IMDb > Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Hotaru no haka
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Grave of the Fireflies (1988) More at IMDbPro »Hotaru no haka (original title)

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Down 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Akiyuki Nosaka (novel)
Isao Takahata (written by)
View company contact information for Grave of the Fireflies on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 April 1988 (Japan) See more »
A tragic film covering a young boy and his little sister's struggle to survive in Japan during World War II. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
3 wins See more »
User Reviews:
A powerful film that shows the true cost of war See more (492 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
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: English version)

Crispin Freeman ... Doctors / Old Man (voice: English version)
Dan Green ... Additional Voices (voice: English version)
Amy Jones ... Aunt (voice: English version)
George Leaver ... Additional Voices (voice: English version)

Corinne Orr ... Setsuko (voice: English version) (as Rhoda Chrosite)
J. Robert Spencer ... Seita (voice: English version)

Nick Sullivan ... Additional Voices (voice: English version)
Veronica Taylor ... Mother (voice: English version)

Directed by
Isao Takahata 
Writing credits
Akiyuki Nosaka (novel)

Isao Takahata (written by)

Produced by
David Del Rio .... producer
Toru Hara .... producer
John Ledford .... executive producer
John Ledford .... producer
Ryôichi Satô .... executive producer
Eiichi Takahashi .... executive producer
Original Music by
Michio Mamiya 
Cinematography by
Nobuo Koyama (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Takeshi Seyama 
Production Design by
Ryôichi Satô 
Art Direction by
Nizou Yamamoto 
Production Management
Atsushi Kamimura .... unit production manager
Kazuyoshi Tanaka .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Norihiko Sutô .... assistant director (as Norihiko Sudo)
Art Department
Katsu Hisamura .... assistant art director
Yuriko Kashiwakura .... assistant character color designer
Noriko Ogawa .... assistant character color designer
Michiyo Yasuda .... character color designer
Sound Department
Chris Bourque .... mixing: Sentai Filmworks dub (as Lash Bourque)
Chris Bourque .... sound designer: Sentai Filmworks dub (as Lash Bourque)
Bill Donnelly .... mix engineer: english version
Yasuo Uragami .... sound designer
Kiyoshi Ôhira .... sound effects (as Noriyoshi Oohira)
Hisanori Ôshiro .... sound mixer
Special Effects by
Kunji Tanifuji .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Masashi Abe .... camera operator
Akitarô Daichi .... camera operator
Shinji Ito .... camera operator
Atsushi Kageyama .... camera operator
Tsuguo Ozawa .... camera operator
Naoyuki Taniguchi .... camera operator
Animation Department
Hideaki Anno .... animator
Yukiyoshi Hane .... animator (as Yoshiyuki Hane)
Iku Ishiguro .... animator
Kuniyuki Ishii .... animator
Megumi Kagawa .... animator
Hideo Kawauchi .... animator
Masuji Kigami .... animator
Yoshifumi Kondô .... animation director
Yoshifumi Kondô .... character designer
Kitarô Kôsaka .... key animator (as Kitaro Kosaka)
Yoshiyuki Momose .... layout
Noriko Moritomo .... animator
Hiroshi Ogawa .... animator
Toshiyasu Okada .... animator
Reiko Okuyama .... animator
Toshitsugu Saida .... animator (as Shunji Saida)
Akio Sakai .... animator
Michiyo Sakurai .... animator
Noboru Takano .... animator
Yasuomi Umetsu .... animator
Toshio Yamauchi .... animator (as Shôjurô Yamauchi)
Atsuko Ôtani .... animator
Noriko Ôzeki .... animator
Editorial Department
Hiroshi Adachi .... assistant editor
Other crew
Peter Bavaro .... adr director: English version
Neil Nadelman .... translator: english version
Naoyuki Oshikiri .... production desk
Tony Salerno .... dubbing supervisor (as Anthony Salerno)
David Williams .... dvd producer: blu-ray authoring - ADV Films release
David Williams .... dvd producer: dvd authoring - ADV Films release

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Hotaru no haka" - Japan (original title)
"Tomb of the Fireflies" - International (English title) (alternative title)
See more »
89 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono | Dolby (as Dolby Stereo) (theatrical print)
Argentina:13 | Australia:M | Brazil:14 | Canada:PG (Ontario) (video rating) (2005) | Canada:PG (Nova Scotia) (video rating) (2002) | Canada:G (Quebec) (video rating) (1994) | Canada:PG (Manitoba) (video rating) (1993) | Chile:14 | Finland:K-11 | France:U | Hong Kong:IIA | Hong Kong:I (2014) | Ireland:12A | New Zealand:M | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:PG | South Korea:All | South Korea:12 (2013) | Spain:13 | Sweden:11 (re-rating) | UK:12A | USA:Unrated | USA:TV-14 (TV rating) | West Germany:6

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 »
Continuity: 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 »
Movie Connections:
Home Sweet HomeSee more »


How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
Is this movie based on a (graphic) novel?
What's in the box that Seita carries with him?
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201 out of 212 people found the following review useful.
A powerful film that shows the true cost of war, 28 August 2004
Author: dee.reid from United States

"Grave of the Fireflies" is one of the most ambitious, depressing, and quite frankly, best films that I've ever seen. I was nearly moved to tears by this film's brave treatment of such critical subject matter. Yes, it's an Anime' piece, but surprisingly, it came out in 1988, during a time where most Japanese animation films were either relentless bloodbaths, borderline pornography, or both.

As a fan of the Anime' genre of film-making, many great pieces have achieved some sort of cult status here in America, yet none have really reached mainstream success. Some have broken through the barrier and have gained acceptance with American critics, like Katsuhiro Otomo's "Akira," or "Princess Mononoke," or "Spirited Away" (both films directed by Hayao Miyazaki). One that I've seen and has been barely mentioned by most critics is "Grave of the Fireflies."

What we have with "Grave of the Fireflies," is a story of innocence lost and two children who ultimately face a losing battle with trying to survive in a small Japanese village in the closing days of World War II. WWII was the costliest conflict in world history, with millions dead and thousands left to pick up the pieces.

In the center of it, are the aforementioned two children, who are pretty much left to fend for themselves after their mother is killed in a bombing raid. Because their father is off fighting in the war and they have no way of contacting any other family, they're sent to live with their aunt, who is at first warm and welcoming to them, but eventually becomes very cruel and the children are forced to live in a nearby bomb shelter. From that point on, the two children embark on a journey that is every bit as unpleasant and difficult as the grim realities of the world around them.

Very easily one of the best Anime' films that I've ever seen (or any animated film for that matter), I find it difficult to believe just how truly overlooked "Grave of the Fireflies" is. The animation is beautiful, though certainly not dated by any means (even though Japanese animation has progressed well since this film was made).

We get a sense of the dread of the two lead characters, who watch as the world around them crumbles into heaps of ashes, and aircraft loom ominously overhead, dropping their deadly, incendiary cargo on unsuspecting Japanese villagers.

The director, Isao Takahata, obviously has a special resentment of the war, but manages to avoid condemning it outright. The director instead lets us focus in on the conflict as seen through the eyes of the two children, who watch unflinchingly as the realities of their world begin to falter before them.

"Grave of the Fireflies" is a bold statement on the condition of the human soul during conflict. I probably shouldn't say this but I am anyways, but this film has to be the "Schindler's List" of animated pieces. It's brave, it's not overly sentimental, but it is relentless in its dramatization of a dangerous reality. It should be required viewing in any high school world history class.

A beautiful film; not to be missed by anyone.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
This film is sad,of course.But the sadness is so strange.... JemmaClemens
Not much sympathy from me as a Korean-American. dhydro_lics88
To me this movie is aweful merelientje
Question regarding one of their possessions kritz_seth121
Females aged 45+ galarza_rodrigo
Seita was not stupid nor selfish jenn4394
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