It was announced today that Studio Ghibli’s From up on Poppy Hill was the winner of the 2012 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. I am not surprised, seeing as Studio Ghibli films are always top-notch animations with a a strong underlying story. This means, of course, that I will be quite excited when this movie hits the stores in Blu-Ray form. It was released in July 2011 and is directed by Gorō Miyazaki. It is set in Yokohama during 1963, a year before the Tokyo 1964 Olympics.
Kokuriko Manor sits on a hill overlooking the harbour. A 16 year-old girl, Umi, lives in that house. Every morning she raises a signal flag facing the sea. The flag means “I pray for safe voyages”. A 17 year-old boy, Shun, always sees this flag from the sea as he rides a tugboat to school.
In preparation for next year’s Tokyo Olympics, people are destroying the old and believing only in the magnificence of the new. In that time, at a high school in Yokohama, a small struggle occurred. The building of the Culture Club, nicknamed Quartier Latin, is old but full of history and memories. Should it be destroyed or preserved? In the middle of this, Umi and Shun meet. Shun appeals to the students who want to protect the building. Umi suggests a big clean up of the building to show its good parts.
Gradually the pair are drawn to each other but they are faced with a sudden trial. They may be siblings. Even so, they keep going without running from reality. Then, in the middle of the battle and the aftermath, they come to know how their parents met, loved and lived.
I heard about the movie shortly after its theatrical release, but owing to practical factors, have not seen the movie yet. From the trailers and some of the screencaps I’ve derived from the aforementioned trailers, the sense of true-to-life character dramas becomes very clear and the setting just sparkles with colour and wit. Consider that the movie is so well-done that my photo organisation software recognises these animated characters as people and asked me if I wanted to name them.
I recall a few months ago when another so-called anime news site erroneously claimed that the K-On! Movie had flat out won the 2012 Japan Academy Prize for Animation. After I had posted this article and linked to it on the aforementioned site, they have made a post that asserts that there were multiple awards, that K-On! had won another one over top of the other movies and have vehemently denied any misinformation on their part. Given that only one Japan Academy Prize for Animation is named every year, it is clear that this other site is not presenting facts.