I’m a sucker for emotional slice-of-life anime movies. There’s something about seeing the on a regular basis world animated with vibrancy; including a component of magic to it, whereas additionally preserving a number of the extra banal features. Throw in a narrative about discovering love but in addition growing a way of id alongside the best way and I’m all in. Which makes Josee, the Tiger and the Fish (Josee to Tora to Sakana-tachi in Japan) a movie I instantly knew I wanted to observe. Based mostly on the 1985 quick story written by Akutagawa Prize-winning writer Seiko Tanabe, the movie is animated by studio BONES, directed by Kôtarô Tamura, and encompasses a screenplay by Sayaka Kuwamura.
The movie follows an unlikely pair, Josee, a gifted artist and disabled lady struggling to search out function, and Tsuneo Suzukawa, a passionate scuba diver. The duo comes collectively out of necessity and finds they’ve a shared ardour: the ocean. By a collection of ups and downs, the 2 start to see how they can assist one another. For Tsuneo, who begins as Josee’s caretaker, it’s displaying Josee that the world her grandmother mentioned was crammed with “dreadful beasts” is definitely not that scary. And for Josee, who begins as a cussed lady refusing to be somebody’s cost, it’s pushing Tsuneo to maintain shifting ahead after tragedy. However whereas the story is about what they’ll deliver to one another’s lives, it’s additionally concerning the independence they develop alongside the best way as nicely.
Should you’re acquainted with Japanese cinema, then you already know that this isn’t the primary time that Tanabe’s story has been tailored into a movie, with the primary coming in 2003, directed by Isshin Inudo. However I’ll say that the 2 differ drastically, with BONES’ animation becoming for all-ages and the live-action made for extra mature audiences. That mentioned, Kuwamura’s adaptation shines by showcasing Josee as a personality with company and life, as a substitute of a personality who have to be cared be cared for.
With disabled characters, it’s straightforward to craft a story of pitty or one the place the character solely sees themselves as a “burden.” Narratives like these are dangerous, in that they devalue the company disabled individuals have on this planet. In Josee the Tiger and the Fish, Josee is in a wheelchair, however inside her dwelling along with her grandmother, she strikes freely with makeshift steps that assist make a virtually inaccessible home, accessible. And whereas she meets Tsuneo as a girl saved alone and at dwelling, she begins to comprehend that the restrictions placed on her usually are not actuality. Whether or not it’s getting over her worry of speaking to individuals by studying a narrative to a gaggle of kids, studying her artwork may be greater than a pastime, or that she will navigate the world on her personal, Josee is a dynamic character. She has a narrative of independence and whereas her incapacity is central to her id, it’s not belittled or handled as a chunk of her to be pitied.
That ingredient is due to how Josee’s written as a personality, but it surely’s additionally due to how Tsuneo sees her. To Tsuneo, even to start with when he’s her caretaker, he doesn’t describe Josee as something aside from being cussed and fierce. He sees her for her and even when a romantic rival says that he was solely by Josee’s facet, the viewers is aware of that Tsuneo isn’t pitting her. He’s linked to her, he loves her, even when he admitted it but. Their bond is gorgeous not solely due to the frequent romance parts, however as a result of the 2 are linked by a thread of mutual respect and admiration. It’s what makes their love story certainly one of progress and belonging and permits the movie’s third act to hit as onerous because it does.
Lastly, studio BONES is just about shonen animation royalty. 2021 is their yr right here in the USA. The studio showcased a spread of magnificence that highlights motion sequences in issues like Full Steel Alchemist Brotherhood and My Hero Academia, or showcases the grandness of kaiju in Netflix’s Godzilla Singular Point, however with Josee the Tiger and the Flower, we get an opportunity to see the great thing about life itself. From gorgeously animated sea creatures and our bodies shifting the water, to chilly winter nights, and the best way a small room may be illuminated by an excellent smaller lamp, that is the place BONES solidifies themselves for me.
Now, I’m not saying the opposite grand adventures the studio has animated up to now aren’t unbelievable, they’re. However making an viewers sit in awe at a grand battle is one factor. Pushing them to that very same house of marvel, however in a world they know, is one other. The fantastic thing about the characters, the water, and their emotive reactions are what make Josee the Tiger and the Fish attain out to you. And the backgrounds and landscapes solidify it as top-of-the-line animations of the yr thus far.
Total, Josee, the Tiger and the Fish is phenomenal. It’s lovely and charming. Whereas the movie is marketed as a coming-of-age story, it’s a love story between adults discovering themselves. However it’s additionally about what it means to lean on others in addition to what it means to push in the direction of their very own goals. From the writing to the animation, and the voice appearing (which is great each within the English dub and authentic Japanese), it is a excellent movie.
Josee, the Tiger and the Fish is phenomenal. It’s lovely and charming and whereas it’s marketed as a coming-of-age story, it’s a love story between adults discovering themselves and what it means to lean on others in addition to what it means to push in the direction of their very own goals. From the writing to the animation, and the voice appearing (which is great each within the English dub and authentic Japanese), it is a excellent movie.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s additionally a Licensed Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She additionally manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, movie, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Non secular Research specializing in how popular culture impacts society.