From Up on Poppy Hill

Alt title: Kokuriko-Zaka Kara

Movie (1 ep x 91 min)
4.056 out of 5 from 9,725 votes
Rank #793

Yokohama, 1963. Japan is picking itself up from the devastation of World War II and preparing to host the Olympics. The mood is one of both optimism and conflict as the young generation struggles to throw off the shackles of a troubled past. Against this backdrop of hope and change, a friendship begins to blossom between high school students Umi  and Shun – but a buried secret from their past emerges to cast a shadow on the future and pull them apart.

Source: Cinedigm

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This is a spoiler-free review. Overall: 8.25/10 - A simple and heartwarming tale, with excellent animation. Breakdown: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Story: 7.25/10-Good General Plot 2/4 - The plot is predictable and not very complex, but still interesting.. Pacing 1.5/2 - It moves at a nice, easy pace. Not too slow or too fast. Emotional impact: 3/3 - Very emotional. Conclusion .75/1 - The conclusion is decent, but could maybe be a little bit better. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Animation: 9.4/10-Outstanding Artwork 3/3 - Excellent. They did a great job with the setting and it is very accurate to the time period. Character Designs 2.5/3 - Characters have outfits like the time period and an older anime style is used. Action Animation NA/2 -  Other Animation 2/2 - The animation is very good. ------------------------------ ------------------------------ ------------------------------ ------------------------ Characters: 8.25/10-Great Personality 2.75/3 - Character personalities are interesting and well developed. Development 2/3 - There is some development, but not a whole lot.  Uniqueness 3.5/4 - Characters do not really fit stereotypes. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sound: 9.2/10-Outstanding Voice Acting 4.5/5 - The voice acting is very good, but sometimes the translation is a bit too direct which can make it sound slightly awkward. Music (intro/outro): NA/1 -  Music (soundtrack): 2.75/3 - Orchestral background and anthems are good. Sound Effects 1/1 - Excellent.  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BONUS POINTS: Creativity/uniqueness bonus points +.5: The time period is unique. Humour bonus points +1: Some moments can be very funny. Annoying/mindset-breaking negative points: None.


So, I'll preface this by saying that I am not a huge fan of Ghibli films. With most of their fantasy stories, I find them to be a miss for me. While I can appreciate their value, see the charm and fun in them, and understand why so many people cherish them so, I just find the movies to be too unexciting and complicated, and any symbolisms throughout them to be uninteresting to me. However, with that out of the way, this movie was great. As for their slice of life-esque movies, Ghibli seems to know what they're doing. Set in a time 20 years after World War 2, this movie tells the story of a group of high schoolers trying to preserve their old club house from the school board and a handful of other students who want the old shack to be demolished. This movie explores the importance of both knowing your past, and moving on to new things, which were things that were conflicting ideals at the time of this movie, and are shown through the more innocent eyes of a bunch of high schoolers. At the same time, we see the two main characters attempt to uncover the secrets of their past during a time in their lives where their eyes are set on the future. Similar to Whisper of the Heart, a movie of the same vein as this one, the story works for the slice of life that it tries to be, and is able to portray its messages through characters that we can more easily relate to in a world that's closer to the world we live in. It's a simple story, but it's interesting, fun, heartwarming, and enjoyable. The art style is stellar too. The animation is very smooth and fitting for this movie, and the art is extraordinary with pretty scenes that back up the story. As for the music, the soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal. This movie features the types of songs you'd go back to listen to over and over again. They're also just really pleasant to hear as the film progresses, and compliments the overall tone very well. As for the characters, the movie doesn't focus on many of them other than the main two, but that doesn't mean that they're the only ones with any presence. All of the family members and friends help to support the main two characters as they go through their lives. They feel like real people going through problems that a real person would face. You start to bond extremely well with these characters, and you actually care for them, making the entire experience memorable and fun. TL;DR | This slice of life Ghibli movie is worth watching. It tells a realistic story back from a different time but still makes it feel close to our time. The animation and sound are beautiful, and make for growing with the characters to be an awesome experience. A similar movie to this one would be Whisper of the Heart, as both Ghibli films touch on real relatable problems, and leave you feeling happy.


This is a tale of growing up, and of the generation after the Korean War finding a way for the past to co-exist with their future. Umi Matsuzaki is a high school student who lives in a boarding house, her father having died in the war, and her mother away in America. Every day, she raises the flags, and it is Shun Kazama, a member of the school's newspaper club, who notices them and her. He draws her into his world, where he is depeserately trying to save the school's clubhouse from being demolished. Along the way, Umi and Shun uncover some secrets as to their past, which very well could destroy the future they were just starting to dream of. This was a very beautiful movie, with a very simple, but heartfelt story. There are no big battles, no fate of the country or world at stake. Instead, this is a story a boy and a girl and the lives they live in Japan in the 1960s. The animation was gorgeous, especially with the scenery and the way the city and nature were one. I loved the music as well. It was very beautiful, and really added to the movie. Umi and Shun were fun characters, and I can't imagine being in the situation they were in. It about had me in tears. I think they and their situation were handled very well, and it just added to the beauty of this movie. The ending was kind of... I'm not sure how I feel about it, actually. It was beautiful, and happy, but also kind of sad. I felt like there should have been something a little more, because when the credits started to role, I was surprised. I knew the ending was close, but I didn't feel as if the movie had actually ended. This movie isn't one I would normally watch and enjoy, but there's something about it that touched me. Maybe just the way the characters felt so real, and the beauty their story offered.

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