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114 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quietly beautiful, saddening film
This is a film apart from any other Ghibli film I have seen. Where as Miyazaki films (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke) are fantastical, this film is very much grounded in the gritty reality of our resent past. Set at the end of World War II it is the harrowing story of 2 children facing life in a war-ravaged Japan. Make no mistake, this film is not typical Ghibli...
Published on 26 Aug 2004 by Crispyseaweed

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warning this film is seriously sad
This film is beautiful and poignant. It has the usual high quality animation, score and story that come with the Ghibli label, But it will leave you in emotional tatters. Please be warned.
Published 20 months ago by Ross


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Believe the hype, 3 Oct 2007
This review is from: Grave of the Fireflies [DVD] (DVD)
Every now and again in life you find a film that genuinely deserves to be described as "a true work of art". This is one of those films.

I, like a lot of other people who've seen this film, watched it simply because I love Ghibli movies, not really knowing a great deal about the plot and expecting another magical journey into a fantasy world. I certainly wasn't expecting to be reduced to tears by the end of it (I, by the way, am a 24 year old man who hasn't cried watching a movie since I was a small child and Littlefoot's mum died in The Land before time!)

The mark of a truly great movie is that it has a lasting impression on you, it leaves you feeling something, and maybe changes the way you think about things or see the world. Well its been about 3 months since I watched this film, and even now thinking about it too much gives me a lump in my throat. For the first week after watching it it popped into my head atleast once a day.

It's not easy viewing, you probably don't really want to watch something that'll make you cry (and believe me unless you have a stone cold block of ice for a heart you WILL cry), but it's worth doing, it's something that everyone should be made to watch atleast once. its one of those films where you want to make everyone you know watch it too, due to the impact it had on you.

One of the best films I've ever seen? Easily, top 5 for sure. Will I be watching it again any time soon? Not at all, but I WILL watch it again at some point.

Oh, and it should go without saying but I'll say it anyway: watch it in the original japanese with subs!!!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 STARS!! THE BEST FILM THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN, 6 July 2004
By 
Carlos Casas Escribano "dj moro" (VALENCIA, SPAIN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
(I'm sorry but my english is not very good.)
I've seen this film 3 days ago, and now i continue thinking about the story of the two children.
I love this film. I think that should be obligatory to view at school.
I felt love, happy, sad and pain when i saw the movie.
I don't want explain many things of the film, because is better than you see it without knows that occurs.
Only i tell you that I have NEVER cried so many like in this movie.
You must to see it!!!!!!!!
pd=I don't understand how this film has taken a long time in coming to EUROPE. It's made in the year 1988. It's unjust!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relentless, 12 Sep 2007
By 
hal40k (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Grave of the Fireflies [DVD] (DVD)
I bought & watched this movie on the recommendation of one of my friends who is an anime-addict and am so glad that I did - I really didn't believe her that it would make me cry! But it did...

Beware though, if you're used to Studio Ghibli's more familiar workings which take you away to a fantastical world that this will relentlessly show you time & again that it's story is not make-believe, that it isn't fantastical at all. It is a truly sad and moving story, if you have a younger sister or a daughter I would personally be pretty saddened if you were unable to connect/relate to and empathise with the main characters in this movie.

Based in World War 2 Japan, the story follows the struggling life of an older brother & his younger sister who are left homeless after an American bomber raid. Horrible events befall the two and this ceaseless inhumanity eventually takes a heavy toll on them, leading to the final two tragedies of the film.

The ending of the movie will hit you and it will move you - it was adapted from a book called 'Grave' written by Akiyuki Nosaka in 1967, based on his own personal hands-on experiences during World War 2.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every summer we watch this film on TV in Japan, 16 Sep 2006
This review is from: Grave of the Fireflies [DVD] (DVD)
EVERY summer we watch this film on TV in Japan, adults, students, old folks, kids, everybody, because we do not want to forget the WW2. Every time when I watch this film, I cry, but I feel satisfied that I watched, and make me to think someting deeply, in many ways, each time is different. This film is very sad one, compared to Totoro, and I do not recommend you to watch this film when you are not happy/ready, but at the same time, it is the right time for you to give you some strength. My grandparents, and my mother, who had experienced WW2 in Japan, they say it was worse than the film. To me, it's is still enough! My mother was a little girl so she does not remember most of it, but she remembers she once had lost her mother during an air raid on a city, but luckily they both found each other later. This film is more than anime, surely it gives you something for your life. For adults? yes. For kids, yes, even they don't understand or gets bored, but if you make a time to sit down with your kids to watch the film, and hold their hands, they will catch something from the film, I think, as I did when I was younger. No words needed to them. Then if they ask you questions, and when you are not sure anything about the WW2 in Japan, it is ok, just be honest and tell them, "I don't know, and I'm not sure, but this could have happened anywhere in the world."
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You thought Bambi was sad!, 26 Aug 2007
This review is from: Grave of the Fireflies [DVD] (DVD)
If the word devestating hadn't existed it would have been invented for this. A truly affecting and upsetting film, brilliantly directed. The symbolism of the firefly is profound and the story is so tragic it's hard not to cry. The fact that Seita is to blame for his sisters death makes the film more difficult to watch because we relate to him and sympathise with him so strongly. And although I knew how the film will end (because of the prologue) I found myself hoping that I had misunderstood and that Setsuko would be alright. The film is an anti-war movie, but also an attack on pride against reason. The image of Setsuko wearing the soldiers hat and saluting to the camera at the end of the film confirms its place as the former. For me it was even more emotional due to the fact that the film was about the Japanese, our "enemies" in the war, but the film attacks Japan's role in the war more than demonising the opposing side, as is the case in so many American war films. Seita's pride causing his sisters death runs parallel with Japanese pride causing the tragedies associated witht their involvement in the war. Setsuko is such a sad character, when she tries to eat the marble and asks "why do fireflies die so quickly?" you cant help but feel a lump in the throat. I have never cried at a film before, but I cried at this. If it wasn't a Japanese film and if it wasn't animated it would be heralded as one of the greatest war films ever made. Even by Ghibli's high standards this film is brilliant.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars September 21st 1945, that was the night I died., 26 Mar 2006
By 
Chappers "chappers" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Grave of the Fireflies [DVD] (DVD)
I've been putting off watching this film for a long time. I bought it on the strength of it's reviews, but in the same sense, it is unlike any film I would have chosen to purchase before. Sad war films just don't float my boat. However, knowing that this was a Studio Ghibli release sealed the deal, as I enjoy everything they have brought to us so far.
I knew that this film would move me. I knew it would make me upset. This is a film that needed to be made, and could only have had the impact it has by being animated. There's no way that a live-action film could have given this kind of reflection.
The details and idiosyncracies of the characters are astounding. Little nuances are carried out that would just have been overlooked by other animators (with the exception of the other Ghibli great, San Miyazaki himself, of course).
This is not an anti-American film, the only Americans you see are the planes flying overhead. Perhaps adding to the symbology of the war - in that it is always the innocents who suffer. Those on the ground, in the houses and on the fields. The decision-makers behind the wars are often blind to the real suffering their choices make.
This film pulls no punches in what it shows, and doesn't try to soften anything to make itself more appealing to a younger audience, like so many other films seem to do these days. Scenes of death and devestation abound, yet throughout the film, the two heroines endeavour to find things to laugh about - such little things.
But gradually, in the face of terrible adversity, those little things dwindle, eventually leading to an emotional climax that few films would dare to take, and one that will leave a lasting mark on your heart.
For this is one of "those" films. A film that will stay with you.
I can't recommend this film enough, but don't expect to feel cheerful at the end. It may take a while to find yourself in a suitable mood to watch this kind of film like it did for me, but when you do eventually watch it, make sure you really watch it. Don't just put it on in the background, it deserves better. You need to see it in it's entireity to appreciate what it portrays.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sad, brutally honest, but beautiful film - A MUST SEE, 7 Mar 2004
Forget this is an animation - this isn't a cheesy cartooon. Instead it's a powerful, profoundly moving, film that will play with your emoptions and is guaranteed to have you in tears by the end. It's based on a true story and presents World War 2 from the perspective of 2 Jaopanese children. Despite what you might expect, there's no anti-American propaganda, but instead it shows the utter futility and pointlessness of war as seen through the innocent eyes of children. The most beautiful film I have ever had the privelige to watch.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An animated FILM, not a cartoon., 19 Dec 2010
By 
Mr. A. Osborne "Oxomoron" (London UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Grave of the Fireflies [DVD] (DVD)
If you think all animated films are cartoons, then this will be the film to change your mind, this is a deeply touching movie that happens to be animated, this film is closer to Shindler's list than to any Disney film, also if you are expecting a 'Spirited Away [DVD]' or a 'Kiki's Delivery Service [DVD]' then you will be surprised, this is not a fantastical journey, there are no talking cats, or troublesome witches, this is a serious drama with a real thought provoking message.

I have to say that this has got to be the most emotional film I have EVER seen! Never has a film made me fill up quite this much, not even when I watched Watership down in primary school, when I was eight.

I am at a loss... I was So drained from watching this! This made a 30yo skinhead 'bloke' cry, I had to really force my self to watch the end of this film not because it has any faults in the style or plot, but rather from the outset you know what is going to happen and I realised that the story had drawn me in so deeply and I knew what it was going to do to me...

Glad I did watch to the end, it is rare to find a film of this genre that can move so many people to tears, it is a film that can really tug at your emotional chords with such precision and vigour, I really don't think I will be able to see fruit sweets again without flashbacks!
An absolutely astounding film.

I may suggest that perhaps you rent this title, unless like me you like lending DVD's out, I think a lot of the 5-star reviewers would also agree, that this is not a film I can see me ever watching again, like I said this is one of the greatest films I have ever watched, but it was so good, that the film will always be with me, I will never be able to forget Seito and Sweet Setsuko, the little sister I think we all wished we had... But this is a must see for any fan of cinema, not just Ghibli, this is a master class in cinema, in drawing your audience in, making them empathise with the characters and ultimately making them genuinely feel something.

This film has changed me, I don't know how, but it has, I think it has put a lot in my life in to perspective, and 2 months on from seeing this film I have just shed another tear for it.

This really is a must see/buy, it is dubbed which I know is important to some people, but I think seeing this in its original Japanese added something for me, I think a number of people would disagree with me, but few would say that you shouldn't watch it. Do note though that if I were you I would make sure I had a comedy film to follow this, or at least a more light hearted film, as you do not want to end your night with the emotions that this will draw from you.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking story combined with great soundtrack, 6 Nov 2005
By 
tamer fawaz (Leiden, the Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Grave of the Fireflies [DVD] (DVD)
It has taken nearly 20 years for it to reach Europe, and its a crime that it took so long. I have seen most of the Studio Ghibli movies, but this one has to be the best one. I'm even comparing it with Spirited away and Howl's moving castle.
I was compelled to write this review because, unlike other Anime, this movie is very realistic and masterfully directed, and if you're not an anime fan this would be a great starter.
This movie creates a heartbreaking atmosphere with the help of beautifull art and inspiring music.
enjoy
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honestly, prepare tissues...lots of tissues, 28 Sep 2007
By 
R. Blake-butler "Ratmunch" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Grave of the Fireflies [DVD] (DVD)
I got this movie to add to my already mad anime obsession, and, thinking that it will be interesting and full of talking frogs and mad characters, but this is one of the saddest movies I've seen.

Not set our world, this story tells of the survival of two children in World War 2 Japan. The characters are realistic, inspiring and my grandfather wouldn't stop saying "life was like that you know" all the way through.

The beauty of the children's bond, the sad tragedy of their lives, their simple pleasures that make them laugh and find a shred of happiness, make your heart ache and your tears run.

If you don't love it and cry at the end, i'll be suprised :)
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Grave of the Fireflies [DVD]
Grave of the Fireflies [DVD] by Isao Takahata (DVD - 2007)
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