Today, I’m taking a look at the saddest anime death.
My choice is Setsuko from Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies anime film. Both she and her brother have it rough throughout the film. They lose their mother during the firebombing of Kobe in World War II, and then have to move in with an aunt who treats them cruelly. They leave to be on their own and live in a bomb shelter, and the siblings have to deal with malnutrition and starvation. Setsuko is only about four years old, which makes it really hard to watch her suffer. As a mom, it really breaks my heart.
Even though her older brother, Seita, tries to take care of her, she dies during the movie. The first time I saw the scene of her death, I was crying… a lot. Seeing someone so young die due to circumstances beyond their control was just devastating. Even though I know this scene is coming each time I rewatch the film, I still find myself tearing up right before reaching the scene of her death. I’ve never had the death of another fictional character affect me as much as Setsuko’s has.