Only Yesterday (1991 film)
|Hepburn||Omoide Poro Poro|
|Directed by||Isao Takahata|
|Produced by||Toshio Suzuki|
|Written by||Isao Takahata|
|Based on||Omoide Poro Poro
by Hotaru Okamoto
|Music by||Katz Hoshi|
|Edited by||Takeshi Seyama|
Only Yesterday (Japanese: おもひでぽろぽろ Hepburn: Omoide Poro Poro[n 1], "Memories Come Tumbling Down") is a 1991 Japanese animated drama film written and directed by Isao Takahata, based on the manga of the same title by Hotaru Okamoto and Yuko Tone. Toshio Suzuki produced the film and Studio Ghibli provided the animation. It was released on July 20, 1991. The ending theme song "Ai wa Hana, Kimi wa sono Tane" (愛は花、君はその種子, "Love is a flower, you are its seed") is a Japanese translation of Amanda McBroom's composition "The Rose".
Only Yesterday explores a genre traditionally thought to be outside the realm of animated subjects: a realistic drama written for adults, particularly women. The film was a surprise box office success, attracting a large adult audience of all genders and becoming the highest-grossing Japanese film of the year in the country. It was also well received by critics, with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, GKIDS released the film for the first time in an English-language format on February 26, 2016, featuring voices from Star Wars actors Daisy Ridley & Ashley Eckstein and Academy Award nominee Dev Patel.
In 1982, Taeko is 27 years old, unmarried, has lived her whole life in Tokyo and now works at a company there. She decides to take another trip to visit the family of the elder brother of her brother-in-law in the rural countryside to help with the safflower harvest and get away from city life. While traveling at night on a sleeper train to Yamagata, she begins to recall memories of herself as a schoolgirl in 1966, and her intense desire to go on holiday like her classmates, all of whom have family outside of the big city.
At the arrival train station, she is surprised to find out that her brother in law's second cousin Toshio, whom she barely knows, is the one who came to pick her up. During her stay in Yamagata, she finds herself increasingly nostalgic and wistful for her childhood self, while simultaneously wrestling with adult issues of career and love. The trip dredges up forgotten memories (not all of them good ones) — the first stirrings of childish romance, puberty and growing up, the frustrations of math and boys. In lyrical switches between the present and the past, Taeko wonders if she has been true to the dreams of her childhood self. In doing so, she begins to realize that Toshio has helped her along the way. Finally, Taeko faces her own true self, how she views the world and the people around her. Taeko chooses to stay in the countryside instead of returning to Tokyo. It is implied that she and Toshio begin a relationship.
Cast and characters
|Taeko Okajima||Miki Imai||Daisy Ridley|
|Toshio||Toshirō Yanagiba||Dev Patel|
|Taeko (as 5th grade student)||Yōko Honna||Alison Fernandez|
Young Taeko's classmates
|Tsuneko Tani||Mayumi Iizuka||Hope Levy|
|Aiko||Mei Oshitani||Stephanie Sheh|
|Toko||Megumi Komine||Ava Acres|
|Rie||Yukiyo Takizawa||Madeleine Rose Yen|
|Suzuki ("Soo")||Masashi Ishikawa||Jaden Betts|
|Shuji Hirota||Yūki Masuda||Gianella Thielmann|
Taeko's family in Tokyo
|Taeko's Mother||Michie Terada||Grey Griffin|
|Taeko's Father||Masahiro Itō||Matt Yang King|
|Nanako Okajima||Yorie Yamashita||Laura Bailey|
|Yaeko Okajima||Yuki Minowa||Ashley Eckstein|
|Taeko's Grandmother||Chie Kitagawa||Mona Marshall|
Taeko's farm relatives in Yamagata
|Kazuo||Kōji Gotō||Matt Yang King|
|Kiyoko||Sachiko Ishikawa||Sumalee Montano|
|Naoko||Masako Watanabe||Tara Strong|
The story takes place within the Takase district of Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture. The Takase Station (and also Yamadera Station) of the JNR (currently JR East) Senzan Line is featured prominently; though it has since been rebuilt, the scenery remains mostly unchanged. During the course of the film, characters visit prominent locales, including the resort destination of Mount Zaō.
Unlike the typical Japanese character animation style, the characters have more realistic facial muscles and expressions due to the dialogue being recorded first (the tradition in Japan is to record it after the animation is completed) and the animators fit the animation to the spoken dialogue. Only Taeko's childhood past (which has a more typical anime style) was animated before the voices were recorded.
Those scenes set in 1966 with the 10-year-old Taeko are taken from the source material. Takahata had difficulty adapting the episodic manga into a feature film, and he, therefore, invented the framing narrative wherein the adult Taeko journeys to the countryside and falls in love with Toshio.
There is a repetitive Eastern European theme in the film, particularly in the soundtrack reflecting the peasant lifestyle still present in the area and the parallels this draws with Japanese rural life. Folk songs from the area repeatedly occur in the film. For example, "Frunzuliță Lemn Adus Cântec De Nuntă" (Fluttering Green Leaves Wedding Song) is a Romanian folk song written by Gheorghe Zamfir and occurs in the film repeatedly during the landscape shots, for example arriving at the farm. Instruments used include the prominent nai played by Zamfir himself, cimbalom and violins. There is also Hungarian music in the film, using pieces of music such as Brahms "Hungarian Dance No. 5" in a scene where Taeko is eating lunch, and making references to Hungarian musicians when she is in the car with Toshio ("Teremtés" performed by Sebestyén Márta & Muzsikás. Adaptation from a Hungarian traditional folk song). The music of Márta Sebestyén with Muzsikás is used in several scenes as well. Bulgarian folklore music is also used in the soundtrack. When Taeko is on the field, one can first hear Dilmano, Dilbero, followed by Malka Moma Dvori Mete. These are typical Bulgarian folklore songs and the lyrics of both are connected to topics mentioned in the film – the life of farmers and marriage.
The TV character Machine Gun Dandy looks like Daisuke Jigen of Lupin III fame. The character is seen when Taeko recalls her childhood favorite puppet show Hyokkori Hyotan Jima (ひょっこりひょうたん島 "Floating Gourd Island") that aired every weekday on NHK from 1964 to 1969.
- Germany – Released on June 6, 2006, under title of Tränen der Erinnerung (Tears of Memory) – Only Yesterday (Universum Film GmbH).
- Australia – Released on October 11, 2006 (Madman Entertainment).
- United Kingdom – Released on September 4, 2006 (Optimum Releasing/StudioCanal (English re-release)).
- North America – Released on Jan 1, 2016, in New York City and nationwide in the United States on February 26, 2016. (GKIDS/Universal Pictures/StudioCanal)
- Before these dates, the film was the only theatrical Studio Ghibli feature not yet released on home video in the United States or Canada, although a subtitled version of the film was aired on Turner Classic Movies in January 2006, as part of the channel's month-long salute to Miyazaki and Ghibli. GKIDS announced in 2015 that it would release the film in theaters in North America in 2016 along with an English dub, with actors Daisy Ridley, Dev Patel, Ashley Eckstein and Alison Fernandez confirmed to lend their voices.
- The English version of the film was released on Blu-ray and DVD in the US on July 5, 2016 (GKIDS/Universal Pictures Home Entertainment).
- The film was released on Blu-ray in Japan on December 5, 2012 (Walt Disney Studios Japan).
Only Yesterday was the highest grossing Japanese film on the domestic market in 1991, earning ¥1.87 billion in distribution income. The film received critical acclaim among critics and audiences. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 100%, based on 50 reviews, with an average rating of 8.4/10. The critical consensus states "Only Yesterday's long-delayed U.S. debut fills a frustrating gap for American Ghibli fans while offering further proof of the studio's incredibly consistent commitment to quality." It has a score 90 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 19 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
Nicolas Rapold, of The New York Times, gave the film a positive review, saying, "Mr. Takahata's psychologically acute film, which was based on a manga, seems to grow in impact, too, as the adult Taeko comes to a richer understanding of what she wants and how she wants to live." Glenn Kenny of RogerEbert.com awarded it a similarly positive review, saying "Like Kaguya, it functions as a highly sensitive and empathetic consideration of the situation of women in Japanese society—but it's also a breathtaking work of art on its own." Kaikyaku, of The Nihon Review, stated: “This film knows what it strives to be and executes it well. Though it won’t be for everyone, it represents the quality and artistry that Studio Ghibli is known for."
- Whisper of the Heart and From Up on Poppy Hill, 1995 and 2011 Japanese animated drama films with similar stories, also from Studio Ghibli.
- Ocean Waves, a 1993 Japanese animated TV film, also from Studio Ghibli.
- Japan, Our Homeland
- Mai Mai Miracle
- While the historical Romanization (and pronunciation) of おもひで is Omohide Poro Poro, it is now pronounced Omoide, with the "h" sound omitted.
- Team Ghiblink. "Only Yesterday: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Q: What does "Omohide Poroporo" mean?". Nausicaa.net. Retrieved 2009-07-13.
- Team Ghiblink. "Only Yesterday: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Q: Is it based on a manga or a book?". Nausicaa.net. Retrieved 2007-01-09.
- "Unreleased Studio Ghibli feature finally receives English dub, dated for January". Polygon. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
- Team Ghiblink. "Only Yesterday: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Q: Where did it take place?". Nausicaa.net. Retrieved 2007-01-09.
- Team Ghiblink. "Only Yesterday: CD Guide". Nausicaa.net. Retrieved 2009-07-13.
- "Tränen der Erinnerung – Only Yesterday" (in German). Retrieved 2009-07-13.
- "Release Information: Only Yesterday". Retrieved 2009-07-13.
- "Optimum Releasing: Only Yesterday". Retrieved 2009-07-13.
- "GKids to Release Ghibli's Only Yesterday in Theaters in N. America". Anime News Network. August 24, 2015. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- "Kako haikyū shūnyū jōi sakuhin 1991-nen" (in Japanese). Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan. Retrieved 2011-02-06.
- "Omohide poro poro (Only Yesterday) (1991)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
- "Only Yesterday (1991)". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- Repold, Nicolas (December 31, 2015). "Review: Only Yesterday, Isao Takahata's Time-Jumping Anime". New York Times. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- Kenny, Glenn (December 31, 2015). "Only Yesterday (2016)". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- Only Yesterday – TCM Overview and release request.
- Only Yesterday on IMDb
- Only Yesterday (film) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Omohide Poro Poro (Only Yesterday) at The Big Cartoon DataBase
- Only Yesterday at AllMovie
- Only Yesterday// Nausicaa.net – a richly detailed fan site with reviews, commentary, and links to scripts and song lyrics