Why remake it in live action? Ebert made a good argument for the advantages of animation with the material, based on a semi-autobiographical novel: "Live action would have been burdened by the weight of special effects, violence and action. Animation allows [director Isao] Takahata to concentrate on the essence of the story, and the lack of visual realism in his animated characters allows our imagination more play; freed from the literal fact of real actors, we can more easily merge the characters with our own associations." Bill Mousoulis at Senses of Cinema commented on the "heightened realist style" of the backdrops and other physical entities. He felt the "true magic" of the film lay in depicting the children's reactions, making it "a humanist masterpiece."
Nonetheless, this will be the second live action remake of the story. In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, NTV in Japan produced a version that aired in 2005, relating the story from the point of view of the children's aunt. Taro Hyugaji, the director of the new planned version, previously made Portrait of the Wind, a contemporary drama. He certainly has his work cut out for him.