Grave of the Fireflies by Drake

Japanese Title: Hotaru no Haka
Also Known As: GotF, GotFF, Graveyard of the Fireflies, Grave
Genre: Drama
Format: 1 Movie
Allegiance: Studio Ghibli
Director: Takahata Isao
Vintage: 1988
Intelligence Agency Report by: Munky
Near the end of World War II, American air-raids on Japan threatened many lives. After losing their mother, 14 year old Seita and his baby sister Setsuko are forced to live on their own. The harsh war times make it difficult to find food, or get help from neighbours and family. Finding it hard to get nutrition, toiletries, and other needed services, death and starvation seems to be the only way out.

Field Agent Report by: Drake 
Overall 6.75

When I first saw Grave of the Fireflies, I was told that this movie would instantly become a favorite of mine, and that no other movie would ever top the brilliance of this one. I’m sorry to say, neither part of this statement is in anyway true, at least in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong – I did not dislike the movie, it just did not touch me in the way it apparently has touched others.

The movie takes place near the end of World War II, and revolves around two siblings who have lost their mother and find themselves trying to survive in the wilderness. While the movie does a decent job of depicting life in Japan during that period, the characters failed to reach me. In fact, I feel Setsuko irritated me more than moved me, while her brother just left me thinking how much of a total idiot he was. With the two lead characters failing to touch my heart, I was unable to see the rest of Akiyuki Nosaka’s beloved story as a heart wrencher.

One of the things I really did enjoy was seeing Studio Ghibli once again manage to have highly top-notch animation that can be appreciated by all. The studio has gained a reputation with me for always delivering timeless animation, and this coupled with the music score (most of which was depressing, melancholy music to relay the desperation of the Japanese) was able to bring up my opinion of the movie from horrible to decent.

Overall, while the characters annoyed me, and the overall product left me desiring much more from the film, I’d have to say this is a film anyone interested in Japanese history should pick up and watch if the opportunity arises. However, don’t expect to find the mind-blowing movie experience that the anime community seems to believe is in Grave of the Fireflies, as you’ll be highly disappointed.