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Grave of the Fireflies
Grave Of The Fireflies (DVD)
Member Name: annallon
Grave Of The Fireflies (DVD)
Date: 07/09/08, updated on 07/09/08 (97 review reads)
Advantages: One of the most moving films, crisp audio, simple plot but yet heartbreaking
Disadvantages: Let me know, I cant find any!
Review- I apologise if there's certain information that you feel are pivotal to the entire plot but I have tried to include information that are not relevant to plot and which you would find out in the beginning anyway.
When watching this film, I did not prepare myself at all, I had such low expectations of this film due to its name (judging by its cover, I know!) that I was not prepared for the emotional journey that this film took me on. It was traumatic, but worth the watch. I am a complete novice when it comes to anime films, I only can name up to perhaps 6 or 7 anime films. But none other which had this much impact on me as this film did.
This film is based on the semi-autobiography of a man called Akiyuki Nosaka who lost his sister in WW2. He has been quoted saying that his book was his way of saying 'sorry' to his sister, whom he could not save from the horrors and reality of war. If I had known this film was based on true events prior to watching this movie, it would have had even more of an impact on me emotionally.
This film opens up with a memorable line of ' This is the night I died.' This didn't quite touch me as it might have touched some people as I stupidly missed the connection between the well-dressed ghost and the dead man, because they looked so different! So, we know at the beginning that the film is going back to the beginning of the story before he died. The ghost seems to be smiling, perhaps a sign of relief that he's finally died and is reunited with his sister. This is a sign that shows how much trauma, pain, and suffering he'd been through. From at the end of the film, it began to click about the significance of the candy can in which had 'dust' inside in which the guard threw into the field.
Short explanation of the film:
Firebombing attack by the American planes occurs in Kobe, Japan during near the end of World War Two. This event leaves the two children orphans and they're forced to fend for themselves in a country that's in a severe famine and the indifference of other people seemed to have to other peoples' suffering. Seita has to suddenly grow up from being a teenager with a part-time job to being a father/mother to Setsuko, having to fend for food for themselves and basically trying to survive. This was the harsh reality for many children who had been left orphans in Wartime Japan.
They turn to a distant relative, a sister of their father, their aunt who provides them a room. The aunt, to me represents the worst individual that seems to be the norm in wartime Japan, exploiting the two children with rice. She sells their mother's kimono for rice. Finally, they both decide to live out in an abandoned bomb shelter, which was a lovely place to live in, until they run out of rice.
What I love about a lot of Asian films that I have viewed, is that the small details that's in the beginning in the film has no significance to the plot to the viewer, but by the end of the film, the viewer begins to associate the said detail with such meaning; such as the fruit drops tin.
Typical clips from wartime Japan does not really show the pain and suffering people went through at the time, but this film really brings it home. It is really that honest as a film, it shows you the horrors occuring to two children struck by very unfortunate circumstances. This film despicts their lives as a bleak outcome that only meets death, which is revealed at the beginning. The most important part of the film is told right at the beginning, you may think that has ruined the film as you read this. But this isn't so. You may know that they perished but you have yet to find out the painful journey that led to their deaths which makes the film.
The animation itself is of a good quality from 1988, it is not over-done but it captures their emotions and shows their struggle to survive so well on the screen. It is quite realistic-looking, compared to recent anime films by the same studio, which is one of the most striking things about this film is how real everything looks. The fields, the fires, the planes, etc. It is much more than a mere cartoon, it shows real-life struggle more realistically than 'real-life' films in my opinion which is why it touched me.
I was rather suprised at how they showed the American planes bombing Kobe, they did not try to show the americans in a bad way, or even mentioned the word American. It was as if they were trying not to blame anyone for the event, but either way, it was handled very well, I thought.
This has got to be one of the best films I have ever come across in years, this is not one to be missed.
Please, this is not meant to a fantastic review. For a fantastic review, do see berlioz II's review which I could not possibly compete with. :)
Summary: Kids and adults can watch this film it is fantastic!