Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no haka) is a 1988 Japanese anime war drama film written and directed by Isao Takahata and animated by Studio Ghibli.
A tale of the true tragedy of war and innocence lost..
In the aftermath of a World War II bombing, two orphaned children struggle to survive in the Japanese countryside. To Seita and his four-year-old sister, the helplessness and indifference of their countrymen is even more painful than the enemy raids. Through desperation, hunger and grief, these children's lives are as heartbreakingly fragile as their spirit and love is inspiring.
Includes both English dub and original Japanese (subtitled) versions. From the Studio Ghibli Collection.
- Bios and interviews with Director Isao Takahata and Author Akiyuki Nosaka
- Interview with Film Critic Roger Ebert
- Historical perspective with commentary
- Video Restoration Documentary
- Alternative Storyboard Angle for Entire Feature
- Bonus Storyboards
- Art Gallery
Grave of the Fireflies Reviews
“..not only one of the greatest anime ever, but also an important (anti-) war film. A moving masterpiece.” Film 4
“Very simply the gentlest and most touching war-related film I've ever seen.” Combustible Celluloid
“This film is a necessity for any animation collection and highly recommended for its beauty and emotional impact…the film succeeds brilliantly on many levels” DVD Talk
“An emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation…Because it is animated and from Japan, “Grave of the Fireflies” has been little seen. When anime fans say how good the film is, nobody takes them seriously. Now that it’s available on DVD with a choice of subtitles or English dubbing, maybe it will find the attention it deserves. Yes, it’s a cartoon, and the kids have eyes like saucers, but it belongs on any list of the greatest war films ever made.” Roger Ebert
“One of the most devastating anti-war films ever made, animated or otherwise.” About.com
“.. a beautiful lament and a moving tribute to the people we rarely consider when we think about World War 2: those Japanese who suffered for the crimes of their leaders.” Looking Closer
“…a masterpiece so deeply sad and unrelenting that some may find it hard to watch. It is film about the idea of loss, finding a reason to live…It is an intrinsically beautiful film, its hand-drawn animation among the finest I have ever seen, stretching the emotions to the purest of empathy. I say pure, since it wraps itself around the hearts of the audience without effort. Watch the minimalism, the way the children behave like children, the younger Setsuko dancing among the fireflies, reflecting light on to her, the slow rhythm of storytelling, the painted backdrops. It is a film that can be viewed as artistry, as well as a great narrative…Sprinkled throughout the film is a humanity, beating against the terror and the despair, teaching us not to think of war in terms of ideals, or politics, but in the knowledge that suffering strips away the veneer of "us versus them”." EyeForFilm.co.uk
“The stylised images suit the simplicity and gravity of a grim story of love, sacrifice and survival in the face of adult indifference and cruelty.” Observer UK
“Writer-director Isao Takahata, a frequent collaborator of Miyazaki's at Studio Ghibli, adapted a partly autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka, and his handling of the tragic story is masterfully understated.” Chicago Reader
“Ranks among the greatest of anime.” San Francisco Examiner