Kokuriko-zaka kara

March 17th, 2013

Get the poster


510736_Netflix 1 Month Free Trial - Instantly Watch Unlimited Films and TV Episodes

Kokuriko-zaka kara

A group of Yokohama teens look to save their school's clubhouse from the wrecking ball in preparations for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Release Year: 2011

Rating: 7.2/10 (3,671 voted)

Director: Goro Miyazaki

A group of Yokohama teens look to save their school's clubhouse from the wrecking ball in preparations for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Writers: ,


Official Website: Official site [jp]

Release Date:

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

When Umi Matsuzaki and Shun Kazama are embarking on the prodigious ship, there is a sign at the bottom of the wheel house (bridge) which says "Ghibli". This is the name of Hayao Miyazaki's studio. See more »

User Review

Gorō Miyazaki finds amazing form. A great addition to Studio Ghibli's filmography

Rating: 8/10

Gorō Miyazaki returns after his 'not so impressive' Tales from Earthsea in 2006, with a wonderful adaptation of Tetsuo Sayama and Chizuru Takahashi's 1980s manga. After gaining negative reaction, including winning the 'Worst Movie' and 'Worst Director' awards in the 2006 Japan's Bunshun Raspberry Award, many have been apprehensive towards Gorō's next project. This criticism has certainly hurt Gorō reputation, but it all seems too critical. Many seem to forget that Tales from Earthsea was his directorial debut, and with his father being the great Hayao Miyazaki, it was always going to be tough for Gorō to make a spectacular first impression. However From Kokuriko Hill is a fantastic addition to Studio Ghibli's strong filmography and certainly proves Gorō Miyazaki has enough cinematic and animation knowledge to work under the prestigious banner. It's charming, funny and refreshing after the constant magical and fantasy approach of the studio, and Japanese animation in general.

The story takes place in Yokohama in 1963, where we follow High-School student, Umi Komatsuzaki. She looks after her grandmother, younger brother and sister, whilst completing the housework. Each morning she raises her 'Safe Voyage' flag, and heads to school. After witnessing a stunt by the 'Culture Club', Umi meets Shu, a fellow student who is 'second-in- command' of the club, and Shirou, the President of the Student Council. It is this new found friendship and relationship between Shu and Umi which builds and matures revealing an intertwining background and charming romance. Alongside this character-driven story is the struggle occurring between the high-school and the various students of the 'Culture Club'. The dilapidated building filled with history and memories is being threatened to be demolished. It's up to the students to convince the 'adults' that their creation and interests are preserved.

Written by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa, the story is realistic and historic in theme. Gone are the cutesy, magical monsters and characters, as well as the environmental commentaries Studio Ghibli is best known for. Instead From Kokuriko Hill deals with the 'Rise of Post-War Japan' and the incoming Tokyo Olympics. The film certainly creates a fitting atmosphere. Shots of Japan's growing exporting and importing industries, office businesses and the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, clearly indicate the modern transformation of the country. We also experience the tragic nature of the Korean War and the impact on families and friends. The story also focuses on the widening gap/ split between traditional Japanese culture and the modern, business age. It was during this 'miracle' period where Japan looked forward, rather than back, and the contest between the 'school' and the 'students' dramatise this theme. The contrast between the old buildings and industries of Yokohama, and the trains, cars of Tokyo symbolise the changing ideologies and philosophies of the nation.

While it may sound very mature when compared to previous Studio Ghibli's films, it still deals with adolescents in a adult world, like Nausicaa and Laputa. However whilst magical characters and mysticism connect with the imaginations of children, From Kokuriko Hill uses its high-school environment and the sincere, pure nature of childhood relations to connect with younger audiences. It's the characters that help with the portrayal of the story and the bring these environments and themes to the screen. And they are fantastic. While not as memorable when compared to the likes of Chihiro (Spirited Away) and Totoro (My Neighbour Totoro), they still possess enough personality and charm for the audience to care for them. We are introduced to various different students, all whom have different personalities. However the film focuses on the main characters of Umi and Shu and therefore unfortunately leads to other characters not being fully explored or developed to the same extent. Umi is beautifully portrayed and developed. Her calm, mature exterior hides her damaged background. We experience the loss of her father, and the growing pressure and responsibility she has gained with her mother studying abroad. Meanwhile, the strong-willed, charming personality of Shu, also obscures an uncertain background that becomes clearer with the relationship with Umi. Gorō and the writers have carefully constructed the characters and story, achieving a steady pace that allows for a deeper exploration into From Kokuriko Hill's world.

The film looks amazing. After the spectacular animation of the previous Studio Ghibli production Arrietty The Borrower, it would seem impossible to top the artistic achievement of that film. However From Kokuriko Hill manages to. With its detailed interiors and sublime visual portrayal of Yokohama and the coast, its simply jaw-dropping to see the painstaking animation, artistic competence and talent that was involved in creating such an beautiful film. Clever sequences of animation liven up dull scenes like climbing stairs, as the 'camera' constantly follows the characters rather than having still 'shots'. Alongside the fantastic animation is the soundtrack which is brilliant as always. Satoshi Takebe mixes long-flowing orchestral pieces with lively, jazz-like tunes like those of Kiki's Delivery Service. It all adds personality to each scene without over-powering or distracting from the visual nature of the picture. Aoi Teshima 'Summer of Farewells' is a fantastic theme song, that remains in the memory well after the end of the film.

Overall, From Kokuriko Hill is a wonderful piece of animated cinema that certainly shows Gorō Miyazaki growing talent. Not only is it a beautiful work of art and song, but it's a triumph in story-telling and character development. While it isn't as memorable as the likes of My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away, and moves away from the magical essence of Studio Ghibli, it is still is impressively constructed and directed. And with the unfortunate inevitability that Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki won't be around forever, it is reassuring that young artists and directors are successfully proving themselves as the future of Studio Ghibli.


Holiday BlockBusters at AllPoster!
Holiday BlockBusters at AllPoster!


Comment on “Kokuriko-zaka kara”

Name :




510736_Netflix 1 Month Free Trial - Instantly Watch Unlimited Films and TV Episodes

Upcoming Film Releases|Movie Posters