A Letter to Momo – Momo e no tegami (2011)
Directed by: Hiroyuki Okiura | 120 minutes | animation, drama | Original voice cast: Cho, Karen Miyama, Toshiyuki Nishida, Takeo Ogawa, Yoshisada Sakaguchi, Ikuko Tani, Kôichi Yamadera, Yuka
For seven years, director Hiroyuki Okiura worked on the completely hand-drawn ‘A Letter to Momo’, thus displaying a surrealist work of craftsmanship, which in the end does not completely convince. For example, the idea behind the film is good, and it is very commendable that Okiura preferred the grueling work of the hand-drawn sheets of paper – where almost every company now uses computers – but the film lacks besides its outward strength. and alienating characters a heart, a soul.
The letter in the title is one that Momo’s father never finished. He died before getting past the salutation, “Dear Momo,” and so begins the young girl’s quest for what her father has been trying to say to her. An intense synopsis, but Okiura soon brings in three clumsy and erratic ghosts, taking the story into a supernatural twist, leaving the core of the film – the letter – too much in the background, despite frantic efforts to stop everything. glue it back together in the lock.
The appearance of the ghosts is visually extraordinarily inventive, but their function for the story seems to be lagging somewhat behind. Rather, Okiura shows the splendor of the island of Shio, where Momo lives with her mother, and the sea, which feels as dazzling in hand drawn as its realistic variant. ‘A Letter to Momo’ has become a feast for the eyes and ears, with beautiful images and beautiful sounds, but intellectually there was more to be gained for Okiura, who previously worked on ‘Akira’ and ‘Ghost in the Shell’ . With a production time of seven years, the result is not everything it could have been. With this new film from the Japanese anime studio Production IG, he has definitely established his name in the anime genre, but it is hoped that the successor will also captivate the mind as ‘Momo’ did with the senses.