Grave Of The Fireflies (火垂るの墓)

All posts tagged Grave Of The Fireflies (火垂るの墓)

She should have got a better ‘treatment’ in terms of character development.

This mini-review of Grave of the Fireflies will kick-start the first of the three Studio Ghibli movies I have always planned to see for a long time. After more than 100 posts across the span of 2 years, it is pretty shocking that I have not watched any of Ghibli’s movies yet while there are already three Makoto Shinkai titles here. This movie is not directed by Hayao Miyazaki, but it is still very good.

Meanwhile, he could do with a head that can do better decision making abilities.

At the end of World War 2, two siblings loses their mother to an America air raid. From then on, they struggled in vain to survive their following days, dodging America’s bombings and also dealing with pesky relatives.

The story is excellent, which is the Studio Ghibli’s signature. It is very mature, emotional and heart-moving, but I have some reservations about some of the bizarre decisions taken by the main male protagonist (I blame him for his sister death, instead of the Americans or their aunt). The story flows very well with good pacing and it has a ‘fiery’ ending too, just look at the screenshot below. And the excellent ending in this movie is definitely one of the best I have ever seen in a Japanese anime. It was very unique because the sad ending like what this movie has will not be employed by the vast majority of anime out there.

Character developments did not match the quality of the story though, and that’s a shame. The main female protagonist could do better if she gets developed more. This becomes apparent to me when the movie shows flashbacks of events that I do not see from the time she lives in the abandoned bunker, after she has died. This actually is a sign of bad directing. The main male protagonist fared better, but not at the level I have expected.

The awesome ending of this movie, where the main female protagonist were amateurishly cremated by her own brother while fireflies circled the scene.

Character Design:-
The character design is unique and very well done. The hair is dark brown though for the siblings, instead of being just plain dark black for the majority of Japanese their age during World War 2. Although, if they already have hair-dye during that time, who am I to complain?

B-29 Superfortress, bombing Japan until…

Voice Acting:-
Voice acting in this movie is great, with the main female protagonist being outstanding. Definitely a positive point for this movie.

The OST is good, but not so for the OP/ED themes.

…it looks like this.

The animation in this 1988 movie is surprisingly good, or is it just because I watched a remastered DVD? Anyway, it does well even in fast-paced scenes (in the case of this movie, involved a lot of running). No comment about the choreography because it did not apply here. Meanwhile the directing is good, with the exception of the flashback issue I mentioned above.

Meanwhile, this unidentified Japanese plane is kept hidden instead of fighting the Americans.

9 out of 10.
The second movie from Studio Ghibli I will review next is Kiki’s Delivery Service, directed by Hayao Miyazaki himself. Comparison with Makoto Shinkai will be inevitable!

Despite being in the title of the movie, fireflies does not seem to play a main role here.