Grave of the Fireflies Review
Grave of the Fireflies
takes place during World War II. From the opening scene
the audience is prepared for a difficult and unsettling drama. The
unfolds by introducing protagonist Seita, who is a 14 year old teenage
passes away at the beginning of Grave of
the Fireflies. From there on, the story is told in a past-tense,
and it is
about the struggles he had with his younger sister Setsuko as the pair
survive during difficult war-times alone. You will not leave the
of watching this story unfold with dry eyes. Grave of the
Fireflies is one of the most moving and overwhelming
war films ever made.
film was written and directed
by Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata. He's nowhere near as
Hayao Miyazaki is in North America but that doesn't mean he isn't a
with unique qualities. To even compare the two brilliant filmmakers can
somewhat unfair as their styles and interests are more varied than some
them credit. Takahata's directing is always poetic and lyrical with a
introspection in each frame. Grave of the
Fireflies is his greatest and most important masterpiece.
animation is typical of Studio
Ghibli. That is to say the artwork radiates with brilliance that is
through experiencing one of the studio's productions. Character designs
unforgettable and some of the most intricate and lush artwork you will
in animated cinema can be found here. The amount of detail is
artwork indicates the time and place with remarkable clarity. You
transported to the landscape of Japan during WWII in the simultaneous
beauty and terror of the times.
filmmaking for Grave of the Fireflies is exquisite.
storytelling's emotionally involving and artistically profound. One of
reasons the story works so well is also because of how relatable these
characters are no matter who you are. The film is about more than one
period of time. It is about the endurance of the human spirit during
great difficulty. The characters can be related to and sympathized.
trying to survive and one of the things that helps to keep them going
strength in spirit and the love that unites family. The
story is as much about tragedy as it is
the love of family and that is an important thematic aspect that can
beyond all countries, continents, and languages. The message of love is
word "classic" is overblown
and overused (more-so now than ever). While I am not a history expert
paint a portrait of how that word has been used over the course of time
detail I might as well wager a guess that the word "classic" (as
defined by our
current usage) was first used in 1597, the year believed to be the
of publication of William Shakespeare's achievement Romeo
and Juliet. But you know what... I'd be ridiculously incorrect!
when should the word classic be used in writing? It
should be used in reviews
of Isao Takahata's masterpiece Grave of
the Fireflies... because the film actually is the classic,
masterpiece, and genuine
work of art that deserves the use of the word and its core meaning. I'm
sure how anyone can experience the film without considering it a
accomplishment as one of the world's most moving wartime stories.
Too many films seem to try to "pull" at the
heartstrings. This is one that actually plays them like a master
violinist would. You will be deeply
Filmworks has presented Grave of the Fireflies in a
remastered presentation that preserves
the original 1.85:1 theatrical presentation. It is a 16:9 anamorphic
DVD release with slight window-boxing (minor black bars around the
image). This is certainly a common aspect of some
theatrical anime releases and it doesn't have a dramatic
impact on the overall high quality of the presentation. This rerelease
will make a
solid addition to the DVD collection of any film fan who did not
already own a
prior release and it may
even be worth a purchase as an upgrade.
The transfer is relatively clean without distracting dirt and other
print imperfections or damage. The color design isn't as vivid when
some of the other Studio Ghibli releases but this may be a result of
Screenshots between ADV DVD and"Remastered Edition" DVD from Sentai
Thanks to WTK (Anime
Talk Contributor) for providing the comparison screenshots used in this
screenshots are from an
earlier DVD release of this film. The screenshots from the Sentai
release are for the Remastered DVD release being reviewed.
appears as though the Sentai
Filmworks DVD offers fans a
significant upgrade in picture quality. Take note.
is presented with two Dolby Digital 2.0
options: the original Japanese language dub and the English language
sound impressive given the dated sound recordings and are more than
viewing the film. The beautiful music score by Michio Mamiya is
reproduced and the dialogue is reasonably crisp and easy enough to
one main point I would like to make about the audio is to choose the
with a degree of care: the English dub is fine for what it is (if you
upon it), but the Japanese language dub is much more powerful as an
with remarkable voice-acting and a greater degree of depth.
Filmworks has included trailers for some of
their other anime releases. No other bonus materials are included.
the Fireflies will
be one of my favorite films regardless of its genre or style. The film
resonant and engaging. This is a powerful portrait of the hardships
faced by Japanese
civilians during WWII and a story that is one part tragedy and one part
to the hearts of all who strive in times of hardship to survive with
of a family member nearby. This is as much a story of trying to survive
about family and love that lasts an eternity beyond our mortal years.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.