Grave of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓, Hotaru no Haka) is a 1988 anime movie written and directed by Isao Takahata for Shinchosha.This is the first film produced by Shinchosha, who hired Studio Ghibli to do the animation production work. It is an adaptation of the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by Akiyuki Nosaka, intended as a personal apology to the author's own sister.The film tells a story about how two orphans, Seita and Setsuko struggle on their own at the end of World War 2.
|Directed by||Isao Takahata|
|Written by||Isao Takahata wrote the screenplay based on the novel by Akiyuki Nosaka|
Some critics consider it to be one of the most powerful anti-war movies ever made. Grave of the Fireflies is highly realistic. By effective usage of animation techniques, the film is able to convey a universal message to audience.
The film is able to convey such a universal message because of its animation strategies. Takahata uses very iconic animation coupled with realistic backgrounds. This "masking effect" described in Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics creates a tangible world while also having relatable characters. This is especially important in this film because Takahata wants his viewers to experience the tragedy alongside the characters while also feeling the reality of the world. This is accomplished through the use of the masking effect. By animating the film Takahata is able to break free of specificity, meaning the film does not only depict a tragedy in World War II. The film is able to address the tragedies of war in general because of its iconicity.
The animation of the film also falls into some of the stereotypes affiliated with Japanese Anime. Takahata blends limited animation with naturalistic motion. His use of limited animation parallels its use in other forms of Anime where limited animation is used to highlight still poses. This alludes to comic book art, a highly popular art form in Japan. Takahata, however, uses limited animation to a lesser degree than most Anime. This choice gives the film a more realistic feel for viewers familiar with trends in Japanese Anime as well as viewers who are unfamiliar with these trends. This heightened realism increases the reality of the war depicted in the film.
Takahata is able to create such a dramatic animated film partly because of the cinematic strategies used in the film. Grave of the Fireflies uses editing and cinematic camera angles and movements to increase the drama of the film as well as heighten the films realism.