The time period is World War II. The place is Tokyo during the Allied firebombings of the city. In a train station, a boy dies on the platform. This goes unnoticed by the attendants among the many bodies in the station. The beginning of the movie is actually the end of the story. The boy's ghost appears and apologizes to his dead sister. Through flashbacks, we are told the story of two children made orphans by the war. We follow their struggle to survive in a society that has broken down under the horrors of war...a struggle doomed to fail in the end. This movie focuses on what war does to the children, and is very realistically animated. Directed by Isao Takahata, this movie should be seen at least once.
Break out the boxes of kleenex, because you will be needing them for this. This is hands down the single most depressing animated movie ever made. Most films, even foreign ones, have at least some hope for the mains. This one has not even a shred of hope as you watch these two helpless children slowly disintegrate. The visuals are haunting, done in a calm, muted color scheme making it all seem like some horrific dream, or a distant memory. The story is truly incredible, and utterly relentless. The suffering the two children slowly go through is horrific in its realism, especially once you see that it is caused by the greed and fear of their own people. I honestly cannot recommend this film enough, but be warned that this is definitely not for children, or the faint of heart.
Available subbed or dubbed through Central Park Media.