Jordan Barbosa’s review published on Letterboxd:
Near perfect. In the running as my favorite Ghibli. When I saw her run down the alley and up an invisible staircase to the pastel colored skies, I fell for this hard.
Memory is so well represented here. Some details are fuzzy and others are as vivid as daylight. Bits and pieces are scattered and mixed up and they don’t make any sense. That is, until we need them and price them back together. Just like in his final amazing film, Takahata uses the form of animation and colors themselves to subtly bathe us in emotional upswell. He is every bit as great as Miyazaki and in many ways better. While less consistent, he is the impressionist to Miyazaki’s expressionist.
For whatever reason Fireflies and it’s dower mood couldn’t connect with me, but with this film he found true beauty. It’s the beauty of nostalgia, the beauty of nature, and the beauty of someone finding oneself in an ever changing world. The childhood scenes may be much more interesting than the farm life but when it all comes together the fractions become wholes (btw, dividing fractions IS dumb). Being 27 myself, in my own “chrysalis”, watching this was a transformative experience.