From Up On Poppy Hill a.k.a. Kokuriko-Zaka Kara
Positives:Another fantastic addition to an already superb library.
Negatives:Definitely not in Studio Ghibli's top 3 of all-time.
Take 2 parts “Whisper Of The Heart” + 1 part “Spirited Away” + 1 part “Kiki’s Delivery Service”.
WHY DO YOU SEND YOUR THOUGHTS TO THE SKY?
This marks the second Studio Ghibli project directed by Goro Miyazaki, the master’s son himself. His directorial debut, “Tales From Earthsea”, was well received even if it didn’t garner critical acclaim. I personally liked it, and I couldn’t wait to see what kind of story he and his father, Hayao, could come up with next. “Kokuriko-Zaka Kara” is finally here, so if you’re like me, wait no further and enjoy.
The year is 1963. The place: Konan Academy, a Japanese high school for boys & girls. One sunny afternoon, as the girls are having lunch, the boys organize an impromptu demonstration in the form of a Jackass-esque stunt performed by amateur roof jumping daredevil Shun Kazama. Their goal: to raise awareness about the upcoming scheduled demolition of their school’s clubhouse.
But not just any clubhouse. This is the Latin Quarter! A social club that includes: a poetry club, a chemistry club, an archaeology club, a philosophy club, an astronomy club, a Citizens’ Band radio ( also known as CB radio ) club and a literature club. It even has its own newspaper. So why would anyone want to demolish such a place? Well, to be frank, it kind of looks ( and probably smells ) like a pigsty. A pigsty with a lot of sweaty teens inside.
It is following Shun‘s roof dive that Sora, Umi‘s younger sister, develops a crush on the socio-political stuntman. Managing to snag a picture of her hero mid-flight for a measly 30¥ only fuels her desire to have the legend himself autograph the priceless memento. And so, missing only a sidekick for emotional support, Sora now begs her older sister to accompany her into the lion’s den.
As she enters the Latin Quarter, Umi instantly recognizes what this place has been missing all these years: a good clean-up. But she’s not there to fix anything, she’s there so her sister can meet the man of the hour. And meet him she shall. Along the way, they’ll make new friends, learn about each other’s pasts and perhaps, just perhaps, fall in love.
I can see the top Disney executives, grinning from ear to ear while listening to this soundtrack, as they’re planning who will be the next superstars to reap the glory once they’ve lent their voices to another fabulous Studio Ghibli project. Only this time, Disney gets the shaft.
It’s GKIDS ( Guerrilla Kids International Distribution Syndicate ) that will get the rights to release “Kokuriko-Zaka Kara”. These guys are behind the recent releases of some great titles like “The Secret Of Kells”, “Chico & Rita” and “A Cat In Paris”.
The artwork seen in “From Up On Poppy Hill” is literally a work of art. Eye candy for all to see. Every frame seems to be brimming with life. Some even go so far as mimicking fine art like real paintings. An unwavering dedication to excellence is what we’ve all come to expect from the geniuses working at Studio Ghibli. Can’t these guys make a terrible movie once in a while? Obviously not…
So have no fear, Disney or not, “From Up On Poppy Hill” will get the attention it so rightly deserves. It features a good solid story with fantastic artwork and some excellent musical choices. Plus, any movie that can drop a reference to mind wizard Friedrich Nietzsche, produce a rugby scrum in the middle of a school debate and plug in the 1964 Olympic Games automatically gets my vote.
TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOELzOBLvP8From Up On Poppy Hill a.k.a. Kokuriko-Zaka Kara,