“Why do fireflies have to die so soon?” Some would say it’s not fair. As seen in Studio Ghibli’s seminal anime masterpiece Grave of the Fireflies, life isn’t fair. Based on the autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka of the same name, Grave of the Fireflies is one of the most realistic portrayals of the tragedy and struggles of living in a war torn country ever captured in film. Grave of the Fireflies is unquestionably one of the best anime films there has been or ever will be.
Grave of the Fireflies is set in Japan in the time of World War 2. It follows Seita and Setsuko, a brother and sister trying to survive in these harsh times, the film explores their tragic lives as victims of war and underlines it with a sense of hope that maybe everything can be okay. Where Grave of the Fireflies cuts the deepest is in the fact that in war there is no happy endings for anyone.
Seita is portrayed as a doting brother who is desperately trying to cling to any semblance of a normal life and family for him and Setsuko. Throughout the course of the movie we see Seita stay strong through horrific adversity all for the sake of protecting his sister and this is why its all the more heartbreaking when he ultimately breaks down. While the film opens with his ultimate fate, his path to his final destination is all the more devastating.
The visuals really are beautiful with the water colour painted backgrounds and the artistry of the fireflies and while it may not look as crisp as modern day anime with their use of CGI and other modern animation techniques, this film is honestly a timeless work of art. The animation has that feeling that only a hand drawn anime can with every frame lovingly detailed which ultimately adds more to the emotional impact of the film.
Further more the soundtrack of Grave of the Fireflies is one of the most heartfelt compositions ever to back a film. On top of that both the english and japanese voice actors do an excellent job capturing the emotional core of this story and its characters.
Madman’s blu-ray release of Grave of the Fireflies is undoubtedly the most definitive release of this film ever produced, not only is the film beautifully rendered in high definition but it also comes packed with a plethora of bonus features including alternate angle storyboards, deleted scene storyboards, directors commentary and a theatrical trailer.
So why do fireflies die so soon? Some would say its not fair. But life isn’t always fair, however it doesn’t make what happens in life any less important in the end. While Seita and Setsuko’s struggles were ultimately in vain, it doesn’t make what they lived for meaningless. Even though those fireflies might be in their graves the light that they lit lives on forever in the tear in your eye or the wind that blows by, the sounds of the birds and the sun in the sky, that is the Grave of the Fireflies.
You can give yourself to the emotional surrender of this phenomenal masterpiece at Madman’s Online Store.