||Grave of the Fireflies
Hotaru no Haka (1988)
This movie will change you, if you dare so., September 3, 2001
No other movie (except for David Lynch's "The Straight Story",
which I also recommend) has exemplified the importance of love for other
people through a powerfully sad story. If I explained any of the
specifics to what I'm saying, it will give away spoilers -- that
wouldn't matter anyway, the true importance and redemption of Grave Of
The Fireflies lies in it's mood and characters' struggles, and those
will leave most viewers a changed person.
One of the greatest movies ever made. Not only do I respect the art
of film greatly more than I used to, but I also hold precious my loved
ones even more. For those of you reading these reviews but have yet to
see this movie, I have 3 bits of advice:
1) It is anime -- do not hold prejudice against this movie because of
it. This is one of the most emotionally-gripping movies I've seen, and
it's rare that I cry because of a movie, let alone from start to finish
with this movie.
2) It is drama -- but it is real, and visceral. It is NOT the crappy,
low-budget melodrama you'd see on some womens' channel ("Timmy has
cancer and his mother's in jail and he wants to see Babe Ruth hit a home
run or else Lassie will die of a tumor!"). NO! "Grave of the
Fireflies" is what drama was meant to be, I cannot find a negative
thing about this movie [except that it made me cry out loud in a room
full of people, quite embarassing if you ask me]. It is well written and
emotional, and in true Japanese style it uses subtle, quiet, and subdued
moments to speak the loudest moods.
and most importantly,
3) PREPARE YOURSELF. Before you watch this movie, get a comedy video
(Monty Python or whatever) on your coffeetable to pop in after you clear
your tear ducts when this movie is over. Grave of the Fireflies will
stay with you, it will hang on your shoulders and you will remember it
the next morning and throughout the next several weeks. So get something
happy or whimsical prepared to watch immediately afterwards to help get
out of the depression that Grave of the Fireflies is guaranteed to put
Experience this film. --This text refers to the DVD
omg the saddest movie I've ever seen in my life, July 30, 2002
This is a traumatizing movie. I can't explain in words how you feel as
you're watching it. For one thing it's not one of those movies that are
sad, maybe cause you to shed a tear or two, but you realize "it's
just a movie". This is not just a movie. It is possibly one of the
greatest films of all time depicting war. A war that really happened
with people that really suffered in it.
It begins with the two children escaping to a bomb shelter during an
Despite the painfully sad story, it's still wonderful. Yet it's hard
to say this when you know that it is about two children suffering. It
makes me feel like I'm saying I like that sort of thing, which I don't. Nonetheless,
this is a anime everyone should see. I don't even mean just anime fans,
it's something mankind should see to help them think twice about things
Ok and now to get to the part I was avoiding so much. I did not just
cry when I saw Grave of the Fireflies. I was bawling. From beginning to
end there was something that completely just ripped my heart in half.
The sense of loneliness, the sense of despair, the sense of
helplessness, of wanting to give up but knowing you can't... Even after
the credits were rolling, after someone else in my family had to take
the darn thing outta my DVD player, I sat on the couch and cried. I
couldn't stop thinking about it. I cried for at least ten minutes. Ugh I
even woke up in the middle of the night and started crying. Yeah I'm the
slightest bit emotional but not that emotional. That's just how big of
an impact this movie had on me. --This text refers to the DVD
edition. (from amazon.com)
Excellent, but you'll only watch it once, April 23, 2001
I watched this video about seven years ago. Somehow, I found the
strength to make it all the way through. But since then, I have not been
able to watch it again. Even thinking about Grave of the Fireflies while
writing this has almost moved me to tears. I think I will only watch
this movie one more time in my life; when my daughter becomes old enough
to appreciate it.
Grave of the Fireflies is a movie you must see once, but you probably
won't have the strength to ever watch it again. Then again, you won't
have to, because the message and the images it imparts on you will last
a lifetime. --This text refers to the VHS
Tape edition. (from amazon.com)
One of the best animated movies ever made!, October 14, 2002
Finally, one of the best animated movies ever made gets the collector's
edition DVD treatment!
Made in 1988, Grave Of The Fireflies proves that animation can tell
serious, moving stories. This story will break your heart and make you
cry. Based on a celebrated novel by Akiyuki Nosaka and lovingly adapted
for the screen by writer-director-animator Isao Takahata, Grave Of The
Fireflies is set in Japan during the last days of World War 2.
Kobe, 1945. American fighter planes firebomb the city to ruins.
14-year-old Seita and his 4-year-old little sister Setsuko made it to
the bomb shelter, but their mother wasn't so lucky. With their father in
the Navy and no one left to care for them, the kids stay with an aunt
who deeply resents having to feed them and treats them cruelly.
Tired of their aunt's verbal abuse, Seita and Setsuko leave and
wander the devastated Japanese landscape in search of food and shelter,
both of which are very scarce. But they have each other, and that's all
they need. Until Setsuko becomes gravely ill from malnutrition.
Desperate to feed his little sister, Seita tries to get food by any
means possible, including theft, a crime during wartime. In one of many
painful scenes, Seita takes a dying Setsuko to the doctor, who tells him
that all she needs is food. But of course, the doctor is not about to
share his own food or even tell Seita where he might find some.
A truly tragic, must-see film, Grave Of The Fireflies features
amazing lifelike animation. The facial expressions alone will start your
tears flowing. The voice talents are incredible, especially 5-year-old
Ayano Shiraishi as Setsuko. This story of the love between a young
brother and sister, the only thing that nourishes them during a time of
suffering and starvation, will melt even the coldest of hearts.
Grave Of The Fireflies was released on DVD few years ago, but this
new collector's edition is the one to buy. It features a beautiful,
digitally restored anamorphic widescreen picture that blows the old
DVD's muddy transfer out of the water. The 2-disc set also includes
great extras like interviews with filmmaker Isao Takahata, novelist
Akiyuki Nosaka, and film critic Roger Ebert, complete storyboards, the
script, a promo, trailers, and much more.
Parents should note that both the Japanese and English dialogue
soundtracks are included. This is a movie that you'll want to share with
your children, and if they don't like to read subtitles, you can switch
to the English dubbed soundtrack, which is well done and true to the
original Japanese version.
Grave Of The Fireflies is a movie you won't soon forget. It belongs
in every film lover's library, and this wonderful 2-disc DVD collector's
edition belongs on everyone's DVD shelf. So buy it and share it with
someone you love! (from amazon.com)
A Masterpiece, November 7, 1999
I am a history teacher
and have been showing this movie to my students ever since I have gotten
hold of this movie on video. It is a great anti-war movie that should be
watched by all especially the young; though it may be disturbing for
them, there is a great lesson to be learn from it - there are no winners
in any war. An essential movie that should be in every school's library.
--This text refers to the DVD
edition. (from amazon.com)
Ernest Toh (email@example.com) from Hong Kong