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A Ghibli Oddity that's worth sticking with,
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This review is from: My Neighbours The Yamadas [DVD] (DVD)
I say oddity, 'My Neighbours the Yamadas' is perhaps the most ordinary Ghibli film there is as it's a portrayal of an ordinary family and their day to day life. The animation is simple (but that's part of its charm) often looking a bit like a 'Peanuts' comic strip except pastel coloured and more artisitc. Some may be put off this film because of the quirky looking animation and the fact it doesn't have a real plot, it's a series of sketches. I admit I was one of these people, 'My Neighours the Yamadas' was bottom of my list of Ghiblis to buy (though before the one's I'd already seen or the one based on the book I haven't read yet) but running out of films to watch from the studio I went and ordered it.
At first I did find my attention waning, but I took a break and came back to it another day and started again. Pretty soon I realised how I could relate to the characters in the film, which I found surprising as apparently somethings are universal whether you grow up in the east or in the west, and was engrossed. There is no plot, but each segment depicts slices of family in a way that 'The Simpsons' used to before the writing got wacky. It can be highly amusing at times, touching at others and sometimes it'll make you go "hmm thats just like my family".
The best bit though has to be the ending rendition of 'Que Sera Sera', which is an uplifting and fitting end to the movie. My favourite character is perhaps the curmudgenly and fearless granny who stands up to a noisy motorcyclist while the father shys away. I'd rank 'My Neighbours the Yamadas' with 'Pom Poko', a thoroughly enjoyable title for Ghibli fans but if you're looking for a family film to watch with the kids, 'Whisper of the Heart', or 'Kiki's Delivery Service' is probably the better choice.