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    I Just Watched The Saddest Movie Ever Made And Now I'm Ugly Crying

    OH. MY. GOD.

    So real quick before I start: Grave of the Fireflies (1988) is universally considered a masterpiece that revolutionized the world of animation and put Studio Ghibli on the map. It's also considered one of the saddest films to have ever been made. With that in mind, let's do this.

    Studio Ghibli

    FYI, I will be watching the Japanese-language version of the film.

    Also, if you're so inclined to, feel free to listen to the soundtrack of this film while you read this:

    View this video on YouTube

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    Hey! It's the Studio Ghibli opening intro. Totoro is on there, so this must mean that I'm in for an exciting adventure! RIGHT?

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    WRONG! Shit gets dark real fast.

    Studio Ghibli

    This is Seita, our hero. He's 14-years-old and we find out he's dead in the first 15 seconds of the film. So far, so dark.

    He spends his final seconds of life sitting alone in a train station, surrounded by, for lack of a better term, DICKS.

    Studio Ghibli

    Literally, no one gives a shit about Seita. They call him "disgusting" and "a tramp." Total dicks.

    Except for this person who leaves some food for him.

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    HOORAY FOR EMPATHY!

    Seita takes one final breath, falls over, and dies.

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    This is some morbid shit and the movie just started.

    FLASHBACK! Air raid sirens are going off! American planes are about to hit up Seita and Setsuko's hometown, but they stay behind to bury groceries, while the mom heads over to a bomb shelter.

    Studio Ghibli

    Which is a little odd. Why they can't go together? I don't know. But if that were my mom, she wouldn't leave my sister and I alone by ourselves during an air raid. At least I would hope she wouldn't...IDK actually.

    We also find out their dad is serving in the Imperial Japanese Navy, hence why he's not around.

    As Seita and Setsuko run out of their house, hell rains down on the town and shit gets real.

    Studio Ghibli

    The planes drop pipes full of oil and fire, which can cause serious damage to a town made out of paper and wood. There's no other way to put it, this scene is horrible. Seita is carrying Setsuko on his back while armageddon is happening all around him.

    This is what was left of their hometown:

    Studio Ghibli

    Fucking hell...

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    But even in the midst of chaos and destruction, Setsuko still has her innocence intact. Here, she shows Seita just how much money she has.

    Studio Ghibli

    She has nothing but a bunch of fake money and two coins. But to her, it's everything. And it's really charming.

    Seita and Setsuko go to a school for first aid, and eventually find their mom, but she looks...well...not good:

    Studio Ghibli

    Setsuko isn't in the room. But how Seita doesn't completely break down right then and there is beyond me. If that were me, I'd be losing my shit, ugly-crying like a damn baby.

    Seita tells his sister that their mom is sick and needs to stay in the hospital. Setsuko understandably loses her shit.

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    Seita tries cheering her up by doing some Spider-Man acrobatics:

    Studio Ghibli

    Which doesn't help. Setsuko crying breaks my fucking heart, man.

    We find out that their mom succumbs to her injuries and dies. Her body is riddled with maggots and flies, proving once and for all that WAR. FUCKING. SUCKS.

    Studio Ghibli

    They dump her body in a mass grave and set it on fire while Seita watches. They give him his mother's leftover ashes.

    Studio Ghibli

    Let's remember that this kid is 14-years-old. He has no hometown, no mom, and his dad is away fighting in the war. Also, homie is now the sole caretaker of his 4-year-old sister.

    Seita and Setsuko move in with their aunt, and all is OK. But Seita keeps lying to his sister about their mother's condition.

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    Like, homie...your mom's ashes are in a box...

    Seita goes back to his "home" to dig up the groceries he left behind and...HEY! It's a red candy tin box!

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    A beacon of hope!

    And throughout the film, he uses the fruit drops from the red candy tin box to cheer his sister up when she's feeling down.

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    This red candy tin box becomes like the third main character.

    And he takes her to the beach because who doesn't like the beach??

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    Setsuko looks SO happy, despite the world around her going to shit. Her innocence is pure, and it's so heartwarming.

    But all her happiness comes to a screeching halt when she stumbles upon a random decaying dead body.

    Studio Ghibli

    WAR. FUCKING. SUCKS.

    At one point, the aunt turns into a total asshole. She takes all their food, forces them to sell their mother's belongings, and calls them "pests." She's just a terrible person.

    Studio Ghibli

    She's also SUPER nationalist, and calls her nephews "lazy slugs" for not helping in the war effort.

    The aunt eventually gets fed up with her nephews (because she's awful), so Seita and Setsuko peace out and move into an abandoned bomb shelter.

    Which on one hand, it's cool because FUCK THAT AUNT. On the other hand, Seita and Setsuko are living in an abandoned bomb shelter...which is maybe not the best place to live?

    Nevertheless, Seita keeps his sister happy. He collects a bunch of fireflies and lets them loose inside of the bomb shelter.

    Studio Ghibli

    While I would get squeamish with all these bugs flying around, if that's what makes her happy, then cool.

    And then we have this beautiful, heartwarming shot of Seita and Setsuko cuddling with each other as they fall asleep.

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    :'(

    The next day, Setsuko digs up a hole and throws a bunch of the dead fireflies inside. Seita asks what she's doing and then she drops this line:

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    "Auntie told me. She said mama died and she's in a grave now."

    Studio Ghibli

    SERIOUSLY, FUCK THAT AWFUL HUMAN BEING.

    We see this horrifying image of the mom being thrown into the mass grave:

    Studio Ghibli

    And for the first time, at 57:13, we finally see Seita cry.

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    CRY HOMIE! Just let it out. Let that shit out!

    Time passes, and while Setsuko is still charming as ever, she's starting to show signs of deteriorating health. Her hair is full of lice...

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    Oh lord...

    ...and her back is looking like absolute shit.

    HOLY FUCK. Seita! Take her back to your aunt. Fuck pride homie. Look after your sister's well-being!

    And then, there's this:

    Studio Ghibli

    Goddamn it.

    One day, Seita gets caught stealing from a sugar cane field, so the farmer beats the shit out of him in front of Setsuko and drags him to the police station, who doesn't know what the hell is going on.

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    Setsuko screams, "SEITA! SEITA!" My feels, man...

    The police let him go, and as soon as Seita walks out, Setsuko is standing there waiting for him. She sees him crying and says this:

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    OH MY GOD.

    And homie breaks down.

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    At this point, I have a knot in my throat that's starting to ache a bit.

    One day, Seita comes home to find Setsuko passed out, so he FINALLY takes her to a doctor.

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    But the doctor simply says, "Weakening from malnutrition...from the diarrhea" and goes on to his next patient. Seita flips out and screams at the doctor because FUCK. THAT. DOCTOR.

    Studio Ghibli

    Seriously, Setsuko looks like absolute shit and this doctor doesn't do anything about it. What an asshole.

    But at the same time, Seita isn't doing what's best for his sister. He should go back to his aunt (even though she's the devil), and get his sister some food so she can live.

    Studio Ghibli

    Seita instead decides to withdraw whatever money his family has left in the bank and buy food.

    At the bank, Seita finds out his dad is dead. The Japanese have surrendered, and the Japanese naval fleet is "gone."

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    So now, these poor souls have no mother, no father, no hometown, no family, and no food.

    He gets back to the bomb shelter, and his sister is sucking on marbles, pretending like their fruit drops.

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    She clutches onto her doll and the red candy tin box.

    She tells Seita that she made some rice balls for him. They weren't rice balls. They're just rocks.

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    Girl is starting to hallucinate. This isn't good.

    Seita quickly cuts up a watermelon and gives her a slice. He tells her that everything is gonna be alright and he's gonna cook up some chicken and rice for her.

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    He then leaves the room

    And then a chilling voice over:

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    WHAT. THE. FUCK. NO!

    And then, there's this truly heartbreaking shot of Seita holding his dead 4-year-old sister:

    Studio Ghibli

    At this point, I'm feeling as empty as Seita's stare. My eyes are teary and I've moved into a more private room in the office. I keep getting intense flashbacks of my sister when she was 4, and there's a big hole in my heart.

    We see a montage, set to a slow and somber opera, of Setsuko happily running around and playing in the abandoned bomb shelter. There are shots of the dishes left behind, the leftover food that was never eaten, and their dead mother's ashes.

    Studio Ghibli

    Now, I'm not a crier. I have a hard exterior and I do my best not to cry. But, this movie right now is hitting me at such a deep level, that I'm actually crying. My diaphragm is going up and down, and my tears are splashing over my keyboard. If you watch this part and it doesn't hit you on some emotional level, you have no soul.

    Seita prepares to cremate his sister. He places her doll, her blue scarf, and her mini-purse inside the box with her.

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    But he keeps the red candy tin box.

    Studio Ghibli

    "I put some of Setsuko's ashes into the candy tin."

    After Seita finishes burning his sister's body, he leaves the bomb shelter once and for all. We then see the spirits of Seita and Setsuko, sitting on a park bench...happy.

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    And the final shot of the film is of them looking at modern-day Kobe, the city where all of this mayhem took place.

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    As the credits roll, I feel like I've been punched in the gut and there's absolutely nothing left to live for. I can't get Setsuko's voice out of my head, and I'm ugly-crying so bad I think I'm gonna stay inside this room until everyone in the office leaves. This movie is so goddamn depressing, man...

    I think I'm gonna call my sister and tell her I love her.

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