Movie Review: Josee, The Tiger, and The Fish (2020)

Disclaimer: I’ve been waiting for this movie for about six months, so this review is pretty much prone to bias, though I’ll try my best to balance it out with my objective opinions.


Title: Josee, The Tiger, and The Fish

Genre: Romance, Drama

Director: Kotaro Tamura

Voice cast: Taishi Nakagawa, Kaya Kiyohara, Yume Miyamoto, Kazuyuki Okitsu, Lynn, Chiemi Matsutera

Duration: 98 minutes


Josee, The Tiger, and The Fish is a romance anime adapted from a novel with the same title written by a notable author, Seiko Tanabe. The novel itself has been adapted into films in Japanese and Korean, also with the same title, which might be a good alternative for those who are not into anime.

Movie review: Josee, the tiger, and the fish

The story is about a marine biology student, Tsuneo, and a paraplegic girl who calls herself Josee. Tsuneo has a big dream of diving in Mexico while studying abroad, while Josee dreams of exploring the outside world. Tsuneo is portrayed as an idealized model student who puts so much effort into studying and works part-time to fulfill his own financial needs. He gets to know Josee in an accidental encounter, a girl who is wheelchair dependent and lives with her one and only strict grandmother who forbids her to go outside because ‘the world is a scary place.’ She spends most of her time in her room, drawing many places she’s unable to visit, especially the sea.

Movie review: Josee, the tiger, and the fish

Knowing that Tsuneo is in dire need of money, Josee’s grandmother decides to hire him as Josee’s personal caregiver. It’s a tough job for him at first because of how demanding Josee is, but he becomes very fond of her when he finds out that Josee longs for the sea as much as he does. Josee gets to experience many things for the first time with the help of Tsuneo and learns that although the world is a scary place, it is also a beautiful one. Everything’s fun and giggles until a tragedy strikes both of them and gets in their way to achieve their dreams.

Movie review: Josee, the tiger, and the fish

Josee, The Tiger, and The Fish is not much different than any other romance anime in terms of the overall plot, just a reminder for soon-to-be viewers of what to expect from this movie. However, it doesn’t necessarily make the whole movie bad or boring. I still find the movie captivating for so many reasons. I would like first to appreciate how they portray the main characters as two passionate people chasing their dreams. They made how the characters deal with the situation when their dreams crash with reality very realistic. The main duo’s dynamic is not that original, but they executed it very well to the point it doesn’t feel like it’s tropey and overused. Their dynamic can be described as lighthearted and pleasant, not cringe, but cute. I also love how there’s a sprinkle of fantasy in the movie, which also parallels the reality, a perfect balance of both.  

Movie review: Josee, the tiger, and the fish

Alongside the story, I have nothing to complain about the technical qualities. The voice acting is beautifully done. It sent me chills and delivered the emotion perfectly, with the help of the SFX and music. I’m no expert in SFX, but some scenes include many atmospheric noises that left me breathless because of how realistic it sounds. The art is gorgeous, not too grand, but enough to please our eyes. Osaka, where the story takes place, is drawn beautifully in soft pastel-dominated colors. As for the soundtrack, Shinkai and Ao No Waltz by Eve, I think these two fit the movie very well. Some scenes from the movie are included in the Ao No Waltz music video, which was released prior to the movie release and gained a lot of attention, so you might want to check their music video as well

As much as I enjoyed the movie, I have to admit that it lacks at some points. The plot is too fast-paced, and there are also some twists that happen for the sake of tension to force the audience to sympathize with the characters (but it worked for me, I cried). It would be better if they elaborated the plot more to not confuse the viewers or for better plot transition, but sadly, they didn’t. Probably due to the short duration. I also think that the film is way too focused on the main characters as individuals, though they’re shown together a few times and we can already tell that they have a wholesome dynamic. I’m sure the audience craves more than what’s given.

However, I still enjoyed Josee, The Tiger, and The Fish a lot and I will definitely give it another try if I have time. Although the plot weighs on a serious yet common issue, the way it’s packed with wholesome, lighthearted, cheesy interactions between the characters delivers the message better and brings so much joy (and tears) to the audience. Sometimes, all we need is a simple movie to watch as we relax, not some heavily-plotted movie that requires us to work our brains off. If that’s what you’re looking for, Josee, The Tiger, and The Fish is exactly what you need.

Writer: Ias Aprilia

Editor: Hasna Fatina


  1. although i watched the whole movie,i forgot what happened at the end


Post a Comment