From Up on Poppy Hill (Spoilers)

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From Up on Poppy Hill (Spoilers)

Post by takenoko » Fri May 08, 2015 8:55 pm

Another Ghibli movie down the hatch. I liked it a lot. I'm a big fan of these small town stories about a small group of people. It's like Roddenberry's utopia in present times, everyone knows your name, they all work hard, no one is malicious, and the problems are either external or come from people being misguided. Maybe that's why we find Ghilbi works so appealing.

There's nothing I like better than to be sucked into a world and this movie does it. I loved the feeling of being in 60s Japan, hearing Sukiyaki in the background, seeing all the sights of Tokyo, the old town architecture, the encroaching industrialization and smog. The Quartier Latin (for some reason the Japanese switch it around) is wonderful in its early stage. It looks lived in, used, the clutter full of memory and signs of humanity. I almost prefer it to the cleaned up version. And like I said above, there's nothing like a small town setting. I also got stupidly excited when they got out the wooden rice bowl and opened up the floor panels to reveal hidden vegetables.

===Weird stuff===
I accidentally turned on the subtitles for the dub at first. The dub has narration that occurs that isn't in the original Japanese version. That makes me wonder who wrote it. Did the translator just make it up, or did he/she get approval from the Miyazaki's?

My theory is that American kids have ADD, so they added the narration so they wouldn't get bored watching this three minute opening sequence with no dialogue.

===Actual Review===
Short and sweet love story. I feel like I'm stealing this joke from something I read, but it is pretty funny how the biggest threat to this young couple's love is incest. It feels borderline inappropriate for a Ghibli movie, but I'll accept it. At least it's not the inexplicable violence followed by the stretches of boredom that happened in Earthsea, Miyazaki Goro's earlier movie. I thought I read that Goro quit the animation business, but I can't seem to find anything in my cursory search to support that.

I love details. The recurring French. The fact that the children are named Umi, Sora, and Riku (Sea, Air, and Land). It's just thrilling when the different dots connect to each other. The flag thing particularly interested me, and it disappoints me that the film doesn't go into explicit detail into their meaning. From what I read, the flags that Umi/Mer raise say U/W, which means 御安航を祈る(Goan kou/wataru wo inoru / I wish you a pleasant voyage.). But no where have I read how U/W means that. I'm guessing U for Umi, but why W? We also don't get an explanation for what flags Shun raises on the tug boat. ... 28story%29
This says that Shun raises the flags UW MER, so somehow he knows her nickname (I guess that makes sense, everyone calls her Mer except her mom. Too bad the subtitles completely leave this out) I think that these are the same flags that show up in Sachiko (I think they call her Hiro-chan in the movie) painting.

Simply because I have nowhere else to put it, the guys who get on the ladders with nothing supporting the ladder but other guys must have the biggest balls.

I knew the third guy in the photo would be important.

===Translation nitpicks====

No a translation nitpick, but the subtitles were weird in that the y/g/p letters were all bigger than the other fonts. My other complaint is that there are hard subs for the signs, which aren't typeset local to the onscreen text except for in one case. The rest of the time, they're on the bottom, and they get covered up by the subtitles. Boo!

Translation for a general audience is like sanding off the corners. It may make it smoother, but it removes the details and any of the hard, sharper features that give it personality.

First the big one, they removed Umi's nickname of Mer (French for "sea", since Umi is "sea" in Japanese). Like even if you don't explain it, you probably shouldn't remove details that say something about the character. Plus, there were tons of characters whose names I didn't know/couldn't remember, so saying it was removed for simplicity's sake isn't a valid one.

They change From Coquelicot Hill to From Poppy Hill. Again, removing the French is dumbing stuff down for dumb Americans. Plus, there's one scene where Umi is eating a Croquette while walking up Coquelicot hill. Say that 5 times fast!

The poem "why do you send your thoughts to the sky" seems needlessly vague. I get it's supposed to be poetic, but it seems to completely miss the point of her being a flag raiser. Plus, Shun knows what the flags mean. Would he phrase sending messages via flags as sending thoughts to the sky?

When Mizunuma says he'll be Sora's "escort" in English, they don't keep the word.

In general, I was disappointed when the subs just left out details. I get the feeling that part of it is aiming the movie at kids, but that's what the dub is for. Most little kids probably wouldn't want to watch the audio in Japanese and subtitles in English, so why not make the subtitles legitimate, uncensored translations of the dialogue? I guess my best example of this is when one of the ladies brings over some alcohol. The lady says "Whiskey?" But all references to it being alcohol and drinking is covered up, except one line "You're too young".

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