American Bombings In Japan Spurred This Influential Studio Ghibli Film

"Grave of the Fireflies" was made by Isao Takahata, who died April 5 at age 82.

American Bombings In Japan Spurred This Influential Studio Ghibli Film
Studio Ghibli / "Grave of the Fireflies"

Acclaimed Japanese anime director Isao Takahata died April 5. But during his life, he wasn't afraid to confront social issues in his films.

He's known for co-founding Studio Ghibli, the studio behind one of Takahata's most famous films — "Grave of the Fireflies." And if you haven't seen the 1988 film, this is your warning there are some spoilers in our story.

"Grave of the Fireflies" borrows from a Japanese short story. But Takahata also found inspiration from his own childhood growing up in Japan during World War II. He witnessed U.S. air raids firsthand, and his film doesn't shy away from the realities of the bombings. It shows death, lack of resources and desperation.

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Takahata told The Japan Times in 2015: "Many TV shows and movies that feature incendiary bombs are not accurate. They include no sparks or explosions. I was there, and I experienced it, so I know what it was like."

Despite the depiction of American atrocities, the film did have a debut in U.S. theaters. It was before Japanese anime's popularity spiked in America, and the film has been seen by generations around the world since.

American film critic Roger Ebert said the film "belongs on any list of the greatest war films ever made."

Takahata died at 82, reportedly from lung cancer.