The ultimate test for any diehard Studio Ghibli fan is spotting all the “Ghibli Riffs,” the shots and moments that directly quote earlier works. It is a staple of the Takahata-Miyazaki canon and is found in all of their films and television series. Today, we’re taking a look at Takahata’s 1999 masterwork My Neighbors the Yamadas.
Watching our new Blu-Ray copy this weekend, I was struck by how few riffs appear in this movie. Most Ghibli movies contain well over a dozen riffs without breaking a sweat, while Yamada-kun only contains half that amount. Instead, there are a number of nods to classic cinema, which is a Takahata trademark that goes back years (Heidi and Anne of Green Gables both quote Citizen Kane, Horus cites Alexander Nevski).
Let’s take a look at all the riffs in Yamadas: