The Saddest Movie Ever: Graves Of The Fireflies


Graves Of The Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka) is truly the saddest movie I have ever seen. It’s the type of movie that would make you feel glad about your life living right now. This movie is about a brother and his younger sister trying to survive during World War II in Japan. It is not fun and games when you’re between the war nor if you’re a soldier. Also, people’s optimism would crumble since their selfish side would come out, sort of like the Hunger Games.


In the beginning of the movie we can already tell that it’s going to be a tragedy because the main character dies and it shows what happened before that. It began at a train station where the character was sitting in front of a wall and people insult him, not caring a single thought about the boy. The boy dies and all it’s left is a story to be told.

From my perspective, it always kills me when there’s a child involved (especially animated) and guess what. There was one. Oh how Studio Ghibli did a fantastic job. Look how cute the sister, Setsuko was drawn. The bowl cut and chubby cheeks, everything was just cute. Meanwhile the brother, Seita had to take care of her during the war. Since their mother had died horribly in an air raid. They stayed at their aunt’s place and I hated her. The aunts interpretation of the war was whoever was working for the war deserves to have a nice meal and be treated well. This shows how people in tough times only care for the things that matter to them. They can’t find happiness on their own since their too absorbed in the fact that you should be serious in intense situations. You are not allowed to find happiness.


Therefore, Seita and Setsuko decided to move out from that place. It sorta serves as moving to the light, since they don’t have be brought down by darkness which is the aunt. However, the children are still immature and needed to be taken care. They think straight forward, they don’t ask themselves questions what would happen if they did that or how would it affect them. That is why I felt a strong hatred for the aunt allowing them to leave or gave them the opportunity to leave. As for myself a teenager, I still don’t know how I can possibly survive without my mother or family. In the beginning it’s always fun to move on to something new and you’re sure that you have definitely made the right choice— but you haven’t. Like in the movie the fireflies represents happiness and joy. They always give you light to wherever darkness may come.

Another cruel part was were the local farmers. I know that they are fighting for their own lives as well, but giving away some crop wasn’t going to hurt them. Being drag out and beaten almost to death is not a way to solve things. Violence is not the answer. Even the kind farmer was useless and the only thing he cared about was money. He could have offered the boy a job but that’s the truth about reality. Therefore, Seita had to learn a new skill “to steal”. When the people announced there was going to be an air raid again he saw it as an excuse to steal other people’s food and belongings, so that he could take care of his sister and himself. People are so cruel, where’s the heart for these little children? As the story progresses, Setsuko becomes more ill due to lack of nutrition. She spends her days alone in the cave. She even goes delusional because she can feel her brother’s pain that as himself the older brother can’t provide the food for both of them. Without food, she tries to make some food by making two rice balls out of rocks and dirt to look the rice balls that they have eaten at their aunt’s place. That’s how much pain and starvation she had go through, she had to feed her mind and imagine that she’s eating those rice balls.

I liked and hated how they showed Setsuko’s moments of being lonely because his brother was trying to get food. How she wished for her brother to come back and pretended to be a soldier. How she longed for her brother that part killed me. It was an epic ending and yet the most saddest endings ever.


This was a short interpretation of the movie Graves of The Fireflies by Studio Ghibli you will cry your eyes off, literally. Maybe.

For those of you that have watched the movie listen to this. This may calm you down or make you cry even harder.

Truly a beautiful movie

– Lena


4 thoughts on “The Saddest Movie Ever: Graves Of The Fireflies

  1. One of the best films I’ve ever seen. The toll that war takes on a nation is so profound and moving. It would be impossible to watch this movie without being moved to tears


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