Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Grave of the Fireflies' or 'Hotaru no haka')
by Isao Takahata
Japanese 1994

Two children die of starvation in the wake of the American bombing of Japan. The story is simple, and arresting. There is no maudlin sentiment here, no deliberate manipulation of the viewer's feelings. It all unfolds in quiet dignity, and breaks the viewer's heart. I could not bear to watch it in its entirety, but had to view it in two sittings, a week in between. There is no need to talk about the animation, to try to justify it as a valid means of serious cinematic expression. It is a masterpiece of World Cinema, one of the most searlingly intense depictions of war and its consequences ever created by anyone, anytime.

 

Setsuko is about 4 four years old. Her brother Seita is 12-14. We know they are dead from the beginning. Seita's ghost leads us like Virgil through Paradiso, Purgatorio and Inferno, all on the earth, and all in the experience of two young children. Their mother dies of injuries sustained in an Allied attack. Seita stands in mute horror as, wrapped in bloody bandages and covered in wriggling maggots, she is dumped into a hole with the bodies of others who have died in the makeshift hospital. He never had the chance to say goodbye. Now he must be mother and father to little Setsuko. He hides their mother's death from her. but she misses Mama intensely. The portrayal of a little girl is delicate and true to life. She tries hard to be brave, shifting her shoulders back and forth as she struggles not to cry when it becomes clear Mama is far away. Seita, the burden of caring for them both laid upon his inexperienced shoulders, does all he can to care for her. The love between them is indescribably affecting. Seita tries to cheer her with little games, and candies. But he is fighting a battle against the great void that will eventually engulf us all. An aunt they go to for shelter humiliates and starves them. Eventually they leave and try to live in a bomb shelter. They develop terrible rashes and diarrhea through malnutrition. Seita is beaten for stealing vegetables to keep his little sister alive. Setsuko grows weaker. One day, after eating dirt she imagines to be rice balls, she falls asleep for the last time. He cremates her, and carries her ashes in the little candy tin she loved.

Excerpt from Ramcharan's review found HERE

Posters etc.  

 

 

 

Reviews           More Reviews            R0 DVD Reviews             R2 DVD Reviews               R1 SE DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Kaze (FR) Region 2- PAL vs. Warner Bros. Japan R2 - NTSC vs. CPM CS Region 1 - NTSC vs. Pony Canyon - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. eOne - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Vincent Bouche of DVD Compare for the Kaze screen captures!

1) Kaze Region 2 - PAL  -LEFT

2) Warner Bros. Japan Region 2 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Central Park Media SE R1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Pony Canyon - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) eOne - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Also available in the UK May 2013

Distribution Kaze
Region 2 (France)
Warner Bros. ( Japan )
Region 2 (NTSC)
Central Park Media / Us Manga Corps
Region 1 encoded 

Pony Canyon

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

eOne

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

The Japanese Blu-ray also available in a two-pack with My Neighbor Totoro (also with English subtitles)

   

Runtime 1:24:54 1:28:09 1:30:03 1:28:31.597 1:28:31.597
Video

1.85 Original Aspect Ratio - 16x9 enhanced
Average Bitrate : 7.79 Mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78:1 Letterboxed WideScreen 16x9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.0
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Widescreen 1.85:1

16x9 enhanced

Average Bitrate: 10.99
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,236,810,397 bytes

Feature: 26,263,830,528 bytes bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.14 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 32,961,575,368 bytes

Feature: 18,790,797,312 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.81 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate:

Kaze Region 2 - PAL

Bitrate:

Warner Bros. Japan

Bitrate:

CPM CS Version

Bitrate:

Pony Canyon Blu-ray

Bitrate:

eOne Blu-ray

Audio Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0
- French Dolby Digital 2.0

Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0)

English (Dubbed) (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0) DTS-HD Master Audio Japanese 2120 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2120 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
* Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2086 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2086 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2018 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2018 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Japanese 2097 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2097 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles French, German or none English, Japanese, None English, None Japanese, English, None English, None
Features Features :
Discographic information :

- Layers : dual
- Available Audio Tracks: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0) and French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
- Available subtitles : French, German and none
- Limited collector's edition (only 15 000 ex.)
 
In the box, you find :
- a booklet (24 pages) with photos
- the original novel "Grave of the Fireflies" by Akiyuki NOSAKA.
 
Extras :
- 6 Theatrical Trailers (but none for Grave of the Fireflies)
- 3 Image galleries
- Making of (7:18) (Japanese with French subtitles)
- Isao Takahata interview (26:40) (Japanese with French subtitles)
- Interviews (about 1:40:00) (French)
  • Japanese Language
  • English Subtitles
  • Original movie trailer
  • Making of Hotaru no Haka

NOTE: Extras are in Japanese and UN-subtitled.

  • Running Time: 89 mins.
  • DVD Video
  • Color
  • Layers: single-sided/single-layered
  • Aspect Ratio(s): 16:9 LB Vista
  • Regional Encoding: 2
  • Subtitles: English Japanese
  • NTSC Format
  • Audio Track :
      Japanese /Dolby Digital /Surround
Edition Details:
• Animated, Color, Widescreen
• Number of discs: 2
Commentary Track
 Biographies
 Restoration Featurette
 Storyboards
 Art Gallery

 2nd Disc:

  • Interview with Roger Ebert (12 minutes) and director Isao Takahata (18 minutes)

  • Creative Team Extras

  • Production Extras

  • Historical Perspective -12-minute interview with historians Theodore and Haruko Taya Cook

  • DVD ROM

  • Trailers

Release Information:
Studio: Pony Canyon

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,236,810,397 bytes

Feature: 26,263,830,528 bytes bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.14 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
J
apanese language extras

Release Information:
Studio: eOne

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 32,961,575,368 bytes

Feature: 18,790,797,312 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.81 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
Storyboards (1:28:33 in 1080P)

Deleted Scene Storyboard 1 (1:53 in 480i)

Deleted Scene Storyboard 2 (:38 in 480i)

Japanese Trailer (1:47 in 1080P)

DVD release date : August 19, 2002
Special box
Chapters : 8
DVD Release Date: 12 April 2000
Keep Case
Chapters: 12
DVD Release Date: October 8, 2002
Transparent  Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Blu-ray Release Date: July 17th, 2012
Custom Blu-ray Case inside cardboard slipcase

Chapters 13

Blu-ray Release Date: November 20th, 2012
Standard Blu-ray Case Chapters
14

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: eOne (Sentai Filmworks) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (November 2012): Despite the immense technical superiority of the Pony Canyon transfer, with approaching double the bitrate, my eyes can't see much difference in the image quality. The Japanese visuals might be marginally richer but any disparity is not extravagant. Both are 1080P. Ditto for the audio in the 2.0 channel lossless Japanese language track. But the eOne offers a reworked English DUB (supposedly the original English DUB recorded in 1998 is lost) although I still prefer the Japanese with English subtitles.

Supplements included the entire, 1.5 hour, Storyboards in 1080P and two Deleted Scene Storyboards as well as a Japanese trailer.

For those who avoided the costly Pony Canyon you now have the opportunity to get this unforgettable film on Blu-ray for about $16 at Amazon.com ($11 more expensive in Canada for some reason.) Certainly, an essential.

***

ADDITION: Pony Canyon - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (July 2012): I still consider this Studio Ghibli title the saddest film I've ever seen. I took a gamble and ordered the two pack - hoping there would be English subtitles - there are - for both The Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro. The image quality is flawless. It appears slightly darker and passive, and I presume truer, than any of the SDs. Contrast and colors are balanced. It looks great in 1080P. The bitrate is extremely high and the image is smooth with no artifacts. This is the definitive digital appearance for the film.

Audio via a DTS-HD Master in original Japanese (no DUBs) 2.0 channel at 2120 kbps. The plane raids and bombing carry some depth. There are optional English or Japanese subtitles on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.

I'll plead ignorance with the extras - there are a lot and they all appear in Japanese - featurettes, script analysis etc. Menus are not English-friendly.

This transfer raises the film to another level of gut-wrenching emotional impact. It is even more draining in the pristine glory of the higher resolution presentation. Pricey - yes, I agree - but very worthwhile and my Blu-ray collection is all the better for obtaining it. Strong recommendation.

***   

ON THE DVDs: The picture quality of the Region 1 SE release is quite stunning.  Central Park Media obtained a brand-new video master directly from Japan and then cleaned it up through a state-of-the-art DVNR (digital video noise reduction) process. (A look at the original Japanese trailer on the DVNR featurette –  on the second disc, packed with 71 minutes – will show you what an awesome improvement it is over the older R0. Overall I would say the Region 2 Japan is sharpest and the French (no Eng subs) is quite dark but makes the other two look like they have had  some brightness boosting.   

Gary W. Tooze


Recommended Reading for Japanese Film Fans (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Check out more in "The Library"


Menus
(Kaze Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Warner Bros. Japan Region 2 - NTSC -MIDDLE vs. Central Park Media SE R1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 

Pony Canyon - Region 'A' - Blu-ray LEFT vs. eOne - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Blu-ray Subtitle Samples

 

Pony Canyon - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. eOne - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Kaze Region 2 - PAL  -TOP

2) Warner Bros. Japan Region 2 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Central Park Media SE R1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Pony Canyon - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) eOne - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Kaze Region 2 - PAL  -TOP

2) Warner Bros. Japan Region 2 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Central Park Media SE R1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Pony Canyon - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) eOne - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Kaze Region 2 - PAL  -TOP

2) Warner Bros. Japan Region 2 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Central Park Media SE R1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Pony Canyon - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) eOne - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Kaze Region 2 - PAL  -TOP

2) Warner Bros. Japan Region 2 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Central Park Media SE R1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Pony Canyon - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) eOne - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Kaze Region 2 - PAL  -TOP

2) Warner Bros. Japan Region 2 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Central Park Media SE R1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Pony Canyon - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) eOne - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

Pony Canyon - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. eOne - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

Pony Canyon - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. eOne - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

Pony Canyon - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. eOne - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

Pony Canyon - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. eOne - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

Pony Canyon - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. eOne - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

Pony Canyon - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP vs. eOne - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

Report Card:

Image:

Blu-rays

Sound:

Blu-rays (eOne offers the English DUB)

 

Box Covers

Also available in the UK May 2013

Distribution Kaze
Region 2 (France)
Warner Bros. ( Japan )
Region 2 (NTSC)
Central Park Media / Us Manga Corps
Region 1 encoded 

Pony Canyon

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

eOne

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

The Japanese Blu-ray also available in a two-pack with My Neighbor Totoro (also with English subtitles)

   

Hit Counter



 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

 CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...