Grave of the Fireflies

By , Millbrae, CA
Grave of the Fireflies is an animated World War II film that explores the effects of war on civilians’ lives. Seita, an orphaned boy in Japan, is left with the responsibility of caring for his younger sister after his mother dies in a firebombing. Although Seita and his sister, Setsuko, do have the option of living with their aunt, they decide to live in an abandoned bomb shelter instead because of their aunt’s condescending and resentful attitude. From there, Seita and Setsuko’s situation worsens.

Although the characters deal with death, violence, and poverty (Setsuko’s starvation is so severe that she starts to believe that mud balls are rice balls and marbles are candy), there are still some uplifting moments, especially in the scenes that explore the bond between the two children. One such scene is when Seita and Setsuko collect fireflies and use them to light up their shelter, which reveals the beauty of the animation style of this film. Although the animation makes the characters look unrealistic, the message of this story is very realistic.

The characters do display some undesirable traits; for instance, the adults in this film refuse to help Seita and Setsuko when they desperately need food. Also, Seita allows his pride to take over his ability to make smart decisions, resulting in his struggle to survive. Grave of the Fireflies explores the dangers of the war enemy’s actions, as well as the reactions of the characters, making this an important film to watch. Many people who have watched this film consider it the saddest film that they have ever seen.





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