Grave of the Fireflies, Anime Recommendation of the Week!

Key points for Anime Recommendation – Grave of the Fireflies:

  • Grave of the Fireflies explores the devastating aftermath of war through the poignant journey of two orphaned siblings, Seita and Setsuko, evoking powerful emotions and highlighting the resilience of the human spirit amidst tragedy.
  • Studio Ghibli masterfully captures the bleak atmosphere of post-World War II Japan, with stunning visuals that immerse viewers in the desolation and desperation faced by the characters, complemented by a haunting soundtrack.
  • Through its minimalist yet impactful character development and stark portrayal of societal collapse, Grave of the Fireflies delivers a thought-provoking narrative on the consequences of war, demonstrating how even in the darkest times, hope can persevere.

I am aware that this type of story will not appeal to everyone. And that is fine, I ran away from this anime because of similar reasons too. I finally mustered the courage to watch Grave of the Fireflies last week and sure enough, it hit exactly as hard as I expected. If you don’t know, the movie is set in a post World War 2 Japan and it shows the terrible after-effects of the war. And while it is not without its flaws, I think it conveys its themes loud and clear.

So welcome back to another edition of our anime recommendation series! This week we will be talking about The Grave of the Fireflies. Again, this movie is not for everyone and it requires a certain mental state to watch. So if you don’t want to watch it, I understand. But at least give it a chance. With that said, let’s get started right away.

Introduction

Grave of the Fireflies is based on a semi-autobiographic short story of the same name by Akiyuki Nosaka. The original story is centered around his experiences before and after the bombing of Kobe in 1945. As for the movie, it was made by the legendary Studio Ghibli and was released all the way back in April 1988. Funny to think that Studio Ghibli put out something as depressing as this and as light-hearted and cute as Totoro on the same day, 16th April 1988.

Plot

The plot follows two kids, Seita and Setsuko after the American bombings in 1945. Both of them are left orphaned and homeless because of the war. The story follows them as they drift aimlessly around the countryside, rampant with starvation and diseases. No adult offers to help them, all they are met with is apathy. The only thing keeping them going is a strong hope that one day things will be better.

The plot does a great job of showcasing how even good people can turn cruel in such desperate circumstances. The effects of war and such large-scale devastation on society are showcased really well in this movie. And that is what the movie is about, every aspect of the film contributes to this horrifying situation the kids find themselves in.

Characters

While there are other characters in the story periodically, almost none of them really matter. This a rather personal story focusing on the siblings alone. And while they don’t have character arcs or anything like that, it works here. Not everything needs a character arc and this is one of few examples where a stagnant character writing works because it adds more to the theme. That said, I do wish that we had a few more side characters and at least somewhat of a character arc for the kids, but that is a minor complaint in this case.

Animations and Soundtracks

Despite being from 1988, the visuals hold up incredibly well. The devastation of the war, the desperation of the people, and the dire state of the society are on full display and it adds so much to the feel of the movie. Of course, it is also from the PEAK Studio Ghibli era so the soundtracks are awesome as well. Whenever the movie does a big perspective shot, you never feel “wow”, the feelings perspective shots are usually used for. No, instead perspective shots here are used to add more to the sense of destruction.

Summing Up

Here’s why you should watch Grave of the Fireflies:

  • Touching subject matter
  • Great setting
  • Good plot
  • Incredible visuals

That is all for now. Let me know what you guys think in the comments. I will take my leave here. See ya!

Also, check out my thoughts on The Irregular at Magic High School Season 3 Episode 1 here!

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