Grave of the Fireflies

~ Grave of the Fireflies: Studio Ghibli ~


At the end of this film, I did not cry. It was extremely sad, yet I did not cry. The movie itself was so impacting, so full of meaning that all I could do was sit through the credits, so many thoughts going through my mind it seemed empty. An ‘old’ movie (for anime standards), the message that it gives out applies to not only today, but the future. This is by far the deepest anime movie I have ever seen. Possibly too deep for my little mind to comprehend.


The story begins with 14-year-old Seita and his little sister Setsuko, running from an air raid in world war II which destroyednot only their home but their entire town. A bit later on, they learn of deaths that would catapult them into life with a distant aunt and her family who are particularly rude to them. This is shown in many ways, but what struck me the most is that when Seito told his aunt about his mother’s untimely and grotesque passing, she said simply, “Oh. How awful. Better write to your father and tell him,” and then she walked away to do housework. After getting by with this family for a while, after lots of verbal abuse, Seito decides it would be best for Setsuko and himself to leave, so they set off on their own.

(Major spoilers follow, please highlight to read) This decision leads to Setsuko’s severe malnutrition and ultimately, death. Driven to complete grief and helplessness by her death-a life he worked so hard to preserve and nurture- Seito himself passes in a train station like a common homeless man. The story is told first person from the dead Seito’s point of view, though it is mainly told through dialog between the characters with a few narrations from Seito. The film ends very abruptly, but in the perfect place. It leaves you with few questions unanswered and the the worst parts that aren’t explained, can easily be assumed with a shudder by the audience.

Many critics acclaim this 1988 film as one of the greatest anti-war movies of all time, and I must agree with that comment 100%.

Unlike many of the other movies I have reviewed, this is one of the ones that you truly, simply, must see. The music, characters, and altogether animation make it a classic and revered film for many, many people. I will post more about this movie when I have a chance to think about it and that infinite amount of sadness and morale managed to seep into my mind.



~ by 100yen :D on November 20, 2007.

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