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Houhokekyo Tonari no Yamada-kun
(My Neighbors the Yamadas)


Reviews & Articles


 Reviews of the Region 2 DVD

1). animeondvd.com, December 12, 2000
2). animeundmanga.at, May 20, 2001 (in German)

News Articles

1). The Daily Yomiuri, July 29, 1999
2). Variety, September 13, 1999

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1). animeondvd.com

The following are representative quotes only; the full text is available online at: http://www.animeondvd.com/reviews/region2/my_neighbors_the_yamada-3.htm

December 12, 2000

My Neighbors the Yamada's


To say I loved this movie is an understatement. To say I loved this DVD is an understatement. If future Ghibli movies on DVD look this good, then the future looks great.


It's also very non-standard Ghibli animation. At first look, it seems like rough sketches with some dashes of color thrown onto it. Upon closer examination, this looks to be a really beautifully crafted film with a real eye for detail and a chance taken on something that isn't proven, especially after releasing Mononoke Hime.


The series of stories throughout alternate between outright hilarious, such as the mother conning her son, Noboru, into cleaning the dishes or the fight with the remote between the mother and father. Others fall into the mildly amusing category while the ending sequence, which alternates between the animation seen throughout or a mix of more adult pieces is very poignant for those getting older and doing the "salaryman" route and just trying to look out for their family.

Buena Vista Japan truly did an exceptional job with this disc. The transfer is simply gorgeous and really shines, more so because of the animation style than the kind we usually see from Ghibli. The white and pastel colors are beautifully rendered and look very sharp. The audio tracks, while not benefiting hugely from 5.1 in both DD and DTS, definitely make out good in the music department. I only did a spot check between the two, but I definitely prefer the warmer feeling of the DTS track.


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1). The Daily Yomiuri

July 29, 1999

Laughing along with the neighbors

BYLINE: Satoshi Tabata
Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer

**** [out of five]
Dir: Isao Takahata
Voices: Yukiji Asaoka, Toru Masuoka

The latest offering from Studio Ghibli, one of the front-runners in Japan's animated film scene, is in many ways a contrast with the studio's previous release, Mononokehime [sic] (Princess Mononoke), which broke box office records in Japan two years ago. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Mononokehime [sic] took on the big theme of symbiosis between nature and human beings, but director Isao Takahata chose the smaller-scale themes of humor and the family for this work.

The style of animation itself is completely different. Mononokehime [sic] was drawn in fine detail, but the characters in Tonari no Yamada-kun are depicted mainly in outline form, with hints at the background. The colors are pastels. The sequences in which characters from the original, four-frame comic strip of the same title begin to move are packed with new ideas and surprises.

The film, which runs 44 minutes [sic, actually about 1 hour 44 minutes] and has very little plot, depicts simply and humorously the life of an ordinary family centering on a married couple--Matsuko (voice of Yukiji Asaoka) and Takashi (Toru Masuoka).

The family encounters a series of funny but universal episodes, with nice comic timing. The viewer quickly grows to like this irresponsible, slovenly and lazy family and their down-to-earth way of life.

There is no doubt that, in its own way, this film is an important work, like Mononokehime [sic]. Although it may give a more subdued impression, compared to previous Ghibli productions, you will find Tonari no Yamada-kun just as satisfying as its predecessors.

The movie is currently playing.

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2). Variety

September 13, 1999

Mogul turns page in Japan booking


TOKYO -- One of the grand old men of the Japanese movie industry is rocking the country's distribution system from atop his publishing empire.

Yasuyoshi Tokuma --- who at 77 is president of the Tokuma Shoten publishing company and who presides over movie studio Daiei --- is challenging the traditional block- and track-booking system maintained by Japan's three main movie companies, Toho, Toei and Shochiku.

"My Neighbors the Yamadas," the most recent release from Studio Ghibli, a Tokuma group company and the country's premier animation house, is the first major Japanese film to go out on a free-booking system in Japan.

Exhibitors were not obliged to book the film with a lesser title and were not restricted to showing the film solely in theaters maintained by one of the three major companies.

"Japanese movies are taking a beating at the hands of American films," Tokuma says. "Unless we change the distribution system, we will never close the gap with U.S. films."

Open market

Tokuma is advocating that films be distributed based on their merit and that the current system, which allows for a certain number of theaters to be allocated just for Japanese films, be altered.

"My Neighbors the Yamadas" will play on the Shochiku circuit, but instead of allowing Shochiku to have exclusive rights, Tokuma has agreements with other plex operators to also show the film. They are under no obligation to take the pic on a piggyback product.

An executive of a major foreign exhibitor says that in actuality little has changed with the hybrid free-booking system used for "Yamadas."

"However, the atmosphere of the distribution negotiations has changed with the movie," he says. "For the first time, I felt the trend was beginning to emerge that would allow for the distribution of films based on the U.S. model."

Controlling trio

Under the booking systems maintained by Japan's top movie companies, the big three have the overwhelming say as to which theaters will play a movie and which films will be paired with a movie in their directly owned theaters or in those of their contractual partners.

Apart from bucking the current system of distribution, Tokuma oversaw the foreign distribution deal of "Shall We Dance," one of the highest-grossing foreign-language films in the U.S. He also led a landmark distribution deal with Disney to take Studio Ghibli films overseas, marking the first comprehensive distribution and production deal ever reached between a Japanese production company and a major Hollywood studio.

Pipeline to the West

Under the agreement, Disney will distribute videos and movies from Studio Ghibli in the North American and European markets. Buena Vista is also one of four producers of "My Neighbors the Yamadas."

Disney has released some Studio Ghibli films such as "Kiki's Delivery Service" on video in the U.S. and will take the 1997 animated feature "Princess Mononoke" to theaters in the U.S. and other major markets later this year.

"Princess Mononoke," made by Studio Ghibli, grossed a whopping $150 million- plus in Japan and is the No. 2 film in Japanese box office history behind "Titanic."

Tokuma has also guided a number of international co-productions and has been a senior executive member of the Tokyo Intl. Film Festival for about eight years.

Above all, Tokuma believes competition is the best way to bring life back to a stumbling domestic movie industry. Although the current system favors Japanese films, domestic movie production has been on the skids for years, with Hollywood pictures controlling about two-thirds of the Japanese box office.

Indeed, Tokuma welcomes the multiplex boom, which he feels will bring greater competition to the market.

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