value these traditions — because in my anime hobby, I certainly don’t mean to speak to such broad and weighty issues all the time.

          The ideal is to claim manhood in a way that is festive — a benevolent celebration, as opposed to an oppressive one. The ideal is to praise virtues, even call them womanly, in a way that does not invalidate or oppress any other way of being that a person may choose to be, because or despite their gender.

  6. Vendredi says:

    I slightly disagree with your appraisal of “manly tears” – perhaps it is, as you note, sophistry, but I find the distinction between “manly” (and their opposite, “bitch” or “girly”) tears is also rooted in the actual physical display of emotion.

    “Manly tears” are supposedly more restrained than say, weeping. The classic image of Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star, a single lone tear streaming down one eye, is the idea being communicated – a single tear, no more, no less, is acceptable. In a sense, it’s more akin to applause rather than an expression of sadness. This is context-dependent, of course, based on the nature of the protagonist and his limitations.

    Manly tears are often contrasted with “bitch” tears – tears brought on by emotional drama, heartbreaking partings, and the like, and the term I think is often used to denote any sort of waterworks beyond the usual tearing up. Usually applied in the context of “sappy” situations where you know the show is playing up the drama for the purpose of pulling on your heartstrings. CLANNAD and the ending of Honey and Clover seem prime candidates for this sort of expression.

    Personally, I find the dichotomy rather entertaining – like you note, the whole thing is pretty much sophistry in action – but I don’t think either label is used in a truly malicious sense. As you note, anime fans tend to be on the sentimental side, so my thoughts are that the labels instead exist to allow people to express strong reactions in a humourous way, since, at the end of the day, we’re really shedding tears for people that are complete fictions. It pokes fun at the whole phenomena of how we can get so worked up about characters that we rationally know do not exist.

    As for specific examples, the ending of Planetes was certainly the first anime that had me tearing up in a long time.

    • I agree with you insofar that good sophistry is rooted in something tangible — which is exactly what you mention.

      I think the ‘applause’ factor is there, but is even a farther degree of rationalization than the affinity with the characters (well, heroes). I acknowledge it, but I think it works more to uphold the forced distinction.

      I say forced, because on occasion my wife will tear up on the same cues; the SAME cues. (Also my wife is primarily into shonen, especially of late; Bleach and Naruto respectively).

      Furthermore, my wife’s style of crying is muted and almost stoic, while my own is overwrought and fully self-expressed.

      My wife cries more often and at more cues because she is kindhearted and sympathizes far stronger and far sooner. I am less prone to this, but when I do cry I’m a terrible mess LOL.

  7. Sun-Ku says:

    I myself have a “great” variety of tears
    First there are the Victory tears. Mostly at the end of the Series or on key scenes. Just a few tears of joy for a great Series. Examples are Gurren Lagann and Gundam series. These tears would be the “manly tears” that are described here.

    Then there are heartwrenching sad Series and the word “tears” dont quite feel right here, yes its crying!
    Very few Series get me crying but being a KEY Anime is usually allways a hit. Kanon was my first KEY Anime and there were tears but the first to get me crying was Air.
    And then came Clannad after story. The first Series was ok, but only tears at the end. But After Story, hell I was constantly crying in the last third of the series. And it was the only show were I had to pause the Playback. It was certainly to much for a Marathon watching ^^

    Gunbuster: man the ending was so unexpected I cried of joy. It gives me even today goosebumps only thinking of it. the Same with Diebuster at the end where it was clear what timeline Diebuster was and what the Lights shining in the sky meant.

    • I can’t comment on the Key anime since I’ve not seen any, but I appreciate the categorizations you’ve done here, and the distinction you made for crying — the way I imagine myself doing: overwrought sobs, gurgling, etc LOL

      It’s curious how we gurgle in the throes of laughter and crying.

      A show that I didn’t include in my list: Summer Wars. I cried on more than one occasion through the course of that film, but it was during the hanafuda battle near the end that really got to me and reduced me to a gurgling mess. Felt damn good too.

  8. Caddy C says:

    I think it’s pretty sad that in most societies, men are constrained to the concept of “manliness” to such a degree that they cannot cry without calling it “manly” crying. It’s one of those “patriarchy hurts men too” things – guys can’t cry without losing face, and girls can’t cry without being weepy and pathetic.

    “Or better yet, disassociate ‘failure’ to adhere to traditional gender roles or exhibit traditional gender values with/from failure as a human being”
    *nods* THIS!

    Constructions such as “manly tears are ___” but “girly/bitchy tears are ___” is purely a social construct made to perpetuate restrictive binary gender roles. But in practice, it’s pretty silly. Guys can cry at Gurren Lagann, and so can girls! :)

    (I don’t cry, as a rule. I just don’t, and never have. I’ll get emotional and feel a bit misty, but actual crying? Yeah I don’t do it. I get choked up though! Kamina, Hughes, Wolfwood, Spike Spiegel? Definitely choked up.)

    • It’s unfortunate how restrictiveness is still very real. Full self-expression is one of my ideals.

      Crying is great. It’s an explosion of feeling that’s part of the value I get out of entertainnent.

      • Jack says:

        I rarely tend to cry during a piece of manufactured enetertainent because there is always some part of my mind checking, making notes, and analysing the work.

        One of the most powerful emotional responses I’ve ever felt while watching something, and one that very nearly brought me to tears myself, was when a touring health+safety theatre group stopped by my high school.

        They gave a small, intimate production about the dangers of drink driving. One would assume such a production would be trite and cliche but theirs worked far better then I could have imagined.

        This must be because of the set up. About fifteen of us where sitting on fold-out chairs, hastily dragged to the centre of the sports hall and arranged into a rough circle.

        They came into the centre of the circle, and performed their piece. I was fine up until the emotional part of their tale – the accident. Suddenly, you have people inches away from your face crying their eyes out in grief. With no television screens, , no layer of abstraction, no distance from the event and only raw human emotion I could do little else but feel caught up in the moment.

  9. kadian1364 says:

    I agree that certain kinds of anime fans are very sentimental, or at least I am.

    I let a little sob out at the end of Potemayo ’cause I thought the little puffball actually died! Trolled!!

    As much as I deride Code Geass, the end stunned me. I don’t think I actually let any tears slip, but I was certainly trembling.

    Run Melos from Aoi Bungaku. Friendship, redemption, et al, that kind of stuff gets me so good.

    Also, the end of Toy Story 3. From an honest critic’s opinion, not as sublime as Pixar’s other recent works, but there was a deep swelling of emotion in me during Andy’s goodbye scene. Having also grown with these movies, the sense of closure and finality, tinged with bittersweet nostalgia, hit me like a tidal wave.

    • The end of Toy Story 3 smashed me to bits and left me a gurgling mess inside the theater. From the perspective of raw emotion alone, I’ve never felt so affected by a film inside a theater ever… and I’ve been going to the cinema since 1983 (LOL one of the first films I was was Return of the Jedi).

      This plus recency bias may lead me to overvalue Toy Story 3, but time will tell.

      Run Melos in Aoi Bungaku was brilliant. Maybe because it was so short and obviously something that attempted to be admirable I wasn’t as emotionally gripped, but I loved it nonetheless.

  10. Curuniel says:

    As a huge fan of Eureka Seven, I have to reply to “What’s pictured here is arguably not even the best example in the show.” with: ‘ANEMONE!!!!!’

  11. Robert Weizer says:

    I bawled at the end of Durarara. Emotional moments or endings really get me.

    • Robert Weizer says:

      first instance I remember was when Cartoon Network was late-night airing the last parts of dubbed sailor moon, I cried at the end

  12. Dave says:

    but “manly tears” don’t only apply to anime , they apply to video games too e.g. in metal gear solid 3, Big Boss standing in front of the Boss grave “salute….and manly tears were shed”….another example would be when Otakon sister die, “Snake comfort his pal …and manly tears were shared”…….i certainly don’t find anything bad with the term and it does not give the idea of “macho” but it’s just one of the many things the internet makes fun.

    if you ask me i had some manly tears when:

    when i left high school…..manly tears were shared with my classmates
    Otakon’s sister death……manly crying…
    when Spain won the world cup……i celebrated and shared manly tears with my grandpa

  13. Matt Wells says:

    Giant Robo always reduces me to tears in the final episode. Its so specific that I can time it down to a specific scene, gets me every damn time i watch it. Its the bit where Daisaku’s running towards Robo, and Taisou, Youshi, and his Dad help him along the way. If I’m marathoning the whole show, the ending will cause waterworks too, the capstone to the tragedy the entire show is built around. Poor poor Ginrei…

    G Gundam also evokes a similar reaction, though with that its confined to a single episode: 45, Master Asia’s Last Breath! With the double whammy of the death of Schwartz and his counterpart, coupled with the truth about Asia’s schemes…powerful stuff. When they recite the oath of the School of the Toho Fuhai, I was saluting the bloody screen. Had a far more touching effect on me than Domon and Rain’s romance ever did, I can tell you that.

    Gaogaigar is another great standby; FINAL of course is prime tearjerker material. To this day I can’t hear the character version of “Sea of Stars” without weeping. But there’s a bit in the series which gets me too, for some reason. Its in the last episode, when the Zonuda-ised Mikoto is subliminating the GGG team, and there seems to be no way of curing her. Gai has to kill the woman he loves, while his friends die around him. The little Ryu brother that yells “GGG FOREVER!” as he crumbles into dust just breaks my heart, it really does.

    When the monster swats Mamoru, and Gai begins the final assault, there’s no bright solution, no end of the episode counter attack. No special moves, no silver lining: just one man screaming barely human howls of rage, and tearing his girlfriend to pieces WITH HIS BARE HANDS. And Gai’s final confession of love as the Mikito core begs him to kill her. I think its the contrast with the supposed happy ending against the Zonders, and how quickly it all goes to Hell that evokes my tears. Of course, the last minute happy ending just afterwards should denude this moment of its emotional power, but I find it doesn’t.

    Best moment in the series, and Yuuki aru Tataki as the backround music helps with that. So good that they cribbed the sequence blow for blow for the last fight between Genesic GGG and Palerepa Plus in FINAL. The whole Bullet X sequence is powerful too, but not to the degree that this scene is on me.

    As for second tier Manly Tear reactions, I would list Gurren Lagann and Macross Plus. Don’t get me wrong, the scenes you mention are powerful and emotionaly charged, but I felt more catharsis as a viewer than I did a gut instinct reaction. Plus wasn’t helped that the movie version spoiled me silly; in episode 4, Guld just kamikazes into the Ghost X-9. In the movie version, he chases it so hard the paint is stripped from his Valkyrie and his eyeballs explode from the G-Force stress, and he still dies with a grin on his face. Fitting end to a worthy warrior.

    I’d also list Tetsujin 28 and New Getter Robo as 2nd Tier Manly Tears. Tersujin is the same conciet as Giant Robo, the love between a Boy and his Pet Giant Robot, except in Tetsujin the boy has to turn his Pet in a Weapon of Mass Destruction before he puts it down. What underwhelms that is an aborted heroic sacrifice beforehand, which sort of steals the dramatic portent from the scene, even if the revelation is hillarious. New Getter is right at the end, when Ryoma pulls a proto-Kamina and says “So long guys” and flies off in a crappy jet to take on FRIGGING GETTER EMPEROR.

    It seems all my Manly Tear moments revolve entirely around the conciet of Heroic Sacrifices. Probably indicates something about my underlying psychology as a Mecha fan.

    • Thanks for sharing your list. Clearly you’re more moved by the manly displays of GAR as can be found in robot anime.

      Having not seen the GGG TV series I wasn’t as affected as you were in that moment of Final. Giant Robo of course, with the combination of its overall direction, the musical score, and the content itself… the results on us viewers aren’t surprising at all. I had just finished my rewatch of SDF Macross, and the final battle is… well, you’ll know what I mean.

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