My Neighbors the Yamadas (ホーホケキョとなりの山田くん Hōhokekyo Tonari no Yamada-kun?) is an anime film directed by Isao Takahata and released by Studio Ghibli on July 17, 1999. The movie is a family comedy that is presented in a comic strip style which is unusual since all the other Studio Ghibli movies are presented in the anime style. Based on the yonkoma manga Nono-chan by Hisaichi Ishii, it was the first completely digital Studio Ghibli movie. 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 movie to have animation drawings painted entirely on computers. Despite decent reviews, the movie did not fare well at the box office in Japan. It was released on DVD in America in August 2005. Produced by Toshio Suzuki.
The story featured the lives of a Japanese family and their crazy life happenings.
My Neighbors the Yamadas received an Excellence Award for animation at the 1999 Japan Media Arts Festival.
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 the 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 ones 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 relationship is often 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.
For a much more detailed plot synopsis, covering every episode in detail see: plot synopsis.
The soundtrack was composed by Akiko Yano and it is characterised by very short piano themes. Classical pieces played by Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra conducted by Mario Klemens. Released by Tokuma on July 1, 1999.
- "Theme I: And So It Begins" 1:45
- "Joyous Music I: Going Forward With Reckless Abandon" 0:26
- "Cuckoo I: Not Like The Main Title" 0:28
- "Extract from Chopin's "Nocturne No. 1 in B Flat Minor", Op. 9" 4:13
- "Extract from Mahler's "Symphony No. 5", 1st Movement, Funeral March" 0:29
- "Extract from Mendelsson's Wedding March" 4:22
- "My Neighbors the Yamadas" Theme (Orchestra Version)" 3:34
- Happy Bridge" 0:21
- "Evening Waltz Theme (Orchestra Version)" 1:43
- "Lively BGM" 3:21
- "The Dog's Policeman" 2:25
- "Troubles (BGM I)" 1:08
- "Troubles (BGM II)" 0:24
- "Sunset Scamper" (1:01)
- "Theme II: Thank Goodness" 1:11
- "Shut Up And Bring It Here!" 0:34
- "Joyous Music II: Please, Stop Pushing, Right Now!" 0:52
- "Cuckoo II: Oh, Welcome Home" 0:29
- "Happy Bridge II" 0:15
- "Takashi and Matsuko's Tango" 0:59
- "Pom Poko Tanuki Band" (Wakaya Rakudan) 1:13
- "Joyous Music III: A Happy Mouth" 0:25
- "A Father's Sorrow" 0:39
- "Paradise of Freedom" 0:23
- "Extract from Mahler's "Symphony No. 1", "Giant", 4th Movement 3:32
- "Theme III: Spring Rain" 3:32
- "Cuckoo III" 0:28
- "Cuckoo IV: The Correct Answer" 0:26
- "Cuckoo V"
- "Round Of Forgotten Things I: Morning Blessings" 1:16
- "Round Of Forgotten Things II: Morning Blessings" 1:19
- "Cherry Cherry" 0:45
- "Extract from Albinoni's Adagio" 2:07
- "Young People" 1:42
- "Cuckoo VI: Summer Dreams" 0:28
- "Joyous Music III: School Is Fun" 0:50
- "Exciting BGM" 0:45
- "Phone Line" 2:56
- "Bach: Prelude and Fugue No. 8 in E Flat Minor" 4:14
- "Cheerful Music III: Going My Way" 1:16
- "Round of Forgotten Things: Bridge" 0:28
- "Round III of Forgotten Things: Good Advice" 0:36
- "The Masked Moonbeam Theme Song, "Who is the Masked Moonbeam?" (Yoshiko Kondou) 3:24
- "Broken Dreams" 0:24
- "Mozart's "Toy's Symphony", Movement No. 2" 2:27
- "Que Sera Sera/Whatever Will Be, Will Be" 3:20
- "Quit Being Alone" 3:55
- Takashi Yamada (山田たかし Yamada Takashi) - Father
- Matsuko Yamada (山田まつ子 Yamada Matsuko) - Mother
- Noboru Yamada (山田のぼる Yamada Noboru) - Son
- Nonoko Yamada (山田のの子 Yamada Nonoko) - Daughter
- Shige Yamano (山野しげ Yamano Shige) - Matsuko's mother
- Pochi (ポチ) - family dog
- Hayato Isobata - Noboru
- Masako Araki - Shige
- Naomi Uno - Nonoko
- Touru Masuoka - Takashi
- Yukiji Asaoka - Matsuko
- Akiko Yano - Fujihara-Sensei
- Kosanji Yanagiya - Haiku Reader
- Special Appearances - Tamao Nakamura, Miyako Chouchou, and more.
- James Belushi - Takashi Yamada
- Molly Shannon - Matsuko Yamada
- Daryl Sabara - Noboro Yamada
- Liliana Mumy - Nonoko Yamada
- Tress MacNeille - Shige Yamano
- Erin Chambers - Department Store Clerk
- David Ogden Stiers - Narrator
Additional Voices by Jeff Bennett, A.J. Buckley, Alex Buck, Corey Burton, Dixie Carter, Marlee Cheatham, Melissa Disney, Amber Hood, Edie McClurg, Jim Meskimen, Jon Miller, Ashley Rose Orr, Jordan Orr, Florence Rider, Trenton Rogers, Jeremy Shada, Matthew Underwood, and Billy West
- When Takashi and Matsuko are in a boat on a river, and pick a peach out of the water and Noboru pops out from it, it is making a reference to the Japanese folk tale Momotarō or Peach Boy. When Takashi cuts the bamboo and inside is Nonoko, it refers to another Japanese folktale - Kaguya.
- The short paragraphs written in calligraphy in between each sections are haikus which include authors such as Matsuo Bashō, Taneda Santoka, Buson.
- When Takashi and Matsuko dance, they are dancing the tango.
- Moonlight Rider is in reference to Japan's first TV superhero of the 1950s. The alternative English name is Moonlight Mask. The black and white suits imply they are yakuza or Japanese gangsters.
- In winter, when the family sits around the table and place their legs under a blanket, it is called a kotatsu.
- During the scene where the family sits in a circle and Takashi sorts cards saying "Takashi, Takashi, etc." (after narrator says "Takashi Family Chronicles"), those are New Year's cards and they are called nengajō, see Japanese New Year.