Last month, I planned to watch Ghibli movies for my 12 Days of Anime 2020, and From Up on Poppy Hill was one of them.
However, due to a lot of unforeseen circumstances, I wasn’t able to finish the project and post my thoughts about From Up on Poppy Hill. This movie was the last one I watched before I ended the annual project.
Now, I am going to redeem and share my thoughts on the movie now.
Atop a hill overlooking a seaside port sits a boarding house named Coquelicot Manor. Since the building is run by her family, Umi Matsuzaki carries out many of the duties involved in managing the small establishment, such as preparing meals for her fellow boarders. When she isn’t at home, she is a student at the local high school—one that is currently dealing with a small crisis.
In anticipation of the upcoming Olympic Games, a beloved old clubhouse is set to be demolished to make way for a modern building. As a result, a large part of the student body has banded together, working tirelessly to prevent this from happening. Umi finds herself helping the newspaper club to spread information about this cause where she befriends Shun Kazama, whom she gradually begins to fall in love with. But Shun is an orphan who doesn’t know much about his origins, and when the two begin searching for clues to the boy’s past, they discover that they may have a lot more in common than either of them could have thought. (MAL)
From Up on Poppy Hill was a movie I didn’t expect I would love.
Compared to the other Ghibli movies I had watched already, this was different, story-wise. There wasn’t any fantasy element mixed in this one. The movie is your plain typical coming-of-age story about two teenagers who happen to cross paths with each other and had a connection they didn’t expect they would have.
Still, there was something about this movie that made me enjoy this more than the other previous Ghiblis I had been seeing lately.
And yeah, this is still a Ghibli film, alright. It’s still family-friendly and you can still get a lot of moral lessons from this. The art is so Ghibli.
Now for the story.
From Up on Poppy Hill was a story about family, romance, and determination to reach one’s goal. This story points revolve around two characters, Umi and Shun. We got to see all throughout the movie, the development of their relationship, and the changes that were happening around them. The story was slow-paced but I didn’t mind as it fits well with the atmosphere of the movie. There was no mindblowing moment in the movie, but the movie sucks you into their world and makes you care about Umi and Shun and what’s going on with their lives.
To be honest, this movie was nothing special, but it still works.
As I said, I didn’t expect to like this one as I was expecting this one to be “boring” because of the lack of the fantasy element. But it proved me wrong. This was more than that.
This movie just proves that a Ghibli movie doesn’t have to always have a fantasy element to be good. As long as it tugs someone’s heartstrings, then it’s a win.
However, I do admit that I kind of needed more ummppphhhh from the movie, especially the ending. Other than that, I am all good.
The characters were one of the best things in this movie. Each character introduced in the movie were all likable and had an impact even though it was small. Of course, I especially love the main characters of this movie. Umi was that typical responsible girl we see in movies. She’s very rigid and focused on her tasks, I felt tired looking at her doing all her tasks. The moment she met Shun, she then starts to be more lenient with herself and let herself enjoy highschool. After all, Shun represents everything opposite of Umi, he’s the rebel and always does what he wants. Vise versa, Umi was able to influence a bit on Shun too.
Their relationship is the major highlight of the movie as the main story revolves around the two of them and the connection from birth. I won’t spoil much about it, but damn, that twist in the middle almost made me want to drop the movie. Lol.
Anyway, moving on.
For the art and animation, this is a Ghibli work, all right. Even though there’s nothing surprising and out of the ordinary in this movie, the art was very consistent all throughout the movie. The animation was also really smooth.
For its music, I usually don’t give my thoughts about it but I sure do love the OST for this one. Each important scenario of the movie had an amazing track behind it. It elevates my watching more. I love it.
Overall, this movie was solid. From start to finish, my attention was on the movie and the characters.
Like Arrietty, From Up on Poppy Hill movie wasn’t grandiose and full of wonder, but this was more grounded in reality. This movie might come off as boring to some but believe me when I say that this movie is really good.
Definitely a recommendation.