GKIDS and Shout! Factory Present Okko's Inn on
Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital Download on July 2, 2019
After losing her parents in a car accident, Okko goes to live in the countryside with her grandmother, who runs a traditional inn near an ancient spring said to have healing waters. Okko soon discovers there are spirits living there only she can see -- welcoming ghosts who keep her company, play games and help her navigate her new environment. Okko strives to be a gracious host, and this is soon put to the test by a string of challenging guests with different stories. But ultimately Okko discovers that dedicating herself to others becomes the key to taking care of herself in this beautiful tale from Kitaro Kosaka, who was a key animator on numerous classic films at the venerable Studio Ghibli.
Interview with the Director
Interview with Seiran Kobayashi (Okko)
Q & A at Japanese Premiere
Trailers and TV Spots
Review of Okko's Inn
Okko’s Inn (2019) is a touchingly bittersweet film. While it will no doubt be a delight for most children, do not be surprised if any adults in the room find themselves a little teary-eyed during the film’s most poignant scenes.
The film comes to us from Japan, directed by Kitarô Kôsaka and animated by Studio Madhouse. For fans of animation, those names have likely already sold the film and its quality. Kôsaka is perhaps best known as the animation director for many of Hayao Miyazaki’s works at Studio Ghibli, including some of its most prominent masterpieces like Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986), Grave of the Fireflies (1988), and even the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away (2001). However, since 2003 he has begun making a name for himself as a film director in his own right. Meanwhile, Studio Madhouse is a titan in the Japanese animation industry, consistently producing award-winning films since the early '80s. The studio has brought to life the visions of some of Japan’s most prominent directors, such as Satoshi Kon and Mamoru Hosoda.
The film, at times, does struggle to match the legacy of its creators’ filmography, though that is only because that legacy is so prestigious. On its own, Okko’s Inn is incredibly charming and wonderfully animated. The story is centered around our young female protagonist, Okko, who moves to a new town to live with her grandmother after the untimely deaths of her parents in a car accident. Her grandmother is the innkeeper for a traditional Japanese inn, built atop a mystical hot spring known for its healing qualities. However, upon arriving in this new town, Okko learns that her grandmother’s inn not only contains many icky bugs that she is afraid of, but also a few friendly spirits and ghosts who have come to reside there. The movie follows Okko over roughly a year of her life as she slowly settles into her role as the junior innkeeper and comes to terms with the death of her parents.
While adults will find some of the dialogue cheesy and some characters to be a bit unconvincing in their sentimentality, the film nonetheless delivers where it counts, resulting in a climax that feels emotionally satisfying and genuine. The English voice actress for Okko is especially great and is convincing at portraying Okko’s child-like energy as well as her more adult sorrows. While there is one scene of a car accident in the beginning of the film that might scare the youngest audience members, I think most children and families will find the film an especially magical escape.
One lucky winner will receive a Blu-ray/DVD copy of Okko's Inn! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM ET on Wednesday, July 10, 2019.
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Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this Film to facilitate my reviewer's honest review.