My Neighbors the Yamadas (FAQ)

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Is it based on a manga or on a novel?

It's based on a 4-panel gag comic strip titled Tonari no Yamada-kun. By Hisaichi Ishii, it is serialized in the Asahi Shinbun (see a sample of the comic), and is about the daily lives of the Yamada family: Takashi and Matsuko (the father and mother), Shige (Matsuko's mother), Noboru (the son), Nonoko (the daughter), and Pochi (the family dog). It has been renamed Nono-chan.

Did it use computer graphics?

Yes. The entire film was created using computers. Because Takahata wanted to achieve a watercolor-picture effect throughout the entire film, there are no traditional hand-painted cels for this movie. This is the first 100 percent digital movie created by Studio Ghibli.

There were even some 3D computer graphics used in the film, though it's very difficult to see them. One example: In the opening scenes where the Yamadas launch in a bobsled (you can see this in the trailer linked from the Related Media page), the wedding cake on which they are sledding is a 3D computer model. Because of the way they painted it, though, it is difficult to see that.

What does "Houhokekyo" mean?

"Houhokekyo" is the sound made by the uguisu, the Japanese bush warbler. This sound is specific to the uguisu. An example of this in English would be "Caw caw", which is specific to the crow.

All the Miyazaki films at Ghibli have 'no' in their titles, and all the Takahata films at Ghibli have 'ho' in their titles. (In Japanese, 'ho' and 'po' are put in the same category, as 'po' is written as 'ho' plus a handakuten). They are:

  • Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies)
  • Omohide Poroporo (Only Yesterday)
  • Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pompoko (Pom Poko)

They wanted to put 'ho' in the title, and somehow, they came up with 'Hohokekyo'. It has an effect of telling people that this is not a movie that you take seriously, but a movie that you watch with a relaxed feeling.

Yamada Title Screen

An Uguisu appears at in the movie's title screen.

When and where does the story take place?

Modern Japan, somewhere in a typical Japanese suburb. Matsuko and Shige (Matsuko's mother) both speak with a Kansai (around Osaka) accent, but most of the other characters speak in "standard" Japanese, so the location could be in or near any large Japanese city.

What are Bosozoku?

"Bosozoku" can refer to a member of a biker gang, the biker gang as a whole, or both. A good example of a (somewhat) reformed "bosozoku" is Onizuka-sensei, from the popular anime & manga series "G.T.O.". He has better intentions than most "bosozoku", though he does occasionally lapse back into the stereotype.