Studio Ghibli has always done a great job making characters that you can easily relate to, which makes it all the more important to you – as the viewer – to watch these characters face their challenges and grow over time as the story progresses. Though you only spend a short time getting to know the beautifully-crafted world (and the characters which inhabit it), you form something of a bond with them over this time you share together. I think that emotional bond is what makes Grave of the Fireflies all the more painful to watch since you know deep down that things are unlikely to end well, but you spend the whole movie hoping against hope for these two tragic characters. Making this story even more tragic is that it’s actually based in reality.
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