Josee, the Tiger and the Fish Movie – life is beautiful (the pandemic cannot stop me from watching this in theaters)

Note: this is not much of a review as it is a record of my experience watching this movie.

Bangkok is a crazy city. If you’ve been here once, you’ll get what I mean. And because it’s always so crazy crowded, the pandemic hit us hard and Josee got postponed twice before finally coming to the theaters at the beginning of November 2021.

Even though it’s during a pandemic… the department store that housed the cniema was practically overflowing with people. Especially with kids from the nearby school who were finished with their Saturday classes.

I was already burned out by wading through crowds of people (it’s like Black Friday crowd every single weekend, gosh) to the cinema to buy tickets. I almost shoved a bunch of highschool boys out of the way since they were crowded in front of the ticket machine. I brought my Asian mom with me because she was worried that I’d be in the only person in the theater like that time I was watching Violet Evergarden Movie in March, and she offered to pay for the tickets. So we got the premium couch at the back of the theater because she wanted to sleep throughout the show.

It was the last weekend before Josee left theaters, so the cinema already took all the posters down. I had to make do snapping a shot with my laptop screen instead lol

So we grabbed lunch and waited 30 minutes of advertisement before the movie finally started.

Josee to Tora to Sakana-tachi is a feel-good movie about two people; Tsuneo, a guy juggling part time jobs to fund his studies abroad, and Josee, a girl whose disability stops her from doing a lot of things she wants to do. After a rather colorful meeting, Tsuneo was hired as Josee’s caretaker and the two started to come to understand each other more, cheering each other on the path to chasing their dreams. Aaaand as you guessed, they fell in love.

I have absolutely no negative comments about the animation and music. They were simply splendid. Cinematography is beautiful and the movie made use of the animation medium to bring the best out of every scene. I was captivated.

I took a look at the staff list and turns out Evan Call, the person who wrote the music for Violet Evergarden, also wrote Josee’s OST. Wow! What talent. His music is super good.

Some aspects of the movie’s plot felt a bit not realistic, but since it’s a feel-good, I’m not going to comment on that so much. The metaphors in this story are straightforward, nothing much to comment. The dramatic scenes were told really well and I cried a little. In my opinion, it’s a respectful representation of those in society who live with their disabilities. I felt like through this movie, I have come to understand their lives a little bit more. I had friends who were on wheel chairs and I never imagined how it’s sometimes a struggle to do some things the rest of us take for granted. And I’ve come to realize how much of a nightmare the streets of Bangkok is for those in a wheel chair. Gosh, you can’t even get around one curb on a wheel chair in Bangkok. It’s horrible. (Though it does depend on which area you’re talking about, the wheel-chair friendly areas of Bangkok is extremely limited.)

ทำบาปคนตาบอดเปล่าๆ" เพจฟุตบาทไทยฯ ติงทางเดินคนพิการ กทม. - โพสต์ทูเดย์  สังคมทั่วไป
Source: Posttoday

I thought the side characters would be forgettable, but Ninomiya Mai proved me wrong. She got my mom laughing (on that physical therapy scene) and that’s what I remember for lol. On the more serious side, I like characters like her. She knocks sense into people the hard way, she knows what she wants, and she’s an interesting character. (Oh, my mom actually didn’t sleep. The movie turned out to be her kind of thing so she paid attention the whole way through.)

To conclude, I’d just say it’s a real good and touching movie, and I’d definitely recommend it to other people.

Ah, right, there’s this special thing about going to the movies in Thailand. Before the movie starts, the king’s anthem plays, and people are expected to stand up to show respect. It’s been this way since forever, I don’t know why movie theaters do that, but standing up for one minute doesn’t bother me, so I’ve always done so. When I was a kid, it was because everyone did it. When I got older, I stood out of respect for the late king. I stood even when I was in the theaters all alone watching Violet Evergarden Movie. Now, I just did whatever others in the theater were doing. The audience for Josee are young people, so nobody stood. It’s kind of a trend nowadays. So I didn’t stand up. My mother has a strong sense of loyalty to the monarchy but she didn’t either, just commented ‘oh, nobody’s standing’ and let it go.

I noticed that, out of the corner of my eyes, a staff walked into the theater. The lights illuminated his path so he could see what was going on inside the theater. He just stood by for the first fifteen or so seconds of the anthem, then left. I didn’t think too much of it at first, but afterwards I thought about how people almost got into fights for not standing up or standing up to the anthem. This one time, one person got his seat kicked over and over by the guy sitting behind him because he didn’t stand to the anthem. And some people who stood when the anthem played got snorted at by those who didn’t stand. In the news, they mentioned that sometimes these people take it outside the cinema and yelled at each other. It was pretty serious. I’m glad the theater took precautions and I’m glad nothing happened. I mean, we’re fellow anime fans. I’m also glad my mom didn’t think too much of it.

I’m kind of jealous Tsuneo got to go study abroad while I’m stuck here due to COVID-19. I got offered a scholarship twice, got cancelled last minute both times. The professor at Osaka U was very understanding and I really wished I could at least get a chance to meet him in person. Oh well, anyway, I’m happy the guy got to go to Mexico. Also, Josee’s story inspired me and reminded me that just because I’m tired all the time and the reality of being an adult is starting to weigh down on me, I shouldn’t lose sight of what it is I want.

We all got wings in our hearts, after all.

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