Okko’s Inn / Wakaokami wa Shougakusei! Movie
Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life, Supernatural, Junior Innkeeper
First Released: September 2018, 94-minute film
Summary: A car crash takes Okko’s parents from her at a young age. She has no choice but to move in with her grandmother at her traditional Japanese inn, which is built on top of an ancient spring with healing waters. Okko begins to train as a junior innkeeper to potentially take over the inn after her grandmother is unable to. Along the way she discovers ghosts that inhabit the inn, ones that only she can see. The ghosts help Okko with the painful loss of her parents and the difficult transition from child to innkeeper.
Studio Ghibli alumnus Kitaro Kosaka, the supervising animation director for many Ghibli films, directs Okko’s Inn. The film begins with a gut punch of emotion then wobbles back and forth between sad and sweet. It toes the line of drama and comedy well, but finally settles on a more comedic and light-hearted feel. Had the director gone a different route with the tone of the film and focused more on Okko’s loss, I would have been weeping throughout the film. Instead, the film utilizes several likable characters to produce a good time with a slice of life film with a positive message.
You might enjoy this if: You like the idea of serving others as a coping mechanism for dealing with difficult issues in your life.
You might not like it if: You are tired of the “Supernatural Spirits Living in a Japanese Countryside Inn” genre.
Note to the Viewer: The direct translation of the Japanese title is: “The Young Innkeeper Is a Grade Schooler!”. I prefer the short and sweet English title of “Okko’s Inn”.
Okko’s Inn Official Gkids Trailer