Memories of Teardrops (Omohide poro poro) was originally released in 1991. It is a full-length animated movie that was created by Studio Ghibli. Studio Ghibli has become known for releasing only the best in anime, including Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Whisper of the Heart. It was directed by Isao Takahata, one of Studio Ghibli’s most acclaimed directors.
Memories of Teardrops is the story of Taeko Okajima. Taeko is a 27-year-old who has grown up living in Tokyo. One day she is sitting at work and realizes that she is in her late twenties, and that she wants something more out of life. Unsure of what she wants, though, she decides to take a trip to work at her sister’s in-law’s farm during the harvest. The trip involves her traveling for a bit to get to the countryside.
Taeko gets nostalgic during her evening trip on the train and starts thinking about when she was in elementary school. She grew up living in Tokyo and always wished that she could take trips into the country has her friends did. She relives when she was little and went through her first love, and the difficulties she had going through puberty. It makes her stop and wonder if she has grown up to be the person she wanted to be when she was 10.
Taeko arrives at the farm to help and vows to become the person she always dreamed she would be. Taeko meets a young farmer named Toshio. Toshio, as well, used to live and work in the city, but decided to leave his success behind to become an organic farmer in the country. The moment Taeko and Toshio meet, the viewer can tell that they are falling in love. Unfortunately, both Taeko and Toshio are too shy and proper to act on any feelings they may have for each other. The movie blends fantasy and reality together beautifully, leaving the viewer to wonder which is which as the movie continues on. It ends with a scene that is so touching that it is bound to knot up the viewer’s chest a little bit.
Usually in anime, the character’s movements are more important than the facial features. This leads to the annoying habit of seeing the mouth move and noticing that the vocals do not match up neatly. In Memories of Teardrops, the voice actors were taken into the studio before the drawing had begun. This is not generally the case in anime movies. Because of this, the characters have more facial movements and the vocals match up perfectly to the animation. This pulls the viewer into the story more firmly, making it much more believable.
Most of the Studio Ghibli films that are released in other countries are dubbed into the language of the country that they are released in. Memories of Teardrops is the only movie that this has not happened with. No one knows for sure why, but for some reason there is only a subtitled version available. Fortunately the subtitles do not distract from the heartwarming story of a woman remembering her past and reclaiming her future.