Studio Ghibli is a critically-acclaimed and honoured design studio for a reason. They have an incredibly unique art style and know how to infuse heart and depth into what may seem to be, on the surface at least, child-like artistry.
From Up on Poppy Hill is a recent movie of theirs, though not their latest project, as it was released in theatres in Japan in 2011. The film, directed by Goro Miyazaki, tells the story of a 16-year-old girl named Umi living in a boarding house off the Port of Yokohama. Each morning, she raises a set of flags as communication to the passing ships that mean “I pray for safe voyages.”
As the film progresses, we learn of Umi’s father who had passed years ago in the Korean War. A very human story ensues as a ship begins communicating back with Umi’s flags and her ancestry becomes a question as she meets a boy at school who may or may not have ties to her father.
We haven’t seen the film, nor would we be able to understand it given that we don’t speak Japanese, but it is certainly one of the top entries on our must see movie list. The art style is beautiful and detailed, the story is stunning, and the voice acting steals talent from Jamie Lee Curtis and Gillian Anderson, among others.
If you haven’t seen the trailer for the film, you should take a look at it below, as it coms hot off the heels of Studio Ghibli’s other masterpiece, Ni No Kuni, for which we’ll have a review up shortly.
From Up on Poppy Hill releases into select theatres in North America on March 15th.