Grave of the Fireflies (1988) Review

Nasen, blogger of The Pop Culture Historian has written a well-written review of this film that you might want to give your consideration as well.  I wrote this review for Tysoncarter quite a while ago and meant to copy it over here, but of course, you snooze you lose, and in terms of blogging about it on my personal domain, Nasen won the race.  Like I mentioned in yesterday’s entry, this is the same write-up I did for Tyson, albeit a few minor changes here and there.  For the most part I liked what I wrote for his blog and didn’t see the need to change much, and I also wanted the review available on my blog for archival purposes.  Anyway, onto the review.

Grave of the Fireflies (1988) movie poster

This is a tragic film revolving mostly around a young boy and his little sister set in Japan during World War II. My mother actually bought me this film not realizing how sad it was going to be, and given that I was a pretty sensitive kid in elementary school, this probably wasn’t the best film to introduce to me at that time. I don’t think I’d really enjoy watching it again even now. Don’t get me wrong though, that’s not to say the film isn’t good, it’s just not my kind of movie. I’m the type that prefers comedies, especially the ones containing humor of the “lame” variety.


If you’re a fan of the art of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, then you’ll probably like the art in this one as well, I thought they were pretty similar. I remember being a little surprised when I found out this wasn’t one of Miyazaki’s works, since he does have some projects that could be considered on the darker side of things. Then again, there’s always more of a magical element to his stories.

The movie starts and ends in the same place, with everything in between just being more of a long-winded flashback as to how main character, Seita, got to where he did. The story is powerful, and I personally found myself getting pretty into it, even if it was just an animation. Overall the tone is pretty grim, and I think it’s pretty much a tearjerker all throughout. A few of the characters are likely to make one downright angry, but at the same time it’s easy to believe why they acted that way given the circumstances they were in, though it doesn’t excuse their cruel behavior.

FINAL VERDICT: A

For those that like movies revolving around WWII, or animated films that are more serious in nature, I would give this one a try. If you’re looking for something more lighthearted, however, I can tell you that you won’t find that at all here. I don’t think there was a single point in the movie where I even so much as cracked a smile. I think that it has great re-watch value for someone who enjoys a good war movie and doesn’t mind the fact that it’s animated.

4 responses to “Grave of the Fireflies (1988) Review

  1. This is the film I always mention when I argue that people need to get over the idea that “animation = for kids”. I also usually say that this film would probably give little kids nightmares if they ever saw it. Then I see your post and it sounds like your mother tried to do just that. Man, I feel a little bad for you.

    • Very true. After my personal experiences, I’m definitely screening movies before showing them. Especially animations. Even the ones supposedly targeted at kids have enough to them that puts them on the borderline, if you know what I mean.

    • I think this is also a good film to mention to get people over the idea that anime is exclusively either Pokemon or porn. Grave of the Fireflies was in general one of the best movies I have ever seen, animated or otherwise.

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