Based on the 1985 short story penned by Akutagawa Prize-winning author Seiko Tanabe, the 2020 released movie Josee, the Tiger and the Fish follows young man, Suzukawa Tsuneo (voiced by Nakagawa Taishi) with a huge passion and love for diving who meets Josee (voiced by Kiyohara Kaya), a paraplegic girl who one day wants to know what the world outside and the sea looks like. Despite their completely different personalities, their relationship soon begins to blossom into something even deeper as they both grow attached and begin to understand each other even more.
The title itself artistically depicts one of the main points of the movie – the movie is more than just a blossoming romance between the two main leads. This movie shows how the disabled are often shunned and neglected by the outside world full of people and peril. The close ones of these disabled people try to lock them up and protect them from the so called “monsters” and “tigers” of the world sometimes not even knowing that they have dreams and wishes of their own
Life is however, completely different for the gifted. It’s a complete 180° as to how the disabled lives – they are very well liked and seem to excel at anything and they are given freedom to do what they want just like a fish swimming in the deep blue ocean.
Studio BONES did a very good job in visually representing every scene. Every scene was showcased beautifully and has a purpose and meaning, thus definitely succeeding in the story telling aspect of the movie.
Same thing goes for the character design as each character’s emotions are drawn and captured picture perfectly – quite potentially the best part of this anime. They definitely aced this one since it is extremely important due to the deep topic that the movie tries to portray.
However, I wouldn’t say the same for the audio aspect of the movie since the sounds are very inconsistent. Some parts are okay but there are times where the character’s voice gets unnecessarily loud and some might find it quite disturbing.
Don’t get me wrong though, the voice actors did an amazing job at voicing and giving life to the characters. However, the inconsistency of the voice directing might overshadow the amazing work the voice actors did and the overall experience in watching this movie.
Another thing that I have a love and hate was how they played out the ending, with a story this deep and meaningful, the build up towards the ending was great, but I would have loved for the ending to not be as cliché as this one. But at the same time, I feel that the ending has a deep meaning of Josee trying to face the world by herself and not rely too much on Tsuneo.
To sum everything up, Josee, the Tiger and the Fish is a slice of life/romance anime filled with drama. And most importantly, Josee sends out a strong and empowering message for everyone and especially for the disabled people out there – fight for your dreams and never let anything get in the way of it.
Our score – 7/10
Title: Josee the Tiger and the Fish
Director: Tamura Koutarou
Voice Actors: Nakagawa Taishi, Kiyohara Kaya