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My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)


Plot: The Yamada’s are the typical city family, mum, dad, two children and a their grandmother. The movie is made up of over twenty different episodes from the Yamada’s live. Everything from accidentally leaving their young daughter at a shopping mall to the mysterious ‘Moonlight Rider’ saving members of the family from Gangsters.

Review: This movie is currently the last movie Ghibli veteran Isao Takahata, Takahata is known throughout the world for his amazing work in the World War 2 anime; “A Grave of Firefly’s”.

The first thing you notice about this movie compared to other Studio Ghibli epics is the style that this movie has been animated in. Most of it looks like sketches and some of the later scenes almost look similar to “A-Ha’s – Take Me On” music video.

All the segments of the movie are great, with them all running from 2-15 minutes the pacing is perfect, you’ll never feel bored. Some of my favorite segments include the introduction how the youngest daughter explains her family and you get to see several ways of receiving a child in japan. For the Yamada’s their son was found in a lake floating in some sort of giant peach and their daughter found inside the bottom of a bamboo tree. Remember it’s a PG.

Also the “Ginger Morning” segment is great, the message is mainly “eat too much Ginger, you’ll begin to loose your memory”, the entire segment is mainly the family running back and forth because they keep forgetting things. Also their is the running theme of the son annoying the family and ended up being chased by the entire family down the street.

Final Thoughts, don’t let the animation style put you off this film, it’s a stunning film, it’s light hearted and lovely, perfect for a lazy sunday afternoon. Enjoy!

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