Review: From Up on Poppy Hill

A anime movie from Studio Ghibli which quietly hit the cinema and went in 2011 which feels like forever ago. I missed the initial cinema showing but caught it on DVD release which I borrowed from Becca, (League of Extraordinary Cosplayers). This anime tells a tale of two kids fated to find out a sick truth that would change their lives forever.

This story is based around history and is set in 1963 Yokohama, Japan, the first thing that struck me is the main protagonist – high school girl Umi Matsuzaki. She has the same tendencies of the characters in Ponyo, everyday in her boarding house she puts up flags as they did with the lights in Ponyo. Umi is forced to grow up early as her mother is always away for business so she is left managing her Grandma’s boarding house. This entails from waking up before all the guests, cooking breakfast, getting herself and her sister ready for school. Her father went out to sea to never return but puts the flags up in case he ever did come back.

One day a school a bunch of kids set up a spectacle to get attention on the pending close of their club house. This envolves a boy jumping into a pond/pool. The boy is Shun Kazama, a dashing member of the school’s newspaper club, he straight away charms Umi into helping him clean up the school’s clubhouse, Quartier Latin.

Tokumaru, however, has different ideas, the chairman of the local high school and a businessman, intends to demolish the building for redevelopment and Umi and Shun, along with Shirō Mizunuma, must all band the school together to convince him the building is important to them.

Without ruining the whole movie there is another plot revolving closely around Shun and affects the developing relationship between him and Umi, as school crushes go this one is complicated.

Umi is considered lucky as everything she is involved becomes fruitful. This is hard for her to live up to as Shun takes a turn for the worst in his beaten male ego which he takes out on her ignoring her. Which everyone notices.

The missing parental figures are quiet important to the story and through miscommunication and assumptions a huge secret is unearthed about Shun which is is desperately trying to prove wrong again with Umi by his side everything is put straight.

This film requires a lot of focus as every little detail is important to both intertwining plots. The best way to describe this movie is historical slice of life. I much prefer Studio Ghibli’s fantasy aspects which this story had zero amount of and one of the themes is quite cringe worthy. To not spoil it I recommend if you are a hardcore Ghibli fan you should go watch. If you got bored of Ocean’s Wave then stay away from this title too!

I give this movie a 5/10

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