Music From Up On Poppy Hill

Somehow, I managed to fight my way through the weekend’s Graduation Insanity.

An unanticipated benefit of my (frankly, unexpected) survival was last night’s opportunity to sit down and watch my sadly-neglected screener for Studio Ghibli’s latest, From Up on Poppy Hill. It was the perfect antidote to the craziness of the past few days — gently charming, surprisingly humorous, and just the right mixture of nostalgia and hopefulness for my post-graduation mood.

Definitely recommendable (even for those not suffering from Commencement Withdrawal), and I expect to write a bit more on it as its DVD-release window draws near. In the meantime, a trio of tracks from Satoshi Takebe’s score — perhaps my favorite creative element in a film with plenty of savory bits. The legendary Joe Hisaishi has scored the vast majority of Ghibli films I’ve seen, so stumbling across the fairly unknown Takebe’s name in the credits was a bit of a surprise. But he proves himself an ideal choice, mixing up a melodious concoction of sounds — equal parts Big Band/Blues/Ragtime/Contemporary Pop/Hisaishi-esque, soulful piano. (Sounds weird on paper, I know. But somehow, it works.)

Exhibit A, introducing us to the Latin Quarter guys and their wacky antics:
Exhibit B, the flag-raising sequences:

Lastly, “The Breakfast Song,” arranged (but not written) by Takebe:

"Did you manage to find if this was Alda or Asimov? I can't find either."

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