Blu-Ray Review: From Up On Poppy Hill (2011)

Posted by Retrokaiser On Thursday, September 12, 2013 0 comments

From Up On Poppy Hill is a slightly romantic drama film set in 1964 (around the time of the Olympics) about a young girl and boy named  Umi Matsuzaki and Shun Kazama.  Umi Matsuka lives with her siblings and also take cares of them while her mother is in the United States of America teaching at a university.  Everyday Umi raises up some flags in her backyard in hopes of her father seeing them if he ever returns home from sea.  One day during high school while eating lunch she witnesses the male students protest the removal of an old building where they all like to have their clubs.  One of the boys demonstrates his devotion to the building by diving from the top of it to the pond that's right below.  He manages to pull it off... after bouncing off the bushes.  Umi helps him out of the pond and the rest of the school is in awe like it's a new romance starting to bloom.  Umi doesn't think of it anymore than just helping a guy out of the water.  One of Umi's friends tells her that there's an opening position in the school paper staff and asks her to check it out.  She walks into the building and is amazed by the beauty she finds while inside.  She makes it up to the office and runs into the boy she pulled out of the pond who is named Shun Kazama.  She takes the job and also decides to help out the boys in their fight to save the building from being demolished.  (Click "Read More" for the full review). 

The story is a fairly simple one but it's presented very well and is chock full of entertainment that makes you feel like that you've eaten a banquet fit for a king.  When you think this film starts to get predictable you get railroaded with some pretty sharp twists and turns that you won't see coming, some of them were a bit cheap and pretty sugarcoated but oddly enough it wasn't bothering at all.  This movie can also get pretty sad and it will make you feel a little blue but nothing too hardcore that will make you pull out the tissues.  The characters in this film are really enjoyable with not only a whole load of charm and personality but they are really interesting and you will really love them and get a powerful feeling like you are joining in on their fight with them (save the building man).  The romance is progressed very naturally and doesn't become so unbearably sloppy, wet or corny that it will make us guys go "ugghh I can't take this".

Artwork is amazing with a nice arsenal of colors that just shoot you in the face with richness, some really detailed backgrounds that feel very magical and will have you in pure awe.  Character designs are a little too simple for my liking and it gets to the point where it gets hard to tell some characters apart, they also don't seem to age at all.  Animation is pretty decent but the mouth flaps look really awkward as if someone has their hand up them working them like puppets which is sad because I know Studio Ghibli can do much better with character designs and animations.  English dub is okay although it's not the best one you will ever hear but there is enough talent in there to stop you from switching over to the Japanese dub (I doubt a huge chunk of anime fans are watching Ghibli films with the English dub on).  Soundtrack is really nice with some very emotionally driven songs (not to be confused with emo) that set up the mood really well and fits perfectly with the scenery.

There is quite a huge amount of special features in this release that includes: An alternate view of the film that show the storyboards during the entire movie, a press conference featuring Hayo Miyazaki and some of the crew that worked on the film, an interview with the director of the film Goro Miyazaki, Hayo Miyazaki's emotional speech to the crew after the movie premiered and it's best watched directly after you finish the film, a music video by Aoi Teshima for the song "Summer of Farewells - From Up On Poppy Hill", a collection of movie trailers and television commercials that aired in Japan, a documentary about some of the locations that the film is based off, a behind the scenes look with the English voice cast, and a bunch of trailers from other Studio Ghibli films.  You get around four hours of very solid extras on this release overall and that can easily fill up your entire day if you love special features.  Overall this was a pretty good movie and does keep the Ghibli spirit alive. Great film.

Title: Code From Up On Poppy Hill
Animation Studio: Studio Ghibli
Genre: Animation/Anime, Drama
Running Time: 91 minutes
Distributor: Madman Entertainment (
Rating: G
Price: $39.95
Recommended: Yes


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