My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)

A much lighter affair than director Isao Takahata’s earlier works like “Grave of the Fireflies” or “Only Yesterday”, “My Neighbors the Yamadas” continues those film’s trends of using unconventional animation stylings to couch a story in an impressionistic, free-flowing style reminiscent of memory. Here, a stylised comic-strip watercolour aesthetic is achieved, in the process rendering it the first Studio Ghibli film to have art painted entirely on computers.


The story is a series of light-hearted vignettes about a Japanese family and their issues. It’s a comic, sweet film, certainly lacking anywhere near the depth of Takahata’s earlier films, but with some nice proverbial grace notes. Not much meat on the bone to comment on, but an enjoyable experience. Three mismatched shoes, and a motorbike.

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