My Neighbors the Yamadas (ホーホケキョとなりの山田くん Hōhokekyo Tonari no Yamada-kun ) is a 1999 Japanese animated comedy film written and directed by Isao Takahata and produced by Studio Ghibli. The film stars Hayato Isobata, Masako Araki, Naomi Uno, Touru Masuoka, Yuikiji Asaoka, Akiko Yano, and Kosanji Yanagiya. Unlike the other films of Studio Ghibli, the film is presented in a stylized comic strip aesthetic, a departure from the traditional anime style of the studio's other works.
The film is a series of vignettes following the daily lives of the Yamada family: Takashi and Matsuko (the father and mother), Shige (Matsuko's mother), Noboru (aged approximately 13, the son), Nonoko (aged approximately 5, the daughter), and Pochi (the family dog).
Each of the vignettes is preceded by a title, such as "Father as Role Model", "A Family Torn Apart", or "Patriarchal Supremacy Restored". These vignettes cover such issues as losing a child in a department store, the relationships between father and son, or husband and wife, the wisdom of age, getting one's first girlfriend and many more. Each is presented with humour, presenting a very believable picture of family life that crosses cultural boundaries. The relationships between Matsuko, Takashi and Shige are particularly well-observed, with Shige giving advice and proverbs to all the family members, and having a great strength of character which far outweighs Matsuko's. Takashi and Matsuko's relationship is often the focus of the episodes, their rivalries, such as arguing about who has control of the television, their frustrations and their difficulties, but the overriding theme is their love for one another despite their flaws, and their desire to be the best parents possible for their children.
- Hayato Isobata as Noboru Yamada
- Masako Araki as Shige Yamano
- Naomi Uno as Nonoko Yamada
- Touru Masuoka as Takashi Yamada
- Yukji Asaoka as Matsuko Yamada
- Akiko Yano as Fujihara-Sensei
- Kosanji Yanagiya as Haiku Reader
- Daryl Sabara as Noboru Yamada
- Tress MacNeille as Shige Yamano
- Liliana Mumy as Nonoko Yamada
- James Belushi as Takashi Yamada
- Molly Shannon as Matsuko Yamada
- David Ogden Stiers as Narrator
Based on the yonkoma manga Nono-chan by Hisaichi Ishii, it is the first completely digital Studio Ghibli film. Takahata wanted Yamada-Kun to have the art style of watercolour pictures rather than cel pictures. To achieve that, the traditional paint-on-cel techniques were replaced with digital technology, making Yamada-Kun the first Ghibli film to have animation drawings painted entirely on computers.
The soundtrack was composed by Akiko Yano and it is characterized by very short piano themes. Classical pieces played by Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra conducted by Mario Klemens. Released by Tokuma on 1 July 1999.
- CD 1
- "Theme I: And So It Begins" 1:45
- "Joyous Music I: Going Forward with Reckless Abandon" 0:26
- "Cuckoo I: Not Like the Main Title" 0:28
- "Extract from Chopin's "Nocturne No. 1 in B Flat Minor", Op. 9" 4:13
- "Extract from Mahler's "Symphony No. 5", 1st Movement, Funeral March" 0:29
- "Extract from Mendelsson's Wedding March" 4:22
- "My Neighbors the Yamadas" Theme (Orchestra Version)" 3:34
- "Happy Bridge" 0:21
- "Evening Waltz Theme (Orchestra Version)" 1:43
- "Lively BGM" 3:21
- "The Dog's Policeman" 2:25
- "Troubles (BGM I)" 1:08
- "Troubles (BGM II)" 0:24
- "Sunset Scamper" (1:01)
- "Theme II: Thank Goodness" 1:11
- "Shut Up and Bring It Here!" 0:34
- "Joyous Music II: Please, Stop Pushing, Right Now!" 0:52
- "Cuckoo II: Oh, Welcome Home" 0:29
- "Happy Bridge II" 0:15
- "Takashi and Matsuko's Tango" 0:59
- "Pom Poko Tanuki Band" (Wakaya Rakudan) 1:13
- "Joyous Music III: A Happy Mouth" 0:25
- "A Father's Sorrow" 0:39
- "Paradise of Freedom" 0:23
- "Extract from Mahler's "Symphony No. 1", "Giant", 4th Movement 3:32
- "Theme III: Spring Rain" 3:32
- "Cuckoo III" 0:28
- "Cuckoo IV: The Correct Answer" 0:26
- "Cuckoo V"
- CD 2
- "Round Of Forgotten Things I: Morning Blessings" 1:16
- "Round Of Forgotten Things II: Morning Blessings" 1:19
- "Cherry Cherry" 0:45
- "Extract from Albinoni's Adagio" 2:07
- "Young People" 1:42
- "Cuckoo VI: Summer Dreams" 0:28
- "Joyous Music III: School is Fun" 0:50
- "Exciting BGM" 0:45
- "Phone Line" 2:56
- "Bach: Prelude and Fugue No. 8 in E Flat Minor" 4:14
- "Cheerful Music III: Going My Way" 1:16
- "Round of Forgotten Things: Bridge" 0:28
- "Round III of Forgotten Things: Good Advice" 0:36
- "The Masked Moonbeam Theme Song, "Who is the Masked Moonbeam?" (Yoshiko Kondou) 3:24
- "Broken Dreams" 0:24
- "Mozart's "Toy's Symphony", Movement No. 2" 2:27
- "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" 3:20
- "Quit Being Alone" 3:55
Despite decent reviews, the film did not fare as well at the box office in Japan as other Ghibli films.
My Neighbors the Yamadas was released on DVD in America on August 2005, alongside another Takahata film, Pom Poko. Even though the UK and Japan got Blu-Ray releases of the movie in 2011, the US never saw a Blu-Ray release from Disney. The movie will finally get its North American Blu-ray debut and a re-release of the DVD by GKIDS in 2018.
My Neighbors the Yamadas received an Excellence Award for animation at the 1999 Japan Media Arts Festival.
- My Neighbors the Yamadas (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Hôhokekyo Tonari No Yamadâkun (My Neighbors the Yamadas) at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- My Neighbors the Yamadas at Nausicaa.net (detailed information on a fan site)
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