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Japanese anime from Studio Ghibli featuring the voice talents of Daisy Ridley and Dev Patel. 27-year-old Taeko (Ridley) embarks on a holiday to the country and reminiscences about her childhood, recalling the major events that shaped her life into what it is now. In the present, she longs for a change in her humdrum life as an office worker in Tokyo, and when she arrives at her relatives' farm she finds herself attracted to an earnest young farmer. As Taeko flips between the past and the present she realises that she must make important decisions to ensure her future happiness. Offical Synopsis

 Only Yesterday
This is a Ghibli tale, that came out in 1991 but has not had an English track done as it was deemed "undubable" is not about magic and wonder in the fantasy and spirits sense but the general wonder and magic that's all around us, either within nature or via the memories or our past.

Taeko's journey as she comes to terms with the her youth via her 5th grade self flashbacks provides a tale that draws you in with its personality and relatable human concerns. Reminiscing over a life on film is always an easy watch and when handled this well and intertwining that with a sort of coming of age, or at least coming to terms with who you are now story makes this even more rewarding.

 Only Yesterday
As we see the world of organic agriculture through Taeko's experiences, the magic of what people can achieve is celebrated. Man made streams and farming and the reduced use of machines and chemicals feed into the journey our young female lead is on and the options she has, either thrust upon her or found within herself make her a female lead you can't help but aspire to.

The new dub featuring Daisy Ridley as Taeko is wonderful. She's full of pure light and enjoyment in her vocals and her joy, sadness or questioning of her situation or past is a delight. The supporting roles around that (including Ashley Eckstein - Ashoka Tano and Rey in the same film - geekgasm!) flesh this film out even more, with it's softness, understanding an general casual pace. This is maybe not a Ghibli film for the Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle fans but for those that love Whisper of The Heart, From Up on Poppy Hill or the more personal, slower paced Ghibli flicks, you are in for a (25 year old) treat.

 Only Yesterday


The animation style that is classic Ghibli but really seems to focus on facial gestures which use more cheeks and mouth movements to add character and is very effective. There's a real study of these elements and even a fair bit of body movements, such as baseball pitches that really shine within this two hour film.

The soft styled backgrounds that often fade off on the edges of frame is a fantastic style choice and they just look when used to the best effect. The colours are purposely soft at times and certainly don't leap off of the screen like the modern Ghibli releases but it fits the style of the film and grounds it in real world drama as it requires.

Nearly every frame of this film you could print and frame. Whether the wide open fields in the later half of the film or the memories with faded edges and minimal colour choices, its a beautiful piece of work throughout. The minimal background style is beautiful and the large use of greys and whites countered with soft greens, browns and oranges give the film an autumnal warmth that really adds to the story.

 Only Yesterday


The wonderful soft score opens the film and it's good and strong and sets the soft tone the film has. Dialogue is consistently clear and the small sound effects such as clinking plates and footsteps sound realistic and  crisp. Beyond that and strong newly recording dialogue there's nothing to really show off about. The film is simple, soft and thoughtful and the audio track utterly supports that and has no reason to get playful.

 Only Yesterday


The 'Feature Storyboards' are of course the best extra on a Ghibli disc and there's no change to that here.

'The Making of Only Yesterday' (46:20 SD) is the original Japanese making of and full of behind the scenes goodness.

The 'Behind the Scenes With the Voice Cast' (07:47 HD) is a small chat with the new voice cast and the 'Interview With The English Dub Team' (16:30 HD) is a Q&A at a screening regarding the reasons for the dub of the 25 year old film. Daisy Ridley is not present but she provides a nice message for the crew to read out while she's away promoting some film about space ships and robots no one will ever hear about again probably.

Last up is 'Foreign Trailers' and 'TV Spots'

 Only Yesterday


Only Yesterday is a delightful film, full of thoughtful insights into a life led and the effects of childhood on an adult looking for themselves. It covers so much within its two hour run time and works at its own pace entirely as it wanders through a life with possibilities and the ability to look back into your past and re-evaluate your view of it. The artwork here is absolutely beautiful and looks fantastic on its Blu-ray home, and the extras on the disc make for a fine package too, especially those storyboards. Another Studio Ghibli great, add it to your collection!

* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.