Visiting the Grave

ONCE WERE WILD

It was easy to revisit Takahata Isao’s Grave of the Fireflies for further analysis this week. The film had not left my mind since I had closed my laptop in disbelief as the credits rolled. I thought about Setsuko and her young skin scarred by rash. Remembered Seita covering his ears as Setsuko cried. Their mother in blood soaked bandages. I couldn’t be sure wether or not I had in fact watched a Japanese horror film by mistake. Even now as I type I pause in between sentences, quietly picturing the emaciated bodies of two children lost to the incredible pressures of a war that was fought from within Japan.

When I thought the film could not emotionally cripple me any further, I discovered it was based on a 1967 short story of the same name, written by Nosaka Akiyuki (Goldberg, 2009). To my complete horror, the story Akiyuki wrote…

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