Top 12 Saddest Studio Ghibli Movies!

Saddest Studio Ghibli Movies quickinfobuzz

Have you ever watched a movie that made you cry like a baby? If not yet, it means you haven’t come across the saddest Studio Ghibli movies.

Since its inception in 1985, Studio Ghibli has delighted viewers with its amazing storytelling, breathtaking visuals, and memorable characters.

These animated masterpieces often hit a deeper, more emotional chord than other works of art. Ghibli films have the ability to evoke strong emotions, be it happiness or sorrow.

Do you want to know the saddest Studio Ghibli movies that can make you cry a river? Let’s find out together!

12. Pom Poko

When one stops to think about it, Pom Poko’s story is actually quite depressing. A group of mystical, shape-shifting raccoon canines are the focus of the movie, as they fight to prevent urbanization from destroying their home. This Ghibli movie takes a hard look at the harm that people can do to the environment by showing the terrible effects of human activity on the natural world and the creatures who live on our wonderful planet.

Release Date: 16 July 1994

Director: Isao Takahata

11. The Red Turtle

The tragic movie The Red Turtle is about a man who must use his abilities to build a shelter and survive on a desolate island. He comes across a strange red turtle along the road that has a significant influence on his life. Both younger and older audiences will find this movie to be highly informative due to its emphasis on sustainability and the beauty of nature. The film’s examination of loneliness, the circle of life, and the search for meaning also contributes to its emotional resonance and thought-provoking quality. The Red Turtle features characters that are both likable and well-developed, just like previous movies from the same company.

Release Date: 18 May 2016

Director: Michaël Dudok de Wit

10. When Marnie Was There 

In contrast to other self-assured, powerful, and independent female heroines in Ghibli films, Sasaki Anna is the protagonist. She is a young child coping with a family trauma from her early years, lacking role models, and coming to grips with her feelings of abandonment. It’s a story about giving in to powers greater than ourselves, and Anna takes it all in stride, grinning.

Release Date: 19 July 2014

Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

9. Howl’s Moving Castle

Many of the characters in Howl’s Moving Castle have something inside of them that is absent or out of reach. It’s Sophie’s self-assurance and trust in her capacity to stand up for herself and protect others. Howl views it as his failure to protect himself during battles and his subsequent shame at having witnessed and participated in the death and devastation it caused.

Release Date: 20 November 2004

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

8. The Wind Rises

One of Ghibli’s greatest films, The Wind Rises, also happens to be one of the saddest since it illustrates the negative effects of war as well as the destructiveness of having a narrow perspective. Based on a true story, Jiro Horikoshi wants to be a pilot but is unable to fulfill his ambition l. He makes the decision that if he can’t fly, he will develop airplanes instead, and he ends up leading the Japanese fighter aircraft team during World War II.

Release Date: July 20, 2013

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

7. Spirited Away 

It’s amazing to watch Chihiro grow into a more fearless and mature person as a result of having to survive in a world that is very different from her own. The trip is surreal and difficult when Chihiro encounters terrifying entities. She is fortunate to have Haku as a friend and mentor. Subsequently, Chihiro manages to gain the support of several people, overcoming her worries and persevering until the very end to save her parents. She shared a special link with Haku that despite her conflicting feelings, she decided to return to the human realm with her parents. 

Release Date: 20 July 2001

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

6. The Tale of Princess Kaguya

A charming family fable called The Tale of Princess Kaguya relates the enthralling tale of a young girl who is found by an elderly bamboo cutter and his wife within a bamboo stalk. The main heroine develops into a stunning young woman really fast. Five respectable men approach her with offers of marriage, but none of them impress her. After a while, the Japanese Emperor approaches her to propose.

Release Date: 23 November 2013

Director: Isao Takahata

5. Princess Mononoke

The world of Princess Mononoke is an ancient one where animal gods rule. The selfish mankind and the gods are in perpetual conflict. The humans slay the Wolf God, and the Deer God in their attempt to push the Deer God out of the forest and seize his territory.

Release Date: July 12, 1997

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

4. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

This is a timeless masterpiece in the field of animated movies. It narrates the compelling story of a warrior and pacifist who is committed to keeping two rival nations from destroying their world and each other. This movie conveys a powerful message of compassion and understanding for all living things.

Release Date: June 13, 1985

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

3. Only Yesterday 

We get a close-up look at the life of Taeko Okajima in this film. During her 10-day retreat in the countryside, Taeko thinks back on her early recollections of Tokyo. Only Yesterday highlights the need to rediscover our inner child. It does a fantastic job of capturing the small changes people go through as they grow from childhood to adulthood. This is one of the most tragic movies in the Ghibli Library because of its realistic and logical story. 

Release Date: 20 July 1991

Director: Isao Takahata

2. The Boy and the Heron


At its core, The Boy and the Heron is a heartbreaking movie about grief and loss, dealing with the hurtful effects of losing someone dear to us for such unjust and cruel reasons. That makes it difficult to watch, especially for people who might find themselves in a similar circumstance. In the film, Mahito, a little child, witnesses his mother’s agonizing death after she was caught in a terrible conflict. From that moment on, the film focuses on Mahito’s journey through his childhood trauma, where he travels between the living and the dead in search of a fresh start.

Release Date: December 8, 2023

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

1. Graveyard of the Flies

In the last stages of World War II, Grave of the Fireflies portrays the strong sibling bond between Seita and Setsuko. Setsuko, seeing the youngsters fight to survive, gets malnourished and stays hungry. When Seita rushes to make Setsuko some food, he realizes it’s too late. As night falls and Setsuko passes away, Seita holds her corpse in his arms, alone in a harsh and terrible world that no child should ever have to experience.

Release Date: 16 April 1988

Director: Isao Takahata

Crying is therapeutic as we all know. You’ll get to release a lot of pent-up emotions, especially if you watch a fictional story that correlates with your present or past situations.

Meanwhile, which movies from Studio Ghibli made you cry the most? Don’t be shy, you can let us know in the comments. We won’t tell on you, we promise!

Leave a Reply