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Hotaru no Haka

Alternative Titles

English: Grave of the Fireflies
Synonyms: Tombstone for Fireflies
Japanese: 火垂るの墓


Type: Movie
Episodes: 1
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 16, 1988
Producers: None found, add some
Studios: Studio Ghibli
Source: Novel
Genres: Drama, Historical
Duration: 1 hr. 28 min.
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older


Score: 8.531 (scored by 188,276 users)
1 indicates a weighted score. Please note that 'Not yet aired' titles are excluded.
Ranked: #842
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
Popularity: #305
Members: 317,999
Favorites: 3,845


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Dec 22, 2008
YoungVagabond (All reviews)

A well-renowned Studio Ghibli classic about 14 year-old Seita and his little sister struggling to survive after their home is destroyed by carpet bombing, their mother killed, and their father is away fighting with the Navy.

Except they don't really struggle. Not at first, anyways. They have a loving aunt who is more than willing to give them a place to stay, help cook for, and take care of them. Far from being grateful and thankful for this lucky turn of events, though, Seita is angry and resentful. Why?

Well, because occasionally she makes insensitive comments about how Seita plays all day read more
Aug 21, 2008
jonathanlane (All reviews)
Few movies I've seen can bring me to the brink of tears, and only a handful of those can actually haunt me days after seeing them. Grave of the Fireflies is one of those rare movies I've seen that did this to me. Very few films have EVER made me feel as bad as this one did. Try to think of the saddest movie you've ever seen, Schindler's List (Widescreen Edition), Saving Private Ryan (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition), anything, and this movie blows it out of the water. This film has the power to devastate you, to move you, to bring you to the brink read more
Oct 29, 2013
Satire (All reviews)
I'm surprised there aren't many reviews of Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies) that question all the praise its received. I'm also equally unsurprised due to the ability of people to gobble up a seemingly sad story, claim it gave them 'feels', and slap a high score on it. If you look at Grave of the Fireflies on a critical level, it's undeniable that you'll find deep themes and issues about morality; however, the way that the themes and messages are presented lack genuine feelings of pity or sorrow. The emotions I felt most were, surprisingly enough, irritation and frustration.

The story is basically read more
Feb 23, 2008
Venneh (All reviews)

Title: Grave of the Fireflies

Novel, Anime: Grave of the Fireflies was originally a semi-autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka, written as an apology to his younger sister. The novel was written and won the Naoki Prize in 1967.

Grave of the Fireflies was animated by Studio Ghibli (famous for Spirited Away and their recent adaptation of Howl's Moving Castle) and directed by Isao Takahata (famous for his work on Pom Poko). The film was released on April 16th, 1988 in Japanese theatres, and came Stateside courtesy of Central Park Media in 2002 (oddly enough, this movie wasn't picked up by Disney read more
Dec 30, 2008
MetalChiron (All reviews)
This is my first review of anything like this, so it's not going to be pretty, but it should get my point across.

This was a down right depressing anime movie, not for the story itself, but due to how bad it is. The music and animation was nice enough, but that cant save a horrible movie from being horrible. There was nothing redeemable in this movie. Seita was the worst main character I have ever seen in anything. Setsuko, wasn't exactly much of a main character to care about, but it was easy enough to feel sorry for what she had to endure at the read more
Jun 28, 2007
jet2r0cks (All reviews)
I like the story. It’s an “us against the world” archetype. I felt like the children in the movie had no luck at all. They experienced everything victims of the war could’ve experience – losing their home, their relatives, and their will to live. You have to feel sorry for them.

Although it’s not as good as I thought it would be (meaning I didn’t think it was that sad), it really touched me. While I was born WAY after WWII, I was able to witness how people lived in those days. Knowing the historical basis behind this movie is simply not enough, and I think read more
Jul 17, 2019
AndoCommando (All reviews)
"21st September, 1945… That was the night I died."

Grave of the Fireflies begins as a young man stands in uniform unfazed, looking back on the moment he died. Slouched against a pole in tattered clothes, starving in silence while dozens of people pass by. One person in an act of pity places food beside him, but it’s too late. Lacking the will to even eat, his frail body collapses among other starved corpses nearby. An empty tin can found on his person is tossed by a field outside as if it were trash. Yet from the second it lands, fireflies materialize from the ground and read more
Sep 7, 2009
ace52387 (All reviews)
Looking at the poster of this film, a boy with an officer`s hat caring for his sister in the midst of an American bombing, I feared this would be a piece of Japanese conservatism meant to incite nationalistic indignation towards America, or perhaps the rest of the world, for committing such atrocities. I imagined the boy-scout equivalent kid symbolizing the innocence of Japan or some such nonsense. Thankfully, it doesn`t wave a finger of blame around. American bombs certainly sparked the series of events in this film, but it is just as much the aunt`s fault for speaking insensitively to the children. Equally at fault read more
Jul 14, 2015
NecroticFury (All reviews)

This isn't a story of heroism, meaning, or anything remotely related. Its about survival.

When two Japanese children lose their mother during an air-raid, they are forced to fend for themselves. Their father is off at war (and hasn't responded to any letters, go figure) so the two children venture to survive on their own. With only the clothes on their backs and the savings left over from their parents, they are truly all alone. The two have only each other to care for them.

Saito (teenage boy) and his younger sister Setsuko encounter various characters throughout the movie. Their aunt, who resents having to take care read more
Mar 12, 2015
Alnime (All reviews)
Currently, Grave of the Fireflies has reached "Akira status" in that it's a huge black mark on your credibility as an anime reviewer if you didn't watch it due to the influence it had in the 90's til today. Like Akira, by today's standards of storytelling in cinema/TV/anime, this 1988 film is a classic, but cannot in good conscience be considered perfect. But it left an impression in me, especially in the realism of the tragedy depicted.

In GOTF, Takahata explains WHY wars are problematic and WHY death of children matters in his perspective in a way that extends beyond the obvious.

The story is simple: read more
Jan 22, 2014
ktulu007 (All reviews)
Grave of the Fireflies is a Studio Ghibli film directed and written by Takahata Isao. Its based on the semi-autobiographical account of Nosaka Akiyuki. So, it's a semi-autobiographical story written by a Japanese man and set in the mid 1940s. This is going to be incredibly sad, isn't it? Let's take a look.

Our story opens near the end of 1945 with our protagonist, Seita, dying of starvation in a railway station and that pretty much sets the film's tone. It goes back to show the events that led up to his demise. Beginning with an air raid in which his mother dies... This film read more
Mar 8, 2008
JTurner (All reviews)
Truly one of Studio Ghibli's greatest crowning achievements, Grave of the Fireflies is a brilliant masterpiece fully deserving of a place in any of the best movies ever made. Not just an astonishingly great (and, at the risk of coming off as cliché, perfect) work of art, this is a moving, thought-provoking, and ultimately heartbreaking tale about the loss of innocence and the tragedies of war.

Based on an autobiography by Akiyuki Nosaka, the film, set during the bombing of Japan in --of all times-- World War II, centers on Seita, a loving, headstrong Navy soldier's son and his innocent little sister, Setsuko. Their fatal struggle read more
Jul 23, 2009
brand_182 (All reviews)
Set in World War II, Grave of the Fireflies follows the story of Seita and his little sister Setsuko as they attempt to survive in the aftermath of a bombing which has destroyed their home and killed their mother. With their father a naval officer away at war, they must travel the country looking for food and shelter.

Grave of the Fireflies serves primarily as an anti-war piece, illustrating the effects of war on an entire family. By focusing the narrative on two orphaned siblings, the film is able to uniquely touch on the issue of the lack of charity and concern for others during times read more
May 27, 2014
CarolineJMZ (All reviews)
"Grave of the fireflies" is by far the most depressing anime I've ever watched, and I mean it in a good way.

It's sad not because I feel moved by some kindness or strength as usually the case. It's sad because it shows you a naked truth about how a war slowly destroys the hopes of two kids bit by bit and until finally, when the war is over, it already takes away everything in an irrevocable way, including their lives.

The story is from the perspective of Seita, the boy. The film begins with his death, and narrates from the end. Some scenes are read more
Sep 9, 2014
literaturenerd (All reviews)

How could I rate such an acclaimed masterpiece a mere 5/10? Do I not have a shred of decency or humanity?! Before you downvote, allow me to explain.

Story: 6/10

The story is that 2 orphans are caught up in a war they know nothing about and are simply helpless victims of foreign atrocities being committed against them and their countrymen. This is meant to show the horrors of war and be a strong anti-war film that will move the audience to tears by hitting them with the emotional equivalent of a sledgehammer over and over again. The problem is that when Grave of the Fireflies came read more
Oct 9, 2019
MysticSmilez (All reviews)
I finally decided to watch Grave of the Fireflies. Admittedly, this is a film that I should have viewed a long time ago, given its influence and importance to the medium. Studio Ghibli has long been known to create works that carry subtle but profound messages while employing the use of gorgeous visuals, and “Hotaru no Haka” is certainly no exception. Although I am sure that by now the conversation surrounding its themes and delivery has been well exhausted, I wanted to contribute my own opinions; if only to express how compelling it was to me. This review contains discussions of key plot points.

Interestingly enough, read more
Oct 25, 2014
Sorrow (All reviews)
Towards the end of World War II, American bombers dropped napalm canisters on Japanese cities, creating catastrophic fire storms. These terrifying bombs fell to earth promptly. Then as soon as the bombs hit the ground, there is a moment of complete silence, and then the explosion occurs, encompassing the surroundings with flames showing no mercy towards anything. Back during WWII, Japanese villages were made of flimsy wood and paper houses; Everything was burned down, nothing could withstand the destruction of nuclear weapons. WW2, truly one of, if not the most tragic era of mankind. R.I.P to the 60 million+ people that died in WW2. This read more
Jun 7, 2011
Diamond_Dust (All reviews)
I know there are plenty of reviews for this iconic title. I just feel as if I must contribute as well, because this anime is worth it. More than any other I have ever seen.

Our tale centers around two Japanese children, Seita and Setsuko, during World War II. They are just ordinary kids at the start of things. Young, happy, carefree, as much as they could be in times of hardship, anyhow. Not much different from you or me, with nothing terribly remarkable about them. They could be anyone. They could be your little brother or sister. They could be your best friends, your neighbors. read more
Dec 7, 2015
MisterCloaca676 (All reviews)
Well, I wanted to get that out before I started doing this review. First of all, I think this is one of the finest movies done by studio Ghibli. I've watched almost all of their work and everything is awesome. But there was something about this movie that made it feel really different. At first, I wasn't really sure about watching it, because I didn't think it would be good, but after finishing the movie, I knew it was not just one of the best animated movies i've ever seen, it was one of the BEST MOVIES of all time.

The story is read more
Dec 11, 2014
fmetal_horseface (All reviews)
At first I was sceptical about watching this movie but it definitely was worth the time! It's one of the best movies I've seen and I recommend it to anyone who can stand a sad, cruel and realistic depiction of a harsh truth thay is not that far away from the reality we live in.

This story is about two siblings, the relationship that exists between them and how that relationship helps them deal with the cruel reality that is war. It has its happy and its sad moments and it had me laughing and crying almost simultaneously. You can see how outstanding can be read more