away from the usual cute and
wholesome themes seen in the animés Spirited Away and Castle of Cagliostro,
Studio Ghibli has bravely chosen a
Japan ravaged by World War II as the
background for the tragic Grave Of The
Fireflies, shown from the perspective
of an orphaned boy and his little sister...
TRAGEDY IS NEVER FAR AWAY in the World War II animé Grave Of The Fireflies,
portraying the horror of war from the point of view of the Japanese people
and in particular, the teenaged Seita (voice of J Robert Spencer) and his small
sister Setsuko (voiced by Rhoda Chrosite).
Beginning with Seita when he is slightly older and a down-and-out in the subway
on September 21 1945, one of many and some of them have already died.
poignant and human film,
Grave Of The Fireflies
reflects upon a shattering
and terrible war
and how it affects the
Seita is remembering earlier days. During an air raid he and his little sister
were separated from their mother as fire bombs rain down from the many aeroplanes
flying overhead. People are panicking and Seita runs, carrying Setsuko on his
When it is over, the city is devastated by two direct hits and fires that are
impossible to put out. Worse still to Seita, he is to discover that their mother
(Veronica Taylor) has been seriously burned and she later dies. Their father
is serving in the Japanese Navy, so effectively the youngsters are now orphans.
A fractious Setsuko cries for her mother and Seita takes her to their the home
of their aunt (Amy Jones) in Nishiromiya, but she is more concerned about feeding
and looking after her daughter and her lodger than she is taking on two extra
mouths to feed.
Eventually Seita finds it impossible to stay and he makes a home for Setsuko
in a shelter down by the river. It is now a fight for survival as they live
from day to day. Food is rationed and becoming increasingly difficult to come
by; so Seita is forced to forage, beg, barter and eventually resorts to stealing
as Setsuko falls ill.
In spite of the air-raids, birds are singing, bullfrogs croaking and seagulls
soaring. And the little fireflies that provide some light in their little cave
under a mosquito net, flit around in the darkness until they die at the end
of their too-short lives, when they are buried lovingly in a tiny grave by Setsuko.
The team, including Director Isao Takahata and character animator Yoshifumi
Kondo who has subsequently worked on other acclaimed Ghibli films
from Director Hayao Miyazaki has created a visually stunning and
emotionally powerful film; one that meditates on the devastating consequences
of war. Grave Of The Fireflies has justifiably earned a reputation as
an animé classic and has newly-created extras supervised by Ghibli.
A magnificent, tragic, poignant and human film, Grave Of The Fireflies reflects
upon a shattering and terrible war and how it affects the innocent. As the two
children fight for survival in war-ravaged Japan, we see how tenderly and carefully
the teenaged Seita is towards little Setsuko.
Grave Of The Fireflies also features the voices of: Nick Sullivan, Shannon
Conley, Crispin Freeman, George Leaver and Dan Green. Music is by Michio Mamiya;
director of Photography is Nobuo Koyama; Original Story by Akiyuki Nosada; Producer
is Toru Hara; and Director is Isao Takahata.
is pleased to release Grave Of The Fireflies (as part of its ongoing
plan to release the entire Studio Ghibli catalogue in high-definition) for the
first time on Blu-ray and Double Play in the UK, on 1 July 2013. Catalogue Number:
OPTBD0085 | RRP: £24.99.
Blu-ray/DVD Feature Running Time: 90 Minutes Approximately | Language:
English and Japanese with English Subtitles.
Extras Interview with Director Isao Takahata | Japanese Release
Promo Featuring Interview with Director Isao Takahata and Writer Akiyuki Nosaka
| Deleted Scenes Storyboard (some new) | Interview with Film Critic Roger Ebert
| Historical Perspective Documentary | Trailers.
"A magnificent, tragic, poignant and human film, Grave Of The Fireflies
reflects upon a shattering and terrible war and how it affects the innocent"
Maggie Woods, MotorBar
"It belongs on any list of greatest war films ever made" Roger