Bree’s Melancholic Tales: A Review of “Grave of the Fireflies”

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Grave of the Fireflies (1988), though animated in its appearance on screen, is far from first assumptions of it being made for children. If anything, children should avoid this film at all costs. Grave of the Fireflies, directed by Isao Takahata, is a masterful piece in the way that it is completely unabashed in detailing the horrors of World War II in Japan.

Grave of the Fireflies follows the tale of Seita and Setsuko, siblings who are struggling for survival after their parents and home were lost in the destructive path of World War II. The use of animation lends a childlike charm in parts of the film in stark contrast to the chaos that ensues surrounding these characters. The purpose of this contrast is to get the audience to feel for Seita and Setsuko, maybe even root for their survival. Unfortunately, the harsh reality of the siblings’ situation is first noticed by the audience rather than by the siblings themselves.

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