12 moments in anime #8: Grave of the Fireflies *sniffle*

This year I went on a mini anime movie binge. It turned out I had barely seen any anime movies whatsoever and was in dire need of adding some more to that list. There were two that stood out amongst those I watched. The first was Akira, the anime I started this entire 12 days project with. The second? *sniff* Grave of the *sniffle* Fireflies.

I’ve never been a person for the classic tear-jerker series , such as the Key dorama series. Drama annoys me but those series that try to open your tear ducts annoy me even more. Although there’s many reasons why I don’t like these series, one thing that I kept falling back on was the fact that they were totally unsuccessful in their task.  I never cried. I might get a bit sad but my eyes never watered. It’s not just these classic tear-jerker series that I didn’t like. Even when it came to my favourite characters dying tragically, I would never shed a tear. I’d feel pretty damn sad about the whole affair but I never came close to crying. Heck, I didn’t even cry at Bambi. I was left with the belief that I was to go through my whole life with my heart of stone.

Then came Grave of the Fireflies, which I swear could be accurately described as created solely for the purpose of treating people like me. People whos’ hearts were so harsh and cruel that the idea of even a bit of eye-watering seemed to alien to them. Before I watched Grave of the Fireflies I thought the first series that achieved that miracle of breaking that dry period would simply result in maybe a single solitary tear dripping down my cheek, with me doing the classic reaction of ‘huh? Why am I crying?’. But no, when I watched Grave of the Fireflies I bawled. I sobbed like a big fucking baby, face buried in a cushion. Grave of the Fireflies cracked the heart of stone. I’m not sure if I should be grateful for this or not but it was certainly a moment in my anime life worth remembering.


10 Responses to “12 moments in anime #8: Grave of the Fireflies *sniffle*”

  1. 1 Winterblade
    18 December 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Genius movie from Hayao Miyazaki, truly one of his better ones… of course I’d say all his movies were rather good… so its kind of a moot point :3

    In anycase… I’d complete agree with you here, this movie really is a tear jerking movie from the get go. In fact… I’d go as far to say that I cant even get past the scene b4 the title of the movie comes up, b4 tears start welling up T_T

  2. 18 December 2009 at 9:40 pm

    My guess for someone who is hard to shed tears when watching a show is that there must be something, like a mental wall, separating and preventing him from getting too involved with the show. A strong sense of reality, maybe? I watched this anime when I was young and I had no problem crying but I didn’t cry that easily when I got older.

    • 3 Ioan Diankov
      29 January 2014 at 4:13 pm

      It’s due to the “man can’t cry”/”strong people don’t cry” thing in the society. It’s pretty complicated, so i will just leave it there. 🙂

  3. 19 December 2009 at 12:13 am

    And Scamp cried like Pikachu here. But hey, for a veeeeery good movie, well worth it.

  4. 19 December 2009 at 1:34 am


    Actually I don’t think Fireflies was a Miyazaki. It’s a Ghibli but a different director. Let me check that though…yup, it was by Isao Takahata, the ‘Ghibli guy who’s not Miyazaki’. There ya go, learn something new everyday.


    I didn’t cry at shows when I was younger either though. At scary stuff, I ran out the room. But not cry. I can get very involved in a show as well, just crying seems to be beyond me.


    This movie is so sad that even someone as manly as Pikachu will shed a tear

  5. 19 December 2009 at 2:43 am

    Maybe I should join the group of all the stone-hearted people out there except I was genuinely moved by Key dramas and less so by GotF mostly because I have little sympathy for those who make poor decisions like the main character did in this movie. I guess that’s what separates me from a lot of people who watch this film. Does the sadness lie in what happens to the sister? Or both siblings?

  6. 19 December 2009 at 3:26 am


    I’m afraid you have me there. I guess it’s hard to explain why Grave of the Fireflies got to me the way nothing else ever has. I understand your view on the movie and I do agree that the kid should have just gone back to the aunt. Give me a week and I’ll see if I can come up with an answer to that one

  7. 8 gw_kimmy
    19 December 2009 at 5:05 am

    yeah, this movie definitely makes a bawler out of most rigid anime watchers. even my grown uncles cried and said that this movie broke their hearts.

    i think what’s most poignant about this movie is the sense of inescapable tragedy. sure, the boy made the decision to leave and be on his own with his sister, but the choice was either that or stay in a place where you constantly feel unwanted and taken advantage of ;/ perhaps the sister might have been saved if they had stayed with the aunt, but i doubt they would have ever been happy there.

    also, just the backdrop of a war that they had nothing to do with and that destroyed their lives adds to the sense of hopelessness this movie gives. it’s definitely a feel-bad movie ;( but in a good way since it was so beautifully done.

  8. 9 kadian1364
    20 December 2009 at 3:51 am

    I wouldn’t describe myself a stone-hearted person since I’ve shed plenty of tears watching my favorite animes and such, but not for Grave of the Fireflies. I think for me it has to do with the historical WWII backdrop. I thought of it more like a History channel documentary, like “Yes, this happened. *nods head*” I guess the real-life history stuff engages a different reaction from me than a story of pure fiction would. I turn on my learning mode rather than my emotions whenever I see GotF.

  9. 20 December 2009 at 5:34 am

    Right, I’ve had time to mull over the question of why Fireflies hit me while nothing else did. The best reason I could come up with is ‘because it was real’. In a total oppisite reaction to kadian1364, I got into it because it was real and because the characters make mistakes.

    Actually that’s not really true either, otherwise I’d be in bits watching the news. Even if personal life tradegy happens, I don’t cry. Damnit, I can’t figure it out. Why on earth did Fireflies have that effect on me while nothing else has???

    Sorry, I can’t think of an answer. Ask me again this time next year

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