Anime: My Neighbours the Yamadas

When I was young, I fell in love

I asked my sweetheart what lies ahead

Will we have rainbows, day after day

Here’s what my sweetheart said.

Que Sera, Sera,

Whatever will be, will be

The future’s not ours, to see

Que Sera, Sera

What will be, will be.

This particular Studio Ghibli movie is different from most others, firstly because the director was Takahata Isao and secondly because the movie art and direction is like that of a comic strip. It does take some getting used to, but once you’re comfortable with the design and the direction of the show, you’re in for a treat.

My neighbours the Yamadas documents the family life of the Yamadas. It is hilarious and there were so many laugh out loud moments for me. It’s the uncanny resemblance to family that makes me smile and the honest way the movie portrays the Yamadas that makes me laugh. It’s not shy about showing us the flaws and the “crazy” side of each family member. At the same time, there are the sweeter side of things, where the love between family members can be see so clearly. This movie is the perfect example of a family anime in the sense that both parents and children can enjoy it immensely, even teenagers might sit through it too. It really has something for everyone, I think it’s because it captures the essence of what makes a family a family.

The Yamada family is not perfect, but despite the flaws, it’s a family that will support each other through thick and thin. My favourite part of the movie has to be the part where they fast track through how the parents got married until the point they are at now. The analogies use makes sense only if you know enough about Japanese culture, but the entire montage was well narrated and directed. It really set the tone of what was to come. And what ensues are tidbits of the life that the Yamadas live. It’s a very simple but truthful depiction of family life and that is what makes me love it so much. I’m glad I watched this when I’m already an adult, because there are somethings one wouldn’t understand as a child. And if I manage to watch this again after having a family of my own, I’m sure I’ll find a new layer of meaning. It’s a very classic film, that can be re-watched a different points in life for new perspective, which an amazing feat for a slice of life film.

My neighbours the Yamadas sets itself apart from the rest of the Studio Ghibli movies, it’s not some epic story with a strong female character. There’s little to no character development, even the art style is simple but effective. It’s a heartwarming story about what it means to be a family and all the crazy things that family does. I wholeheartedly recommend it and as the ending song put it – whatever will be, will be.

2 Responses to “Anime: My Neighbours the Yamadas”
  1. TWWK says:

    This is a wonderful film and among my favorites – definitely underrated among the general Ghibli fare.

    • everworld says:

      Underrated for sure, probably because it’s not a Miyazaki film and the art style is very different from the other Ghibli movies. Still, I’m glad I watched it and thanks for the wonderful recommendation!

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