Grave of the Fireflies – Afterthoughts

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This post is more of a reaction than that of an analysis or a review (well, partly a review, I guess). Grave of the Fireflies has been out there in the open for decades and I’m pretty sure most of you guys have seen this movie twice, if not once. With that said, I’ll spare you the trouble of an in-depth and lengthy analysis as GotF‘s widespread popularity has inspired enough articles more than you can probably count. Why bother reading someone else’s reaction/review, then? No, I’m not posting this for others to read and get feedback from but rather I just feel that this is the most appropriate and easiest way for me to get over this hollowness.

All right. Let me light my 4th cig first before I start… Ha. That hits the spot.

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I should’ve written this crap after collecting myself.

I’m currently lost in thoughts right now, in fact, I’m still trying to gather pieces of my emotions — and hell does it prick harder — and doing a rerun to check for other noteworthy stuff is out of the question. The emotional grief was palpable from start to credits. I can’t possible name another anime that made me cry from the get-go other than Cross Game‘s unexpected tear-jerker in the first episode. Sure, we were already given a gist of Seita and Setsuko’s tragic fate from the prologue, but the flashbacks that came next was utterly haunting. There’s this tension pulled taut waiting to snap anytime even at the most lighthearted moments of the movie. What made it even more disturbing is the fact that GotF is a raw and realistic representation of the causality involved with war.

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You may categorize the movie as an anti-war material, but I’d like to believe otherwise. The siblings both died not from the bombs, bullets, or anything, but rather due to the aftermath and effects of war on Japan’s society. In the face of death and famine, we’re transformed into something inhuman. Prioritizing ourselves when in danger is an intrinsic attribute we cannot control, and this turns us into animals incapable of sympathy and remorse — all born from the simple truth that we need to survive.

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Took me longer than normal to upload this sob. (c) aniplay.wordpress.com

The brevity and fragility of our lives is presented as a metaphor through the fireflies. It’s even more heart-wrenching knowing that someone as innocent as Setsuko would have to endure such unfair reality. A montage of her laughing and basically just having fun is probably where I started to think ‘fuck-this-shit-who-cares-if-I-cry-for-the-fifth-time-in-an-hour’ and let loose. We do have to owe it to Ghibli as a whole though on bringing us something truly powerful. Grave of the Fireflies‘s take on war and its inane ugliness is a rare sight in studio’s long list of fantasy-themed produce but, nevertheless, their magical touch is most profound in this movie. Enjoying an anime is one thing, but learning from it is another.

Who the f left a bowl of onions here? Really, I’m only uploading the screencaps and I start to tear up everytime I look at it.

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11 comments

  1. As an anime fan I feel obliged to watch this highly regarded movie someday. I still haven’t mustered the courage, as everyone comments about how depressing the subject matter is.

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    1. Otaku Judge, you should watch this ! I have a dvd copy of GoF, but sadly, you’re right… It’s so depressing. I’ve only watched it once, I cannot watch it anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I second kyoko-san. And don’t forget to keep some tissues near you 😉

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  2. I’ve been recommending that people should watch this since , oh, I don’t know… since forever ? I’ve watched this only once . I cannot watch this anymore. I was an emotional wreck for a long time after watching ( I have a dvd copy of Grave of the fireflies )

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    1. GotF had been on my backlog as far as I can remember (I was meaning to watch it a year ago). I didn’t have an idea what I was getting into given that I knew nothing about its premise prior to watching it, which made the experience even more shocking. All I know is that it’s Ghibli’s magnum opus and, well, I finally understood why. I think it hit harder at home because we know that it’s real — even though it’s a semi-autobiography — and that we’re powerless to do anything at that point :/ geez, talking about this makes me feel like relapsing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s considered one of the best anti-war films , so far, no kidding. The irony is, the author said it wasn’t an anti-war film at all. The fact is, the older brother should be blamed for what happened to him and his little sister. It was his pride that caused all this. His relative was actually taking care of them and wouldn’t starve them, even though she complained a lot , which was understandbale. But he left the house and took along his sister .

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      2. I have to agree. Still, we’re just humans, after all, who makes mistakes, and Setai isn’t an exception. Neither grave or minor, we won’t really know if the choice we made is the right one until we see the end to it. Unfortunately, being the flawed teenage boy he is…– well, we already know what happened. Such is life. At the end, the more the bitter the lesson is, the better of a person we come out of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Two totally different perspectives. Ebert had classified it as one of the top 100 films of the century. That’s how good it is.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve wanted to watch this, but whenever I think of what it focus and how raw and depressing it is, I lose the guts to actually watch it ._.
    One day…one day I definitely will watch it, but i do not think anytime soon. There’s just things that are too real to be able to be experienced easily :’)

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    1. I suggest watching it with a friend or a family. It will make the atmosphere less tense 😉

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  4. Schrodingers Cat · · Reply

    I haven’t watched this in years. Time to get the tears a-rollin’ T_T

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