I am not an anime expert or anything close to that; I have only watched a couple of series and another couple of movies in this genre. Maybe that is why in my mind I had classified the genre as one that is based mainly on action, usually involving swords or guns and vast amounts of blood. This is one of the main reasons why my curiosity was highly piqued when people recommended this movie to me and I read about its topic. After watching it I was instantly convinced that I had just experienced one of the most successful attempts at conveying the consequences war has on innocent people. In this case the effect is magnified by the fact that the sufferers are children.
In the year 1945, close to the end of World War II, Japan is being bombarded through air raids. A young boy named Senta and his little sister, Setsuko, have to run to the shelter and in the process they get separated from their mother. When they finally find her again she is seriously injured and does not last long in her attempts at survival. Now the kids only have an aunt to support them and guide them through the turmoil. But the grownup performs this task with little enthusiasm, so the children are basically left to survive by themselves. That is when we get to see the power of love between the siblings, and the contrast with the disinterest of the rest of the people in the village regarding the well-being of the kids.
I am sure that this is one of the great masterpieces of the genre, since it presents a whole array of emotions, running from despair to hope without limits, through its excellent script and crafty graphics. In my case it will probably serve as a benchmark to rate all other future anime dramas in the future. If you have never watched any anime and are trying to decide where to start, I guarantee you that there is no better place than right here!