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Blu-Ray Review: My Neighbours The Yamadas

MY NEIGHBOURS THE YAMADAS

Reviewer Dexter Kong
Rated: PG
Release Date: May 9, 2011 (UK & Ireland)
DirectorIsao Takahata
Cast:  Tôru MasuokaYukiji Asaoka , Masako Araki
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Studio Ghilbi are currently re-releasing their back catalogue of films on Blu-Ray. I’ve had the chance to check out a couple of movies. I found the picture quality in the transfers to be incredibly sharp, which really brings out the minute details in animation. So if you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli I’d definitely recommend investing in the Blu-Rays.

My Neighbours the Yamadas is adapted from a yonkoma manga Nono-chan by Hisaichi Ishii. Directed by Isao Takahata.

It follows the daily life of the Yamada family and is told in a series of vignettes, each time from a different family member perspective. They are whimsical little stories, ranging from losing a child in a shopping complex to some one’s imagination wandering. For the most part though they are quite grounded and provide charming introspective in to the mundanity of life and how it is handled.

The style of animation is almost done in simple sketch form but as watercolor; oddly enough this was actually Studio Ghibli’s first fully digital movie. The drawing style does change though depending on the vignette which sometimes venture in to more complex animations, but as with all Studio Ghibli’s films the level of detail put in to the animation is superb; such as the fluidity of a baseball game they watching on TV or waves crashing down. In high definition you can really see the grain of the paper textures coming through leading to the watercolor feel which Isao Takahata was going for.

The western voice cast I found to actually be very fitting with the likes of James Belushi, Molly Shannon, Daryl Sabara and Liliana Mumy; all adding charming sensibilities to the characters the played.

My Neighbours the Yamadas is an odd sell to a western audience. The narrative does not follow a linear structure and it essentially equates to a series of short stories. Unlike other Studio Ghibli it isn’t set within a fantasy world. But, there is such genuineness and heart within the goings on that is it hard not to find some sort of affinity and fondness for the characters.

MOVIE RATING: 4/5

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 Extras:

Storyboards (PiP)

NTV Special Program: Super TV 15 months exclusive coverage: Secrets of My Neighbours the Yamadas (45 mins) (new)

Behind the Microphone (68 mins) (new)

TV Spots

Original Japanese Theatrical

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