r#134 – okko’s inn

Hello, everyone, nesha here again, and welcome back to #moe404! This time we will be reviewing a movie produced by GKIDS, and this is one of their originals and made for kids to watch as a family film. This is Okko’s Inn, and it was actually requested by one of our readers for me to check out. I watched the movie last week, and the question is still the same as always; does my time worth spent watching it?

Let’s find out!

synopsis – okko, the inn, and its ghosts.

After losing her parents in a car accident, Okko goes to live in the countryside with her grandmother who runs a traditional Japanese inn built on top of an ancient spring said to have healing waters. While she goes about her chores and preparing to become the inn’s next caretaker, Okko discovers that there are spirits who live there that only she can see. Surprisingly, the ghosts aren’t scary and instead, they are welcoming ghosts who keep her company, play together, and help Okko make this new environment herself business.

The inn’s motto is that it welcomes all and will reject none, and this is soon put to the test as a string of new guests challenge Okko’s ability to be a gracious host. But ultimately, Okko discovers that dedicating herself to others are the key to taking care of herself.

And that’s it, that’s the whole premise and synopsis.

let’s talk about the overall first impression.

For a long time, this is probably gonna be our first review of an anime that’s literally made for children. I mean, the movie is for all ages, but I think it’s clear enough that Okko’s Inn was mainly made to be watched by the young audience. We have reviewed various kinds of all ages anime here on #moe404, but despite being produced as a family movie, oftentimes they invested heavily on their adulthood side of the story as well, such as an adventure of an old someone, a story about parenting, or a young girl’s journey through self-discovery and romance.

But not this time; Okko’s Inn is about a girl named Okko, and the story is about Okko, being told from Okko’s young perspective alone. Rarely have we seen an anime targeted specifically at around 12-year-old girl, without telling any side story or sub-plot of what it likes being her parents or her best friend; Okko’s Inn is a movie completely about herself from her own perspective, and so little aspect in this movie that tells about other people’s perspective, nor anyone that has nothing to do with the development of her character.

So, what will this make you feel like? Well, some people probably would see Okko’s Inn as a movie that’s refreshing, and some others would say “no” to this movie because it seems too childish —even by looking at the animation alone in the trailer, it’s very likely for them to avoid watching this movie because it’s very subjective that’s the movie is made for children. As for me tho, personally, since you’ve requested Okko’s Inn to be reviewed, I have no other choice but to watch the movie … and well, I’m glad that I’ve watched it.

script and its cast.

Honestly, I could make this review sounds awesome and lure you to watch the movie. But as usual, you know that I’m just gonna get straight with this; to be totally honest, there’s not a lot of awesomeness in this movie. But to be fair too, there’s not a lot to be criticized as well. The pacing is great, Okko keeps pulling my interest throughout the movie, and there are parts in the movie where the animation is so good. The character development works as it’s intended to, and obviously, that’s my favourite part of the movie.

But that paragraph you just read, in case you haven’t realize yet … is the long version of me saying that the movie won’t work without the character development of Okko —which I’m glad that her character works as intended to, and— however despite I’m giving the movie an approval, you should realize that the best thing happened to this movie was not even an awesome thing. The movie is so good, but it’s not great nor awesome.

But then again, it’s coming from me; someone who movies like Berserk is his cup of tea, and not really into anime about a life experience of a happy-go-lucky girl or something like that. Yet, I’m recommending this movie. One prejudice in favour of the movie, to me, is because the movie took the theme of family, and I always have a soft spot for a story that explores a connection, interaction, or acceptance between a child and their parents. So there’s that.

Moving onto the actual review … Okko’s Inn is halfway close to boring, and I blame the director for this. There’s a TV series of the franchise that I haven’t watched and definitely not planning to watch it, for the reason that it has already a lower overall rating from the community than this movie, and assuming that the story is the same like I just watched in this movie, then this two hours movie had to be extended into 24 episodes … I just won’t make it.

Though I should give the movie positive feedback too considering that the ground material was pretty neat like, I could see Okko’s Inn become a more famous and more successful movie if it was produced by Studio Ghibli, or directed by Makoto Shinkai. Okko’s Inn is a movie about a girl who bounds to be in charge of her guests, and lives in both world of the living and the dead. So yeah, is this plot reminds you about something? Spirited Away, anyone? Yeah, one can only just dream about it.

But like I said earlier, the pace is very consistent and just in case there’s anything captured your interest in this movie, you can go ahead and make the time to watch it. There’s a prologue part at the beginning of the movie, and assuming that you don’t expect too much, you’re going in the pace and to be enjoying your time watching Okko’s Inn after that prologue part. There’s always time for a movie night, and you may ask your sister or your brother, or your cat or your doggo to watch this movie together. It’d be fun!

visual and arts.

Okko’s Inn is a feature film from both the Madhouse studio and the famous director Kitarou Kousaka. In case you didn’t know him, Kousaka-sensei was one of the key animators of numerous classic films produced by the venerable Studio Ghibli. His works acclaimed to be pieces that seamlessly blends immersive and idyllic landscapes with the storybook. In this movie tho, he wasn’t in the team production as the art director nor the animation. Instead, he’s the film director. But of course, since he’s the head of his team, even though he didn’t have the full control, the animation and art direction of Okko’s Inn was carried on his shoulder as well.

Probably, one thing you immediately going to notice is the amount of CG animation that’s underlying a lot of scenes in this movie. The part of my criticism about the animation that kept distracting me from enjoying the movie, is probably the concern which made me wishing Okko’s Inn to be produced by Ghibli studio, or directed by Shinkai-sensei because I believe they could do better than this.

With that out of the way, I should now state also the value of when the visual really delivers. So yes, there are various of times when the movie pushes the visual further and deliver such beautiful scenes that I believe everyone would adore. Same goes with the scores, they are awesome especially the ending theme called “Mata Ashita” (English: see you tomorrow) sung by Sakura Fujiwara, which is very fitting to the conclusion of Okko’s character arc that you’ll see once you reach the end of the movie.

closing – nesha’s final verdict.

I cried; I cried when Okko cried at the end of the movie, when she finally able to allow herself to accept her past, fully accept the inevitable accident that happened to her parents, to forgive, to allow herself to move on and put up with herself as the apprentice innkeeper of Harunoya. Because despite the fact there’s not a lot of bright moments in this movie, her character works so well to the point where I cheered for her, and shed a tear when finally she reached her turning point.

The movie moves around between plot points with the introduction of a new place, a new family, a new character, or a new attribute of the already introduced characters. The main problem lies in how forgettable those moments are; considering movies similar to this that I have watched have been so good —those are movies from Ghibli and Shinkai-sensei, with a few inclusion of great adaptations such as A Silent Voice … and— you see that every introduction of a character is very memorable in those movies, and there’s always a process that we could cherish and look back every time the movie jumps forward to the next storyline.

On the contrary, there’s almost no iconic moment throughout Okko’s Inn, and that’s the only concern. But at the end of the day, I’m just glad that the movie doesn’t feel forced. There’s a lot of movies to even TV series that force us —the viewers— to accept every plot point, every character introduction, to even a conclusion of a character arc and a saga without the well-developed events that they usually expect us to acknowledge them as ‘plot twists’. Sometimes these plot twists saved us the story, while some other times it’s just not rewarding enough and we’d left disappointed.

Thankfully, not in this movie. Just like I’ve said earlier; Okko’s Inn is about a girl named Okko, and the story is about Okko, being told from Okko’s perspective alone. So there’s no plot twist, the movie is just about Okko and her character development. And if we judge a movie only from this specific mark alone, then Okko’s Inn is a very major-major go because again, underlying my previous statement; Okko’s character development works as it’s intended to, and that’s a good thing. The whole movie tho, sadly, not as good. Therefore this is my final verdict.

scored 6.5 out of 10

additional pieces of information.

external links: official site, official Twitter, Wiki (jp), Allcinema, Anison, ANN, and MAL

* this image is available to be downloaded!

Okay um, thank you for reading my review, it’s pretty awesome realizing that I just narrated my experience of watching a child cartoon that’s been made in a country far away from where I’m living. rofl. The thought just came to mind. I guess that’s the beauty of the internet.

Thanks a lot for putting up with my ramblings. I love you 3000!

© written by nesha5971
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