Saturday, February 27, 2016

787. Hotaru no haka

Hotaru no haka
Grave of Fireflies
Directed by Isao Takahata

After viewing Akira, I feared that anime really wasn't going to be my thing.  However, I actually enjoyed this film quite a bit, so there may be hope for me yet.

In 1945, American bombers destroy the city of Kobe, leaving Seita and Setsuko orphaned and homeless.   The two siblings go to live with their aunt, who is openly resentful that she is responsible for two other mouths to feed.  Various other horrible things happen.

This is a beautiful film.  I actually appreciated the artistry in this movie more than I did in Akira; it seemed less harsh and more childlike.  Of course, this film makes Akira seem like a feel good movie.  I must confess, I did get a bit restless as the filmmakers piled on tragedy after tragedy.  I might be going to hell for that comment, but it did get monotonous.

A gorgeous film that will break your heart.  Might just be worth it though.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Most of the illustrations in the film are outlined in brown, not black.

Isao Takahata was the only animator who lived through the bomb attacks.


  1. If anything, the Japanese can out cute even Hollywood with kids .. but this one I found highly acceptable. It's not going to make any sort of top list of mine, but very deeply effective.

    1. Agreed. Wait until we get to Spirited Away for full cuteness overload.

  2. Oh I know .. I've seen quite a few Studio Ghibli .. and believe me, 'Spirited away' is still way on the OK side of the ECS. (excessive cuteness scale)

  3. this is the most emotional film I've seen - I generally avoid films that are designed to make me sad but the message was worthy and unlike many of the overpraised Ghibli films this deserved every bit of praise it has received

    1. Same, I often feel manipulated. But yeah this was awesome.