Grave Of The Fireflies
Studio Ghibli / Studiocanal / Isao Takahata / 1988 / Japan
Running Time: 91 minutes (approx.)
Region Code: Region B (Locked)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic
Video: 1080p High Definition
Audio: Japanese LPCM 2.0 (48kHz / 24bit) / English LPCM 2.0 (48kHz / 24bit)
Language: Japanese / English
Subtitles: Optional English
Adapted from the 1967 semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by Japanese novelist Akiyuki Nosaka (based on his experiences before, during, and after the US Firebombing of Kobe on March 16 and 17, 1945), director and screenwriter Isao Takahata’s Internationally acclaimed 1988 animated drama, predominantly set in Japan during World War II, is widely considered to be one of animation giant Studio Ghibli’s finest and most enduring works, and with its unique graphic and emotional depiction of the intimate and personal repercussions and tragedies of war on society, it undoubtedly proves one of, if not, their most profound, haunting and affecting works.
“Set in Japan during World War II, the film focuses on Seita and his little sister Setsuko. After their mother is killed in an air raid, and with their father serving in the navy, they are forced to fight for survival in the devastated Japanese countryside.
Food and shelter are scarce, and even their own relatives are too concerned with their own survival. All they have is each other and their belief that life must carry on.”
The film beautifully balances the haunting and devastating horrors of war and conflict with a more lyrically intimate awareness and examination of the utter naivety and unawareness of the two child protagonists trapped and forced to make their own way through the final few months of the war in an increasingly alien environment.
Courtesy of Studio Ghibli’s authentic and highly distinctive, lyrical, poetry-infused animation style, combined with Takahata’s powerful, lasting vision, the characters are so well realised and the emotions and relationships between the characters so authentically crafted and evoked that parts of the film become almost too moving and affecting to watch.
Not only is Takahata’s visually arresting film an extraordinary feat of animation, it is also a unique and expertly constructed war film in its own right, potently exploring the devastating consequences of war in powerful and intricate detail.
Studiocanal’s new AVC encoded 1080p High Definition blu-ray transfer, presented in a 16:9 Anamorphic aspect ratio, delivers sharp and beautifully achieved results, and proves considerably more impressive than last year’s US Sentai Filmworks blu-ray release.
The generally warm colour palette is beautifully rendered, delivering rich, natural and vibrant (though never overly-saturated) colours and tones. Levels of clarity, image depth and fine detail are excellent, delivering sharp, well-defined edges and details, and effectively enhancing the outlines of the animations. Contrast is generally excellent, and there are very few signs of any significant debris or age-related wear, delivering a clean, authentic and immersive presentation.
The original Japanese LPCM 2.0 audio mix is on the whole beautifully clean, delivering crisp, clear dialogue, sharp, snappy effects and a nice presentation of Baroque specialist, Michio Mamiya’s stirring accompanying score.
Fidelity is generally excellent, however dynamic range is fairly limited and there is some minor hissing present throughout the presentation.
The English LPCM 2.0 stills sounds fairly strong and crisp, however, I would always opt for the original Japanese track as the English language track tends to adapt and alter the translated text, ultimately diminishing the authenticity of the film.
Storyboards – Picture in Picture
Interview With Director Isao Takahata
Japanese Release Promo – Featuring Interview With Director Isao Takahata and Writer Akiyuki Nosaka
Historical Perspective Documentary
Interview With Film Critic Roger Ebert
Deleted Scene Storyboards
Arguably Studio Ghibli’s most unique and powerful achievement also proves its most profound and emotionally affecting work, and Studiocanal’s fine new blu-ray release gives viewers a superb opportunity to witness this haunting and beautifully achieved war film in all its High Definition glory. Very Highly Recommended!
Release Date: 1 July, 2013
Pre-order Now (Click image to Buy):
To celebrate the debut, 25th anniversary Blu-ray release of Studio Ghibli’s haunting masterpiece, we have two Blu-ray copies of ‘Grave of the Fireflies’ to give away, courtesy of our friends at Studiocanal and Grapevine Digital.
Competition closes on Friday 5th July, 2013