From Up on Poppy Hill (Japan. title: Kokuriko-zaka Kara)

by Mark Schilling

Director: Goro Miyazaki

Language: Japanese

Though based on a girls comic, this new Studio Ghibli animation plays like the pure-hearted, melodramatic youth films beloved by studio maestro Hayao Miyazaki, who wrote the script. Umi (voiced by Masami Nagasawa), an earnest high school girl living in 1963 Yokohama, becomes attracted to the older Shun (Junichi Okada), who is trying to save a dilapidated student-club building. But a revelation about Shun’s birth threatens their budding romance. The predictable story is not helped by the pedestrian direction of Goro Miyazaki, Hayao’s son, but a wealth of period detail brings the era to nostalgic/realistic life.