14Grave of the Fireflies Is Not An Anti-War Film
Since its release in 1988, Grave of the Fireflies has served as something of a test for those who say that movies don’t make them cry. This story of a little girl and her big brother trying to survive in war-torn Japan has a way of hitting all the
right buttons and turning the sturdiest of filmgoers into blubbering messes. Because of the emotional events of the film, and its WWII setting, many people walk away from Grave of the Fireflies hailing it as one of the greatest anti-war movies ever made.
That’s an understandable interpretation, but it’s not quite the intended one. Director Isao Takahata has stated that Grave of the Fireflies “is not at all an anti-war anime and contains absolutely no such message.” Instead, it’s more of an elaborate commentary on the possible dangers of young independence. The main characters in Grave of the Fireflies are meant to represent young people who shun the teachings of their ancestors and remove themselves from society. That said, Takahata certainly isn’t a pro-war advocate.