My Neighbors the Yamadas

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My Neighbors the Yamadas
Yamadas.jpg
North American DVD cover
Directed by Isao Takahata
Produced by Seiichiro Ujiie
Takashi Shouji
Toshio Suzuki
Written by Isao Takahata
Based on Nono-chan 
by Hisaichi Ishii
Starring Hayato Isobata
Masako Araki
Naomi Uno
Touru Masuoka
Narrated by David Ogden Stiers (English dub)
Music by Akiko Yano
Production
  company
Studio Ghibli
Distributed by Toho (Japan)
Walt Disney Pictures (US/international)
Release date(s)
  • 17 July 1999 (1999-07-17)
Running time 104 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Budget ¥2 billion
($20.5 million)

My Neighbors the Yamadas (ホーホケキョとなりの山田くん Hōhokekyo Tonari no Yamada-kun?) is a 1999 Japanese anime comedy film directed by Isao Takahata and released by Studio Ghibli on 17 July 1999.[1] The film is a family comedy that is presented in a stylized comic strip style which is unusual since all the other Studio Ghibli movies are presented in the traditional anime style of Studio Ghibli. It was produced by Toshio Suzuki.

Plot[edit]

My Neighbors the Yamadas follows the daily lives of the Yamada family: Takashi and Matsuko (the father and mother), Shige (Matsuko's mother), Noboru (aged approximately 13, the son), Nonoko (aged approximately 5, the daughter), and Pochi (the family dog). It has a significantly different "feel" to it than the other Studio Ghibli films, not only because of its different style of animation, but also because it is not a contiguous plot, but rather a series of vignettes, each preceded by a title such as "Father as Role Model", "A Family Torn Apart" or "Patriarchal Supremacy Restored".

These vignettes cover such issues as losing a child in a department store, the relationships between father and son, or husband and wife, the wisdom of age, getting one's first girlfriend and many more. Each is presented with humour, presenting a very believable picture of family life which crosses cultural boundaries. The relationships between Matsuko, Takashi and Shige are particularly well observed, with Shige giving advice and proverbs to all the family members, and having a great strength of character which far outweighs Matsuko's. Takashi and Matsuko's relationship is often the focus of the episodes, their rivalries, such as arguing about who has control of the television, their frustrations and their difficulties, but the overriding theme is their love for one another despite their flaws, and their desire to be the best parents possible for their children.[2]

Voice cast[edit]

Japanese cast[edit]

  • Hayato Isobata as Noboru Yamada
  • Masako Araki as Shige Yamano
  • Naomi Uno as Nonoko Yamada
  • Touru Masuoka as Takashi Yamada
  • Yukiji Asaoka as Matsuko Yamada
  • Akiko Yano as Fujihara-Sensei
  • Kosanji Yanagiya as Haiku Reader

English cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Based on the yonkoma manga Nono-chan by Hisaichi Ishii, it was the first completely digital Studio Ghibli film. Takahata wanted Yamada-kun to have the art style of watercolor pictures rather than cel pictures. To achieve that, the traditional paint-on-cel techniques were replaced with digital technology, making Yamada-kun the first Ghibli film to have animation drawings painted entirely on computers.

Soundtrack[edit]

My Neighbors the Yamadas O.S.T.

The soundtrack was composed by Akiko Yano and it is characterised by very short piano themes. Classical pieces played by Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra conducted by Mario Klemens. Released by Tokuma on 1 July 1999.

CD 1
  1. "Theme I: And So It Begins" 1:45
  2. "Joyous Music I: Going Forward with Reckless Abandon" 0:26
  3. "Cuckoo I: Not Like the Main Title" 0:28
  4. "Extract from Chopin's "Nocturne No. 1 in B Flat Minor", Op. 9" 4:13
  5. "Extract from Mahler's "Symphony No. 5", 1st Movement, Funeral March" 0:29
  6. "Extract from Mendelsson's Wedding March" 4:22
  7. "My Neighbors the Yamadas" Theme (Orchestra Version)" 3:34
  8. Happy Bridge" 0:21
  9. "Evening Waltz Theme (Orchestra Version)" 1:43
  10. "Lively BGM" 3:21
  11. "The Dog's Policeman" 2:25
  12. "Troubles (BGM I)" 1:08
  13. "Troubles (BGM II)" 0:24
  14. "Sunset Scamper" (1:01)
  15. "Theme II: Thank Goodness" 1:11
  16. "Shut Up and Bring It Here!" 0:34
  17. "Joyous Music II: Please, Stop Pushing, Right Now!" 0:52
  18. "Cuckoo II: Oh, Welcome Home" 0:29
  19. "Happy Bridge II" 0:15
  20. "Takashi and Matsuko's Tango" 0:59
  21. "Pom Poko Tanuki Band" (Wakaya Rakudan) 1:13
  22. "Joyous Music III: A Happy Mouth" 0:25
  23. "A Father's Sorrow" 0:39
  24. "Paradise of Freedom" 0:23
  25. "Extract from Mahler's "Symphony No. 1", "Giant", 4th Movement 3:32
  26. "Theme III: Spring Rain" 3:32
  27. "Cuckoo III" 0:28
  28. "Cuckoo IV: The Correct Answer" 0:26
  29. "Cuckoo V"
CD 2
  1. "Round Of Forgotten Things I: Morning Blessings" 1:16
  2. "Round Of Forgotten Things II: Morning Blessings" 1:19
  3. "Cherry Cherry" 0:45
  4. "Extract from Albinoni's Adagio" 2:07
  5. "Young People" 1:42
  6. "Cuckoo VI: Summer Dreams" 0:28
  7. "Joyous Music III: School is Fun" 0:50
  8. "Exciting BGM" 0:45
  9. "Phone Line" 2:56
  10. "Bach: Prelude and Fugue No. 8 in E Flat Minor" 4:14
  11. "Cheerful Music III: Going My Way" 1:16
  12. "Round of Forgotten Things: Bridge" 0:28
  13. "Round III of Forgotten Things: Good Advice" 0:36
  14. "The Masked Moonbeam Theme Song, "Who is the Masked Moonbeam?" (Yoshiko Kondou) 3:24
  15. "Broken Dreams" 0:24
  16. "Mozart's "Toy's Symphony", Movement No. 2" 2:27
  17. "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" 3:20
  18. "Quit Being Alone" 3:55

Release[edit]

Despite decent reviews, the film did not fare as well at the box office in Japan as other Ghibli films.

Home media[edit]

It was released on DVD in America in August 2005, alongside another Takahata film, Pom Poko.

Accolades[edit]

My Neighbors the Yamadas received an Excellence Award for animation at the 1999 Japan Media Arts Festival.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hôhokekyo Tonari No Yamadâkun". www.bcdb.com, 13 May 2012
  2. ^ For a much more detailed plot synopsis, covering every episode in detail see: plot synopsis.

External links[edit]