The newest film from Studio Ghibli to hit the US is From Up on Poppy Hill (コクリコ坂から Kokuriko-zaka Kara), written by acclaimed and Award-winning Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo) and directed by his son, Goro Miyazaki (Tales from Earthsea). The film streets on September 3rd from GKIDS, a division of Cinedigm Entertainment.
Official Synopsis: 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 (Sarah Bolger) and Shun (Anton Yelchin) – but a buried secret from their past emerges to cast a shadow on the future and pull them apart.
Included on the Blu-ray/DVD set are multiple special features, amounting to over 3 hours:
- Original Japanese and English Language Versions with Subtitles and Dubtitles
- Post-Fukushima Earthquake Staff Speech and Press Conference with Hayao Miyazaki
- Feature Length Storyboards
- Celebrity Cast Recording Featurette with Behind-the-Scenes Footage and Interviews
- Interview with Goro Miyazaki
- Original Japanese Trailer and TV Spots
- Theme Song Music Video by Aoi Teshima
- 20-Page Booklet Containing Original Project Proposal by Hayao Miyazaki and a Letter from Goro Miyazaki
I’ve yet to see the film with the English dub, but I absolutely enjoyed the original Japanese film. It’s more mature than some of the other Ghibli films (such as My Neighbor Totoro, Whisper of the Heart, Kiki’s Delivery Service), but not as violent as some of the company’s other fare (Princess Mononoke, and Goro Miyazaki’s last outing Tales from Earthsea). From Up on Poppy Hill is a quite film that really tugs at your heartstrings. The animation is, as always, gorgeous (as if Ghibli’s animation is ever lacking), and the voice cast is superb. It’s a great treat and definitely worth checking out; it’s another fantastic film from a company that still finds hand-drawn animation to be its top priority.