Grave Of The Fireflies Movie Review Sample

Type of paper: Movie Review

Topic: War, Cinema, Family, Anime, Movies, Children, People, World

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/01/04

War how much terrible stands behind this word. And all this horror in simple, in details and unvarnished is shown in the anime movie "Grave of the Fireflies".
In 1988, Studio Ghibli created a masterpiece "Grave of the Fireflies" based on Akiyuki Nosaka`s novel based on the death of his stepfather and two sisters during the Second World War. The author wrote his novel in distant 1967 basing on real events: during World War II, one of his sisters died due to illness, his foster father was killed during the air attack on Kobe in March 1945, and then his second sister died of starvation. The book "Grave of the Fireflies" is considered a classic of Japanese literature devoted to World War II. And the anime directed in 1988 has been gaining popularity among Japanese students as well.
The last days of World War II. American military aircraft bomb defenseless Japanese cities. In the maelstrom of human everyday nightmare 14-year-old Saito and his little sister Setsuko get as victims. Having suffered the most bitter loss – the loss of their loved ones, they became all alone. Seita and Setsuko became “war orphans” not knowing anything about fate of their father and could not find any care from their aunt. The young boy suddenly becomes an adult when he faces the cruelty of the world. He realizes that his life depends on his little sister.
Sheltered in an abandoned refuge, Saito and Setsuko try to survive by relying on their own strength. And let the deadly fire in the sky seem to be just firefly lights, brutal war does not spare even innocent children's souls, bringing them its merciless verdict
It is hard to describe the feelings that arise during watching this movie. Already the first scene is shocking – the station, where people are dying right on the floor, and others, without any regret, as if it were a common thing bring dead bodies away and among these people, there is a boy sitting with a box from candies.
Then the plot flows smoothly, even slightly stretchy, tightening like quicksand, gradually infecting with despair. In front of the audience, there are two children – brother and sister who lost everything: mother, father, home, hope. At first it seems that it is not so bad, those kids have relatives, they will help. But gradually we come to understanding – the war altered people, they have no longer compassion and humanity – they have only a tremendous desire to survive. Children are left alone, they are lost. But they do not despair, find refuge, the brother is struggling to take care of his sister, his dearest living creature, which is losing will to life day after day.
In this anime everything touches feelings: beach, on which children were running, fireflies, which they were catching, that box of candy. The moment when Setsuko, dying of hunger, molded cakes from mud for his brother – it was just unbearable. And more unbearable is when you suddenly realize – it happened once all over the world, during the World War II.
When you watch such movies – you forget about everything: about the nationality of our supporters or opponents in this terrible war. There is only one thought: children should not die of hunger, should not suffer. There is no more horrible sight than starving children. Most realistic war movies – these are not films with global action scenes or heroic deeds, but the films showing the other side of the war – when people lose their humanity, and these is cruelty, which manifests itself in a strong fear of death and indifference to the fate of others.
No other anime is not able to stun so much, so clearly to demonstrate the horror of reality, from the contemplation of which involuntarily eyes widen and chill is all over the body. This is the story from the category of those which simply cannot be ignored and from which it is impossible to look away, as if it wanted to. This anime depicts too painful problems depicting not only the problems of mankind, but a real grief, despair and lack of any exit, depicts despair, against which it is impossible to confront.
“Grave of the Fireflies” is perhaps the only cinematographic work that reflected the historic event not from the standpoint of dry figures and data, but from the perspective of the feelings and emotions of the common people. It is more often that the current generation superficially knows about the history of the Great War, as the events go farther, and the number of people and things that resemble them, is getting smaller. A large number of films, books about the war are only one-sided propaganda and limited to the glory of the winners, who, in fact, write a story. However, we must admit that in any war there are no winners. This movie is the rare case when it is possible to lift the curtain of the past times through the eyes of the common person, moreover, through the eyes of innocent children who did not choose any party or ideology, did not have any enemies and did not try to capture anybody – they just wanted to live. And most of the participants of those events turned out to be in the same situation, which eventually brought nothing but endless loss, grief and suffering. But all this is getting forgotten by modern people, and the value of words such as empathy and compassion is also getting forgotten.
“Grave of the Fireflies” – is one of the few anime movies that can break completely silly stereotype in the minds of many people thinking about anime as something childish. There is no place for any hateful stereotype about anime industry, there is no place for manipulative hypocrisy nor for excessive pathos, no space for other artificial forms – there is only sincerity and desire to convey to the audience something very important in the spiritual and emotional level, the desire to teach the audience to be more tolerant more open and sympathetic. And these factors resulted in the fact that this movie is being popularized among Japanese students and in the whole world.
“Grave of the Fireflies” is the only anime movie that is really mandatory to all, regardless of their preferences or even at total dislike of anime in general. There are such works of art that are the legacy of all mankind and the “Grave of the Fireflies” is precisely such work of art, so at least once, but to watch it is a must, no matter how painful and difficult it could be.
American film critic Roger Ebert considers this movie to be one of the best movies about war. And I believe this anime is a monument to all children – little fireflies, victims of a monstrous event, called the war.


Akimoto, Daisuke. “Peace education through the animated film “Grave of the Fireflies”: Physical, psychological, and structural violence of war”[PDF File]. Accessed 29 March 2015.
Berkeleywarreps. “Escaping the Home Front: Rejecting Wartime Conflict in Grave of the Fireflies (1988)”. May 3, 2013. Accessed 29 March 2015.
Ebert, Roger. “Grave of the Fireflies. Review”. Roger Ebert. March 19, 2000. Accessed 29 March 2015.
Khairy, Wael. “Film Analysis: “Grave of the Fireflies”. The Cinephile Fix. January 3, 2014. Accessed 29 March 2015.

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