Sentai to Distribute Ghibli’s ‘Grave of the Fireflies’

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Isao Takahata’s celebrated anime 1988 film Grave of the Fireflies will be re-released by North American anime licensing company Sentai Filmworks on DVD in 2012. Digital distribution will begin this winter, and a DVD of a digitally restored master is planned for next year. The film was previously released by Central Park Media and ADV Films.

Based on Akiyuki Nosaka’s semi-autobiographical wartime novel, the anime is often cited as one of the best movies of all time. It’s set during the final days of WWII and follows 14-year-old Seita and his four-year-old sister Setsuko who are orphaned during an air raid by American forces in Kobe. After having a falling out with their aunt, they move into an abandoned bomb shelter. With no surviving relatives and their emergency funds and rations depleted, Seita and Setsuko must struggle to survive their hardships as well as those of their country, which is on the losing end of the war.

Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies

Film critic Roger Ebert put the movie on his Great Movies list and called it “an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation.” It also ranked number 12 on Total Film magazine’s 50 greatest animated films of all time.