Hayao Miyazaki Tribute – GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES

As I roll on to the next film in my Hayao Miyazaki tribute I thought I’d have go to the other side of the spectrum for my next review. Last time around I gave you the super surreal My Neighbour Totoro. This time around I give you one of Ghibli’s more dramatic Grave of the Fireflies. This film is one of the more realistic affects of WWII you are ever likely to see, and what makes it so profound and ground-breaking is the fact that it is an animation. This film shows what happens to a family when everything is taken away, how they can fight for survival — how love can rally them, and how pride can destroy you and everyone you hold dear. A young man, Seita has been given the responsibility to take care of his sister after their mother dies. He tries desperately to create a life of their own throughout this film, including making some tough decisions for the sake of keep his sister safe.


This film is uncompromising in it’s depiction of WWII. Japan is now on the losing side of the war and we are thrust into the perspective of a young man trying to protect what little he has left. This was such a raw and passionate film, each scene between Seita and Setsuko oozed compassion. Seita is a real human being, not just a pretty picture of a kid with sound coming out. He has flaws, he makes mistakes, and his pride gets in the way. It makes for a wonderful and interesting watch. On the flip side of the coin we have Setsuko, his tiny sister whom he must protect by shielding her from all the consequences of war. She is an absolute joy to watch and I really respect Rhoda Chrosite (Setsuka’s voice in the English dub) as she brought such an innocence to a role that will stay with me for a very long time.

With such a realistic film and such human characters I couldn’t help but come out of this film and really begin to dissect every decision that the characters made and really begin to think about how it came to the ending it came to. I came out kind of angry, kind of regretful and very upset. Hayao Miyazaki once again has found a way to get at the heart of an interesting issue with an ven more interesting pay off and this film is one of the major reasons we started this tribute to Hayao Miyazaki in the first  place. If I was being completely honest there is nothing “bad” about this film other than the “bad” things that happen in it. This is a superb film, faultless, watch this film. Once and never ever watch it again, you’ll understand after you have watched it.

The Author

Graham Day

Graham Day

I am a geek first and foremost. I love animation, film and comics. I live in Dublin, Ireland and love it. I have met so many amazing people over the years, Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Mark Millar and Scott Snyder to name but a few. I love to sketch, write and talk about geek news. I went to college for five years, three years animation and two years communication and media. All opinions are my own so I hope they're witty and original, I'm fairly certain they're not.

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