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Sentai Filmworks Licenses Studio Ghibli's "Grave of the Fireflies"

The anime distributor Sentai Filmworks has announced that it acquired the distribution rights to Grave of the Fireflies. The film is based on the wartime accounts of Nosaka Akiyuki and set in the final days of World War II amid the firebombing of Japan, telling the story of a young boy that struggles to fend for himself and his little sister with nothing else to rely on. Grave of the Fireflies was animated by Studio Ghibli and originally released theatrically in 1988, with directing and screenplay done by Isao Takahata (Pom Poko, My Neighbors the Yamadas, Only Yesterday, Little Norse Prince Valiant).

Sentai intends to begin distributing the movie digitally “this winter”, with a new DVD release featuring digitally remastered video planned for 2012.

The full press release follows:


SENTAI FILMWORKS LICENSES
GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES

HOUSTON, December 1, 2011— Sentai Filmworks proudly announces the company’s acquisition of distribution rights for the critically acclaimed animation masterpiece GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES. Based on the semi-autobiographical retellings of survivor Nosaka Akiyuki and directed by Iaso Takahata (co-founder, with Hayao Miyazaki, of Japan’s legendary Studio Ghibli, the studio that performed the animation duties for the film,) GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES has been universally hailed as both an artistic and emotional tour de force, with famed critic Roger Ebert calling the feature “An emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation” and stating that “it belongs on any list of the greatest war films ever made.” Sentai Filmworks is extraordinarily honored to have been given the privilege of handling the digitally restored version of one of the art of animation’s true crowning achievements.

As the Empire of the Sun crumbles upon itself and a rain of firebombs falls upon Japan, the final death march of a nation is echoed in millions of smaller tragedies. This is the story of Seita and his younger sister Setsuko, two children born at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and now cast adrift in a world that lacks not the care to shelter them, but simply the resources. Forced to fend for themselves in the aftermath of fires that swept entire cities from the face of the earth, their doomed struggle is both a tribute to the human spirit and the stuff of nightmares. Beautiful, yet at times brutal and horrifying, it is a film that perhaps only the animated medium could render without completely overloading human senses, transforming the fog of war and the screams of the dying into what Ebert calls “visual poetry.”

Digital distribution of GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES will begin through many outlets this winter, and a DVD of the digitally restored master will be in stores next year.

About Sentai Filmworks:

Sentai Filmworks is one of the fastest-growing anime companies in North America, including hit series like Highschool of the Dead, Guin Saga, Needless, Canaan and Angel Beats. Sentai Filmworks programs can be found on home video distributed by Ingram Entertainment, Baker & Taylor, Section23Films, The Right Stuf and other good and fine distributors. Digital product offerings may be found at iTunes, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, Zune Marketplace, Anime Network, Playstation Network and YouTube.

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