I remember looking at the newest movies out on Blu-Ray and one of them was Okko’s Inn which I could easily tell was a Japanese anime movie. I had no idea what it was other than that, but it looked promising. It’s based on a series of Japanese children novels written from 2003-2013, and they also had a manga based on it later. But what did I think of it?
The movie is about Oriko “Okko” Seki who is a young girl in elementary school. Her mother and father take her to a festival to celebrate the healing nature of some local hot springs. On the road home, a terrible traffic accident occurs, and both Okko’s mom and dad die in the wreck. Okko by a miracle, walks away mostly unharmed. She is sent to live with her grandma, an innkeeper. So she has to adjust to a new life and school.
One of her classmates is Matsuki Akino, whom is called “Frilly Pink” behind her back by most of the class. Okko stupily calls her this nickname to her face. Matsuki is the daughter of a family that runs a much grander and better inn than Okko’s grandmother. Okko works part-time to help her grandma, and Matsuki calls her “dimkeeper” because she obviously doesn’t know what she’s doing.
Okko finds her new life to be tough. Running an inn is tough work and can be demanding especially with strange guests. But what really hurts Okko the most, is the absence of her mother and father. Which is an obvious hole in her heart. What helps her get through these tough times is Uri-bo, a ghost of a boy from many moons ago. Uri-bo died young, but he knew Okko’s grandmother as they were the same age. He befriend Okko and helps her. But Okko’s link with the “other side” grows weaker with time, but will she be strong enough when she can no longer see and hear her ghostly pal?
Overall Okko’s Inn was surprisingly deep and very emotional for a movie made for the younger generations in mind. Though, it is a movie that anyone can enjoy, especially for a family to watch during a movie night. Unlike a few Japanese anime film/shows that get an American release, there is an English voice-cast, and they do quite well in their voice work.