WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic
Orihime tears

A character (sometimes a Stepford Smiler) may be Not Himself and has a breakdown to show this. This may be expressed by laughing, a Broken Smile, being hunched over, having a twitchy eye, messy hair and the like. In this case a good way to show that a character is experiencing a mental/neverous/emotional breakdown (sometimes with some Sanity Slippage attached) is to have them feel tears come to their eyes or outright running down their face. The Break the Cutie is really breaking down. Different from Berserker Tears in the sense that the character isn't crying out of rage. See also Villainous Breakdown for the villain that does this. Often results in a Tear Jerker. Compare/Contrast Manly Tears, Berserker Tears, Tears of Fear.


Anime and Manga

  • The Freeman in the Crying Freeman Anime, Manga and the Live-Action Film cries whilst carrying out the murders he's forced to by the post-hypnotic suggestions of the 108 Dragons triad.
  • Nina Einstein does this in Code Geass during her Freak-Out moment after learning of Euphemia's death.
    • Suzaku also does this during Euphemia's death and after he kills Lelouch.
  • In Perfect Blue Mima has a breakdown in her apartment when she returns after filming a rape scene and cries. Rumi also cries as she's watching Mima filming the rape scene, and her tears symbolize her complete descent into the Ax Crazy.
  • Russia from Axis Powers Hetalia does this when he snaps in the Bloody Sunday strip, after a heartbreaking soliloquy and before opening fire on thousands of innocent civilians.
  • Ritsuko in episode 23 of Neon Genesis Evangelion after destroying the Rei dummies and finally having a breakdown.
    • She also does this in episode 24 while having another breakdown after talking with Gendo.
    • Shinji in The End of Evangelion at the end after Asuka caresses his face stopping him from strangling her and he breaks down crying in utter despair.
    • Asuka had these during her Mind Rape as well as in episode 23 after Hikari comforts her by telling her that she shouldn't hate herself, and that she thinks she's done well.
    • Misato does this after Kaji's death and receiving his last message.
  • Kaede of Shuffle does this as she's having her breakdown.
  • Light of Death Note in the final episode after Matsuda shoots him. He has a breakdown and cries while musing that he has no other choice left but to die.
    • Mikami also has a breakdown upon seeing Light in such a broken pathetic state, has tears at the corners of his eyes, and ultimately commits suicide by stabbing himself with a pen.
  • Kouta of Elfen Lied does this after he has a Freak-Out after watching Lucy kill his father and sister.
  • Ganta of Deadman Wonderland breaks down crying simultaneous Broken Tears and Tears of Fear in the anime when Tamaki shows Ganta the ropes of Carnival Corpse by strapping him down to a chair, holding his eyes open A Clockwork Orange-style and making him watch footage of previous battles.
  • Occurs several times in Fullmetal Alchemist. The most notable one has to be in the first anime when Edward broke down into tears after he saw that Nina died and then there's Winry when she confronted her parents murderer.
  • Clannad: There is a scene where Kotomi has a break down over a bus crash, complete with her going into a Troubled Fetal Position, crying and muttering "I will be a good girl", because the accident reminded her of her parents' deaths.. It really doesn't help that Ryou was at first believed to be hurt or dead in the accident.
  • Kana, after being driven to madness as a result of Akito's Mind Rape in Fruits Basket.
    • Hatori also does this in episode 8 after he erases Kana's memories.
    • Tohru does this at the end of the first anime, as she's being put through a Break the Cutie process.
    • Rin evidences conflicted emotions regarding Tohru. She rejects and harbours resentment towards what she sees as Tohru's interference in the family; Tohru is an outsider and she cannot understand. However, internal dialogue reveals that as early as their first meeting Rin is also possessed by the same desire that many of the Jyuunishi develop: to fall into Tohru's arms and be comforted. Her view of Tohru as a maternal figure manifests to the extent that on the verge of fainting she mistakes Tohru for her mother and responds with utter terror, cowering and pleading for forgiveness before she loses consciousness. Eventually Rin's physical distress, despair and torment culminate in her breaking down sobbing in Tohru's embrace.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena has this happen a few times. Most notable is during Anthy's suicide attempt in episode 37, during Wakaba's duel and in episode 9 during Utena's childhood flashback.
  • Also occurs often in Rosario Plus Vampire.
  • In Sailor Moon Usagi does this in a phone booth after Mamoru breaks up with her.
  • In chapter 74 of Soul Eater the Envy Chapter of the Book of Eibon delivers a harsh "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Maka. It's enough to reduce her to tears.
  • Naruto: Sakura breaks down into tears a few times in regards to Sasuke. Naruto also does this a few times as well like when an Itachi look-alike nearly breaks him with Mind Rape or after he finds out about Jiraiya's death. Considering how often Break the Cutie tactics are used...
  • In episode 10 of School Days Nanami becomes extremely upset after the School Festival, when a sex tape of her and her boyfriend is shown to many classmates as a cruel joke from Otome's Girl Posse. She lets out a Big No before collapsing to the ground in tears.
  • Orihime of Bleach does this at times most notably as a result of Ichigo, who she is in love with, being in danger or about to horribly lose. The moment pictured above comes from Ichigo's fight with Grimmjow - Orihime, who's having a hard time witnessing how Ichigo can barely keep up with Grimmjow AND is using his Hollow mask (which she associates to the moment when her brother Sora's Hollowfied soul almost killed the two of them plus Tatsuki and Rukia), begins to cry towards the end and begs him to not get hurt any longer, even if he doesn't win. Which is what actually gives Ichigo the Heroic Resolve to defeat Grimmjow.
  • Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai: Many a character does this in this anime, leading to a lot of sad moments.
  • Mirage of Blaze: Naoe's breakdown in the OVA.
  • Yuno of Mirai Nikki being so Ax Crazy frequently has tearful breakdowns of this nature, usually when Yuki is involved.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The only time Yami ever cries is when Yugi gets his soul stolen and Yugi often makes speeches about how said he will be when Yami has to leave him which often ends in tears.
  • Luffy does this in One Piece during his breakdown after Ace's death.
  • No. 6: Throughout episode 10, Shion begins to shed his Pollyanna status and become more hard-hearted, no longer crumbling at the deaths around him. Nezumi displays a veritable laundry list of heartbreaking expressions as he realizes this...ending in a full fledged breakdown when Shion coldly shoots a guard.
    • There's also that one scene where Shion has a breakdown after surviving the birth of wasp and saying "I want to live..."
  • Berserk: During the horrific ordeal of the Eclipse Griffith as Femto rapes his once-best friend Guts' girlfriend Casca... in full view of Guts, who's held down and forced to watch it happen. He understandably has tears come to his eyes and fall down his face as he's forced to watch the closest thing he's had to a friend utterly betray him and its the last sight his right eyes sees.
    • In the same Eclipse, Casca cries as she's being raped to insanity by Femto.
  • Akiko Aoshika of Wolf Guy Wolfen Crest does this as she's having a breakdown as Haguro and his goons savagely gangrape her and afterwards as well. Inugami was Forced to Watch all of this happen via video, which reduced the normally Tall, Dark and Snarky werewolf into a complete sobbing wreck...
    • Haguro does this after Inugami shows him his werewolf form, which destroys what remaining sanity he had left.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Edward after Al sacrifices his soul to restore his arm and his father asks him to use his life to restore Al's soul.
    • Ed also does this after finding out that Scar pulled a Mercy Kill on Nina who had become a chimera under her fathers hands.
  • Gon does this after finding out that Kite is dead and can't be brought back to life in Hunter X Hunter, and Killua does this in regards to Gon and has a complete breakdown in the middle of a life-threatening fight.
  • In chapter 74 of Soul Eater, the Envy Chapter of the Book of Eibon delivers a harsh Break Them by Talking speech to Maka. It's enough to reduce her to tears.
  • Leo of Pandora Hearts does this frequently following Elliot's death.
  • GoLion / Lion Voltron:
    • When Takashi is murdered, everyone is seen crying these. First it's Akira and Isamu (as Takashi dies in Akira's arms), then the whole team sobs during his funeral; Fala and Hiroshi are especially shattered, with her sobbing on her knees and him having a tearful breakdown. While the first part also takes place in Lion Voltron, the second does not because it was cut to give the impression that Sven survived the horrible beatdown he was given.
    • Princess Amue does this once, after what's strongly implied to be Sincline either torturing or raping her off-screen. When the girl is seen onscreen, she stumbles into her cell looking almost like a zombie, then collapses to the ground and starts to cry. Sans rape implications (at least directly), the same happens to Romelle over Lotor's abuse of her.
    • Much later, Takashi's brother Ryou breaks down crying when Amue tells him that Takashi died.. In Voltron, since the Shirogane were merged in a single character, the scene is changed to the still-living Sven breaking down as he tells Romelle about the hardships he went through as a slave of the Drule.



  • In Lisa Scottoline's novel "Come Home" Abby and Jill do this after learning of Abby's father's death.
  • The Kantrishakrim of Tales of Kolmar are creatures of Fire. Most instances of strong emotion are marked by having them spout bursts of flames from their mouths. However, in the greatest extremities of grief and despair they will shed tears that are noted to be painful and hiss down their faceplates. Shikrar sheds one in The Lesser Kindred as his grief for his beloved Yrais is rekindled, and his dialogue with his best friend and his son proves that for the moment at least, he is well and truly wrecked. They were noted as being exceptionally close, even for their kind.

Live Action Tv

  • Spock in the Star Trek the Original Series episode "The Naked Time".
  • Sun in Lost when she thinks Jin died.
  • River Tam of Firefly often falls into sobbing fits during her worst mental breakdowns and panic attacks, particularly in The Movie.

Western Animation

  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker: Tim does this after he kills the Joker, his Mind Rape at his hands hitting him fully and he breaks down laughing madly before sobbing.
  • Azula of Avatar: The Last Airbender at the end of her Villainous Breakdown.
  • The Punisher Expy from The Tick cries while going on shooting sprees and wondering aloud why Mommy never loved him. (A rare time this trope is Played for Laughs.)
  • Occurs during Patrick's Break the Cutie moment in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Nature Pants".
  • Stimpy does this in The Ren and Stimpy Show "Adult Party Cartoon" episode "Ren Seeks Help". He cries to the point that the house is flooded with tears and calls Ren a "monster". We never do find out what horrible thing Ren did to Stimpy too.
    • Ren does this at the beginning of "Stimpy's Fan Club".
    • Stimpy also does this as Ren is being taken away from him in one of the earlier episodes.
    • Stimpy in the music video for "Ren's Pec's".
  • Brenda at the end of the Family Guy episode "Screams Of Silence".
  • Meg in Family Guy is sometimes shown as emotionally fragile and disturbed, out of a desperation for love and affection and sometimes cries as a result. For example, in one episode she ran off in tears in the midst of a breakdown when she described gifts from her imaginary boyfriend Prince William. And Connie does this in "Barely Legal" after Brian tells her why she sucks.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants characters frequently have Sanity Slippage moments which come accompanied with laughing or this.
  • Happens more than once in Voltron: Legendary Defender, like when Katie alias Pidge has a breakdown over believing that her brother Matthew has been killed.

Web Original

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.