Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka)

Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka) 1988

I wanted to watch this again before writing a new review… but I just couldn’t manage it, the story is too harrowing.

And I guess, due to that fact, I believe the film does work as an anti-war statement – despite that not being the intent of the movie. (Director Isao Takahata mentioned that he does not see Grave of the Fireflies that way and I certainly won’t argue that he also succeeded in critiquing the follies of pride so, so well).

5 Stars

6 thoughts on “Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka)

      1. The story’s author, Akiyuki Nosaka, was originally contacted with a proposal for a live-action film but rejected it, saying that it would be impossible to recreate the actual physical devastation of the landscape and the emaciated conditions of those surviving at that point. . .when shown parts of Ghibli’s work-in-progress, he said that he believed that only through animation could those aspects even begin to approach the nightmarish quality of what really happened.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Both Takahata and Akiyuki Nosaka, the author of the original story upon which the movie is based, lived through the actual American firebombings of their respective Japanese cities during WWII. In fact, Akiyuki Nosaka mentioned during an interview that he wrote the story as an apology to his younger sister, whom he watched die of malnutrition after the war–yes, the actual story was somewhat autobiographical.

    I think that the misinterpretation of this film as being anti-war probably stems from two main points: 1) its devastatingly realistic portrayal of the suffering caused by war, and 2) the fact that so many films by Takahata’s Studio Ghibli partner Hayao Miyazaki actually are anti-war in theme. Still, even if this film was not made as an anti-war statement, I think you’d have to be a pretty hard case to watch and then not hurt for war’s most innocent of victims, children.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I think those reasons are spot on. It’s just so vivid that how could we not see it and take that secondary(?)/unintended(?) message?

      Having lived through the actual horror of the bombings must have made the writing and production tough too.

      Liked by 2 people

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