poppyhill poppyhill

Studio Ghibli’s “From Up On Poppy Hill” teaser

Here’s a strangely abrupt teaser trailer for Studio Ghibli’s newest film, From Up on Poppy Hill (Kokurikozaka kara). It’s based on the 1980 two-volume manga of the same name written by Tetsurō Sayama and drawn by Chizuru Takahashi. The film is a collaboration between Gorō Miyazaki (Tales from Earthsea), who directed it and his father, Hayao Miyazaki, who wrote the screenplay.

(Thanks, Ben Price)

  • Kiddo


  • B.Bonny

    Has anyone thought of making a live action film from a Ghibli story? For a lot of these films it wouldn’t be much of a stretch.

    • Kiddo

      A live-action “Kiki’s Delivery Service” was mentioned, but that didn’t go anywhere.

    • You might wish you hadn’t asked that if it led to the live-action TV specials of Ocean Wave‘s source novel and its sequel and the multiple, Ghibli fim-informed Grave of the Firefliess. Regardless, from Heidi onwards the school has proven time and again (where some others – *cough*Madhouse’s MONSTER for TV*cough* – have not) that just because something could be convincingly filmed in live action does not mean it has to be to create great cinema (making lots of money and winning non-ghettoised awards and respect, not so certain). There are, however, two tenuously Ghibli live-action feature films (technically Nibariki – H. Miyazaki’s personal company – and Studio Kajino – Ghibli doing non-Ghibli-ish things – respectively) in the form of Takahata’s The Story of Yanagawa’s Canals and Hideaki Anno’s Shiki-Jitsu.

    • There were two live-action adaptations of Grave of the Fireflies, but they were both mediocre at best. There was also recently a stage production of Omohide Poro Poro.

      I’m greatly looking forward to Kokuriko/Poppy Hill. I think Goro Miyazaki has more properly paid his dues since 2006, and he has much more experience under his belt. The stakes are enormous, not only for his career as a director, but Studio Ghibli’s future, as well.

  • Kitty Wills

    Lets just hope it’s better then Earthsea… Goro doesn’t seem to have his dad’s gift at story telling… I’ll still try it out as soon as it comes out though.

  • Huh. Hayao and Goro working together? I hope they’ve buried the hatchet.

  • Mapache

    Woah man. Tat was strangely abrupt indeed.

  • *happy squeal*

  • MM

    This is great news, always excited to hear about a new Ghibli film. Quite a short clip to decide if it looks better than [i]Tales from Earthsea[/i] or not, but then I think that film would have been better if I hadn’t read (and really enjoyed) the books.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    Earthsea wasn’t that bad. This looks promising though.

    • Swordman

      I personally liked Earthsea, even more than some of his father’s works. But then again, his father never really did the whole Lord of the Rings-esque fantasy setting.

      But I disagree here, it might be okay, but it doesn’t seem as interesting as something like Ponyo.

  • wgan

    i see a guy hesitating in a shadow of his father, good luck

  • childisfatheroftheman

    I wonder if people who dislike Tales from Earthsea base their opinion on the unmet expectations that the film (a) will adhere more closely to the original novels, or (b) will be a Hayao Miyazaki film? I watched the film and thought it was pretty good. The animation is up to the same standards as the rest of the Ghibli studio output, and the story was fairly straight-forward and well-paced. I saw a lot of Miyazaki’s earlier works (such as Journey of Shuna) appear throughout the film. It’s the best film from the studio that Takahata or Miyazaki didn’t direct (excepting Kondo’s Whisper of the Heart). I look forward to this next film, and to Takahata’s upcoming Taketori Monogatari.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    I know that Miyazaki is usually associated with flight in some form or other. The use of a seaside setting here, however, reminds me of “Ponyo.” And I’m not saying that in a bad way, either. The trailer was so short I couldn’t form any other impressions, but I’m still interested in seeing it.

  • TStevens

    I have always jokingly had a theory that Miyazaki has about 7 or 8 themes running through all of his movies and he randomly picks a few from a hat everytime he writes a story.

    – Flying machines (air or water)
    – Castles (flying or not)
    – Overly effeminate villains
    – Forest spirits
    – Ocean spirits
    – Pre-teen girl in the lead role
    – Pre-teen boy in the supporting role
    – Some unexplained magical event or thing

    Take any 3 or 4 of the above and you have a Miyazaki film!

    Miyazaki’s films have always tended to have a cetain randomness to the plot points. Story arcs seem to come and go while new ones appear mid-way in to the film. I think that was part of what made the flims cool. However, it does seem like it has become more pronounced in the last few.

    I still think Porco Rosso is the coolest thing he made, though you rarely hear about it.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Some guys I know often think Miyazaki’s true peak was Princess Mononoke and after Spirited Away it just slid downhill.

      • May

        I’d agree somewhat. I love Howl’s and Arriety was great!
        The Cat Returns, Ponyo and Earthsea were all sub-par for me though.

  • Beautiful as always from Studio Ghibli. Looks very very interesting!

  • John

    More juvenile drawings by Ghibli and herald as amazing!

    • What’s so juvenile about it? The character’s seem to move in a solid well-constructed manner, and the background settings are very pretty.

      At least it’s not about talking cars for the expressed purpose of moving merchandise; that’s probably a closer definition of juvenile.

      • John

        The drawings look like something kid would draw not a talented well trained artist!

      • tom

        So…where are these kids drawings that can pass for Ghibli-level artistry?

      • meta

        It’s patently obvious who’s the kid here. Passed the fifth grade yet, son?

      • Brian Kidd

        I respect your right to an opinion, John. I also reserve the right to strongly disagree with you. Ghibli’s artwork has always been filled with little details that are normally absent in other studios’ work. The devil is in the details.

        As to Goro’s work, I think he’s in a terrible position. EARTHSEA was competent, but dull. It must be difficult to be the son of a genius. I’m willing to give him another chance. Most directors’ first films have problems.

  • Bummer

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  • Ghibli’s movies are truly a love hate thing.

    Excellent moving stories that capture a lot of the true essence of Japanese culture.

    However the spectacular action animated action sequences are framed with very stiff, wooden animated “acting”….if you could call it acting.

    Living in Tokyo I’ve definitely learned that Ghibli, despite virtually regarded as a “national treasure” of sorts, is not really that popular with the mainstream audience in Japan.

    Japanese are much more enamored with anything Disney….especially Stitch.

    ( I think Disney’s appealing characters to Japanese is what Catnip is to cats)

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Especially if that cat happens to be Marie from The Aristocats, she’s quite popular over there I noticed!

    • Oliver

      If Ghibli is so unpopular compared to Disney, why did ‘Pom Poko’ outperform ‘The Lion King’?

      If Ghibli is so unpopular in Japan, why did ‘Princess Mononoke’ and ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ earn more than any Western movie released there except ‘Titanic’?

      If Ghibli is so unpopular, why did even a middling film like ‘The Cat Returns’ do well?

      If Ghibli is so unpopular with the “Japanese mainstream”, why did ‘Spirited Away’ (30.4 billion yen) beat ‘Titanic’ (26.2 billion yen) at the Japanese box office? Why was it still playing in theaters SIX MONTHS after release?

      I lived in Japan for 6 years. You don’t know what you’re talking about!

      • Why must people be “keyboard commandos”? Do you respond to everyone you don’t agree with like that? Please you know what they say about when you ASS-U-ME about what you think people know.

        I have been living and working in Tokyo for 7 years and still currently.

        I wouldn’t put my opinion in publication just yet but I was speaking from what I heard overwhelmingly with my Japanese peers in Japan.

        I didn’t say no one in Japan liked ghibli. But with today’s generation of Japanese it doesn’t seem to have the same kind of enamoring it did in the past.

      • Oliver

        It should occur to you that traditional Japanese modesty, combined with the trendiness of (claiming) interest in foreign cultures at the expense of one’s own, might prevent them from singing Ghibli’s praises too loudly.

        Nevertheless, in EVERY opportunity the Japanese have been given to appreciate Ghibli — ticket sales, TV viewing figures, Ghibli museum attendance, movie magazine readers’ polls, critics’ film reviews — they’ve responded heartily and consistently, with few exceptions.

        Do you want me to dig out my ‘Kinema Junpo’ magazines for 2001 and 2002? Shall we compare the reviews and ticket sales of the “unpopular” ‘Spirited Away’ to ‘Lilo and Stitch’, and see which movie enamored the Japanese more? It’s funny, because I don’t remember ‘Stitch’ spending 6 months in the theaters; I don’t remember ‘Stitch’ showing up on too many end-of-year film critics’ polls; I don’t remember ‘Stitch’ breaking viewing-figure records during its TV premiere.

        I’d rather be a keyboard commando than an internet contrarian who values local gossip above two decades of actual, proven critical and commercial achievement!

      • Blue

        @Ki Innis:
        “Stiff” acting? Really? I implore you to watch Takahata’s Only Yesterday…the character animation in that is most definitely not “stiff”.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        I love that film (and yet Disney never went further than aired it at least once on TCM).

  • Mister Twister

    Things keep getting better and better for traditional animation!

  • Scarabim

    I wish Studio Ghibli would make a new animated version of Peter S. Beagle’s “The Last Unicorn”. That book is amazing, and the Rankin-Bass version of it, while not terrible, is severely lacking in the good-animation-department.

    • The Last Unicorn was animated by Topcraft, who Hayao Miyazaki hired for Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind in 1984. When Nausicaa became a box office hit, most of the Topcraft staff followed over to Studio Ghibli the following year.

  • RayRay

    I love the calmness of his films, (Totoro, Kiki and random scenes throughout others). It takes some effort to watch a film animated or not that slowly takes place in front of your eyes and just ‘look’ at things going on on the screen, (like the bug in the shack when she walked in). Miyazaki’s films are so enjoyable after repeated viewings because there is so much to see. For me personally, his scripts/plots are secondary to the visuals.

  • Gray64

    I think Goro Miyazaki’s an exceptional director for a guy trained as a construction designer and landscaper. I’m not even being snarky. Given that, counting From Up on Poppy Hill, he’s directed all of two features, I’d say he’s doing ok. Does he have any background in animation at all, prior to working on Earthsea?

    • meta

      He’s not the animation director of the film, so why would this have any significance? There are many animators/artists who aren’t good directors, and conversely many storyboard writers who aren’t good artists/animators. And somehow I don’t think Studio Ghibli is lacking in talented animators anyhow.

      • Gray64

        Irregardless of his training in animation, does he have any training in film direction, period? Or is this a guy with no previous experience in film OR animation who was given an animated film to direct? My point was, they don’t usually hand films to people from more or less completely unrelated industries who have no experience in film direction beyond the fact that their father is the most beloved animation director in the world. AND that, despite this, he appears to have done a decent job.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        Usually in this type of system, you would have to work your way up to a shot as director after a number of years toiling in other departments (i.e. going form inbetweener to assistant to key animator to animation director or designer or writer and so-on). In Goro’s case, I kinda forgot what led to him directing Earthsea originally, but he certainly didn’t follow the same path Miyazaki and others had traveled before.

  • @Oliver様 これつまらないもですけど。。どうぞ。
    Please enjoy.

    • meta

      Wow, another all-known article about the “Japanese” from another obsessed otaku who’s actually never been to Japan themselves, let alone live there. Yeah, no.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        I do know a friend who finally got his wish to live there today.

    • Oliver

      Who cares about box office figures, prizes awarded and critics’ polls over the last 2 decades?

      Listen to what the OTAKU say! (Yeah, right.)

  • John

    Meta I’m 35 with a degree in art!

  • Carina

    I just saw this at the theater on Saturday. I was worried going in(since Miyazaki’s son is the director and “Gedo Senki” wasn’t very good), but was pleasantly surprised. Actually, I think it’s the best Ghibli movie in years. I liked it better than Ponyo (as far as story and “atmosphere” go)and possibly even better than Howl’s Moving Castle. It contains plenty of lovely scenes of 1960’s Japan matched with period-appropriate music and a good story. I am not sure how it will be receieved by Western audiences however, as the heroine is a slight departure from past strong, tomboyish Ghibli leads… she is more of a shy “Cinderella”-type heroine who cooks and cleans without complaint, while boys in the film are not really expected to help out with “girls” work at all. Also, fairly prominent smoking and drinking, a scene where 2 boys talk in a urinal, as well as a plot twist that some parents might find objectional make me suspect it may not be promoted as a “kids” movie in the US. But definitely a very good movie. I may go see it again in the theater.