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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 October 2016
No matter who we may blame for a war, there's no disputing the fact that people suffer the consequences in very similar ways and films such as this can apply to all of us if we're unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of conflict. As a result it is very easy to identify with and "inhabit" the two siblings, Seito and Setsuka, enduring a life of extreme hardship as they are handed between carers and finally left to their own devices in a country where the fabric of society itself is unravelling as even the adults feel vulnerable and abandon the children to their fates.

Although the opening telegraphs the finale, there's a sad truth in the storytelling that makes you concerned about knowing how these two young people came to their end in such terrible circumstances and, without being heavy-handed, the film shows us the preciousness of our early years and the magic that ought to be within that time, and sets it directly in opposition to the horrors going on around these children. When Setsuka asks why fireflies should die so soon, it is a genuinely heartbreaking moment that the biggest-budget blockbuster would find very hard to emulate, because its "childlike" simplicity reaches right inside us. As by now we are inhabiting the children's experiences it actually hits quite hard and I at least was left with a real sensation of helplessness that must have matched Setsuka's.

There's no way to compare this with other Ghibli films except in the storytelling and the animation, and the absorbing and at times genuinely threatening storyline. These elements can be found elsewhere too, such as in Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle, but here the Ghibli storytelling genius makes a far darker story that leaves us wondering why we do so much to threaten the wellbeing of people when, as I said earlier, we all suffer in the same way.

Fabulous film with its point very well made.
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on 19 December 2010
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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on 2 August 2016
Easily the most depressing animation I've ever seen. Also probably the best Studio Ghibli- because it has something deeply real at its heart. Next to Totoro, which deals with loneliness and loss in a similar although far more playful and positive way. It was painful to watch, a serious grind, but with it in the rearview mirror I find myself thinking about it a lot. What would any of us do in a similar situation- with our parents gone, our world destroyed, and nowhere safe to lay our head.

Too sad. Also beautiful and incredibly haunting.
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on 23 September 2015
This is the most affecting move I have ever seen. It's poetic and at the same time gut wrenching. I've subsequently gone on and bought a book of short stories by the same author who wrote this story to atone for the guilt he had when orphaned in the Kobe bombings.. his little sister died of malnutrition and he survived Only by looking closer did I learn that Japan suffered terrible fire bombings in the last months of the war- all but 5 city's were raised to the ground.. More than 100,000 died in a night when Tokyo was wiped off the map..there was no sympathy by the world due the atrocities their army committed- it was revenge . Essential viewing - maybe if people were made to watch this they would be a little less keen to go to war.
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on 12 January 2017
love it but......the feels......THE FEELS!!! D'X< great movie but it hurt me right in the feels and made me cry
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on 13 January 2017
Forget My Neighbour Totoro or Spirited Away: this film is firmly rooted in reality and immediately launches you into Japanese life during WWII. A must for any Studio Ghibli fan!
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on 8 September 2016
A beautiful and heartbreaking tale of Japan during World War 2, seen through the eyes of a brother and sister left to fend for themselves. Everyone should watch this.
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on 31 July 2017
I've only been buying anime for about a year now , but this is a very moving film & nearly reduced me to tears at the end . excellent
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on 16 August 2017
If you have any soul and heart within you, this will leave you distraught for many days after watching it.

Superb.
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on 24 May 2017
The best film that I will never watch again.
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