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Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
"Hotaru no haka" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Animation, Drama, War  |  16 April 1988 (Japan)
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 122,897 users  
Reviews: 492 user | 151 critic

A tragic film covering a young boy and his little sister's struggle to survive in Japan during World War II.



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Complete credited cast:
Tsutomu Tatsumi ...
Seita (voice)
Ayano Shiraishi ...
Setsuko (voice)
Yoshiko Shinohara ...
Mother (voice)
Akemi Yamaguchi ...
Aunt (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Shannon Conley ...
Additional Voices (voice)
Doctors / Old Man (voice)
Dan Green ...
Additional Voices (voice)
Amy Jones ...
Aunt (voice)
George Leaver ...
Additional Voices (voice)
Setsuko (voice) (as Rhoda Chrosite)
J. Robert Spencer ...
Seita (voice)
Additional Voices (voice)
Veronica Taylor ...
Mother (voice)


Setsuko and Seita are brother and sister living in wartime Japan. After their mother is killed in an air raid they find a temporary home with relatives. Having quarreled with their aunt they leave the city and make their home in an abandoned shelter. While their soldier father's destiny is unknown, the two must depend on each other to somehow keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. When everything is in short supply, they gradually succumb to hunger and their only entertainment is the light of the fireflies. Written by Corrected by Liron

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

japan | wartime | shelter | food | boy | See All (253) »


Animation | Drama | War


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

16 April 1988 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Grave of the Fireflies  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (as Dolby Stereo) (theatrical print)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Most of the illustration outlines in the film are in brown, instead of the customary black. Whenever black was used, it was only used when it was absolutely necessary. Color coordinator Michiyo Yasuda said this was done to give the film a softer feel. Yasuda said that until that point it had never been used in an anime before, "and it was done on a challenge." Yasuda explained that brown is more difficult to use than black because it does not contrast as well as black. See more »


Right at the beginning, someone places what looks like a rice ball loosely wrapped in some tree bark as a protective cover next to the boy known as Seita. The scene cuts to Seita's face and soon after he collapses, the wrapped rice ball is nowhere to be seen. See more »


[first lines]
Seita: September 21, 1945... that was the night I died.
See more »


Featured in AniMat's Reviews: The Wind Rises (2014) See more »


Home Sweet Home
Performed by Amelita Galli-Curci
Courtesy of RCA Victor Red Seal, a division of BMG Classics
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

More moving than you could ever expect
3 February 2005 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

This film is utterly emotionally draining whilst being rewarding at the same time.

The animation is both realistic and stylized but that's not the point, the main focus of this film is the character development of the brother and sister protagonists. Their relationship is nothing short of beautiful and touching.

And without spoiling anything I have to say that this film touched me in a way no other film has ever touched me in my adult life. One or two films have upset me and reduced me to watery eyes but Grave of the Fireflies had me in fits of sobbing despair. I was a mess! I'm talking total emotional breakdown. Couldn't talk without sobbing! One of the best films I have EVER seen, animated or not.

332 of 357 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Not much sympathy from me as a Korean-American. dhydro_lics88
Seita was not stupid nor selfish jenn4394
To me this movie is aweful merelientje
How many minutes did you cry? veeshman
Did anyone else feel this way days after watching it? thebedtimestory
Should I watch the English dubbed one billchat12
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