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[ a parent's guide to anime ]

[ rated pg ] Only Yesterday

A Parent's Guide to Anime
Rated: PG
Parental Guidance Advised

Review by Charles Peklenk

This movie is available on laserdisc from Japan and in fan-subtitled versions elsewhere. For those who do not understand Japanese, using a translation script or subtitles is strongly recommended because of the abundant narration.

[ 23kb ]

You thought Totoro was a quiet movie? Try this one. Taeko, an office girl from Tokyo, takes a ten-day vacation in the country, helping with the safflower harvest on a relative's farm. As she leaves work, she begins to ponder her past. With numerous flashbacks to her school days, we follow her train of thought as she dwells intensely on her fifth-grade year, wondering if, perhaps, something went wrong with her life. Between long days in the fields, Taeko unburdens herself to anyone who will listen, and finds a friend in Toshio, a second cousin who is into organic farming.

A very deep, meaningful, and mostly peaceful movie, "OPP" intersperses beautiful scenes of the countryside with nostalgic views of 60s Japan, complete with bits of period music and television, and soaks it all in a bath of introspection that will seem familiar to the non-Japanese viewer, although some aspects of the Japanese mindset are harder to follow. The characters are remarkably real and live believable lives; it is one of those films with enough depth to encourage discussion for weeks to come.

Parent's Guide Rating:

yellow (parental guidance advised)

Approach: Peacefully hopeful.

[ 22kb ]

A note to parents: Likely to be boring for many kids, though they may watch it just because it's animated. Good choice for those in high school and up. Contains a short scene with nudity (but without the detail common in anime) in which Taeko, as a little girl visiting the Atami hot springs, bathes in various pools. Also, at school, after the girls attend a sex-education lecture, the boys start to ask about panties, look up the girl's skirts and tease them about their periods. Finally, when Taeko goes outdoors without shoes (it was once taboo), her father slaps her on the face.

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