Only Yesterday (Omohide Poro Poro) (Studio Ghibli Collection) (1991)

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Released 11-Oct-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer-(3)
Multiple Angles-Alternative Angle Storyboards
Featurette-Making Of-(46:18)
Trailer-Studio Ghibli promo
Reversible Cover-My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Only Yesterday
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 113:56 (Case: 119)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Isao Takahata
Studio
Distributor
Madman
Madman Entertainment
Starring Miki Imai
Toshirô Yanagiba
Youko Honna
Case Amaray-Opaque-Dual-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Masaru Hoshi
Yoshiyuki Momose
Naoko Asari


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
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.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu pages are completely static. The main menu page has a brief introduction and is accompanied by an audio clip from the film's score. The menu pages are 16x9 enhanced. All of the extra features are presented in 1.33:1 full frame and contain removable English subtitles.

Alternate Angle-Storyboards

    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.

Featurette-Making Of Only Yesterday (46:18)

    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.

Trailers (4:21)

    There are three Only Yesterday trailers in total; two teasers and a full theatrical trailer.

Studio Ghibli Trailers (11:47)

    This trailer reel provides a few exciting excerpts from each Studio Ghibli production.

Reversible Cover Slick

    The reverse side of the slick has alternate artwork and is void of any ugly ratings-logo propaganda.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Ours is absolutely identical to the Region 2 release, even down to the menus. There doesn't appear to be a Region 1 disc yet.

    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.

Summary

    Only Yesterday is beautifully animated and highly enjoyable. I'd be hesitant to rate it as highly as Takahata's brilliant Grave Of The Fireflies, but it certainly deserves a place in any anime fan's collection.

    The video and audio transfers are good.

    The extra material includes an excellent making of featurette.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Friday, January 05, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using DVI output
DisplaySanyo 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 DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3806 (via Denon Link 3)
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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