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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 122,884 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?


From the start of production, director Isao Takahata wanted to cast appropriately aged children in the roles of Seita and Setsuko. Because the film takes place in Kobe, the search was limited to the Kansai region of Japan in order to find children who spoke the proper dialect. He was introduced to Ayano Shiraishi through a regional children's acting company, and he decided to cast her as Setsuko after only hearing two sentences: "My name is Ayano Shriraishi. I am five years old." He was later told by one of the company's leaders that they expected that Ayano was too young for the role, and so those were the only lines she had been instructed to recite in the audition. 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 JesuOtaku Anime Reviews: Grave of the Fireflies (2012) 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

Depressing, but a must see
6 July 2004 | by (Glen Cove, New York) – See all my reviews

One of the great animated films of all time Grave of Fireflies tells the story of a couple of kids as the try to survive in war time Japan. What happens to them should be seen by anyone thinking of starting a war since it tells very graphically what happens to those often forgotten, the children.

Like its companion piece, Barefoot Gen, which tells the story of survivors of atomic bombing and the horrors that were experienced by those unlucky enough not to have been killed out right, this film proves that war is hell for everyone, especially the children.

Its very hard to send anyone out to see this unhappy little film (The previously mentioned Barefoot Gen spawned sequels, this has not) but at the same time you owe it to yourself to experience, however distantly what sort of monster we unleash upon the world every time we go to war. It helps that however depressing this is, its also a damn good and incredibly compelling story.

9 out of 10

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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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