Grave of the Fireflies

If you are familiar with any war movies from the past 5 or so years, you will quickly find that many of them are not animated, and bring you buckets of blood to keep you entertained. What this movie brings to the table is a war movie not focusing on the battlefield, but instead, showing the impact of war from the innocent people who have lost their houses families.

This new masterpiece, which is created by the master himself, Isao Takahata, and is brought to you by Studio Ghibli, the notorious publisher responsible for such masterpieces as Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away, is guaranteed to suck you in from the first, and never let you go till the very end. Along the way, you will find tears rolling down your cheek more than once through the film's entirety. Unlike the original DVD that came out 4 years ago, this just isn't the bare-bones movie and nothing else, this new "Collector's Edition" DVD also comes with enough extras to keep any anime freak happy, it also has an interview with Roger Ebert and a "Making of" feature.

This movie chronicles the lives of a young teenage boy, Seita, and his younger sister, 4-year-old Setsuko, both of which are deeply affected by enemy air raids over their small village. Their father, who is in the Japanese Navy, hasn't written to them in a while, and Seita is getting a tad worried. And their mother, who has a terrible heart condition, falls victim to one of the raids and is found battered in a local hospital, where she dies. Afterwards, Seita and Setsuko pack up what little they have and head off towards an Aunt's home.

The animation, in regular Japanese fashion, includes terrifically painted pastel backgrounds, and characters that burst with much personality and emotion. While the animation itself is a little stiff and not as well done as some of today's stuff (like Spirited Away, another masterpiece) but that does not detract anything from the overall score. To compliment the animation is a truly riveting soundtrack that captures the mood perfectly. With typical Isao Takahata style, the film relies on very little, yet extremely powerful dialogue, followed by a long pause and overview of the current situation. This style, while not overly complicated, contributes to the movie greatly.

When questions such as "What's you Favorite Anime?" and "Your favorite war film" come from the lips of my fellow chaps, the first title that comes to mind is The Grave of the Fireflies, and that's saying a lot with all the movies and anime I've seen in my lifetime. The new "Collector's Series" is packed with enough extra stuff to make any DVD fan gush with glee. Buy it. Watch it. Love it and cherish it. It's worth the asking price easily.

- - Grandlethal

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