Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Omohide poro poro (1991)
Worth seeing once, if you ever have the chance to.
My main reason for liking the series Haibane-Renmei is how it's neutral colours, slow pace, medieval-style music and (most importantly) it's emphasis on conversation and thoughts, rather than any physical action. But Only Yesterday goes even further than this - it makes Haibane-Renmei and Kiki's Delivery Service look like Akira or Ninja Scroll in comparison. Never, even with my 'acquired' taste in animé would I ever expect to see one about a woman who goes on a holiday to an organic farm where she helps in the harvest and processing of safflower (a plant used to make traditional red dye) to a soundtrack of Hungarian and Italian folk songs. This use of choral (rather than instrumental) music is one thing that helps to imbue a spirit into the otherwise unfantastical story, but the main selling point here is how the film alternates between the 'modern' day story (technically it's 1980s, as that's when the manga it's based on was made) and various events from a year in the 1960s when she was 10 years old.
Differentiating between 2 time-lines is easy to do in manga (one only has to add an extra border to the panels) but much more challenging in film, and this one succeeds superbly. The modern scenes are blue and shiny, with some rather unnervingly realistic characters, while the memories are simplified and neutral-coloured, with backgrounds that are never quite complete. It also the remembered scenes which allow for manga-style emotional expressions (such running into the sky and swimming through the clouds) which though impossible in the present day can have some knock-off effects on it. The transitions are at first not given any explanation, but it is instantly obvious which is which.
This is one of Studio Ghibli's longer films, so you may wonder what there is to fill it up with - and the answer is disappointing. There are some very long scenes in it of the same two characters talking to each other inside a car, and throughout these all you can see are close- up of their faces. While, for me, the superiority of cell animation is in the beauty of it's hand- painted backgrounds, the cells themselves tend to much less interesting then they would be if recreated in live action. This is precisely the sort of scene which animation just isn't suited to. Of course it is entirely possible that a feeling of a feeling of unease was intended here, to make one understand something that is thought but not seen, but either way is not enjoyable.
So, in conclusion: this is the perfect film to show to anyone who thinks animé is nothing but sex and violence or simplistic entertainment for children. It's just such a shame that some parts are so stretched out, it removes any desire I might have to re-watch it.