Houhokekyo Tonari no Yamada-kun (My Neighbors the Yamadas)

Salaryman manga goes anime

Written & directed by Isao Takahata, together with Hayao Miyazaki the driving for of Studio Ghibli, this 1999 movie does not look anything like Ghibli's films usually does, going for a sketchy, water-colour approach. This makes it very faithful to the look of the original manga strip, done by Hisaichi Ishii. And it really works well, with its extremely handmade look, and the fantastic sound also makes this a thoroughly enjoyable movie.

The Yamadas is an ordinary Japanese family, with a salaryman husband, a housewife, two children and a grandma all living together. The film follows them in their day-to-day business, where nothing really special happens: They shop, argue about house chores and so on. And everything, despite what it might sound like, mixes together into a charming, melancholic, funny film which, while remaining definitely Japanese, in no way is inaccessible for non-Japanese. Just as you don't expect something like Takahata's most reknown film in the west, Grave of the Fireflies...


  • Despite the sketchy look, this is the first Ghibli film where no cell paintings were used; everything was painted directly to a computer
  • No VHS/DVD released in the west AFAIK, but the Japanese DVD is sports a gorgeous transfer, superb sound (2.0/5.1/DTS) and English &French subtitles. I ordered mine through http://www.cdjapan.co.jp
  • Being a Studio Ghibli film, http://www.nausicaa.net has a lot of facts about this film

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