Conclusion: Some will lament the absence of Studio Ghibli's signature fantasy in From Up on Poppy Hill , but I appreciated this simple film as something refreshingly different. This endearing coming-of-age period drama easily won me with the old basic fundamentals of story and characters. Its beautiful 2D visuals didn't hurt either. Goro Miyazaki's second film is something you could easily imagine his father directing.
Excerpt: The overwhelming problem with Goro Miyazaki's films is how much the technical quality of their animation outshines the films themselves. His first feature, Tales from Earthsea , was visually stunning in the fluidity of the character movement and the exacting detail and textures of the environments. But the strengths of the animation were wholly undone by the clunky plot, the platitudinous dialogue, and the lack of imagination in the character design.
Conclusion: From Up on Poppy Hill doesn't need a badnik or bursts of tragedy when it has such a playful atmosphere, so much energy, and such richly drawn characters. Though this is a story that could very easily have been told in live action, I can't imagine that From Up on Poppy Hill would have left anywhere near as much an impression without the benefit of Studio Ghibli's achingly gorgeous animation.
Excerpt: Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli is responsible for some of the most gorgeous, imaginative animated fantasy films of all time, yet many of the best Ghibli features have been small, quiet, and grounded in reality. With From Up On Poppy Hill , Miyazaki’s son Goro makes a film more in the tradition of Ghibli’s Only Yesterday and Whisper Of The Heart than the high fantasy of his disappointing 2006 debut, Tales From Earthsea .