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  • 1991movierewind

Episode #21: Only Yesterday

Listen to Episode 21 of the Podcast here while you enjoy the show notes.

SUMMARY - Only Yesterday follows Taeko, a woman in her late 20s as she takes a summer vacation away from her corporate job in Tokyo to work in a farm picking safflowers. The trip triggers a lot of memories of her childhood, causing her to frequently flashback to a very eventful fifth grade year.

Screenplay by Isao Takahata; Directed by Isao Takahata, and released in Japan on July 20, 1991.


The movie takes different approaches to showing the flashbacks versus the modern day scenes

The animation style and character design is more subdued and the backgrounds take on a children's book aesthetic with fading vignettes of the scenery and water colors as the primary support.

Contrast that with modern day where everything is more fully featured and vibrantly colored.

It's not possible to capture the parallax scrolling that's done in a still image, but trust us when we say that its there - background and foreground.

The movie is a wonderful coming-of-age tale for both the younger self and the adult self. There are plenty of relatable moments like when they tried the exotic pineapple

And how Taeko felt she had to pretend to like it since it was her idea, but couldn't quite make it convincing.

We also talk about how ironic it was that the conversation about girls getting their periods is nothing to be ashamed about was the reason Disney shelved the movie.

While the movie stays grounded in reality in terms of subject matter, there are still some brief fantasy sequences

And Taeko's younger self will occasionally pop into modern day and occupy the same space as her older self.

This integration becomes more prominent at the end.

It's also always great to see animators take on media within media. The puppet show (which was based on a real show from the 1960s) gets a couple scenes. Look at the detail where you can see the reflection of the doors cutting across the puppet's face and the leaves of the trees.

Awards Talk - None to mention, surprisingly. It was, however, the top grossing film in Japan in 1991.


This week our crime segment focused on the arrest of Mike Tyson.

Nikki provides a brief breakdown of the allegations and timelines for his conviction and release. If you want to learn more, here are some of the resources we used.

For pop culture, the Top Song in the US was:

EMF - Unbelievable. And you would hear it as part of CD/Cassette compilation commercials for many years to come.

The Top Song in the UK: Bryan Adams. You know it, you love it, but you're also sick of seeing it come up.

Lets move on over to TV where Nikki talks about several lesser known, forgotten shows and Jon pretends to remember them. Do you remember any of these four?

The Young Riders


Down Home

Carol & Company


Nikki 1-5 star scale - 5 out of 5

Jon 0-4 star scale - 4 out of 4

Would you watch it again? - In a heartbeat. We'd especially like to watch the subtitled version, which was not available through HBO Max. No matter the version, this was a wonderful experience worth revisiting.

If you want to watch Only Yesterday, as of this recording on June 2021, it’s available on HBO Max or DVD/Blu-Ray. Check your local listings.


You can listen to us on all your major podcasting platforms and please consider rating, subscribing, and sharing with your friends.

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Join us next time for Talent for the Game available on Prime, Digital Rental, VHS, DVD


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