Welcome the April 2015 edition of the Akira Kurosawa Online Film Club. This month, we will be discussing the Studio Ghibli produced animated film Grave of the Fireflies, which was released in 1988. The film concludes our series of bombing themed films, following our viewing Shohei Imamura’s Black Rain in February and Kurosawa’s Rhapsody in August in March.
Grave of the Fireflies was written and directed by Isao Takahata, who co-founded the Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli with the studio’s figurehead Hayao Miyazaki, whose Princess Mononoke we watched last August. Takahata adapted the story from Akiyuki Nosaka’s semi-autobiographical novel, also titled Grave of the Fireflies and published in 1967. The book has since also been adapted twice as live action films, first in 2005 and again in 2008.
The powerful story follows two orghaned siblings, Seita and Setsuko, in their struggle to survive during the final months of the Second World War. The brother and sister pair need to depend on each other to find shelter and keep themselves fed and alive, while Japan is slowly succumbing to a military defeat.
Grave of the Fireflies is universally acclaimed, and it is typically considered not only one of the finest examples of animated films, but also one of the most powerful films of any kind that deal with the subject of war. The film is widely available in home video formats.
In May, the film club will be continuing with Kurosawa’s final film Madadayo. For the full film club schedule, see the film club page.
The floor is now open for your thoughts and comments on Grave of the Fireflies!