Grave of the Fireflies

February 10, 2007 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

This is the title of an animation movie as well as a biography of a man who lost his sister due to starvation and the privations as a result of war.  I have not read the biography but I watched the animation this afternoon.  It is a really poignant story of a boy and his kid sister, and the story is placed at the time when Japan was defeated towards the end of the Second World War.  It is a deeply moving story told very well, a story told from the view point of those two children, without elaborating on the war or its devastation.  It is also a very depressing and disturbing story.  This is not a critical appreciation of the story, but about its moral lesson.  I searched for more information on the net by searching in Google on “Grave of the Fireflies”, and it opened a fund of information for me to browse.  The characterisation of the two children are perfect, and I doubt if any other director can portray a small gir-child’s nature as well as in this movie.  The way the child’s death is  shown in painful and heartwringing detail, reminds me of a short story by Jack London, where he picturises the slow death of a man trappen in an icy expanse.

When you watch this movie, you wonder why for some people life is not a spinning wheel bringing happiness and misery in repetitive circles, but it is a one way ticket of suffering and more suffering till death intervenes.  When you watch the movie you vibe with the suffering humanity, and not a proud nation brought to heel and made to eat humble pie.  You experience the separation from parents when the mother dies in bombing and the father away in the  Navy on the high seas, the neglect, loneliness suffered by the children, the affection and love needed by them most, the stray kindness from strangers when the police official rescues the boy from further persecution, the agony of the boy when he witnesses the slow sinking of his kid sister into death due to sickness, disease and malnutrition, and the forlornness when the boy himself dies and is abhorred by passers-by, and we experience the final ecstacy when the two are united  in a joyful reunion in the hereafter.

The children could have lived on had he swallowed his humiliation and gone back to the shelter of unmindful kin and apologised and tried to find  work and wages.  The children were too sensitive and preferred a fate of their own choice.  The news that their proud  nation  had lost the war and their father was in his watery grave, was the last straw  and the final blow.

If you get to lay your hands on this animation, don’t miss the opportunity.


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  1. This’s a beautiful movie.. very emotional but probably very true too! one thing i’ve observed in these japanese movies is that they portray the minutest of expressions beautifully 🙂

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