The following review was written by guest contributor Sam.
Based on the novel by Akiyuki Nosaka, which won the Japanese equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, this award-winning film (produced by Ryoichi Sato) transcends the anime art form as a true masterpiece.
Grave of the Fireflies takes place at the end of World War II when the firebombing of Japan was initiated, leaving two children orphaned, forced to live with their aunt who doesn’t take kindly to them. Seita is the older brother and Setsuko is his smaller sister. Eventually the two run away from their sadistic aunt leaving them to fend for themselves.
Seita finds himself trying to take care of his little sister as they wander the land for food and a helping hand, often times making this a very depressing film. During hard times they find that no one really cares about them and Seita tries desperately to seek medical attention for his little sister. As art forms go, anime is a questionable one on a lot of peoples’ lists. They hear “anime” and think either silliness or made for kids. Grave of the Fireflies is not silly, and is in fact it’s one of the most powerful anti-war movies ever made, ranking right up there with Schindler’s List.