This is the new work from Studio Ghibli, who previously brought us Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. This is the story of a young woman growing up in Japan in 1962, her father died in the Korean war and her mother is studying abroad, so she is looking after her Grandmother and two younger siblings while studying. This leaves little time for a social life, but when she meets a local boy Shun, her life becomes even more complicated.
This is a surprisingly straight laced story of impossible love in post war Japan (no spirits or goblins contained within!). There are a number of plot twists that are somewhat predictable, so much so that you are waiting long periods for the obvious to be resolved. The real joy in the tale is the beautiful animation that leaves you smiling and in the large crowd scenes at the student union, or the Latin quarter as they call it. The main sub plot to the story deals with the Club house which is going to be torn down, and the students various attempts to save the building.
This a heart warming and simple tale that gives a beautiful portrayal of life for young people in a country trying to establish an identity after the war. There is a warm glow of nostalgia in its vision of Japan, and this amiable love story between two teenagers.