Hello dear readers and welcome to another instalment of my Shoot from the Hip series where I try to boil down all you need to know about an anime or game in just a couple of quick-fire paragraphs. Today I’m taking a look at the recently released anime film Josee, the Tiger and the Fish, so why not join me to find out what it’s all about and decide whether or not you want to see it.
This film has been showing in cinemas around the UK for the last couple of weeks and I was lucky enough to get to see it at a screening in Glasgow. Adapted from a short story, it has seen previous adaptations into film, but what is it all about and should you see it? Read on to find out!
What you need to know
Title: Josee, the Tiger and the Fish
Year of Release: 2020
Director: Kotaro Tamura
Based on: Josee, the Tiger and the Fish by Seiko Tanabe
Genre: Slice of life; Romance
What’s it about?
Boy meets girl but with a lot of baggage and much self-discovery. Whilst it is very much a romance, the main focus of the film is portraying Josee’s journey – both emotional and physical – to discover new things and have new experiences and through that exploring the dreams she has and what it means for her to be able to chase them. The idea of chasing your dreams is pretty central to the whole thing and through the exploits of the characters we get to see a wide range of powerful, often quite destructive emotions and many touching yet simple human interactions.
Should you watch it?
If this sounds like your kind of thing then definitely yes, otherwise maybe. This film is not perfect. The pacing is a little jerky and the ending is a bit stretched out, but those things aside it is an excellent film which contains some very strong emotional themes which at times were a bit close to the bone for me. The leading characters are both interesting and the story takes us to some cool locations that I really enjoyed exploring even though they were mostly, in a sense, quite mundane. It has several stand-out moments – some touching, some sad and some angry – which say a lot about human struggles, and whilst I don’t think it is going to go down as an absolute classic I certainly think it is a film you can get a lot from.
In the UK? Check out the remaining showtimes to find a showing at a cinema near you!
So what do you think? Does Josee, the Tiger and the Fish sound like your kind of film? Maybe you also saw it at the cinema and want to share your thoughts? Let me know below in comments and don’t forget to join me next time for more anime and video game frolics.
Thanks for reading,
It seems I reacted to it more positively than most people; I’m still not sure that my experience of watching it wasn’t influenced by it being, due to lockdown, the first film I’d seen since Parasite in February 2020. On a second viewing, I don’t know whether it will live up to how I remember it. It’s true that it’s not well-paced; especially given that the scenes at the end which tie-up loose plot threads and answer outstanding questions are relegated to the credits.
I think my level of expectation had something to do with it. The way the plot shifts about halfway through really took me by surprise, especially because I realised how much I cared about Tsuneo, since I didn’t immediately love him from the beginning.
Part of it is also the way the story’s told visually. The scene on the train with the low sun and later in Josee’s room with the dim light. The scenes are lit according to their emotional size. I was really taken-in by that. Also, the way in which the world is like a physical extension of the characters, how they discover new places to go as they discover new things about themselves and their relationships with other people. It’s the old myth structure retold in a slice-of-drama romantic comedy drama. I think the fact that Josee retells the story of her relationship with Tsuneo is a part of that. In fact, that was the standout scene for me. Tsuneo realises just how much he means to Josee and I finally understood the story from Josee’s point-of-view. It was the emotional synthesis of those two things together which really got me and, by the end of it, I was in floods of tears. It was the perfect emotional climax to a story that was already beautifully told. I already adored the way the film looks (especially the photorealistic oceans) and then the drama of Tsuneo’s new circumstances found exactly the right way to make me care about him as a character, so the scene with Josee reading the book she’d made brought that all together.
I think it’s a great story about believable people dealing with real problems without the need for fantasy to make it interesting, which is more of an achievement in writing. Realistic fiction is harder to make compelling.
If you were to ask me right now, I’d say I prefer it to Your Name. But I’ll have to revisit them both at some point to see if I really think that.
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I didn’t realise this was getting an English screening! I first found out about this film when Eve released his music video for “Ao no Waltz” which is featured as the theme song (I think it’s the ending?) last year. From what I’ve seen in the music video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyDCubgU57g), the film looks a little strange and I’m not too sure on what it’s is actually about – but I am intrigued to see it.
I’m not a huge fan of the cinema and I felt a little disappointed after paying to go see “Weathering With You” early last year so I decided to pass for now. I’m definitely interested in watching this though so I’ll likely pick it up on DVD when it’s released.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
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