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. In spite of its subject matter, the film was a surprise box office success, attracting a large adult audience of both sexes.
While mostly realistic in its depiction of Taeko, the expressionistic influences in Takahata's work are often marked by scenes where a character's imagination comes to life on screen. After Taeko encounters her first love, she turns and run up an invisible staircase towards the sunset and swims in the sky. The scene ends with her gently descending on to her bed, then cuts to an outside shot of her house where a giant heart emerges from her window. These expressionistic sequences run counter to Takahata's realistic storyline, but are consciously used by the director to transition back and forth from reality to the unreal world of animated fantasy, leveraging the advantages of animation in order to develop the character.
In the U.S., the cable channel Turner Classic Movies aired Only Yesterday on Thursday, January 26, 2006 (in the original Japanese with English subtitles) as part of its month-long salute to Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli.
Unlike the typical anime style, the characters have more facial muscles and expressions. Because of this, dialogue was recorded first (usually this is done after the animation is completed) and the animators fit the dialogue to the characters, resulting in more believable and realistic lipsync and facial expressions. Only Taeko's childhood past (which has a more typical anime style) was animated before the voices were recorded.
Those scenes set in 1966 with the 10 year-old Taeko are taken from the source material. Takahata had difficulty adapting the episodic manga into a feature film, and he therefore invented the framing narrative wherein the adult Taeko journeys to the countryside and falls in love with Toshio.
To date this is the only Studio Ghibli film released outside Japan to not feature an English dub, but it does still feature subtitles.
There is a repetitive Hungarian theme in the film, using pieces of music such as 'Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 7' in a scene where Taeko is eating lunch, and making references to Hungarian musicians when she is in the car with Toshio.
Only Yesterday Association Announces Play and Gala Events Will Benefit Farha Foundation for HIV/ AIDS Research Jeanne White-Ginder, mother of AIDS teen activist Ryan White, confirms participation
Dec 08, 2006; MONTREAL, QUEBECCCNMatthews - Dec. 8, 2006) - Only Yesterday Association today announced that it will donate 100% of profits from...