Contrary to most Studio Ghibli films which exude warmth, childhood joys, fantasy and imagination, Grave of the Fireflies tells a story of anguish and suffering during World War II. Two orphans' lives take centre stage as they try to cope with the tribulations of war. Eerily true to depicting human suffering, there are haunting scenes which I still remember even though I have watched this film many years ago.
And while it is anime, grownups might feel the overall theme to be very depressing for their youngsters to watch. It's survival of the fittest, and in the face of war who suffers the most but the innocent children?
The story is based on the semi-autobiographic novel by the same name, whose author, Nosaka, lost his sister due to malnutrition in 1945 wartime Japan. He blamed himself for her death and wrote the story so as to make amends to her and help him accept the tragedy. (from Wikipedia)
Watching this film made me wish that my generation (and all future generations) will not experience war, as I'm sure many viewers of this film will feel as well. It's such a touching story about victims of war, you will surely remember this as an endearing and significant film.
Watch this film for free at the Japan Information and Cultural Centre, 100 Willis Street, Wellington on 27 and 29 July at 6PM.