Can Hayao Miyazaki’s son’s second Studio Ghibli film prove us wrong?

At this point, we think it’s safe to say that Studio Ghibli movies are the Japanese equivalent of Disney movies. That’s why saying something like “I didn’t like that Ghibli film” is kind of a big deal, and it’s an even bigger deal when that film was made by the son of Hayao Miyazaki himself.

That’s the predicament our Japanese language reporter Seiji Nakamura found himself in when Ghibli film From Up on Poppy Hill was scheduled to air on Japanese Friday-night television. After seeing Goro Miyazaki’s first film, Tales from Earthsea, Seiji had had enough of the younger Miyazaki’s work (then again, Seiji wasn’t too hot on Disneyland for a while either.)

He remembered waiting for so long with anticipation at the prodigal son’s debut film, but when he actually sat down and watched it, Seiji couldn’t relate to the main character at all. Why did he kill his father, first off? Even though Seiji was a pretty moody teen himself in the past, he couldn’t understand the main character’s motivation. Isn’t it the director’s job to explain that sort of stuff?

▼ Would he regret risking his precious free time again to watch another Goro film?

Anyway, back to Poppy Hill. With this anti-Goro sentiment in mind, he decided to give this new film a try, and…well…he really liked it! Even though it’s a story about students set over 50 years ago, he was able to relate to the characters and understand why they did the things they did. Plus, the Showa-era setting was super nostalgic and almost fantasy-like to his more modern-era eyes.

The only thing that threw Seiji off was the music. It wasn’t your typical, whimsical Studio Ghibli affair. It played out more like an anime series soundtrack, which he attributed to Goro Miyazaki’s unique style of directing. He also wished they had super-appetizing food like the bacon and eggs from Howl’s Moving Castle, but Seiji will live.

In conclusion, Seiji would definitely recommend From Up on Poppy Hill! He only planned on watching a few minutes, but he ended up seeing the movie in its entirety. If you’re curious, see the movie for yourself or listen to the soundtrack on Spotify.

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[ Read in Japanese ]