Instead of smiling, we laugh. Instead of crying, we openly weep. When it comes to driving in that final nail into your heart, these titles accomplish it so effortlessly that you’ll swear rivers are pouring out of your eyes by the time the credits rolls.
1 A Silent Voice / koe no katachi
A Silent Voice has a real moral behind it and hits hard for those who have experienced bullying or have grown up around it. For me it was a real "tear jerker" because I have been bullied before and the trip the main character takes to redeem himself despite his anxiety. It is a true representation of redemption, love, and friendships. Plus, the music and timing of the music is perfect and even the regular soundtrack just makes tears swell up in my eyes. Make this higher please. Also if you love Stand by Me you will love this movie! This movie has brought me closer to tears than any other one and has made a special spot in my heart.
2 Your Name/kimi no na wa
Stunningly animated and well acted, this extraordinary Japanese coming-of-age tale is equal parts body-swap comedy, time-travel romance, and adventure film. It sounds contradictory, but this is a sweeping love story in which the couple doesn't really meet, yet knows intimate details about each other.
Your Name is a perfect choice for middle schoolers and up who will appreciate the combination of adventure and romance in a way that younger viewers aren't mature enough to enjoy.
3 Patema Inverted
Time of Eve director Yasuhiro Yoshiura is a perspective-twisting sci-fi adventure about two kids separated by opposite gravities. Patema lives in an underground world of tunnels, the long-abandoned ruins of a giant industrial complex. Though she is a princess, she is held back by the rules imposed by the elders of her clan. One day when she is exploring in a forbidden zone, she is startled by a strange bat-like creature and tumbles headlong into a void - and out into the wide open world above the surface, a place with reversed physics, where if she let go she would "fall up" into the sky and be lost forever. Age is a student on this surface world, a totalitarian society whose compliant population has been brainwashed against the "sinners who fell into the sky." When he spies Patema hanging upside-down from a tree, he pulls her down to safety, struggling with all his might to keep her earthbound as she grips on to him for dear life. Together their weights cancel each other out, and once they master the art of navigating competing gravitational forces, they set out to evade the leaders of Age's world and discover the secret that keeps their worlds apart.
4 Grave of the Fireflies
Don’t let the mesmerising visuals fool you, this film shows the full horror of World War II through the medium of our two orphaned leads. As they wander around in search of food and shelter, we see how conflict has not only robbed them of their innocence, but also their hope for a future.
5 Hotarubi no Mori e
A young girl finds a friend and eventual love interest with a spirit. However, should he ever be touched, he will fade from this world forever. You can see where this is going.
"It is sad not to love, but it is much sadder not to be able to love." The words uttered by Miguel de Unamuno become unusually symbolic when we think of them in the context of Hotarubi no Mori e. The romance genre has grown stiff over the centuries - and some may even imply that any originality in that peculiar type of works has depleted, that nothing fresh and original can be created when basically everything is a cliché these days. Well then, I'm truly glad I can say that whoever sports that belief is in the wrong. The evidence: Hotarubi no Mori e.
6 The Girl Who Leapt Through Time / Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo
A high-school girl named Makoto acquires the power to travel back in time, and decides to use it for her own personal benefits. Little does she know that she is affecting the lives of others just as much as she is her own.
7 The Wind Rises / Kaze Tachinu
is the story of the man who created the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter, the most famous airplane in Japanese history. From his childhood in Fujioka, Jirou dreamed of designing flying machines like his hero, Italian aviation pioneer Giovanni Battista Caproni. Through disaster, romance, war and loss, Jirou continues to chase that dream - learning along the way that once released into the world, dreams can take on a very different shape.
Miyazaki’s biographical snapshot of aircraft designer Jiro Horikoshi not only gives us a tragic romance but also a terrible sense of foreboding as World War I approaches.
8 Wolf Children
Hana gives birth to two healthy children—Ame, born during rainfall, and Yuki, born during snowfall—both possessing the ability to turn into wolves, a trait inherited from their father. All too soon, however, the sudden death of her lover devastates Hana's life, leaving her to raise a peculiar family completely on her own. The stress of raising her wild-natured children in a densely populated city, all while keeping their identity a secret, culminates in a decision to move to the countryside, where she hopes Ame and Yuki can live a life free from the judgments of society. Wolf Children is the heartwarming story about the challenges of being a single mother in an unforgiving modern world.
9 Whisper of the Heart
One day while riding the local train, Shizuku notices a strange cat sitting near her. Why would an ordinary cat ride a train? Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it can also seriously harm a young girl. Shizuku decides to follow the mysterious cat to see where it goes, and soon stumbles upon an antique shop run by a violin maker named Nishi, the grandfather of the mystery boy who shares her taste in literature. Seiji and Shizuku soon become friends and while Seiji is sure of his dreams and how to follow them, Shizuku is still unsure of her own talents. However, when she sees a strange cat statuette, "The Baron," in the shop, it seems as if that statuette whispers something to her, tugging at her heart and giving her the inspiration she so desperately needed. One voice pushes Shizuku further than she could have ever imagined, changing her life forever.
10 Millennium Actress
Hidden in this secluded mountain retreat is a thousand years of history condensed into one lifetime, waiting to be narrated. Chiyoko's recollections take them on an illusionary journey through Japanese cinematic history that transcends the boundaries of reality; the saga of her acting career intertwines with her filmography, the actors in her life blend seamlessly with the characters on screen, and the present melds with the past. Though the actress may have retired at the height of her career 30 years ago, the curtain on her life's stage has yet to fall.