BySimon Rune Knudsen, writer at Creators.co
A level 110 tryhard Meepo picker enthusiastic about dad rock, Warhammer 40k and weird beers.
Simon Rune Knudsen

The countless stories told about the world of Pokémon through video games, anime and movies are mostly happy, adventurous ones. But, once in a while, the anime especially has some really sad moments that will leave anyone but the most rigid Pokémon fan fighting to hold back tears.

They aren't necessarily bad or depressing moments, ones in which evil triumphs—Pokémon is way too lighthearted for that. No, instead they're very subtle tear-jerking incidents of goodbyes and appropriate deaths. And because the rest of the series is so joyful, even the slightest manifestation of sadness is almost blown out of proportion, we're simply not ready!

Ranking The 8 Saddest Pokémon Anime Moments

[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
[Credit: The Pokemon Company]

As most of you probably know, the anime and many of the Pokémon movies revolve around Ash and his quest to become the world's greatest Pokémon trainer. As such, many of the sad moments in the series have to do with his relationship with the Pokémon he holds dear and the people he meets on his journeys.

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The Pokémon world can be a harsh one, and especially the earlier seasons of the anime had some sad moments that would give The Notebook or Grey's Anatomy a run for their money.

And so, without further ado, here they are, the eight saddest moments in the Pokémon anime ranked:

8. Team Rocket Releases Arbok And Weezing

[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
  • Overall sadness rating: 5 out of 10 drenched tissues
  • When: Season 6 episode 6

What makes the moment sad: Arbok and Weezing have belonged to Team Rocket's Jessie and James since they were just an Ekans and a Koffing in the beginning of the series. Even though they leave to protect a bunch of Koffing and Ekans from an evil poacher, their departure is grueling.

Check out the moment here:

7. Ash Leaves Charizard

[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
  • Overall sadness rating: 6 out of 10 drenched tissues
  • When: In season 3, episode 29

What makes the moment sad: Ash has know Charizard since he was a Charmander, and he actually rescued the little guy back in the day. But in order to give the Pokémon a lesson and present it with the opportunity to become stronger, Ash leaves his Charizard in the Charicific Valley to train with others of its kind. It's hard to watch Ash unwillingly let go of his strongest Pokémon.

Check out the moment here:

6. Butterfree's Goodbye

[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
  • Overall sadness rating: 7 out of 10 drenched tissues
  • When: Season 1, episode 21

What makes the moment sad: Butterfree was technically the first Pokémon Ash caught as it used to be a Caterpie. Early in the series, the Butterfree falls in love with another one of its kind, and Ash, in an act that would come to define the kind of trainer he became, decided to let his beloved Pokémon go. The ensuing montage of the life and great times shared between Ash and Butterfree is sure to move you all!

Check out the moment here:

5. Mewtwo's Origin Story

[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
  • Overall sadness rating: 7 out of 10 drenched tissues
  • When: A scene that was cut from the first Pokémon movie Mewtwo Strikes Back

What makes the moment sad: Mewtwo is the villain of the movie in question and depicted as a stone-cold Pokémon. But this clip shows why the most powerful pocket monster in existence became a being void of emotion—it's a really sad story involving grueling experiments and traumatizing abandonment.

Check out the moment here:

4. Ash Releasing Goodra

[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
  • Overall sadness rating: 7 out of 10 drenched tissues
  • When: Season 18, episode 22

What makes the moment sad: Goodra was in Ash's possession from when it was just a weird Goomy, and it grew to become one of his most powerful Pokémon and trusted friends. When visiting Goodra's homeland, and after an intense battle with Team Rocket, Ash decides to leave Goodra behind when he travels on, as he sees how happy the Pokémon is in its own land, surrounded by friends.

Check out the moment here:

3. Ash's Apparent Death

[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
  • Overall sadness rating: 9 out of 10 drenched tissues
  • When: In Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back

What makes the moment sad: The mere thought of Ash dying is terrible, but it was a reality for a few moments in the first Pokémon movie. That is until the beloved trainer was magically revived by the combined tears of all the gathered Pokémon, clones and real ones around him. Still, this is a moment most fans look back at with dread, recalling Pikachu's frantic and futile attempts to spark life into Ash.

Check out the moment here:

2. The Original Trio Splitting Up

[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
  • Overall sadness rating: 9 out of 10 drenched tissues
  • When: Season 6, episode 11

What makes it sad: For the first few hundreds of episodes of Pokémon, you could always count on Brock and Misty being there to support Ash. But with this episode, the close-knitted group broke apart, as Ash was planning to travel the Hoenn region, Misty had to take care of the Cerulean Gym and Brock wanted to do something... else.

In many ways this goodbye marked the end of the original Pokémon Series and the beginning of a new, very different anime. And, as with anything you hold dear, seeing it come to an end is really sad, even though it might be for the best.

Check out the moment here:

1. Pikachu's Goodbye

[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
[Credit: The Pokemon Company]
  • Overall sadness rating: 10 out of 10 drenched tissues
  • When: Season 1, episode 39

What makes it sad: Ash and Pikachu's adventures almost came to an abrupt end before they even really began. In this episode, the group comes across a seemingly perfect little Pikachu paradise where Ash's Pikachu immediately feels at home. As Ash thinks this is where Pikachu belongs, he decides to leave his beloved friend behind, resulting in a couple of scenes that are downright heart-wrenching.

Thank god Pikachu actually changed its mind and followed Ash on a thousand more episodes of Pokémon. Just imagine how bored Team Rocket would have been without the possibility of catching the cute and powerful yellow rodent?!

Check out the moment here:

What moments from the Pokémon anime do you think are the most sad?

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