Hotaru no haka

Spoiler ahead.  I watched a film the other night which was recommended to me by dear Little Indian and lovely Helen called The Grave of the Fireflies, also known as Hotaru no haka.  Well they said I’d like it but they didn’t warn me just how much I’d cry!   And boy did I cry!

The film is animated and it is set in Japan at the back end of World War II.  It’s basically about a boy whose mother dies during the air raids and his father is away at war, destiny unknown.  The boy is left alone to tend to himself and his sister.  And his devoted care and protection of her is both humbling and heroic to see because of course, he too had lost everything in the war.

My little boy watched with me and as the film moved on he quickly grew fond of the little girl who was so very cute and endearing.  He smiled at her sweetness.  He laughed at her antics.  He rolled around on the sofa in stitches when she accidentally swallowed a firefly (she didn’t actually swallow a firefly, she swallowed a boiled sweet but I saw no point in spoiling the moment by nit-picking), he got annoyed at the aunt who went from being a loving carer to a hard-hearted and harsh woman.  And he sobbed his little heart out when the girl finally died of malnutrition.  I mean he really sobbed.  I had to do all kinds of loony things to cheer him up.

Anyway, to conclude, it’s a tragic, heartwarming and quite, quite beautiful story with a powerful anti-war message but refreshingly absent of political propaganda.   It broke my heart.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Sorry earthie,
    I didn’t warn, because I didn’t want to spoil the complete experience. I’m sorry to have upset your son.

    The Studio Ghibli animations are really amazing. If you like animation you will like them all, not all have sad endings.

    “Princess Mononoke” is another, about our environment. But has a 13+ rating.


  2. […] I was too embarrassed to admit the real reason no one has ever known, till I read this today, Earthie’s blog, brought back […]


  3. No need to apologise Little Indian. It’s warming to know that my little boy has a tender heart.

    I will look out for “Princess Mononoke” too. Sounds like my kind of thing if it’s about the environment. Thanks.


  4. Tears are an excellent remedy for children, even for grown-ups.

    No one should feel embarrassed for crying. On the contrary in this world of egotists and self-conscious people, being tender and compassionate should be encouraged.


  5. Yes, very true Jose. Boys are often encouraged to keep a brave face and I believe this can make it very difficult for them to show their emotions as adults which is a shame.


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