15 April 2014 3:56 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

As part of the BFI’s Studio Ghibli Season, Simon Columb reviews Grave of the Fireflies

A Studio Ghibli season at the BFI has highlighted the very best of Japanese animation. We can define the cuddly Totoro or fantastical world of Princess Mononoke as what Studio Ghibli stands for – but Grave of the Fireflies proves otherwise. In fact, Isao Takahata’s 1988 film(released alongside My Neighbour Totoro) is a sobering, heart-breaking tale of those final years in Japan at the end of World War II, told through the eyes of two children, Seita and Setsuko. Grave of the Fireflies may be one of the most impressive, and surely ground-breaking, animations from the studio and challenges Disney – and western animators – to make such mature, intelligent and brutal films for a young audience.

Based on a novel by Akiyuki Nosaka, it is semi-autobiographical as he himself survived the fire-bombings of Japan while his sister died of malnutrition. »

- Simon Columb

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