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Grave of the Fireflies

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Product Details

  • Directors: Isao Takahata
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Subtitled
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Section 23
  • DVD Release Date: March 6, 2012
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (874 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006LLY8LY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,073 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

As the Empire of the Sun crumbles upon itself and a rain of firebombs falls upon Japan, the final death march of a nation is echoed in millions of smaller tragedies. This is the story of Seita and his younger sister Setsuko, two children born at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and now cast adrift in a world that lacks not the care to shelter them, but simply the resources. Forced to fend for themselves in the aftermath of fires that swept entire cities from the face of the earth, their doomed struggle is both a tribute to the human spirit and the stuff of nightmares. Beautiful, yet at times brutal and horrifying. Based on the retellings of survivor Nosaka Akiyuki and directed by Iaso Takahata (co-founder, with Hayao Miyazaki, of Japan's legendary Studio Ghibli,) Grave Of The Fireflies has been universally hailed as an artistic and emotional tour de force. Now digitally remastered and restored, it is one of the rare films that truly deserves to be called a masterpiece.

Customer Reviews

This movie was so very sad, I actually cried, and I never cry watching anything.
M. Layman
Practically left as orphans in war torn Japan, Seita quickly learns that he has to do everything he can to preserve his life and the life of his young sister.
Andrew Ellington
I think this movie is one of the best anime movies ever made and that I have ever seen.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

589 of 614 people found the following review helpful By Ian Krupnick on January 11, 2004
Format: DVD
I generally don't cry at movies. I love any movie that can move me enough to shed a tear or two. Grave Of the Fireflies is not one of those movies. In those movies even though I'm sad the final scenes leave me with a residual hope that while some tragic event has just occured the charecters involved will grow and live better. Grave of the Fireflies doesn't do this. There is no hope or possiabilty of things getting better. This is Life at it's cruelest. Life that will never get better. This movie doesn't move you, it shatters you.
Seita And Setsuko (the boy and His little sister) aren't Heros and their abusive aunt isn't the villian. Neither for that matter is either side of the war protrayed as good or bad in these movie. This is just a story of people being people. some kind, some indiffrent and some compleatly harsh. Seita makes mistakes that many children in his position would.
Although fifteen years old this film is still very beatiful. The images it portrays are quiet and subdued yet elegent. The final scene is something that shall forever be burned into my brain. It's touching and heartwrenching finality should break most people.
Well I love Grave of the Fireflies. I Love it for it's unflinching look at war and life, It's graceful bueaty as it portrays a young girl playing amidst Fireflies, and for what it does to me at the end.
Why must fireflies die so young?
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359 of 377 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 5, 2003
Format: DVD
"Grave of the Fireflies" ("Hotaru no haka") is one of the most powerful anti-war films I have ever seen, which means that it has no competition when it comes to emotional impact in terms of animated films. The death of Bambi's mother was a traumatic shock, but nothing like the sense of despair and grief that overwhelms you by the end of this film. The film begins with the spirit of a young boy showing us his death in a train station, after which we follow the fireflies into the past to see his story. At the beginning of the original movie of "Brian's Song" we were told: "All true stories end in death. This is a true story." So is "Grave of the Fireflies" because I have no problem granting the legitimacy of "truth" to fiction.

In the last months of World War II an American fire bomb raid destroys the port city of Kobe, where almost all of the buildings are made of wood. Seita (Tsutomu Tatsumi/J. Robert Spencer) is a 14-year old boy who survives along with his 4-year old sister Setsuko (Ayano Shiraishi/Rhoda Chrosite). They were separated from their mother during the raid, which spares them from her fate. Their father is a navy officer serving in the Imperial Navy at sea, and the two kids go off to live with an aunt. With both his school and the war factory where we worked gone, Seita does not know what to do. So he tries to take care of his sister. But his aunt constantly berates him and after trading his mother's kimonos for rice that she stingly shares with the children, Seita decides to take Setsuko and live in a couple of caves dug for bomb shelters. For a while their live remains idyllic, but then there is nothing left to trade for food, and no food to be bought for money. Seita has to steal food to survive while Setsuko is getting weaker and weaker from hunger.
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Format: DVD
Note: It seems a crime that this classic has been off the DVD market. Now this digitally remastered and restored version will be able to reintroduce the film to a new generation.

"Grave of the Fireflies" is a film that I'd heard about for years before I finally got around to viewing it. As one of the most well-respected early anime classics--of course, I expected great things. I knew vaguely what the picture was about and knew that its tone strove for realism as opposed to fantasy. But what I didn't really comprehend is that it would be such a mature story geared toward adult audiences. The sophistication, complicated subject matter, and sorrow contained within "Grave of the Fireflies" made it one of the more surprisingly moving films that I'd seen in quite some time.

The story is simplistic. Set in war-torn Japan near the end of the World War II, two kids must deal with the unexpected death of their mother in a bombing attack. With no one to care for them and their home destroyed, they attempt to live independently. Naturally, there are many obstacles to overcome, and the horrors of war are depicted with surprising candor. I had not expected the film to be so forthright in its depiction of such a serious subject matter.

What really distinguishes "Grave" is that it becomes a powerful story of love and commitment. As the brother embraces the responsibility of caring for his much younger sister, we see him take the reins of adulthood. It is a coming-of-age story by necessity. The relationship between the siblings is amazingly realistic and thoughtful. And even though the film is animated, it is perhaps one of the most stirring tales of familial loyalty that you can see.
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114 of 125 people found the following review helpful By David J. Huber VINE VOICE on September 3, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
First off, to get this out of the way, you should be watching this movie so you can know how beautiful and incredible animation can be - this is a visually gorgeous and lush movie.
Beyond the animation, Grave of the Fireflies is truly in the top of perfectly written scripts. The subject matter of the film is war and death, but specifically how war affects the innocents. This is Japan in the end months of WWII during the firebombings, when food was scarce, and children without parents were left to die.
This story is incredibly sad, but so important to hear and see it - not like a mainstream Hollywood sad movie that might make you cry while watching, but otherwise has no power to alter your perceptions of life. This is truly sad - the young kids die, and they die very horribly - sickness and starvation. The whole process is so well-written, you'll feel the hunger and the sickness yourself, and the animation adds to the effect.
It is so welcome to have a movie that doesn't turn out all right in the end, but turns out awfully darn depressing, because a lot of times, life just plain sucks and isn't fair, if not for me, then for many other people. It is good to remember that not everything always turns out okay, and nothing is wrong in showing this realistically in a movie. Would I show this to young kids? Hell yes - I think young kids would identify very strongly. And if we can get our young kids to see the ridiculous nature of war at an early age, mayhaps we shall finally have a generation that doesn't feel a need to kill each other over irrelevant philosophic, racial, genetic, geographic, etc., BS.
This movie and the story has not left my mind since I saw it - a point of proof that this is an incredible movie. But do be prepared to feel amazingly sad.
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Blu Blu Blu Blu Blu Blu
Sentai Filmworks which owns the North American DVD rights, has recently announced that a blu-ray is coming... No release date yet, but rumors suggest a November 2012 release.
Aug 2, 2012 by Justin R. |  See all 3 posts
No. While a fantastic movie, it is not suitable for small kids.
Mar 9, 2014 by G. Kalb |  See all 2 posts
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