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Old 2011-07-12, 16:57   Link #21
Theowne
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Quite wonderful. The song's progression is similar to Laputa's "Kimi o Nosete".
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Old 2011-07-13, 05:14   Link #22
MeoTwister5
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Let me correct myself. Feels like Whispers of the Heart and (for some inexplicable reason), Porco Rosso (Yes I don't understand why I feel that way). Good enough for me.
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Old 2011-07-13, 09:43   Link #23
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Originally Posted by MeoTwister5 View Post
Porco Rosso (Yes I don't understand why I feel that way).
Probably because of the classic setting.
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Old 2011-07-23, 13:33   Link #24
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Feels a bit like Whisper of the Heart to me as well. Hopefully it will turn out well, this is Goro's chance to shine. Though if this is a repeat of Tales of Earthsea I could see his career being finished. I'm all for second chances, but 3rd chances? Especially when you consider that Ghibli likely has many other promising individuals waiting in the wings.

Hopefully somone can give us some impressions of it.
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Old 2011-07-28, 17:34   Link #25
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I watched the movie yesterday (July 27). In short, I liked it.

Let me quickly jot down a few rough thoughts and first impressions before doing a more extensive review once I'm back in Singapore.

(1)
A ticket for adults at Shibuya Toho, where I watched the movie, cost a bloody 1,800 yen (US$23; S$28)! Considering that the most I'd ever paid for a movie ticket in Singapore is S$10, you can see why the Tokyo price was a shocker for me.

(2)
The audience comprised mostly adults, with only a handful of very young children. Many of the adults were middle-aged or older. They made up, I'd say, about 30% to 40% of the audience. The movie probably has stronger appeal for older people because of the nostalgia factor (more about this later).

Incidentally, Kokuriku-zaka Kara was No. 3 in the Japanese box office in its opening week. A Pokemon movie was No. 1 in the same period, and I think a Full Metal Alchemist movie at No. 7.

(3)
As mentioned already, the movie is set in 1963 Japan (I believe in Yokohama city, or possibly in Sakuragi-cho), just one year prior to the Tokyo Olympics. I have no idea why Japan seems suddenly nostalgic about that particular year, since we've also recently had Showa Monogatari, set in the time period, appear on TV just recently.

The story follows the life of second-year high-school student Matsuzaki Umi ("Meiru" to her close friends), how she got to know her senior, Kazama Shun, and how she fell in love with him. Of course, the course of true love never does run smooth, and Meiru and Shun will have to deal with a particularly tricky problem that could otherwise doom their blossoming relationship (saying more would spoil the story).

The other major plotline follows the adventures of the students at Meiru and Shun's high school, as they try to prevent the school authorities from demolishing their humanities clubhouse. Incidentally, Shun is, I believe, the assistant editor of the school's newspaper, while Meiru, through a coincidental turn of events, also ends up helping at the newspaper (more a newsletter than an actual paper).

In the tradition of Ghibli shoujo movies, Meiru is a strong, disciplined and well-mannered girl who is admired by most of her classmates. Being the eldest child in her family, she naturally plays the leading role in taking care of not just her younger sister and brother, but also two other long-term residents in the house on the hill where her grandmother lives. Meiru's mother is an assistant professor who is overseas, either to teach or for further studies. Meiru's father was, I believe, a naval officer who commanded a landing ship tank that got sunk during the war.

As for Shun, well, he's a nice guy, an intellectual and a budding activist like the school president (and editor of the newsletter). He's very cool, naturally, the kind of boy any girl would swoon over.

(4)
In terms of overall tone and atmosphere, the movie is closer to the lesser-known Ghibli movie Ocean Waves than it is to Whisper of the Heart.

And that is a surprise, given that Miyazaki Hayao co-wrote the storyboard. It feels more like a Isao Takahata film, say Only Yesterday for example, than a Hayao movie. Kokuriko-zaka Kara has none of the fantasy elements that the elder Miyazaki is known for, and is much more "shoujo" than all his previous movies.

Because it banks so heavily on nostalgia appeal, I really don't see this movie travelling very far outside of Japan and anime fandom. For this reason, Kokuriko-zaka Kara is unlikely to become one of the top films in the Ghibli pantheon but, that said, it's a vast improvement over Tales of Earthsea, so kudos to Miyazaki Goro. The animation doesn't have that mesmerising quality of older Ghibli movies, but it's still top-notch. And the background art is, of course, amazing as usual.

Voice-acting overall was strong, especially for Meiru's character.


OK, that's about all for now. It's already longer than I planned. More details a day or two later if I have the time.
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Old 2011-08-02, 15:43   Link #26
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Originally Posted by Theowne View Post
Quite wonderful. The song's progression is similar to Laputa's "Kimi o Nosete".
So many great songs from Studio Ghibli's films, but you just named my favorite song from the lot.

I cannot tell for Tales from Earthsea. I've yet to watch it soon, but I always expect something good from them even if it comes from the simplest ideas. I'm rarely disappointed with anything related to Studio Ghibli, so I trust them with this new movie coming up.
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Old 2011-08-02, 15:47   Link #27
Flower
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Thanks so much for the review TinyRedLeaf!

Hmm ... Only Yesterday is my fave Ghibli production, and I am also very fond of Ocean Waves. If it is at all like those I will definitely try and give this one a look!
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Old 2011-08-08, 04:45   Link #28
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I have not seen Ocean Waves but Only Yesterday is a favorite of mine so a movie with the same feeling sounds very good to me.

Thanks for the review!
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Old 2011-08-16, 11:17   Link #29
TinyRedLeaf
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Unofficial second "trailer" of the movie, containing the pivotal scene that complicates Meru and Shun's relationship. The details have already been released on Wikipedia, so I think it's already public knowledge. Still, in case people don't want to know, I'll use spoiler tags.

Spoiler for trailer spoiler:


Having thought further about the historical significance of the setting in relation to the movie's key themes, I realised that there is, as usual, a hidden depth to Hayao Miyazaki's screenplay that is worth discussing further once more people have viewed the movie. Suffice to say that 1963/4 was a time of incipient revolution in Japan, as the children of the Baby Boomer generation enter adulthood and begin agitating against old taboos in a youthful some would say naive push for social change.
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Old 2011-09-05, 00:10   Link #30
Theowne
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Well, well, well, look what showed up on the Toronto International Film Festival website

Quote:
From Up On Poppy Hill
Kokurikozaka kara
.......a charmingly nostalgic, sometimes tragic story of young love and student protest against the period of revitalization before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.....
Considering the length of time I usually have to wait until I can lay my eyes on the latest film from my favourite studio, this is really a treat. All of you in Toronto, don't pass up the opportunity!
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Last edited by Theowne; 2011-09-17 at 19:29.
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Old 2011-09-17, 19:10   Link #31
Theowne
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I've just returned from the final showing of the film at the Toronto Film Festival. More detailed review on my site, but for now, my essential feeling is that I enjoyed the film while thinking that it didn't quite match its potential due to one particular plot point.

I was one of those who had presumed that the film would be similar in atmosphere to Whisper of the Heart. Instead, as alluded to above, the tone of the film indeed felt more like a merging of Ocean Waves (which TinyRedLeaf mentioned) along with the flashback portions of Omohide Poroporo (simply for the depiction of growing up in a different era). The portrayal of the period was very well done - perhaps the part of the film that will linger in my mind the most. Maybe I'm a sucker for "simpler times".

Compared to Earthsea, this one felt much more like a Ghibli film to me, with very lush, beautiful artwork of the semi-rural setting, and a gentle, detailed touch to the moments of daily life. The imagination is there too, in the case of the wildly unkept clubhouse which the students are attempting to preserve. Although we cannot be sure how much of the film Hayao Miyazaki wrote - as he is credited as a co-author - I cannot help but imagine that the scenes where the students - the radicals - decry the majority for worshipping the future and forgetting the past must be harking back to the protests of his own youth - mentioned in Starting Point.

However, for me, the film attempted to insert a conflict that I didn't feel it needed, when it came to the love story (and thus added an overtone of melodrama - though the film is somewhat self-aware about that).
Spoiler for Specific discussion of a plot point:

In the end, I found it to be a well-made, though not overly affecting, film. Regardless, I am more comfortable about Goro being a frontline director than I was after Earthsea.
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Last edited by Theowne; 2011-09-18 at 11:39.
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Old 2011-09-20, 11:04   Link #32
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From Up On Poppy Hill tops Japan's 2011 box office
Quote:
Tokyo (Sept 19): Studio Ghibli's most recent film, Kokuriko-Zaka Kara, has overtaken this year's two Pokemon films to become the highest-earning domestic film in Japan this year.

About two months after its theatre release here, Kokuriko-Zaka Kara topped ticket sales for Gekijoban Pocket Monster Best Wishes! Victini to Kuroki Eiyu Zekrom and Gekijoban Pocket Monster Best Wishes! Victini to Shiroki Eiyu Reshiram. All three movies opened on July 16.

As of Sept 11, Kokuriko-Zaka Kara has grossed the equivalent of US$53.8 million, while the two Pokemon movies earned about US$53.4 million combined. The film was seen 445,269 times on 457 theaters in its first three days, and was seen about 3,300,000 times by Sept 14.

Studio Ghibli is no stranger to domestic box-office success: In 1997, Mononoke Hime grossed US$154 million over eight months, while Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi earned US$229.6 million in 2001 to become the highest-grossing film in Japanese history.

Because of its popularity, Kokuriko-Zaka Kara will continue to play next month on 300 screens in Japan. It will also receive a new poster (right) after a suggestion by the film's writer and planner, Hayao Miyazaki.

ANIME NEWS NETWORK
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Old 2011-09-20, 15:37   Link #33
Guardian Enzo
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That's nice for Miyazaki Goro. Lord knows after the way has father has pissed all over his talent, he deserves a nice break or two.
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Old 2011-09-20, 16:30   Link #34
TinyRedLeaf
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Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
That's nice for Miyazaki Goro. Lord knows after the way has father has pissed all over his talent, he deserves a nice break or two.
I often wonder about the supposed animosity between father and son. I highly suspect it was nowhere near as spiteful as many people think.
Quote:
I heard that your father Mr Hayao was strongly against this production of the movie. Have you spoken with Mr Hayao recently?

Goro: I haven't spoken to him at all. In about August of last year (2005), before actual production started, producer Suzuki told me at an internal Ghibli meeting to say a few words to mark the beginning of production on Ged, so I said "I will do my best" and at the same time, "When this is over, I want to go back to the Ghibli Museum". I said this to put everybody at ease. When it reached my father's ears, he called me in and said: "Are you that half-hearted! Don't build yourself an escape route from the start!" We had a shouting argument, and that was the last time we talked to each other. When we bump into each other at work, whoever notices first just silently gets out of the way. (laughs)
And the elder Miyazaki's comment at Earthsea's preview screening:
Quote:
"It was an honest way of making, and good."
Source


The way I see it, and based on subsequent interviews, it would appear that Hayao Miyazaki 1) objected to Goro's involvement in the first place because he didn't want his children to follow in his footsteps, knowing as he did how demanding the job can be; 2) once Goro got on board, though, Hayao was furious at any hint of him putting in anything less than his maximum effort.

Still, yup, the results do help to validate Goro Miyazaki's abilities. But he was helped by a good script, which featured a strong element of nostalgia that appeals to a domestic audience, particularly older Japanese. Sooner or later, Ghibli will have to grow out of such stories. What then, I wonder?
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Old 2011-09-20, 17:02   Link #35
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Perhaps Goro is more geared toward slice of life movies instead of action or fantasy.
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Old 2011-09-20, 17:36   Link #36
Guardian Enzo
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I really don't think it's as innocent as all that. Hayao's pal Oshii Mamru said "(Hayao) has the sense of crisis that he is being driven into retirement by the young generation. He tries to kick the other party to the bottom of a ravine, even in the case of his own son . . . " There's also all the public sniping they've done at eat other - "zero points as a father", "from my earliest awareness to the present day, I hardly ever had the chance to talk to him", etc... I think it's just a reality that Hayao is an epic failure as a father, as great a director as he is. It's too bad, but it happens all the time in show business.
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Old 2011-09-20, 17:52   Link #37
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Earthsea made more money ah...

Though I figure that had more to do with the targeted audience of Earthsea being of a more general variety compared to Kokuriko-Zaka Kara, which is more geared towards a much older crowd.

Still, credit given where it's due. Congrats to Miyazaki Jr. for making a critically acclaimed movie, and stepping up considerably after his last film. Still,
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Still, yup, the results do help to validate Goro Miyazaki's abilities.
I wonder. I'm not trying to damp down on Goro's skill, considering that he made Earthsea while being a near-complete novice (judging from his blog, the film could've been much worse ...) and then made an effort afterwards to learn more about the craft and create a better movie ... this is still a movie made with the guiding hand of Miyazaki Sr. How much of the movie was it ''Goro's learning from his past mistakes'' and how much ''with the blessings of Hayao''?
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
But he was helped by a good script, which featured a strong element of nostalgia that appeals to a domestic audience, particularly older Japanese. Sooner or later, Ghibli will have to grow out of such stories. What then, I wonder?
Fade into obscurity?

This is sort of what worries me right now. Sometimes I wonder if Ghibli can really make a critically accepted film without the help of Hayao Miyazaki, or one that doesn't really on nostalgia.

EDIT:

Quote:
He tries to kick the other party to the bottom of a ravine, even in the case of his own son
Miyazaki Sr. capitalizing on all the credit and talent confirmed? Ghibli is DOOOOOOOMED!!
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Old 2011-09-20, 18:29   Link #38
Theowne
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If Miyazaki Sr. is trying to stamp out new competition, I'd have to wonder why his qualms only extend to Goro and not the other up and coming directors, who have had no similar problems with garnering his support.

I would think his "issue" is more that Goro hopped over every hurdle to becoming a director of a major film based on the fact that he carries the Miyazaki name. Before directing Earthsea, he worked in landscaping. Hayao has certainly made his thoughts on a "Miyazaki dynasty" clear in certain interviews.
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Old 2012-03-19, 11:21   Link #39
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Heads up to those of you still waiting to watch this excellent movie.

The "first press" limited edition Blu-ray is available for pre-order. It will come with subtitles in English, French and "more languages". The official release date is June 20. For full list of other related products, check here.
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Old 2012-10-03, 07:32   Link #40
omimon
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If it was up to me I think the ending would have been better/more romantic if they actually were "you know what". They could have eloped just like what Umi's parents did. I would have liked that even more.
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