Only Yesterday (Omohide Poro Poro) (Studio Ghibli Collection) (1991)
Multiple Angles-Alternative Angle Storyboards
Trailer-Studio Ghibli promo
Reversible Cover-My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Only Yesterday
|Year Of Production||1991|
|Running Time||113:56 (Case: 119)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Isao Takahata|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English||Smoking||Yes, quite a bit.|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, a giant PUMA logo fills the screen at one point.|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, as the story draws to a close.|
Twenty-seven year old Taeko is experiencing a transitional phase in her life. Besides remaining unmarried, she's been working a sterile desk job in Tokyo and has longed for the countryside since her childhood. She plans a trip to visit her Grandmother that will coincide with the Safflower harvest on a nearby farm. As her trip approaches, her mind is overcome with memories of her childhood, a mixture of bitter and sweet recollections that have defined the woman she is now. In an innocent and playful twist to the story, her ten-year-old self stows away on the train and joins her on her journey, sharing the adventure and causing the elder Taeko to reconsider her future.
Only Yesterday, directed by Isao Takahata, is unlike any other Studio Ghibli film. The lead character is mature and more 'worldly' than other Ghibli mascots, which makes an intriguing counterpoint to the film's many dream-like diversions and flash-backs. Only Yesterday set a new benchmark for realism in cel animation, and was widely recognised for its intricate, finely detailed facial movements and expressions. The Safflower farming process is particularly fascinating and is also covered in detail in the film. Safflowers are picked by hand and cured for a time, then processed and used to dye textiles.
While it doesn't quite reach the heights of Takahata's breath-taking Grave Of The Fireflies, nor the jewel in Ghibli's crown, Miyazaki's My Neighbour Totoro, Only Yesterday is a poignant reminder of the innocence of youth, beautifully animated and a joy to behold.
This video transfer is comparable to the other titles in the Studio Ghibli Collection. The transfer is presented in the film's original 1.85:1 theatrical aspect, 16x9 enhanced of course. The image has been window-boxed, that is to say there are thin black bars present on all sides of the image. Although it limits the resolution of the transfer, such a presentation does reduce any potential issues resulting from image overscan in some displays. For example, my 76cm Panasonic CRT overscans images beyond the safe title area and cannot be adjusted. I no longer use that television for reviewing purposes for precisely that reason.
I should also point out that this is most certainly a PAL transfer, void of any ugly NTSC video conversion artefacts. Past titles in the series have suffered from this issue (Porco Rosso in particular), but there's no such worries here.
Given that the film completed production way back in 1991, this is a decent transfer. Compared to Grave Of The Fireflies, which was completed several years earlier, I believe Only Yesterday isn't quite up to the same standard transfer-wise. There is the odd moment of minor telecine wobble and the odd speck of dust or dirt in the transfer, but the source is in otherwise good condition.
The image is nice and sharp throughout, without ever becoming overly 'edgy' as some animation can. Colours are bold and consistent and I didn't note any rendering issues in the slightest. I did note some shimmering artefacts relating to the film source, resulting in slight, intermittent variations in cool and warm tones, but as I said I believe this is due to the condition of the source and not the quality of the animation.
MPEG compression noise can be seen in expanses of any single colour, visible as pixelised grain or blocking. The brown blankets at 36:55 are a good example of this artefact. Other than this, the mediocre MPEG bitrate handles the motion on screen without any dire issues.
An English subtitle stream is activated by default. The yellow text is easy to follow and free of any distracting typos.
This disc is dual layered (DVD9 formatted), however there is no transitional pause placed during the feature.
The film is accompanied by only one audio option; the film's original Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack (224Kb/s). The dialogue is absolutely crystal clear and easy to discern at all times, despite the highly active nature of some scenes. I didn't notice any audio sync issues at all.
The soundtrack is very active and lively, with plenty of panning from left to right. The film's realistic Foley effects are excellent and appear to be transferred faithfully. I attempted to process the stereo soundtrack with Pro Logic II, but was not content with the thin, lifeless result.
The music in this film is particularly special. The score by Masaru Hoshi is highly varied and absolutely delightful on every level. The film's music shifts from delicate piano melodies to somewhat strange themes resembling a spaghetti western. There are also some grand choral pieces that are particularly uplifting. The theme song The Rose is performed by Haruki Miyako.
The subwoofer and surround channels are not utilised.
|Surround Channel Use|
A popular feature on the Studio Ghibli discs, this is pretty similar to past storyboards, covering the entire film from beginning to end. There is some fascinating artwork to be seen, but the novelty wears a bit thin after a while. A little colour has been applied here and there but it's not nearly as involving as the main feature. If given the choice, I would prefer a higher video bitrate for the main feature and relegate the storyboards to a still gallery or brief featurette. An interesting inclusion all the same.
Ever wanted to see the complex inner workings of the Ghibli studios? A film crew joined Producer Hayao Miyazaki and Director Isao Takahata for several months during production, capturing the pressures, board meetings, deadlines and setbacks within the tiny studio. The featurette first touches on their past careers, then explains the production process in detail. We follow Takahata as he takes some of his staff on a trip to a real Safflower farm and are shown how the trip influenced the film's final artwork. This is a fascinating piece that is sure to be enjoyed by any Ghibli fan.
There are three Only Yesterday trailers in total; two teasers and a full theatrical trailer.
This trailer reel provides a few exciting excerpts from each Studio Ghibli production.
The reverse side of the slick has alternate artwork and is void of any ugly ratings-logo propaganda.
The Region 2 Japanese (NTSC) release by Buena Vista spreads the same content over two discs. Although it is presented in NTSC, I would presume this leaves room for a superior transfer, with much less compression. The extras are not subtitled.
The video and audio transfers are good.
The extra material includes an excellent making of featurette.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using DVI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-3806 (via Denon Link 3)|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.|