Hotaru no Haka
(Grave of the Fireflies)
|Synopsis - Chapter Three: Mama's Hurt|
A man gives Setsuko some eye drops as a young woman pulls Seita aside, informing him that his mother has been injured. She tells him to go to her, while she watches Setsuko. Seita runs inside the school and looks around. A man with glasses who peeps up from behind a medical curtain recognizes him. He asks Seita if he's okay, then leads him out of the room. The man goes back into the room and pulls a ring out of a tray. Part of the band has been cut off. "This is your mother's, isn't it?"
The man leads Seita past a room full of the wounded and into another room, where the most severely wounded are. It appears to be a science classroom. His mother is on a mat on the floor, her upper body and head totally covered in bloody bandages. She's just now fallen asleep, as the man says. She's breathing. Barely. Seita is too shocked to speak at first. "She really should be in a proper hospital," the man says, as Seita drops to a kneel beside his mother. He asks the man if she can get her medicine, because she's got heart trouble. The man says that he'll ask, then leaves. Seita looks at his mother again. "Mom. . ." he says, but she's no longer breathing.
Seita goes outside and finds Setsuko and the young woman in a sandbox next to a set of pull-up bars. "You saw her?" the woman asks, stepping towards Seita and away from Setsuko. "It's terrible," she continues. Seita says nothing. Setsuko tells her brother that she's thirsty, so he gives her the canteen. The woman asks if they need anything, then volunteers to get their biscuit rations for them. She leaves, and Seita takes Setsuko's purse and puts his mother's ring in it. He tells her to keep the ring in her purse and not to lose it. "Mom's hurt, but she'll get better," he says. She asks him where she is, and he tells her that she's in the hospital in Nishinomiya. Setsuko looks down sadly.
"We'll stay here at the school tonight," he tells her. "Then tomorrow, we'll go to our aunt's place in Nishinomiya." Setsuko ignores him, and the lady returns with the biscuits and invites them to stop by the second floor later, where she and her family will be staying. Seita says they will, then she leaves. He offers the biscuits to Setsuko, who refuses them, wanting instead to see her mother. He tells her they'll go tomorrow, because it's too late. It does appear to be dusk.
She ignores him and grinds the sand with her shoe. She starts crying and kneels down. He walks off closer to the pull-up bars and sits down. After a while, just when it starts to get unbearable, Seita jumps on the highest bar and starts rolling over it, over and over, asking Setsuko to look.
A day or so later, Seita's mother, her body already infested with maggots, is carried off in a stretcher, her arm tagged with the number five. She is put into a pickup truck with other bodies, and Seita follows in a bus, along with other survivors who are making this journey.
Someone ignites a cloth-covered stick and tosses it into a pit filled with the bodies and some wooded debris. Dozens of little wooded boxes are set out on a table nearby in a kind of pyramid. In a voice-over, Seita remembers a conversation that likely occurred earlier, in which a man asks him where he is going. Seita tells him that he'll go to his distant aunt's place in Nishinomiya. "I think she'll take care of us."
Seita is riding a train back to Nishinomiya, with one of the boxes in his lap. A middle-aged woman sitting beside Seita looks at the box sadly. She knows what's inside. The spirit Seita is on the train as well, watching himself and the group of sleeping riders. The spirit Setsuko is sleeping in his lap. The train, now eerily red and empty except for the spirit Seita and Setsuko, comes to a stop at a station. They get off, fireflies floating around them. They walk off together until they come to the top of a hill, from where they can see the living Seita returning to his aunt's house. He enters the front gate and hides the box in the bushes.