Review: Grave of the Fireflies [1988]

Japanese Title: Hotaru No Haka
Release Date: 1988-04-16 [Japan]
Running time: 88 minutes
Director: Isao Takahata
Screenplay: Isao Takahata
Music: Michio Mamiya

Voice Actors (Japanese):
Ayano Shiraishi as Setsuko
Tsutomu Tatsumi as Seita
Akemi Yamaguchi as Aunt
Yoshiko Shinohara as Mother

Plot summary: (animenewsnetwork)
On the final days of World War II, 14-year-old Seita and his four-year-old sister Setsuko are orphaned after their mother is killed during an air-raid by American forces in Kobe, Japan. After having a falling-out with their aunt, they move into an abandoned bomb shelter. With no surviving relatives and their emergency funds and rations depleted, Seita and Setsuko must struggle to survive their hardships as well as those of their country, which is on the losing end of the war.

I Say…
Grave of the Fireflies is a sad one. If we think Whispers of the Heart is realistic, this one is much more. It is, the most emotional animated film I have ever seen so far. I really made it a point to watch it after I have seen the previous Ghibli films I have reviewed before, because I know that it would either make me cry or upset me, because my friends told me that they cried when Setsuko died. Maybe life’s really hard when there is war.

It is a good and touching film. A bit figurative if you’d ask me. And maybe after watching it you’d wish too that no more wars will occur and separate children from their mothers and fathers.

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