Review by Dan Skip Allen
Anime has had a long and storied history. This type of animation has been known as some of the best ever at times. Various legends of animation have created numerous animated films in this style in the past. The latest studio doing great work in this style is Bones combined with Shochiku Animation and Kadokawa Animation who produced the film Josee, The Tiger and the Fish. This is a very beautiful type of animation.
Taishi Nakagawa voices a man who works at a diving equipment store, but he's also a student who dreams of going off to be an underwater scientist/explorer. He is fascinated by the sea. He's been saving his money to go off to Mexico. Because of this, he gets another job as a caregiver of a disabled girl voiced by Kaya Kiyohara. She is unable to walk. She's very shy as far as she doesn't like to leave the house. Her caregiver helps change her perspective on this and the world as a whole.
This film deals with topics a lot of people deal with daily. Disabled and wheelchair-bound people are everywhere. They need constant care. That's where caregivers come in handy. They help these types of people get around. In the case of this man, he takes her places like the sea, the zoo, the park, and the library. She learns a lot about the world from visiting these places. The man learns about her as well. It turns out she's an artist and wants to be an illustrator. That's her dream.
This film deals with people understanding that all people are different. Understanding this is important and respecting different types of people is key. That being said, this film has an underlying story of romance and potential love. Characters in the film have feelings for others, but they do always see how others feel for them. That is part of the key to why this film works so well. It deals with various forms of understanding and caring for others. Something this world needs more of this day and age.
The director Kotaro Tamura and the writer Sayaka Kuwamura, who adapts Seiko Tanabe's short story, all understand the material they are working on. This film is so important on so many levels. It's a film the world needs to see about topics rarely seen in animation these days. Serious topics about real life are a necessity in all films, and it is nice to see them be tackled in this form of animation.
The animation in this film has the anime style for the human characters but has a detail around the world it exists in. The streets and buildings, as well as the trains, are so realistic. The animation on these types of things is beautiful to behold. This level of animation has progressed so much in the last couple of decades. The detail put into these films is amazing. This film is beautiful on all levels.
Josee, the Tiger and the Fish has a lot to say about society and people's understanding of others, especially those who are different from you. It also deals with love on a level rarely seen in film these days, let alone animation. The style used in the film is so beautiful and detailed as well. This is one of the best-animated films of the year bar none.
Josee, the Tiger and the Fish is now in theaters.