Top 7 best sad anime movies of all time

sad anime movies

Sad anime movies are known to have the best storyline out of anime from all genres in fact nearly half of the all-time best anime list contains movies or series from the sad anime genre. But many anime forums claim that all anime movies are meant to be sad which is something of an exaggerated statement so to clear out the general misconception I will show you the best sad anime movies that capture the true essence of sad anime.  

I have described each anime based on the movie length and story but not revealed everything to keep this list free of spoilers. The services where you can stream these sad movies have also been listed but if you do not have the premium version take a look at these anime streaming sites for watching free anime content.

List of best Sad anime movies

Anime movie namesGenreAvailable onOur Rating
Grave of the FirefliesWar/DramaNetflix5/5
A Silent VoiceRomance/DramaNetflix4/5
Wolf ChildrenFantasy/DramaFunimation4/5
Your NameSci-Fi/FantasyNetflix4/5
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Sci-Fi/Romance Netflix3.5/5
The Dog of Flanders DramaFunimation, VRV3/5
Giovanni’s IslandDramaNetflix, Crunchyroll4/5

Grave of the fireflies (1988)

Grave of the fireflies anime poster

Starting off the list with a punch to the gut is Grave of the fireflies. With a runtime of 1hr 29 mins Grave of the fireflies is considered one of the saddest movies ever made.

Based on a true story, the film follows the story of Seita and Setsuko amidst World War 2 where the children are separated by their parents and seek ways to survive.  

Genre:- War/Drama 

Available on:- Netflix 

Review on Grave of the fireflies:

Director Isao Takahata tells a very raw story about the hardships of war in a very delicate way. Grave of the fireflies is a beautifully made film that will leave you in tears and realizing that it is based on a true story, which makes it even more dreadful and heartbreaking.

Rating on Grave of the fireflies 

Grave of the fireflies is sitting at 100% on rotten tomatoes and we fully agree with it. We give Grave of the fireflies 5/5 stars.

A Silent Voice (2016)

A Silent Voice

A Silent Voice is a film about a bully seeking redemption for his acts when he bullied a deaf girl in his youth. A Silent Voice is a film about seeking and accepting others despite their flaws. 

Genre:- Romance/Drama 

Available on:- Netflix 

Review on A Silent Voice

A Silent voice deals with a lot of issues and delivers them exceptionally well. It is a story where you understand to not judge people from their doings and teaches you some really important lessons which will tug your heartstrings.

Rating on A Silent Voice

A Silent Voice is rated 8.2/10 on IMDB and we give it a rating of 4/5 stars. 

Wolf Children (2012)

Wolf Children

Wolf Children is a story about a Hanna who marries a Wolf Man and has children with him. After a tragedy struck in the life of Hanna, Hanna decides to raise her two children who can’t control their transformation, and takes them away to the countryside.

A story about the hardships of being a single parent is what Wolf Children is all about.  

Genre:- Fantasy/Drama 

Available on:- Funimation 

Review on Wolf Children

Wolf Children is a story of a struggling mother who tries to make ends meet while simultaneously taking care of two children who are part human and part werewolf. It is a beautiful film that both adults and children can enjoy and be grateful for all that our parents go through to make us who we are today. 

Rating on Wolf Children

Wolf children are sitting at a whopping rating of 8.1/10 on IMDB and we give it a rating of 4/5 stars. 

Your Name (2016)

Your Name anime poster

Your Name is a story where Taki and Mitsuha, our main characters, switch their body without knowing. Mitsuha who lives in the countryside dreams about living as a boy in the hustling bustling city of Tokyo gets to live her dream as one fine night she switches her body with Taki, who lives in Tokyo.

Confused and blundered about what happened and also figuring out how to live in a body of another sex, Your Name deals with the thoughts of youths in Japan. 

Genre:- Sci-fi/Fantasy 

Available on:- Netflix 

Review on Your Name

It sure did surprise a lot of people in 2016 as it was not nominated for Best Animated Picture at the Oscars yet Boss Baby was. But Director Makoto Shinkai created a BEAUTIFUL film with Your Name. 

Not only the film is visually stunning to look at with the hand-drawing animation of Anime but deals with Romance in such a new and unique way with Body Swapping. 

Your Name is a type of film which you would appreciate more if you are a hard-core Anime fan with its signature humor and style. And although the film has funny bits in it, it is still a heart-wrenching tale that will get your eyes to moisten up.

Rating on Your Name

Your Name is currently sitting at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and we give it a rating of 4/5 stars 

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time anime poster

Loosely based on the novel of the same name, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a story about Makoto who figures out the ability to drift through time and space. But soon after fidgeting with time, she realizes that her actions have consequences as well. 

Genre:- Sci-fi/Romance 

Available on:- Netflix

Review on The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Director Mamoru Hosoda made a fantastic movie with beautiful and gorgeous-looking shots, fast pacing, and a very tragic ending that will please the readers of this article looking for a sad anime movie. 

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time asks the audience if they had the ability to change something in their past would they do it and at what cost? It has its share of hits and misses but it overall ties it in the beautiful bow that will surely make you cry during and after the film.

Rating on The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is currently at 83% on Rotten Tomatoes and we would give it a rating of 3.5/5 stars.

6. The Dog of Flanders (1997)

Dog of Flanders is a 1975 Japanese anime series based on the adaptation of Ouida’s 1872 novel of the same name, produced by Nippon Animation. A film version of the series was released in 1997. The series represents the bond between a boy and his faithful dog living in the 19th century Flanders Hoboken.

Genre:- Drama

Available on:- Funimation

Review on The Dog of Flanders

Dog of Flanders is an anime movie that tells the sad story of a little boy named Nello and his dog Patrasche. The extremely popular 90s anime movie is actually based on the classic 1872 children’s literature which was written by a British-French author under a different name of Ouida. 

This 1997 version of the book stays quite faithful to the original book despite having a simplistic animation style. Kuroda had managed to tell a story in a manner that is quite compelling.

The best part about this anime is the natural affection between Nello and Patrasche and how they feel for each other. In fact, the sweetness and innocence of these portions make the sad ending even more depressing.

Rating of The Dog of Flanders

The Dog of Flanders currently has 7.7/10 on Imdb and we give it a rating of 3/5 stars.

7. Giovanni’s Island (2014)

Giovannis Island

In the aftermath of the most devastating conflict mankind had ever experienced, the tiny island of Shikotan became part of the Sakhalin Oblast, and two children become friends.

Genre:- Drama 

Available on:- Netflix

Review on Giovanni’s Island

Giovanni’s Island’s story revolves around the time frame when Russia occupied the island of Shikotan in northern Japan. 

The main two leading characters of this film are two high-spirited little brothers who go by the names of Junpei and Kanta as they try to live their life despite the atmosphere of despair.

Soon, the boys fondly develop a friendship with their next-door neighbour, who is actually a pretty Russian girl by the name of Tanya. 

However, their cross-cultural friendship is threatened by the adults’ conflicts. The animation of this movie is brilliantly done as it sets up the tone of the narrative. 

The story starts with vivid colours and slowly shifts to bleak greys and whites as the circumstances change in the story. 

Rating of Giovanni’s Island 

Giovanni’s Island currently has a rating of 71% on Rotten Tomatoes and we give it a rating of 4/5 stars.

Also read

American anime

Depressing anime

Western anime

Banned anime

Smart anime characters

Witch anime

Romance anime

Masterpiece anime

Samurai Anime

Final note (Author’s choice best sad anime movie)

On the Final note of this article, I would like to say that Anime Artists do create very emotionally tugging films. They are not all sad but the majority of them are very mature in the themes they portray with a very unique twist. 

Take for example the film, Wolf Children, that film could have been something like Twilight where a girl falls for a man who is not a human (coincidentally it also features werewolves) and has a child who is part human and part vampire but Wolf Children isn’t about Wolfs. It is a story of a single mother trying to raise her kids without the support of her husband. 

That is such a beautiful story, that is faced by a lot of women but told in a unique and beautiful way that none of us saw coming.

Anime movies are great fun to watch and they deserve all the respect they get. Now go and watch these 5 beautiful films and make sure you have enough napkins because you are going to cry your eyes out.

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Safdarali Rizvi

Safdarali Rizvi the management graduate. Has been an avid book reader all his life so naturally loves playing with his words. His curiosity for discovering futuristic opportunities drives him to enlighten the entire Geekymint team with exclusive and intriguing news. He has a real passion for calisthenics and sports. His management abilities and hunger for learning brings tremendous value to our team.

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