Friday, August 09, 2013

Film — From up on Poppy Hill

The new(ish) Ghibli movie, only a couple of years in arriving on these shores, is a great improvement over Goro Miyazaki's previous endeavour.

Surprisingly for an afternoon performance at the local independent cinema, we actually got the subbed version; though the subs did tend to take some liberties in terms of localization by overstating the obvious at times e.g. when declining a lift rendering "It's OK." as "We'll walk."

Now having seen the trailer ahead of other films, I had expected it to be focused mainly on ships and the harbour; but instead I got a plot that combined Manabi Straight with a touch of the Ore no Imouto's.

It's 1963, Japan is preparing for the Olympics that gave us the girls' outfits for Gunbuster, and Umi is a highschool girl of about 17, managing the domestic side of her grandmother's boarding house, while her doctor mother is away in the States (and her father was lost at sea in the Korean War); between that, the colourful inhabitants of the house and her habit of running signal flags up each day to guide her father back home, you'd think there was enough to be going on with. But it turns out that at school, the boys' club house is going to be torn down as part of the modernisation -- and they aren't happy.

So, in the protests, Umi meets a boy at the school that somehow she's never noticed before, and they start to get fond of each other, while Umi is leading the girls into a massive clean-up and redecoration of the club-house which theyd never 'before entered. And then it turns out the two of them both have copies of the same photo of Umi's father and two shipmates -- and that he handed a baby registered as his son to one of the other men for adoption after they'd lost their child; and that baby is now Umi's crush...

She doesn't seem too bothered about this, even though he is, but at the last minute... I must say I'd never expected to get a going to the wire "but it turns out they're not blood related after all" romance in a Ghibli movie!

Oh, and the clubhouse gets saved, of course.

Overall — slight, but with way more of the Ghibli charm than Earthsea managed.

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