View Full Version : [movie] Grave of the Fireflies

02-27-2006, 02:28 AM
Title: Hotaru no Haka
Jap. Kanji: 火垂るの墓
English: Grave of the Fireflies
Genre: Drama, Ghibli, Historical
Type: Movie
Year: 1988
Companies: Studio Ghibli
-A movie by Hayao Miyazaki-

Plot synopsis

It's World War II and Japan is under attack.
"Grave of the fireflies" details the sudden transition of two children from being loved and cared for, to two orphans without a family or family comforts.
The movie presents us two characters we really do grow to engage with, and to present to audiences a valid experience of the second world war in the eyes of the Japanese.
Forget about Pearl Harbour for the meantime, and think about the Nuclear Bombings in Japan- Seita (main boy character) and Setsuko (his little sister) just make you wonder how many other Seitas and Setuskos were out there.

Story (9/10)

Just like most war stories, you always start off with the happy (or at least seemingly peaceful) surroundings. Seita and Setsuko are loved by their mother, and everything seems to go well for them.

Unfortunately the lifestyle dramatically changes when their home is bombed, thus killing their mother. The two siblings have no choice but to move to their aunt's place to at least have some sort of parental guidance.

Things prove to be tough when their aunt is not as pleasant as they thought she would be, since she cheats them of their money, underfeeds Seita and Setsuko, whilst treating her own daughter like royalty. Eventually she forces them out and tells them to go find other family members to stay with.

Seita and Setsuko find a little place (which actually isn't hygienic) to hide from the terrors of war. There, they have some of the best moments: throughout the film there are cuts to the peaceful moments catching fireflies and burying them into the soil.

Setsuko eventually falls sick (from lice and other skin and gastrointestinal problems from unclean water) and Seita is forced to withdraw all the money from the bank (left by their loving mother) to cure his little sister.

Unfortunately Setsuko dies when the food finally arrives, and we then realise that the opening sequence was of Seita- a beggar at the train station, without money, a home.

Characters (8/10)

The characters were done so well- so typically Miyazaki (if you count that as an adjective). To be fair though, some people don't like Setsuko, or they don't like Seita. It might just personal preferences but I think that they were both structured very well so that you could at least hate or like them throughout the movie and understand them to an extent.

The aunt was terrible- and reminiscent of Cinderella's stepmother. Overall, the character selection was well done to enhance/support the plot.

Art/animation (6/10)

I've never really been a fan of the style of Miyazaki's animations, but it is high quality nonetheless. The usual round Miyazaki eyes, chubby faces and all other things trademark of Miyazaki are present in this movie.

If you are a fan of the reigning Miyazaki animation, you'd probably rate this higher.

Voice acting, music (7/10)

Unfortunately I had to watch this movie within the evil clasps of English dubbing (yes, I know) so I can't really comment on that without being biased.

The music was pretty good though. There were instances when the silences and only humming of flies mimicked a spooky reality, and at other times, the use of sound really did bring tears brimming to my eyes.

Overall (9/10)

I'm not a fan of depressing movies, but I really have to say that this movie was exceptional to me. The cinematography, the setting, the sounds, and even the sequence of events really did touch me and I really did empaphise with these characters on screen.

It really is quite an enjoyable film. Some people have said things like "Grave of the Fireflies isn't *THAT* sad. I didn't even cry" - it's not about whether or not you cry; it's more whether or not you are touched.

I know I was :)

The Wing Man
11-12-2006, 11:51 PM
Very incredible story, alot of the stuff in the movie are events that happened at that time and it really is said to watch this film.The movie moves you with the story, but I just felt like it was missing some story that it might of needed to make it a more solid film.Then it would of been perfect, this film was close to being one of the best movies I have ever seen but the story was just too lacking for me to say that with confidence.

The characters reminded me of real people, and though there wasn't many of them in the movie and alot of them had small rolls.The two main characters are just so good to watch and they carry the film, from a little girl who is loving and playful to a older brother who is protective of her. This seems like a actual brother and sister in that situation, the character of the aunt was very mean and I suppose was put in to make the movie have more drama to it.

This animation is kinda old, so I have to have a little sympathy for the animators then but what is nice to see in this movie. Is alot of the scenes with lighting, they use beautiful colors and sometimes I was just amazed by some scenes and other times I found it all basic.

I think this was some of the best music ever in a film, the music score was fantastic and very moving sometimes. The voice actors were all good to me, but the music just captured me and really gives the movie the sound that it needs to be sad and moving. Nice sound effects are also used during some scenes, the audio had nothing for me to complain about so I give it a 10.

This movie was almost perfect, I still think the story needed the most work out of anything. I would of liked to of seen more places in the movie, they didn't go around anywhere else but that is because of the war that was going on. All in all, this is just a sad film but you get into it and it really is a great step for anime.I would tell any anime fan to watch it, and I think alot of non-anime fans could enjoy this movie for it's scenes with emotion and the end is rather sad but I don't wanna give it away. I really loved the way they kinda had him telling us the story, but he never said too much and when it starts I was really into the film and then it just becomes a sad movie that is well done and good.

07-15-2007, 08:25 AM
Story: 9/10
It made me cry. It's very realistic and very touching. Having children be the victims of the war makes it even more tragic. The sequencing of events was a masterpiece. Having the soul of Setsuko and Seiya revisit the events (as the story evolves) was truly effective.

Characters: 9/10
The characters were created well to suit the story: the caring older brother and the helpless younger sister made the picture of the war very vivid to watchers.

Animation: 6/10
It uses very old and basic style. The focus is not on the art but on the story.

Music: 9/10
You'll get caught up into the story because of the music.

Overall: 8.25/10
It's a classic.

07-28-2013, 05:05 AM
Overall I give it a 7/10

Review: It was an alright movie. I think people over-exaggerated about how emotional this movie is. I didn't shed a single tear during the movie. I liked the WWII setting of the movie. (For some reason I like to watch and read movies and stories of WWII a lot.) On the other hand I disliked the little sister a lot she was the most annoying character to me. If I was in her shoes, I think that I'd be able to grasp the feel of the tense air around me and I would stop my nagging so I wouldn't worry my family anymore. The one character I REALLY HATED was the aunt, she was as heartless as anyone could be. She was the one I wanted to murder when she wouldn't give them the meal portions they deserved because they were ungrateful, and when they decided to buy their own utilities she started to complain about how ungrateful they were! I mean which is it lady! Have them eat off of the food you make or have them eat the food THEY make and EARN?! The ending was the one of the few sad parts in the movie to me. Having the war ending, the fathers death, the sisters death, and his death. This movie showed how bad is the life of kids in countries with war.

Art: 8/10
The art was good for the time the movie was released, nuff said!

Characters: 7/10
As I said the little sister annoyed the feces out of me! x( Bleh! But Seita the main character had a really good role in the movie. He was independent and he overcame his mothers death whilst having to take care of his annoying little sister.

Music: 8/10
The music really digged deep into me it was the only part of the movie that made me emotional.

08-08-2013, 11:41 AM
It's been quite a while since I saw it, and I'm afraid I can't even remember the soundtrack or voice acting at all.

The one thing I'd like to add though is that the writer described it as a "semi-autobiographical apology to his sister". So he tweaked things (aparently he couldn't stand the brother being as greedy as he felt he sometimes was and probably changed some things just for storytelling purposes), but essentially it is a true story.

So while I always thought it was a good movie, knowing the background removed the feeling of "oh, it's just the Japanese making themselves look like the victims of WWII as opposed to the aggressors." and left me with more of a feeling of it being a powerful piece on how individuals are affected and react to those sorts of situations.