Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies ★★★★½

A profoundly moving, emotionally devastating & truly heartbreaking tale that'll effortlessly find itself on almost every list of cinema's greatest tear-jerkers, Grave of the Fireflies is a beautifully crafted anime that explores the relationship between two siblings & covers their struggle to survive in the war-torn city of Kobe, Japan, during the final months of Second World War.

Directed by Isao Takahata, this is his first film under Studio Ghibli production banner, which he co-founded with Hayao Miyazaki, & remains one of the proudest achievements for not only the director or the animation studio but the entire animation genre itself. The dynamics of the brother-sister relationship is beautifully expressed on the screen & voice actors have done a splendid job too in bringing these characters to life.

The hand-drawn animation is beautiful, evocative & aesthetically pleasing, the effects of war on civilian life is strongly felt, music is minimal yet eloquent & the manner in which the fate of its main characters is unraveled is downright depressing & unbearable. Yet, the movie somehow feels longer than its 90 minutes of runtime & could've used a few more trims.

On an overall scale, Grave of the Fireflies is an absolutely heartbreaking, haunting & harrowing piece of quality cinema that remains one of Studio Ghibli's most defining works & shows the breathtaking strength of animation when it's used as a medium to tell a story rather than be seen as a genre aimed at kids & family. Strongly recommended.

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