Review of 'Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no haka)'

grave_of_the_fireflies.jpg Stunning animation. Tragic story. That is Grave of the Fireflies in a nutshell.

A young boy Seita and his little sister Setsuko are forced to fend for themselves when their mother dies as a result of the bombing of Japan in the second world war. They leave the city to the countryside where their aunt, who eventually has enough trouble just feeding her family, scorns them and they leave her house to live in the countryside. Seita's pride refuses to seek further aid from the aunt who shunned him and resorts to stealing for food for himself and his sister. Since the movie starts with Seita indicating that he dies don't expect a happy ending on this one.

Truly a tragic yet gripping tale of survival and horror in war-torn Japan. The animation is first rate with vivid scenes of horror: death and devastation (quite a lot of it), alongside beauty: the Japanese countryside. Difficult to watch but definitely worth the viewing.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2006-10-29

Directed by: Isao Takahata

Studio: Studio Ghibli

Year: 1988

Length: 90 minutes

Genre: Japanese Animation

Other reviewed films by Isao Takahata: