10. Grave Of The Fireflies (1988)
Studio Ghibli may often be called the ‘Japanese Disney’, but the subject matter of many of their films is far darker and mature than any of Disney’s family friendly entertainment releases. A happy ending is never guaranteed and that is perhaps never more apparent than in Grave Of The Fireflies, a brutal insight into the harsh realities of everyday life in wartime Japan as the country's inevitable defeat to the Allies looms large.
The tragedy of lead character Seita and his sister Setsuko makes for a harrowing watch. Knowledge of their grim fates from the film’s opening scene makes their desperation from loss, malnourishment and mistreatment in an uncaring society even harder to stomach, as the moments of hope and happiness stemming from Setsuko’s innocence and Seita’s determination to protect her are all ultimately meaningless.
It certainly doesn’t
make for repeat viewing given the terrifying nature of its subject matter, but it's important to experience nonetheless. Perhaps
the starkest film in the Ghibli catalogue, it’s a human wartime drama of the
highest order, fully deserving of a wider audience befitting its perfect 100%