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only yesterday is isao takahatas masterpiece.
and i say that having not seen grave of the fireflies, commonly accepted to be his “true masterpiece, thats how confident i am in this films quality. only yesterday takes a little bit of everything that ive seen from takahatas works so far and morphs it into one cohesive and truly excellent package. the way animation is used to tell the story from kaguya, the masterful serious-comedy tone switching from pom poko, and the relatable, quirky family drama from yamadas. and it did all this before any of those, way back in 1991.
i just dont know how to describe my love for this film. ill just go through everything about it, i guess. the animation is shockingly good for 1991, and thematically appropriate fot either side of the story told here. the children in taekos memories are much looser and more expressive with their faces, with beautiful, dreamy sequences thrown in here and there. the beautiful water-color esque backgrounds are faint and ethereal, missing detail and only keeping only the important bits. on the other hand, the adults in the present time are much more grounded, with their fairly realistic looking faces (for an anime) and subtle little mannerisms that tell you about a specific persons personality. its all brilliant stuff to watch in motion.
i could go on, but this review would just become twenty paragraphs of me going through the movie and pointing out how amazing everything is. ill just say this, this is the first movie in a while (that i havent seen in theatres) where i was glued to the screen in a trance, not even checking my phone for a second to see the time. that ending credits sequence is now among one of my favorite scenes ever. i didnt cry, but damn i came close.
a truly wonderful experience and an even bigger reason to miss isao takahata. rip.
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