The film is different than other Studio Ghibli films due to its completion in watercolors, resulting in an "unfinished" appearance. The film does not possess one main storyline, but 8-15 minute "sketches".
This film is about the daily lives of the Yamada family: Takashi and Matsuko (the father and mother), Shige (Matsuko's mother), Noboru (aged approximately 13, the son), Nonoko (aged approximately 5, the daughter), and Pochi (the family dog). It has a significantly different "feel" to it than other Studio Ghibli films, not only because of its different style of animation, but also because it is not a contiguous plot, but rather a series of vignettes, each preceded by a title such as "Father as Role Model", "A Family Torn Apart" or "Patriarchal Supremacy Restored".
These vignettes cover such issues as losing a child in a department store, the relationships between father and son, or husband and wife, the wisdom of age, getting one's first girlfriend and many more. Each is presented with humour, presenting a very believable picture of family life which crosses cultural boundaries.
The relationships between Matsuko, Takashi and Shige are particularly well observed, with Shige giving advice and proverbs to all the family members and having a great strength of character which far outweighs Matsuko's. Takashi and Matsuko's the focus of the episodes, their rivalries, such as arguing about who has control of the television, their frustrations and their difficulties, but the overriding theme is their love for one another, despite their flaws, and their desire to be the best parents possible for their children.
- Takashi Yamada (Yamada Takashi) - Father
- Matsuko Yamada (Yamada Matsuko) - Mother
- Noboru Yamada (Yamada Noboru) - Son
- Nonoko Yamada (Yamada Nonoko) - Daughter
- Shige Yamano (Yamano Shige) - Grandmother/Matsuko's Mother
- Pochi - Family Dog
Based on the yonkoma manga Nono-chan by Hisaichi Ishii, it is the first completely digital Studio Ghibli film. Takahata wanted Yamada-kun to have the art style of watercolor pictures rather than cel pictures. To achieve that, the traditional paint-on-cel techniques were replaced with digital technology, making Yamada-kun the first Ghibli film to have animation drawings painted entirely on computers.
- 27 July 1999 - Movie theater in Japan
- January 2000 - VHS release
- 2005 - Dubbing by Disney
- 2007 - DVD release in Japan
- 7 March 2012 - DVD release by Pan Vision
Despite positive reviews, the film did not fare as well at the box office in Japan as other Ghibli films.
My Neighbors the Yamadas was released on DVD in America in August 2005, alongside another Takahata film, Pom Poko by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. A Blu-ray version was released in Japan in 2010, and in the UK the following year. The US never got a Blu-ray release by Disney, but GKIDS released the movie on Blu-ray for the first time in the US, as well as re-issuing the DVD under a new deal with Studio Ghibli on January 16, 2018.
please see My Neighbors the Yamadas/Soundtrack
My Neighbors the Yamadas received an Excellence Award for animation at the 1999 Japan Media Arts Festival.
|Takashi Yamada||Toru Masuoka||James Belushi|
|Matsuko Yamada||Yukiji Asaoka||Molly Shannon|
|Noboru Yamada||Hayato Isobata||Daryl Sabara|
|Nonoko Yamada||Naomi Uno||Liliana Mumy|
|Shige Yamano||Masako Araki||Tress MacNeille|
|Narrator||Unknown||David Ogden Stiers|