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Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the fireflies is probably the only animated film that should not be placed in the media-made spectacle but rather the originally reserved basket called adult content. But if you are looking for a graphic, unnecessary display of skin and flesh, you will be sorely disappointed.

There is no sexual content in this movie, no graphic violence or not even bloodshed and gore elements. If you are looking for the things mentioned above, you are probably not an adult; at least not in the department of having a mature taste in feature-length films. This is one of those movies that only the mature can swallow.

Ranked #61 in Berardinelli’s Top 100, this animated title is worth all the hype that has been built around it over the years. I can confidently proclaim this as the best animation film I have ever watched; not even Miyazaki‘s masterpiece Spirited Away and Shinkai‘s epic Your Name come close!

Grave Of The Fireflies, Adult Content?

So why am I dubbing Grave of the Fireflies as an adult movie? Simply because to watch it till the end and fully grasp the idea and the extent of emotional boundaries pushed to the limits through a simple to understand, easy-to-process yet challenging-to-digest storyline, you need to be an adult who is wise and patient. A child or teen may be affected by the purest of emotional torments from the essence of the movie. Still, it certainly takes the weight of several years to absorb what Director Isao Takahata has prepared for his audience.

No need to be disheartened though! Even if you fail to capture the delicate psychological aspect of the feature, the screen time will take you on a journey of the turbulent stormy ocean full of emotional ups and downs. Then again, this very amazing trait of the film can become a con and leave some unable to cope with the bumpy yet smoothest ride. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? Well, that’s the beauty of the epic animated feature film known as Grave of the Fireflies.

If I am to talk about animation, it is not the best. Well, what do you expect from a 1988 movie?! It was simply impossible to work out the animation quality we have now back in those days. However, please make no mistake; even though the animation is old-school, the unparalleled direction and storytelling are more than enough to make up for it. Hats off to Isao Takahata‘s screenplay, which was based on the novel by Akiyuki Nosaka. And what can I say about the accompanying music! Michio Mamiya had indeed decided to break our hearts with the solemn melody and tunes.   


The Fireflies Have Stopped Moving

Grave of the Fireflies has quite the simple plot, actually. The timeline is 1945, a most horrifying period of human history when the world was plunged into a blood-wrenching great war, World War 2.

Seita, the brother and Setsuko, the sister, running away from their home are the two protagonists. They are facing a hazardous reality, the kind of which grown-ups can only meet in nightmares. Living in Japan at that time was way far from the ideal life one could hope for. It was one of the worst times and places in all of human history to be alive in. They are running away from the death falling from the sky as the American bombers drop rounds after rounds of high-explosive bombs and flaming shells on the entire city. They flee the onslaught only to fight the other byproduct of war, famine. 

In the near-apocalyptic days, even the closest relatives refuse to take in two recently orphaned hungry mouths when survival is the only priority. So they are forced to live on their own. Two children, entirely on their own until Occupation forces walk menacingly on the lands they call home.

We are talking about children here, beings to whom politics, money, and patriotism are but mere words. As a result, they lose in the adulterated game of survival in a war-ridden hellish nativity of selfishness, brutality, and complexity by default. What can two young souls do to reverse the tragedy brought about by the greed and lust for power of the people who dared call themselves leaders? The children, armed with only innocence and unconditional love for family, were no match for the monster called war. And so, we see the entire drama, horror and tragedy through a recollection of memories of Seita.

Grave of the fireflies

Must-watch Movie

Movies, made with love and passion for the sole purpose of bitch-slapping our consciousness from its usual limbo to reality and its decadence on the frontier called “humanity”, are rarely seen. And when they are, I feel it is the duty of those who consider themselves film lovers to watch them at least once. Grave of the Fireflies definitely makes it to that exclusive list with ease.

And yes, while watching Grave of the Fireflies, if your eyes soak up and tears start rolling down your cheeks, let them. Setsuko deserves oceans filled with those tears by her grave as tribute. And even if you fail to cry, this movie will at least rock your human existence to its core and teach you the true meaning of the term “collateral damage.”

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Reading and writing are my muse. Expressing myself through my writing is the purpose of me being here. The hope is to satisfy the readers with my penned pieces!!!

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