From Up on Poppy Hill

Unforeseen day, this was. Regrettably, the recent Japan Ghibli Studio film which is considered to set the international standard for animated films has not lived up to its billing. In his first co-production with father Hayao Miyazaki, a living legend in animation industry, Goro Miyazaki directed “From Up on Poppy Hill” (2011) about two likable and quite regular college going students who are involved in no outstanding activities and simply happen to be in love.

In actual fact, our main character is an old run down house called Latin Quarter. One of those structures much loved by Hayao Miyazaki like those in Howl’s moving castle or the floating bathhouse of Spirited Away it is a clubhouse sprawling outwards into performance spaces, studios, laboratories and galleries among other precincts favored by bohemian members dwelling there. Above its grand stair case that was similarly covered with dust as everything else inside the building dangles a rattling chandelier.

An all-star American cast including Jamie Lee Curtis, Beau Bridges, Bruce Dern etc had been engaged for this English language adaptation. On Poppy Hill above town Umi (voiced by Sarah Bolger) lives with her grandmother at a boarding house over looking the port. Every morning she gets up early to hoist flags up and helps her father whose ship sank during Korean war. Her dad taught her naval flag signals so she hopes this will bring him back someday.

From Up on Poppy Hill

Now it is 1963; Tokyo’s forthcoming summer Olympics necessitates Latin Quarter’s demolitions. Together these demonstrators start parading around some place where they carried their protest on campus for days but Shun instead takes her onto his bike and shows off all rooms of their headquarters one-by-one till he stops outside a long row of rubbish cans where some junior members are scrubbing floors while their seniors are washing windows. The newbies fascinated her, so she joined them in a damage control exercise and decided that it was time to clean the place up. Her friends and her throw out junk, wash the floors clean, dust and organize it. It’s just in time; they hope to convince Chairman of the Board Tokumaru (Beau Bridges) to come with them on a tour.

A story is what we have here not without some suspense however filled with twists. What is missing are Miyazaki’s typical complex baroque characters such as old woman who runs the bathhouse in Spirited Away or little Marxian shape shifters from that movie. Attractive though plain faced people are square, flat mouthed etc.

The most alluring part of this animation is its pacifying imagery is pleasing rather than mind blowing at least not for most people. As compared with pictorial extremes Ghibli has gone through during its earlier years, Up on Poppy Hill can be seen as less intense. Just like before, has director gauged his nation’s disposition? From up on poppy hill doesn’t seem to be Japan’s top grossing film of 2011 but it definitely was indeed. You will also Visit Kissassian For Anime Series.

Watch From Up on Poppy Hill on Kisscartoon

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