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From Up On Poppy Hill (BLU-RAY)

From Up on Poppy Hill

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Running Time: 
91 Minutes
Did You Know?

Director Goro Miyazaki also voices the World History Teacher in the film. 

Ever since discovering the early gems of Miyazaki and his wonderful studio I’ve been a Ghibli fan. Of course, From Up On Poppy Hill is less Hayao Miyazaki (who scripted the film) and more Gorō Miyazaki (Hayao’s son). That being said, the film wasn’t as based in Fantasy as I would have hoped, which makes sense since Gorō has made it clear he doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps. Still, when you see the name Ghibli you kind of hope for more fantasy then this film brought, which was almost so subtle it didn’t exist. Think, instead of dragons and spirits, this film is based more in the more realistic, almost karmic, destiny, or fate aspect that logic can translate into slight truths in the physical world. 
The film follows two students, Umi Matsuzaki (Sarah Bolger; Once Upon A Time) and Shun Kazama (Anton Yelchin; Star Trek). Umi lives in a boarding house and is a responsible young girl who cares for everyone under the boarding houses roof. Shun is a spirited protestor who is fighting, alongside his classmates, and eventually Umi, to help keep the Latin Quarters from being torn down. (The Latin Quarters being a clubhouse that houses several intellectual groups such as the astrology club and the philosophy club). 
If you go in, such as I did, waiting for the moment Umi and Shun are whisked away into some magical spirit world or are contacted by spirits in the physical world, you’re going to be a bit disappointed. The film plays out more like Graffiti Nights meets The Dead Poets Society. It’s more of a “Day In The Life” type of film that simply follows Shun and Umi as they traverse their adolescence together, eventually forming feelings for one another. 
As an adult I completely understood the film once it ended. The tragedy of being a child, especially a teenager, and especially one that has lost one or both parents. I recognized the magic of fate and or destiny as the two come to the finale of the film, their lives intertwining in ways that don’t seem major on the outside, but if you’ve ever felt the enlightenment of something close to divine intervention and or thought of a situation as “A small world” type, then you’ll understand the beauty and romance of the films conclusion. Basically it’s a nod to our youth, as adults, as well as a way for us, again as adults, who may feel jaded by the many failed prospects of our old age, we think it will be so much greater when were young, to relive the magic of those simple but profound run ins with destiny. Really a fantastic film, but limited to those of us with life experience. Still, well worth checking out if not for the beauty of another perfectly animated Ghibli film. Enjoy. 
AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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