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A 1999 Studio Ghibli film directed by Isao Takahata, My Neighbors The Yamadas is based on a popular Japanese newspaper comic about a slightly off-kilter "typical" Japanese family composed of a mother, Matsuko, father, Takashi, grandmother, Shige, son, Noboru, and daughter, Nonoko.
An episodic Slice of Life comedy, My Neighbors the Yamadas could easily be misinterpreted as a Japanese version of the The Simpsons (one could just as easily compare it to The Family Circus without the twee or The Addams Family without the macabre). The film is made in a very loose, caricatured style that is reminiscent of its newspaper comic origins, very different from the lush animation typically found in a Studio Ghibli product.
Like most Studio Ghibli films, My Neighbors the Yamadas was dubbed into English by Disney Studios using an all-star cast (headed by Jim Belushi, but don't let that scare you).
This film contains examples of:
- Art Shift - The scene in which Takashi, followed by Matsuko and Shige, confront the hoodlums.
- Big No - Noboru does one in the English dub as an army of Matsukos repeatedly command him to "study harder!"
- Dom Com - the Japanese version
- Happily Married
- Hey, It's That Voice! - The English version features Agnes Skinner as Shige and Juni Cortez as Noboru. Also, David Ogden Stiers, who did voices for some '90s Disney movies and the English dub of Spirited Away, reads the title cards and philosophy quotes that occasionally appear onscreen.
- Homage - When Takashi daydreams about turning into the Masked Rider and rescuing Matsuko and Shige from kidnapping thugs.
- Honest Axe - Mostly played straight when Shige asks some kids if the ball they lost in the Yamada yard was the old worn-out one, or the new rubber one. (the scene even briefly features a storybook drawing depicting the woodcutter and the nymph) However, after she gives away both balls and shares An Aesop about honesty, some other kids ask her if she saw the new rubber ball they lost, prompting her to deny finding it.
- Imagine Spot: At least half of the movie is made up of these.
- Nuclear Family
- Random Events Plot
- Suspiciously Apropos Music - As the family drives back to the mall to find their missing daughter, the car's radio plays a song about a lost kitten.
- Too Smart for Strangers - After the realization that Nonoko got left behind at the mall, Matsuko expresses hope that she will remember the advice the PTA gave: "Never, ever, ever talk to strangers." Shige calls it a stupid lesson. Indeed, Nonoko defies the mantra after meeting a lost boy, and reunites safely with her family after spending time at his house, and having his mother call her parents to get her.