Watched the 1988 anime feature Grave of the Fireflies
tonight on DVD. A pretty good feature; the tale of a young brother and sister forced to fend for themselves after their mother is killed in a firebomb attack on their city (from the DVD case, I presume that they live in Kobe), and while their father is away fighting the Americans in the Imperial Navy (and presumably killed). Narrated from beyond the grave by the protagonist, the young boy Seita, the film initially follows a track like John Boorman's contemporaneous Hope and Glory
, while repressing the horrors of the war around them, Seita and his young sister Setsuko, initally find fun and freedom (the two idle away the days at first, then after alienating a nationalistic aunt, they take up residence in an abandoned bomb shelter, creating, however, temporarily, a sort of domestic bliss), as they attempt to fend for themselves, but eventually the desperation of survival in war-torn Japan, bereft of any real help, catches up with them, with tragic consequences. I really liked the films eye for detail. Two of my favorite scenes where when Seita and Setsuko watch the fireflies light up their abandoned bomb shelter, which is now their home; it then shades into a beautiful scene of an Imperial Navy Formation at night, as Setsuko remembers the glory-days of both his father and the Imperial Navy. The other scene is the final shot, of a ghostly Seita and Setsuko bathed in an orange aura and surrounded by the iridescent fireflies, sit on a park bench overlooking the rebuilt, modern skyscrapers of Kobe. The ghosts of innocents continue to haunt Japan.