Hotaru No Haka (Grave of the Fireflies in English) is one of the greatest films ever conceived. Once you see this movie, you will realized just how much bullshit is present in other movies.

Written and directed by Takahata Isao and released in 1988, Hotaru No Haka is based on Nosaka Akiyuki's 1967 award-winning semi-autobiography. The movie is uncommonly true to the book. The setting is Japan near the close of World War II. In March, 1945, American bomber planes begin to attack Japan and cause tremendous destruction to major cities in an effort to demoralize the Japanese people. Fourteen-year-old Seita and his four-year-old sister Setsuko, after losing their mother and home, are forced to survive on their own. The film revolves around their internal and external conflicts and offers a realistic depiction of the tragic impact of war.

The film is depressing. Very, very depressing. Well, perhaps ``sobering'' is a more appropriate word. Anyway, the incredible maturity and emotion in the writing is complemented by the exquisite quality of the animation (did I mention it's animated?). There is as much precise detail in the character movements and expressions as in the drawings of the B-29 bombers.

Hotaru No Haka is an amazing film, and if it doesn't change your life, maybe it'll at least teach you that anime isn't all tentacle rape and robots.


  • Original story: Nosaka Akiyuki
  • Production design and executive production: Sato Ryoichi
  • Screenplay and direction: Takahata Isao
  • Character design: Kondo Yoshifumi
  • Art direction: Yamamoto Nizo
  • Production: Hara Toru
  • Color design: Yasuda Michiyo
  • Music: Mamiya Yoshio

Central Park Media released the video (subbed) in the U.S.