Nostalgia really makes me want to put The Lion King here, but that would not be quite honest. For the finest animated film I’ve ever seen is not by Disney, but by Studio Ghibli.
Grave of the Fireflies hit me like a wrecking ball when I first saw it. It follows a boy and his baby sister as they try to get by in World War 2 Japan. American aircrafts drop firebombs and turn the children’s home to smoldering ruins. But this is not a political movie about the horrors of war. It’s a human movie about the horrors of times of war. It’s also about maturing, about pride and morals, and about the love that exists between family members and the strain it can be forced to endure. Animation here isn’t used to transport us to some magical far-off place filled with fantastic creatures, but to enhance the various human sides of the characters. The many ways in which Seita cares for his sister Setsuko all serve to move us in different ways, and the end result is one of the most heartwrenching films ever made, animated or live-action.