Omoide Poro Poro

(Only Yesterday)

Rating: 5 Rampages Taeko, and chibi Taeko

The film revolves around Taeko, a single woman working a desk job in Tokyo in 1982, taking a vacation in the countryside with the family of her sister's in-laws. During her vacation, Taeko finds herself looking back at her time as a young schoolgirl growing up in 1966. The film flips back and forth between the two time periods with a lot of nostalgia and beautiful country scenery as Taeko sorts out her flashbacks and tries to make some tough decisions about her future.

In my quest to see everything made by either Takahata or Miyazaki, I'd been looking to get my hands on a copy of this particular film for some time as it both looked and sounded very interesting and yet different from the usual Ghibli films. And different it is, for I find myself almost at a loss as to how to explain the film accurately. It almost moves like a personal documentary; there's no real plot aside from Taeko reflecting on her past and trying hard to decide what to do with her life. With each little memory we're given a bit more insight to her personality and really get a feel for her character, and we can understand why she's feeling rather lost and nostalgic. A story like this probably rings very true to people in the same position as the "salarymen" of Japan (a position Taeko fits pretty easily into). Technically, Omoide Poro Poro is every bit as excellent as the other films like Kiki and Totoro, stunning backgrounds and simple yet elegant character designs we've come to expect from the masters at Ghibli. But it's really the rich character development that's the star here--these people don't feel like characters that were written up in a screenplay, they have a strong sense of reality about them, imperfections and all. It doesn't feel scripted, it feels like somebody talking about their life. I can see how some of you more action oriented fans might find that boring, but you really don't know what you're missing. Do not pass this film up, and certainly don't fast forward through the final credits as you'll be missing one of the best endings in anime.

Only available fansubbed at this time.