Editing, Cinematography, and Mise-en-scene in Grave of the Fireflies

Although most animated films are for families and children, “Grave of the Fireflies” is an emotional experience so powerful that it forces viewers to rethink their notions concerning animation.  This full-length animated film depicts the lives of two young siblings that lived through the American attack on Japan in response to Japan’s attack of Pearl Harbor (Takahata).  Although history books teach that America’s retaliatory bombing of Japanese cities was warranted and noble, depicting American pilots as heroes in films like Pearl Harbor, the Japanese civilians that lived through these attacks would have an entirely different story to tell (Bradley and Powers).  Grave of the Fireflies is one of those stories, depicting the tale of two children from the port city of Kobe made homeless by the bombs and orphaned when their soldier father and mother are both killed.  Based on a semi-autobiographical novel of the same title written by Akiyuki Nosaka, Grave of the Fireflies the movie is directed by Isao Takahata, who uses animation to depict the graphic imagery of the negative effects of war, not just on the soldiers that physically fight the battles, but on the civilians, including the women, children, and elderly, that the soldiers leave behind when they go off to fight these wars (Walker).