Ready to have your heart broken right in two?
There are some World War II dramas that are devastating in their impact: The Tin Drum, Schindler's List, and then there's Grave of the Fireflies, based on the somewhat autobiographical story of Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahara and his childhood in the aftermath of the firebombing of Japan. In reading the description, you might think that it's a long, slow slog through starvation and desperation--and yes, it is that--but it's also a lovingly humanistic story about two characters attempting to see one another through a massive, disruptive tragedy in the ruins of their nation.
Well news has come down from Crunchyroll that Sentai Filmworks has acquired the rights to the film and will be planning a remastered DVD sometime next year and digital distribution sometime this winter.
Here's the official description of the heartbreaking drama from Sentai:
Grave of the Fireflies has been universally hailed as both an artistic and emotional tour de force, with famed critic Roger Ebert calling the feature “An emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation” and stating that “it belongs on any list of the greatest war films ever made.” Sentai Filmworks is extraordinarily honored to have been given the privilege of handling the digitally restored version of one of the art of animation’s true crowning achievements.
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, it is a film that perhaps only the animated medium could render without completely overloading human senses, transforming the fog of war and the screams of the dying into what Ebert calls “visual poetry.”
The last rights holders for the movie were the now-defunct ADV films, so it's nice to see more of that massive catalog of titles that they held finding new homes.
Look for more news about Grave of the Fireflies sometime next year.