[J Movie] Grave of the Fireflies anime (1988)

warning: may contain spoilers

Grave of the Fireflies DVD

Grave of the Fireflies took place during World War II in Japan where people evacuated from their homes and commodities were rationed. The story focuses on Seita, a teenage boy and Setsuko, the younger sister as they struggle to survive the war by themselves. Their mother died during the war and the father who was serving in the army had no contact with them. I was hesitant in watching this movie because the first scene showed Seita dying at the train station which means that the protagonist would die in the end. I don’t like watching depressing movies but this really made me realize a lot of things especially about wealth and society.

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Wealth is very important to the society today and even in the past. Without money, one could barely survive. Seita had to beg people for food and supplies and when left with no choice, he had to steal. No one was willing to give away their precious goods during the war. Even today, many people still put money as their most important need. This is how the system simply works.

Wealth also defines one’s social class in society. However in times of war, everyone is more or less in the same situation. There’s no such thing as a person receiving more benefits than others since the commodities are rationed. After the war, everyone has to start all over again. One thing that I noticed though was this scene wherein the affluent families returned to their homes and do their daily activities as if nothing has happened. On the other hand, we can see the difference with the situation of Seita and Setsuko or the poor families in general. They couldn’t go back to their homes because there was no home to return to. They also lost some of their family members. The division of social classes is very evident after the war. While the upper class citizens cheered and celebrated because war has finally ended, the lower class citizens still have to continue their own war or battle in rebuilding their homes, searching for supplies and looking for their loved ones.

Japan is really the pioneer of anime. Although I’m not really into anime, I have to say that this was a good one. The movie was able convey the emotions of the characters through the expressions and the voice over. The scenes were realistically made and the situations could have really happened during World War II. Many people say that anime or cartoons are suitable for children only, but this film is something that anyone can easily relate to. The story of Seita and Setsuko truly touches one’s heart. It can really make a person value and appreciate the little things that he has.

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