Video - Grave of the Fireflies (English + Japanese)
I wanted to share movies on The Ghibli Blog again, and by a remarkable streak of good fortune, I managed to find not one, but two copies of Grave of the Fireflies on Youtube - English and Japanese soundtracks. This is an excellent opportunity to show Iso Takahata's haunting war film in both dubbed and subtitled form.
Grave of the Fireflies is the reason this website exists. It's as simple as that. Princess Mononoke was my first exposure to Hayao Miyazaki, and a few years later, I arrived at the Heights Theater in Uptown, Minneapolis to see Spirited Away. After that, I tracked down whatever information I could about Studio Ghibli, which led me to Roger Ebert's Great Movies essays on My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies. After much searching, I found a video that had a oopy of Fireflies...and here we are today.
This was the most emotionally devastating movie I had ever watched. I couldn't even make it all the way to the end at first; I had to pause the VHS tape (yes, videotape in 2002) and finish the movie on the next night. I felt like I had been hit in the chest with a concrete cinder block, and probably took a week to fully recover.
And then all I wanted was to see every movie this director ever made. Hah! Isn't that just completely insane? But I've always been in pursuit of genuine experience, the different, the new. I get bored with the same routine too quickly, and there's so much treasure to be found out in the big world. Most humans never have enough curiosity to even look. Heck, right now as I write this, I've been listening to Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica. Before that, Beethoven. Before that, Metallica. And earlier today, American Football (Go Vikings, err...Go Packers).
So consider my example to be yet another theme to discuss when talking about Isao Takahata's Grave of the Fireflies. A movie like this seems to come out of nowhere. Where is it from? Why was it made? What does it mean? And why does it appear so completely different from anything we have over here? This is no mere media distraction for two hours; this is an invitation to adventure. I want to know the answers. I want to learn more questions. I want to understand...to understand.