Grave of the Fireflies
Two disc collection

Starring (voice): Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi and Yoshiko Shinohara
Optimum Asia
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: PG
Available 23 August 2004

Japan during World War II. Seita and his little sister Setsuko struggle to survive after their mother is killed in an air raid. With their father away serving in the Japanese navy, the two children have only each other to depend on as they try desperately to find food, shelter and the will to live at a time when even their own relatives are too selfish to help them...

Studio Ghibli's classic 1988 Grave of the Fireflies has been restored and released as a double disc DVD collection. This movie is a visually stunning and emotionally powerful film that meditates on the devastating consequences of war.

Thankfully, this movie allows you the option of switching between the English and Japanese audio tracks. Believe me, the original Japanese track is the better. Do yourself a favour, switch the soundtrack over to the original source and read the English subtitles. It's not that the English audio track is that bad, it's just that it's not particularly fantastic. And only a philistine would choose the English track over the original.

Extras include storyboard/movie comparison, interview with director Isao Takahata, Japanese release promo, Isao Takahata biography, Akiyuki Nosaka biography, bonus storyboards, DVNR featurette - video restoration featurette, art gallery, US trailer, Japanese trailer, interview with film critic Roger Ebert and a historical perspective documentary.

To be perfectly honest, I could have down without most of the extras, and I doubt I'll be watching any of them again. But the majority are worth watching if you want to know more about the history of this movie.

The movie itself is well worth £20. A moving masterpiece which will touch even the coldest and most cynical of hearts.

Pete Boomer

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