Blu-ray Review “Grave of the Fireflies”

Actors: Ayano Shiraishi, Tsutomu Tatsumi, Akemi Yamaguchi, Yoshiko Shinohara, J. Robert Spencer
Directors: Isao Takahata
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Section 23
Release Date: November 20, 2012
Run Time: 89 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

“Grave of the Fireflies” is based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka. Sentai Filmworks is the company behind this fantastic release.  They  know their anime and you know that a film/series is in good hands when they are handling it. This has been labeled is one of the top twelve anime of all time by Empire. It has always been a favorite of mine.  It is sweet, yet harsh and powerful.  It tells such a strong story and the animation is just amazing.  For this Blu-ray release, there is also a new English dub track included, but I am still partial to the original Japanese track. Nonetheless, if you are a fan of this film, I highly recommend this release.

Official Premise: As the Empire of the Sun crumbles upon itself and a rain of firebombs falls upon Japan, the final death march of a nation is echoed in millions of smaller tragedies. This is the story of Seita and his younger sister Setsuko, two children born at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and now cast adrift in a world that lacks not the care to shelter them, but simply the resources. Forced to fend for themselves in the aftermath of fires that swept entire cities from the face of the earth, their doomed struggle is both a tribute to the human spirit and the stuff of nightmares. Beautiful, yet at times brutal and horrifying.

This Blu-ray release has a superb 1080p transfer.  The animation really pops out and the colors look stunning.  The film is not extremely bright though due to its circumstances but it still has that “Wow factor”.  Whether you are a fan of the Japanese of English audio, they both have very sharp DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 tracks.  Also included is the original English 2.0 track if you were a fan of that one from the DVD. Besides a stunning Blu-ray presentation, there is not a lot going on in the special features front though.  There is some cool storyboards for the film, as well as deleted scenes in storyboard format. Lastly, there is the Japanese theatrical trailer included.

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