Posted in: by Sean Axmaker, Contributors, Film Reviews

‘From Up on Poppy Hill’: A Gentle Japanese Anime

Shun and Umi race to save the past.

If your idea of Japanese anime is space opera, cyberpunk action, and Hayao Miyazaki’s modern fairy tales, then From Up on Poppy Hill might surprise you. Produced and co-scripted by Miyazaki and directed by his son Goro Miyazaki, this is a gentle, somewhat slight story of student life and young love in early-’60s Japan. As the country looks to bury its wartime history and show the world a modern new face at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, these students are determined to hold on to the past by saving their old, neglected clubhouse (known as The Latin Quarter) from demolition.

Nothing like a cause to spark a sweet, utterly chaste high-school romance between sunny young Umi, a teenage girl who’s running her family boarding house and looking after her siblings, and student leader Shun, until unexpected complications halt their blossoming relationship.

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