'Josee, the Tiger and the Fish' - Movie Review

Tsuneo (voiced by Taishi Nakagawa) is a diligent university student, worker, and diver, trying to make enough money to study abroad in Mexico. He rescues a young woman (Josee/Kumiko, voiced by Kaya Kiyohara) from injury when her wheelchair goes out of control, and ends up being hired by the young woman's grandmother to assist around the house. Josee is not enthusiastic about the new arrangement - and is persistently obnoxious. But Tsuneo is a nice guy, and far more tolerant than I could have been (I found him a bit unbelievable in that regard), and he begins to understand her problems and bitterness, as well as finding out about and appreciating her artwork.

Some of the emotional notes are delivered with a sledgehammer - most notably Tsuneo's injury at the mid-point of the film, and everyone's responses. But despite some ham-fisted plotting, lovely artwork and charming characters carry the day ... I didn't really believe it could have happened, but I enjoyed it anyway.

The story is based on a 1984 short story by Seiko Tanabe, and has already been adapted for film - live action - in 2003.