Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies ★★★★

Time for bed.

Pain. Agony even. Fascinating to me to see the Studio Ghibli animation style applied to something, for the most part, so grounded in reality and the type of horror that only come from real war. You certainly don't need me to tell you it because I'm late to the party with this film, but Grave of the Fireflies pulls no punches in the way war film should. It's very good, beautifully animated, it features incredible voice acting and so many scenes that are either gorgeous or scarring. File it under the category that goes "films that I think are great, but I never want to watch again" with features like Schindler's List and 12 Years a Slave. Considering the stature of those other films, if you think someone is able to handle its emotional intensity, this makes for something worthwhile to show anyone who is still for some godforsaken reason holding onto the belief that animation is childish and only for younger audiences. The small bits that add a fantastical element to this, the titular fireflies, is also part of the secret sauce of what makes this so fitting to the realm of animation. It's a film about flickering lights, spirits that transcend time, and I think the phenomenal final shot this has is that proper grace note. The casualties of the war aren't just the soldiers, it's those that suffer behind the scenes, families left in agony on Earth. The most we can hope for then, since they should never forgive those Earthly actions, is for them to find peace and happiness in the afterlife. That part of them can be eternal, and those spirits look over us with the fireflies by their side. It has to stop happening, war is still eternal too, but there must be better.

8.5/10

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