Excerpt: Yokohama, 1963. Japan is preparing to host the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and efforts are underway to make the surrounding cities look as impressive as possible for the rest of the world. Many run-down older buildings are being demolished and replaced with more modern facilities. Unfortunately, this means that a local school clubhouse (which serves as home to a wide variety of clubs—the chemistry club, the philosophy club, the archeology club, etc.
Conclusion: From Up on Poppy Hill is charming, incredibly sweet natured and ultimately very moving. But like most Ghibli films, it defies established conventions and it moves at its own deliberate pace. My hunch is even some Ghibli fans won't immediately take to this outing since it has no overtly mystical or fantasy elements—but to those folks I would urge giving the film enough time to weave its spell.