Yokohama, 1963 - Umi and her siblings are living in a small hotel run by her familiy and located on top of a hill. Her mother is a doctor and frequently out on work-related travel. Her father, once a sailor, died during the Korean war. In front of her house and in plain view of the harbour, Umi is hoisting her signal flags every day in his memory.
When the school magazine publishes a poem referring to her daily morning routine, she goes to see the editor and publisher - and meets Shun. She is at once fascinated by Shun. Like her, he had to grow up without a father, and they soon become friends. When the school's club called Quartier Latin is in danger of being pulled down for the sake of a new building, the pupils decide to go into opposition. The old wooden house is meant to give way for a new a building site needed for the preparations of the 1964 Olympic Games at Tokyo. The kids start to campaign for the preservation of the run down building. Umi, much impressed by the boys' dedication to the cause, starts to organize the girls to tackle the renovation. While the girls are making their point in showing the boys that protest is fueled at least as much by action as by talk, Umi and Shun fall in love. But there is a secret hidden in Shun's past, which may well endanger their relationship. Both have to find out about a long past love affair their parents seemed to have had, and of course there's the problem of convincing the owner of the club house that there are more important things in life, than a profitable building ground. Will they succeed?
From Up on Poppy Hill is one of the latest films produced by world-renouned Studio Ghibli. Its founder and famous Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki has been awarded many times for his films. He received the Oscar and Golden Bear for SPIRITED AWAY in 2003, and the Golden Lion for HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE. Studio Ghibli's works, no doubt, represent the high time of classic anime.
Togehter, Keiko Niwa and Hayao Miyazaki wrote the scrip for Up on Poppy Hill. Miyazaki's son Goro directed the piece. As usual with Studio Ghibli, this film is not just a pretty story about a touching romance - it offers a good amount of Japanese history and tradition, reflecting the tense times during which the whole country prepared for the Olympics Games of 1964. The beauty of Yokohama Harbour and the abundant and extensive hilly landscape provide a fitting scenery for this beautifully narrated story, in which, - as happens quite frequently in Japanese film - food also plays a major role.