Movie Review: The Grave of the Fireflies [Spoilers Ahead]

Its a depressing but very powerful anti-war film. Instead of glorifying the struggles between two opposing forces, the movie highlights the real consequences of war.

Its the story of two siblings, a teenage boy name Seita and his five year old sister Setsuko. In the beginning Seita dies of starvation in a train station. Through a flashback his spirit narrates their experience during the fire bombings in Kobe at the end of World War II.

Unlike most animated films, there’s nothing lighthearted and heartwarming in this one save for a few moments as it depicts the real horrible consequences of war.

The movie showed an unrestrained harrowing tale of a brother and sister as they cling to their orphaned lives. There is no happy ending here as war takes everything away from them. There are a few light moments as the siblings find joy in their independence but ultimately the inevitable happens.

The movie’s simple animation heightens everything from war torn scenes (such as the war torn landscape and air raids) to the siblings sad state that it shocks and grips you. Hollywood animated films have always tried to reproduce realistic animation, but they are too stylized to give any real impact.

In the end even if you know that the characters are not going to survive, it hits you like death always does – inevitable, humbling and sad. The film is a powerful message which shows how war fails its rightful purpose – to protect the innocent – as nations clash for supremacy.

My Rating: 10/10


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