Hayao Miyazaki is the name most commonly associated with Studio Ghibli but he is, of course, not the only director working there . Isao Takahata has also made an incredible contribution at the studio and Grave of the Fireflies may well be his masterpiece.
Released in 1989 the film depicts the firebombing of Kobe and the final stages of World War II as experienced by a a young boy and his sister. The story is incredibly moving and cited by many as one of, if not the saddest animated film ever made. It’s an emotional experience for sure but it’s also an incredibly rewarding watch.
The film has just been released on Blu-ray in the UK and we’ve been given a clip from the film to share. It’s a shame about the watermark at the start but it would take more than that to entirely distract from the gorgeous hand-drawn animation on display here.
In addition to Grave of the Fireflies, Studio Canal have also released Kiki’s Delivery Service on Blu-ray this week. Kiki’s Delivery Service is far cheerier than Grave of the Fireflies but there are similarities in the way in which the two stories focus on young children fending for themselves.
Tenacity and ingenuity are important for the protagonists in each film. Indeed, these are the strengths that really warm us to their characters. It’s a common theme that runs through a number of Studio Ghibli films and is undoubtedly one of the many reasons these films are so captivating to audiences of all ages.