Grave of the Fireflies. It’s not uncommon to talk about Japanese films wrapping tragedy in its best form.
It seems appropriate that this one film, Hotaru no Haka, directed by Isao Takahata and produced by Studio Ghibli in 1988, holds the title of the anime film with the saddest story ever. Hotaru no Haka, or Grave of the Fireflies, is set in Kobe in 1945. This film tells the story of two children, Seita and his sister Setsuko, caught in a months-long self-defense battle during World War II.
Here are 5 reasons why Hotaru no Haka deserves to be said to be the saddest Japanese animated film of all time:
1. War Is Described As A Terrible Force of Nature
If this film is in the action genre, it will definitely be complemented by lots of special effects, main characters, and abilities that are very aggressive in acting. Because it uses animation, the director is better able to make scenes that make the audience feel shocked.
The effects of war are described as a force as arbitrary and merciless as a tsunami. American bombs fell from the sky like heavy rain. The fire eats everything in its path like a beast. Civilians fled in fear as they struggled to escape the relentless attacks.
2. Shows the Human Side
History has shown us time and time again that disasters can make people show their best sides and vice versa. Seita and Setsuko find some comfort in the survivors of the war.
They were brought in by distant relatives, only to be rejected and insulted when food supplies started to run low. Finally, they were expelled. Not only are politicians and soldiers capable of inflicting misery in wartime, but isolation from those closest to them is a trauma of its own.
3. Love alone is not enough to survive.
Seita’s love for his sister was essential to keeping the two of them on this harrowing journey. But they always encounter problems of hunger and despair. We must have received the advice that “all you need is love,” but love itself will not be enough to help war survivors save themselves from hunger and death.
4. Torturing innocence
Setsuko is the most heartbreaking character in this film. A little boy who fell in love with life He was unable to understand the nightmare unfolding around him.
He only watched in bewilderment as his surroundings were destroyed and the people around him fell victim to the merciless armed conflict. He had no interest in this battle other than to survive.
5. Based on Real Events
Hotaru no Haka is taken from a short story with the same title by novelist Akiyuki Nosaka, who lived in Kobe when he was little. He lost his two sisters to malnutrition, and his adoptive father was also killed. Akiyuki reportedly spent the rest of his life grappling with guilt over their deaths.
Allied forces dropped over 150,000 tons of bombs on Japan during the closing stages of World War II. A total of 330,000 people died. While this film adaptation of Akiyuki’s story is fictional, Seita and Setsuko’s story is one of hundreds of thousands shared by their real-life counterparts.
Hotaru no Haka is as poignant and heart-wrenching as the film and anti-war at its core. The film is an important part of the Ghibli canon and a masterpiece of world cinema whose message has stood the test of time. * Grave of the Fireflies *.