From Up on Poppy Hill is a 2011 animated film from Studio Ghibli. The film was directed by Goro Miyazaki and written by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa. The film is set in Yokohama during the 1960s, where the villagers are starting to prefer modern innovations compared to traditions and old buildings that remind them of bad times.
Umi, is a shy teenaged girl managing her grandma’s boarding house. Every morning, she raises signal flags in memory of her father who died during the war. Meanwhile, Shun is a member of the newspaper club and the Quarter Latin. The Quarter Latin is trying to stop the school board from tearing down the dilapidated building that the boys use as a club house.
The two met in an unexpected and memorable way and soon develops feelings for each other that exceeds beyond friendship and camaraderie. However, just when their dreams and hopes of saving the old building, a family secret threatens to drive the two apart.
From Up on Poppy Hill is probably one of the most unexpected Studio Ghibli film I have ever seen. It drives away from the usual Studio Ghibli films that are filled with magic and folklore. This one on the other hand, focuses on a more realistic and historical story that will surely remind you of your teenage years. Being a Studio Ghibli fan, I was a bit skeptical when watching this film. But thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed.
The subtlety of the film is commendable and the directing is superb. The graphics are amazing and don’t get me started on the soundtracks. I also love the development and personality of each characters.
Their first encounter was one of my favorite scenes from the film. They met in a very unexpected way that it was clearly impossible that the two would forget each other. Though the development of their relationship wasn’t the highlight of the film, it is very noticeable and will remind you of the time when you first had your crush.
Aside from that, the film is the perfect combination of hope, dreams, romance, sadness and a somewhat cliche plot (like Shun said, “It’s like some cheap melodrama.”) Even, so I can’t deny that this film offers a new style to Studio Ghibli films. It plays on nostalgic memories, emotions and reality, which makes it more relatable.
I really wish to see more of this type of films from Studio Ghibli. Kudos to Goro Miyazaki for being able to create a film that distinguishes and separates him from his father. On another note, this scene reminds me of someone. ME.