Thursday, April 30, 2009

Grave of the Fireflies

Don't know if you have realized by reading my blog but I'm a animation fanatic, anything animated I'll watch, even if is targeted for kids. I am also always looking for a more mature animation, often looking into anime because at their end, animation is a equal media as movies, at least that's what I perceive. I exactly found that with Grave of the Fireflies a mature look on World War II, more specifically a social history look all done in animation?! The animation and history geek inside me are both dancing!

Context of the film is that it's in the middle of the War, and two young kids are escaping to the shelter when a firebombing is about to arrive. Firebombing isn't exactly a devastating war technique but at those regions of japan, with most wood house it can be, in essence they're simple tin can filled with oil. Their mother is quickly injured in this first firebombing of their hometown and they are forced to fend on their own since their father is in the Navy. Two kids, one fourteen year old boy and a four year old girl, living in a context of war. After their cruel aunt keeps hassling them they decide to permanently live in the shelter alone.

The art style still holds up for today, nothing to complicated simply what they needed to push trough their message. Sometimes it can be downright gruesome, a few scenes really depict the burn victim eerily. Even sometimes the subtle changes in the kids physique when starvation takes toll on their bodies. Coupled with some great animation, really makes the film incredible. A simple scene were they are taking bath and a simple air bubble with a towel and its eventual pop, made it permanently stick in my mind and gave me a dumb grin on my face for no reason.

There are so many simple nuance that I love about the film. For instance it doesn't focus on the glorious battles of a country, in fact Japan loses the war. There isn't one single "action" scene if you know what I mean, no gunshot or battles, just the simple struggle of two individuals. Maybe I'm being brainwashed by one of my university professor and his constant preaching on the important of social history as opposed to event-driven history, but this really was an amazing look on other aspects of the effects of war. Lastly, there are these simple pauses, when I say simple pauses I mean it. These extra two second look on a particular action makes you really realize what going on and makes you think about it that much more.

I could talk about a lot of other things but I'm scared of spoiling anything for the people who haven't watched. There just something about it that's hard to explain, this unexplainable fear of the safety of those kids each time the sirens run. It isn't for everyone, I know people who would just shrug it off and say its too depressing. Still in my opinion a must see.

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