From Up on Poppy Hill Review

Review by Cathlin

Umi is a teenage girl with a lot on her plate; school, younger siblings, and running her family’s boarding house in her mom’s absence. And don’t forget Shun, the daring boy who pulls her out of her routine and shell. This story opens in 1963 coastal Japan, a year before the Japanese Olympics, and with a generation growing into young adulthood whose parents fought in the Korean War. As it unwinds, Umi and her friends try to help save an old building that houses their school’s clubs. On the surface is a heartwarming story of teamwork, finding your voice, and new relationships, with twists I refuse to spoil. Underneath, there’s a quiet contemplation of grief and hope and whether you have to let go of the past to step into the future. Watching on either level is like sitting down with a warm drink and an old friend to talk about memories. The art is beautiful and warm-colored, the music is soft and compelling, and I was quickly swept up in Umi’s life. I like watching anime with both dubbing and subtitles on to get a balanced translation experience, but this movie has great voice casts in both Japanese and English, so you can’t go wrong either way if you have a preference.

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