Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Review: Okko's Inn

Release date: September 21, 2018
Running time: 94 minutes
Starring: Seiran Kobayashi, Nana Mizuki, Satsumi Matsuda 

Okko is a young girl who tragically loses both of her parents to a car accident.  However, she miraculously survives unscathed and goes to live with her grandmother who runs a traditional Japanese hot spring inn.  Determined to do all she can to help her old grandmother, Okko takes on the role of junior innkeeper and begins to assist wherever she can including cleaning, cooking, and even finding new tenants.  However, she also finds out that she can see ghosts in the inn, which leads to all sorts of antics as she adjusts to her new life.

First and foremost, Okko's Inn is beautifully animated.  The animation is bright, colorful, and smooth with a nice cartoonish look to all the characters.  The inn itself is beautifully drawn, as are Okko and the various ghosts and spirits that she is able to see.  The nature scenes are likewise just wonderful to see. And the story of Okko's Inn teaches a lot of good lessons, from forgiveness to how to handle bullying to not judging people based on looks alone.  These are some great lessons to teach kids and I am glad that this movie allows that.  And the characters that you meet to teach these lessons are fun and very different.  The movie features a variety of individuals, from family to guests to ghosts and spirits, keeping the story interesting.

However, the story of Okko's Inn starts with a horrible tragedy; but it doesn't seem like Okko emotionally deals with this.  It comes up here and there, but for the most part she puts on a smile and optimistic face.  This is part of her character, but it also feels unrealistic given what just happened to her.  And although there are good lessons taught, the story itself progresses relatively slow and with no urgency.  Part of this might be by design but it just didn't feel like much happened in this movie.  I loved the animation and seeing the world, but I also would have liked the story to have a little more gravity and emotional growth for her.  

Okko's Inn is a beautiful, charming anime with bright, colorful animation, an interesting ensemble of characters, and good life lessons.  

Rent it.

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