“Only Yesterday” (1991) (English Dubbed Version)

MOVIE REVIEW: “Only Yesterday” (English Dubbed) is voiced by Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Chaos Walking), Dev Patel (Lion, Slumdog Millionaire), Alison Fernandez (Logan, Upside-Down Magic [TV Movie]), Hope Levy (Rango, Rio 2), Stephanie Sheh (Your Name, Bleach [TV series]), Ava Acres (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend [TV series], American Horror Story [TV series]), Madeleine Yen (The Wind Rises, Team Umizoomi [TV series]), Jaden Betts (Scandal [TV series], Doc McStuffins [TV series]), Grey Griffin (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy [TV series]), Matthew Yang King (Love Death and Robots [TV series], The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor), Laura Bailey (Spider-Man [2017 TV series], Naruto: Shippuden [TV series]), Ashley Eckstein (Star Wars: The Clone Wars [TV series], Sydney White), Mona Marshall (South Park [TV series], Monsters University), Sumalee Montano (10 Cloverfield Lane, The Casagrandes [TV series]), Tara Strong (The Fairly OddParents [TV series], The Powerpuff Girls [TV series]), and Nika Futterman (The Loud House [TV series], Star Wars: The Clone Wars [TV series]). It is directed by Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, The Tale of Princess Kaguya), who also wrote the screenplay.

Taeko (Ridley), a young office worker, travels to the countryside for the week, only to be reminded of her youth in fifth grade, and how the moments that took place during that year still resonate with her.

Another Studio Ghibli feature. In case you were wondering, way back when I reviewed “Porco Rosso”, recommended to me by the same person who requested I see this one (my brother Luke). As some of you may or may not know, I never could get into anime. It never interested me, though there was something novel about Studio Ghibli pictures that made me wish I could like the art form. Their backdrops seem soothing, as does the music and reflective stories that fill the screen. However, as most people would hail a majority of their work as pure masterpieces, I am left with the desire to say they are “not too shabby.”

So is the case with “Only Yesterday,” a film produced in the early 90’s, only to be re-dubbed in English recently (around the time Daisy Ridley took off with “Star Wars”). I didn’t know what to expect with this one. The artwork looked pleasing, with a portrait of people picking flowers from a lush, green pasture on the back of the DVD box. If there’s one thing I commend this company for, it’s the use of hand-drawn animation that in itself is art to behold. I won’t slight it on that. “Only Yesterday,” while a bit rough around the edges, has some solid animation to watch unfold; and if you think otherwise… well, at least appreciate the effort it took to make it.

The story of this film is at its core a poetic one. It revels in its flashbacks and use of memory. How do the small moments we have as children affect our adulthood? What do we hold onto that define us? Looking back, is there anything we desired that still resonate with us today? These questions are pondered, some up-front, others all too subtly. There were certainly times where the narrative felt like an amalgamation of interesting moments that didn’t seem to tie into much, besides paint our lead character more. The older Taeko is obviously more mature than her fifth grade self, but it’s in her kid years that we experience who she really is underneath. I guess the journey is more so figuring out what stuck?

Combining both realistic nuances and abstract representations, “Only Yesterday” subverts itself in the thoughtful, drifting feeling that hits strong when you are in a reflective mood. I can tell that there is something to it, however I saw the majority of this piece as merely a melting pot of moments. Some of them connect, others are just entertaining to watch. I don’t recall growing bored of the narrative, but I did get a sense that others would have more fun and pull a deeper meaning from it than I did. And that’s not to say that I will knock it; I am fully aware that it is a solid piece of cinema. There were elements I appreciated and dug into, while others I simply watched and moved on. One of the things I thought resonated most was the family dynamic of Taeko’s youth; it held elements that reminded me of my own family (fifth grade Taeko certainly made me think of my youngest brother Maxwell). It’s better than “Porco Rosso,” in my opinion, but it doesn’t reach the perfect heights that most people deem it should. If you like Studio Ghibli, anime, or beautiful/thoughtful animated stories, this one might be for you. FINAL SOCRE: 81%= Juicy Popcorn

Here is the trailer:

One response to ““Only Yesterday” (1991) (English Dubbed Version)

  1. Pingback: March Movie Rankings | Juicy Reviews·

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