Ghibli Challenge #8, #9 – Only Yesterday (And Pom Poko)

Omohide Poroporo is clever. It’s actually quite like Ocean Waves in a sense–both are stories that set up a “head trick.” Only Yesterday uses the script to wrap things up with a well-projected and yet somewhat surprising anyway turnaround. Ocean Waves…well it literally turns around.

I watched Only Yesterday only once before, about 12 or 13 years ago. Back then I thought it was a long and tedious affair with some really outstanding moments. I also thought the ending was clever because it has a consistent theme that is wrapped up in such a dramatic but subtle fashion. Unexpectedly, my opinion didn’t change at all after this rewatch.

I think it boils down to the whole farming concept, growing, etc; while that allegory is much clearer this time around, it isn’t any more exciting. Maybe it is clearer because the official subs translated the ending song? I don’t remember if the fansub I saw back way back had that. Probably did.

Other things still did not change:

Rainy day, cloudy day, sunny day, which do you like best?

Best pickup line from anime ever.

Actually, it feels almost like 5cm/s in the way the song encapsulates a strong feeling of nostalgia yet conveys succinctly what the movie was trying to say. The ending theme to Only Yesterday might be my favorite out of all of Ghibli’s endearing list of end themes.

Well, Pom Poko has a great theme too. And I guess my opinion of Takahata might have improved over time. Still my least favorite director from Ghibli though.

Surprisingly, I also felt zero ounce of nostalgia rewatching Only Yesterday. I guess the problem still is that ultimately Omohide Poroporo is about growing, nurturing a flower or some such, and growing plants is, well, boring. Among miracles it is by far one of the least exciting.

Pom Poko #2 was really a bonus watch. I actually bought the tickets well in advance but unintentionally. It worked out since I was going to see Only Yesterday anyway. The dub is quite excellent, even if it toned things down (with the ball jokes especially). Only if more anime get Disney quality dubs…

One more observation: I saw Pom Poko earlier just the day before I saw it again, and it was during prime time, with a bunch of adults in the theater. There were maybe half a dozen kids. There’s this group of people (I’d guess college kids) that laughs really inappropriately; that’s fine for Pom Poko. The second time I saw it was during the afternoon with the dub, and all the kids laughed only when the right cues came on. And there were like a ton of kids, like two or three dozens. Kids are definitely better behaved than adults! Don’t let Taeko tell you otherwise.

The eight and ninth (it doesn’t look like I’ll hit 12!) so-called challenges are a part of an end-of-year festivity among some anime bloggers. You can find out more about the Ghibli theatrical road show from GKIDS.

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