Grave of the Fireflies - It's a Layout Drawing, Stupid

I haven't watched this movie lately, so I can't recall if this shot was used in the final film. But this does illustrate what I was saying about anime's power to communicate through formal composition. It's one of the crowning achievements of Studio Ghibli, I'd say.

The late, great Yoshifumi Kondo was the Character Designer and Animation Director for this movie, and he continued to deliver the same masterly touch he brought to Takahata's Anne of Green Gables. This may as well could be a shot from Anne.

I don't think I've ever written about Grave of the Fireflies on the Ghibli blog. That's a rather odd thing, and an unfortunate lapse on my part. For Americans, and Westerners in general, this is a very difficult and emotionally demanding movie to watch. I wasn't able to sit through the entire length on my first viewing; I needed to pause halfway and wait until the next day to finish.

This was my first discovery of Isao Takahata, inspired by Roger Ebert's Great Movies column. I was left completely devestated, in total shock. I had never seen an animation film remotely like it. And I was left with a gnawing hunger to discover more. Years later, I am sharing my discoveries and my questions, here on the Ghibli blog, with you.

EDIT (12/4, 8:22 am) - Someone pointed out this was a layout drawing, not a storyboard. D'oh! I should know better. I made the changes to the title of the post.


Benjamin De Schrijver said...

This is a layout drawing, not a storyboard sketch.

David Bernal said...

thanks for all these awesome post Daniel! ooh so AWESOME!! specially love hearing about Yasuji Mori, and all the artwork is beautiful!
have a nice day!

Marshall Turner said...

So THAT'S why I cried during "WALL-E": I haven't seen this film yet. Roger Ebert said "Grave of the Fireflies" is the only animated film that has made him cry, and I'm sure once I experience it firsthand, I'll never cry during a Disney or Pixar film again. (And Roger doesn't cry much; I can only recall him admitting it because of "Do the Right Thing," "Schindler's List," and this film.)

Thanks a million for the blog, Danny. Keep it up, and Happy New Year!

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