Grave of the Fireflies -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Audio Rating: A+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: C
  • Menus Rating: N/A
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 2 - Japan
  • Released By: Warner Bros. Japan
  • MSRP: �2900
  • Running time: 89
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies


What They Say

The Review!
Let me just come out and say this right off the top: The Japanese release of Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies) is spectacular. This is without a doubt one of the most skillfully and lovingly crafted films I have ever seen, animated or otherwise. And this release of the timeless Anime classic is nothing short of stunning. In fact, if I didn't know any better, I never would have guessed that the film was some twelve years old. Whatever master was used to produce this DVD, it must have been a different (hence better quality) one than that used for the domestic CPM release. Maybe my glasses were just dirty when I watched this film, but I could see very few film scratches and the like.
Grave of the Fireflies is, for those unlucky enough not to have seen it yet, the story of two Japanese orphans struggling to stay alive, and stay together, during the constant air raids and bombings on late World War II Kobe. Four-year-old Setsuko and her fourteen-year-old big brother Seita must navigate their way through a dismal world of poverty, disease, constant hunger, and the ever impending threat of death at the wings of an enemy raining terror from the skies. The story is mostly a series of montages, from a day at the beach to Seita and Setsuko's self-imposed exile from their cold, selfish aunt, who is their only living relative, to some pointed commentary on the frayed bonds of patriotism in war-torn Japan. The children manage to find stray bits of sunshine, though, in the gloom around them. It is a heartwarming, inspiring tale of brotherly love and the indomitable human spirit that manages to soar higher than the Allied bombers that breathe fire and destruction on the world of flesh and blood.

The above summary by no means does this incredible picture justice. I highly recommend Grave of the Fireflies to anyone who loves Anime, history, or just the human condition. We all know that the Japanese caused their fair share of misery, destruction, and human suffering during WWII, but this movie doesn't attempt to cast blame on anyone. It is simply a human tale, moving and quietly stirring in its childlike eloquence, told with gorgeous, stunning, and highly detailed animation.

Ok, now to the more technical stuff:

The video is top-notch and deserves the A+ rating wholeheartedly. I did see some jaggies, but I have decided that these are a hallmark of my particular TV/DVD set-up. The colors are almost mind-bogglingly lifelike, and there is absolutely no bleeding or over-saturation that I can see, and there is no detectable line-noise of any kind. Best of all, perhaps, I can't find any really conspicuous rainbows, either! The anamorphic transfer looks flawless.

As excitedly stated above, this looks like a brand new movie. There really are very few signs of age or wear in this transfer (or perhaps the master used for the transfer). The film literally looks as though it were produced in the past couple of years. Again, absolutely breathtaking.

Audio is clear and crisp, but doesn't have any really noticeable directionality on my set-up. But again, I can hear no hissing or popping or anything of the kind.

The packaging is rather boring, hence the C rating. There is one insert in the clamshell case (alright, no CD jewel case here!), which just gives a summary of the extras included on the disc.

The extras on this disc are better and more plentiful than most of the other Region 2 DVD's in my collection. There is the original movie trailer, of course, but also included is a brief "Making of" feature with very brief interviews of the staff, including an animator who was charged with reproducing 1940's Kobe in all its fire-bombed squalor. The English subs are nicely done and don't really interfere with the picture, but are sometimes rather terse, leaving some of the dialog untranslated and many idiomatic and dialectal nuances hidden. In other words, they remind me of the CPM subtitles.

Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Original movie trailer,Making of Hotaru no Haka

Review Equipment
29-inch Samsung Bio Vision Multi-System (NTSC and PAL) TV, RCA 5220P DVD player with multi-region capability.


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