Review: 「コクリコ坂から」 (Kokuriko-zaka Kara/From up on Poppy Hill)

7 thoughts on “Review: 「コクリコ坂から」 (Kokuriko-zaka Kara/From up on Poppy Hill)”

  1. Great review. I was interested in seeing how Goro would develop as a director since Earthsea was unfairly trashed.
    I think part of the reason for the hate generated by Tales From Earthsea was the fact it was a botched adaptation and the fact that the direction and screenplay failed to create a compelling narrative arc and character development. There are moments of beauty that rescue it from being terrible and there were profoundly emotional bits but it was a bit of a slog getting through to them which is something that you would never say for other Ghibli films. Their output (especially the early stuff) is so high quality that any film that is less than a home-run is dismissed by some.

    1. Didn’t respond to this yet (having gotten distracted by the Anime Showcase). I agree – I can see where the trashing of Tales of Earthsea came from, but there were things to enjoy. The part I liked the least was the ending, because I felt I didn’t know how we got there. It wasn’t exciting (the scenes that were meant to be climatic), but just kind of… okay.
      I do feel characterisation is something Miyazaki jun. needs to work on more. There isn’t all that much character development going on in Kokuriko-zaka Kara either, but that’s in part because we don’t really gain much insight into the characters. And I think that’s precisely why they don’t become memorable – I didn’t find either Umi or Shun particularly interesting, I mean, they were fine but nothing more than that. Other Studio Ghibli characters, meanwhile, are awesome and fascinating, whether the fiercely independent Mononoke or the two-sided Howl (I know not everyone likes Howl, but I adore him, being heroic, gorgeous, absolutely flawed with his ‘life isn’t worth living if I’m not beautiful’ attitude and just hilarious all at the same time).
      Can’t be easy being the son of a legend (and a person not easy to work with, according to much of what I’ve read) like Miyazaki Hayao though.

  2. Ah, here’s a link you might find useful:
    The BFI launching a weekend showcase of best new anime – the most interesting for me has to be A Letter to Momo which was screened at last year’s Toronto Film Festival theatrically released in Japan last weekend. The director, Hiroyuki Okiura, is the man who directed Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade which is a classic. I’d also like to see Akira on the big screen.

    1. I just saw this too…. strangely enough while trying to find out how and to what degree the manga and the film of From up on Poppy Hill differ.
      I’m sooooo excited for this! Been wanting to see A Letter to Momo for ages, ever since I missed it at last year’s Scotland Loves Anime. I don’t know the others (well, Akira, of course, but have yet to see it), but ohhhh! this bit of news just made me very happy. (And I feel bad for you having to miss out on this of course.)

      1. Think of me when you watch all of that anime goodness… Joking 🙂
        A Letter to Momo has gotten excellent reviews in Japan and it’s compared to the best of Ghibli – two veteran animators from Ghibli worked on this. Momo does look fantastic! Akira is a classic so get yourself to that screening!

        1. I’ll review all the ones I go see, so you’ll at least get that out of it. 🙂
          Pretty definite will go for A Letter to Momo and Akira, and I’m also thinking about Oblivion Island. I like the synopsis of Gintama but I’ve read some pretty disparaging reviews.

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