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Only Yesterday

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Only Yesterday

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Only Yesterday (おもひでぽろぽろ, Omohide Poro Poro; lit. "memories come tumbling down"[1]) is a 1991 Japanese animated drama film written and directed by Isao Takahata, based on the manga of the same title by Hotaru Okamoto and Yuko Tone.[2] Toshio Suzuki produced the film and Studio Ghibli provided the animation. It was released on July 20, 1991.[3] The ending theme song (愛は花、君はその種子 'Ai wa Hana, Kimi wa sono Tane', lit. "Love is a flower, you are its seed") is a Japanese translation of Amanda McBroom's composition "The Rose."

Only Yesterday is significant among progressive anime films in that it explores a genre traditionally thought to be outside the realm of animated subjects. In this case a realistic drama written for adult, particularly female, audiences. The film was, however, a surprise box office success, attracting a large adult audience of both sexes.


In 1982, Taeko is 27 years old, unmarried, has lived her whole life in Tokyo and now works at a company there. She decides to take another trip to visit the family of the elder brother of her elder sister's husband in the rural countryside to help with the safflower harvest and get away from city life. While traveling at night on a sleeper train to Yamagata, she begins to recall memories of herself as a schoolgirl in 1966, and her intense desire to go on holiday like her classmates, all of whom have family outside of the big city.

At the arrival train station, she is surprised to find out that her brother in law's second cousin, Toshio, of whom she barely knows is the one who came to pick her up. During her stay in Yamagata, she finds herself increasingly nostalgic and wistful for her childhood self, while simultaneously wrestling with adult issues of career and love. The trip dredges up forgotten memories (not all of them good ones) — the first stirrings of childish romance, puberty and growing up, the frustrations of math and boys. In lyrical switches between the present and the past, Taeko wonders if she has been true to the dreams of her childhood self. In doing so, she begins to realize that Toshio has helped her along the way. Finally, Taeko faces her own true self, how she views the world and the people around her. Taeko chooses to stay in the countryside instead of returning to Tokyo. It is implied that she and Toshio began a relationship at the end of the movie.

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  1. Team Ghiblink. "Only Yesterday: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Q: What does "Omohide Poroporo" mean?". Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  2. Team Ghiblink. "Only Yesterday: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Q: Is it based on a manga or a book?". Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  3. "Omohide Poro Poro"., May 13, 2012

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