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IPFS News Link • Entertainment: Movies

Grave of the Fireflies



The date is September 25th, 1945, shortly after the end of World War II. A young boy sits against a pillar at Sannomiya Station, dying of starvation. Later that night, a janitor removes his body and digs through his possessions, finding nothing but a candy tin containing ashes and a few fragments of bone which he throws away into a nearby field. From the tin springs the spirit of the young boy followed by his little sister along with a cloud of fireflies. The spirit of the young boy, Seita (Tsutomu Tatsumi, English: J. Robert Spencer), narrates the story of how he and his sister, Setsuko (Ayano Shiraishi, English: Rhoda Chrosite), fared in the wake of the firebombings of Kobe during the war.

14-year-old Seita and 4-year-old Setsuko live with their mother (Yoshiko Shinohara), English: Veronica Taylor) comfortably in Kobe while their father serves as a captain in the Imperial Japanese Navy. One day, air raid sirens go off as a fleet of American B-29 Superfortress bombers flies overhead. The children's mother, who suffers from a heart condition, puts Setsuko in the care of her older brother and instructs him to secure the home while she goes ahead to a bomb shelter. Hundreds of incendiary bombs are dropped on the city and most of the civilians are caught off-guard. Seita and Setsuko manage to survive the bombing unscathed and go in search of their mother. They find her at a makeshift clinic set up within a school, horribly burnt and covered head to foot with bloody bandages. She dies a short time later and is cremated in a mass grave with other casualties.