Josee, The Tiger and The Fish

Tsuneo Suzukawa dreams of the sea. Specifically, the waters off the coast of Mexico, where the beautiful Clarion Angelfish live, and to achieve his dream of seeing and studying them, he has enrolled in a University to pursue a degree in Marine Biology. But classes cost money, so in addition to various odd jobs he takes on, also works at a dive shop with Mai and Hayato, his two friends. But Tsuneo’s world is soon thrown into chaos one evening when a young woman in a wheelchair comes flying into him. This young woman, named Kumiko Yamamura, though insisting to be called Josee, was out for a nightly walk with her grandmother, when she accidently started rolling down the hill, and was saved by Tsuneo. Josee however, labels him a pervert, and her grandmother, fearing what could happen to Josee, insists they head home, cutting their walk short. Inviting Tsuneo over as thanks, Grandma then offers him a job to take care of Josee, which mostly involves keeping her at home where it is safe. And while Josee is troubled by this intruder in her space at first, as time wears on, she and Tsuneo begin to understand each other, and are soon exploring the world together. And though the world may be filled with tigers, as Josee’s grandma warns, they are not nearly as scary when you have someone to face them with. Josee, The Tiger, and The Fish is a beautiful, heartfelt story, one that I am not ashamed to say got a few tears out of me. The development between Tsuneo and Josee is touching, and you can see how each one is able to support and help one another throughout everything they go through during the course of the film. One nice touch is that the grandma, while she does seem overly protective at first, is not the one dimensional “keep my grandchild away from the world, even if she is happier being out” cliché, and it was refreshing to see her acknowledge that, even though Tsuneo was sneaking out with Josee against her wishes, the fact that her granddaughter was so happy, she was willing to let it slide. There are also a number of emotional gut punch moments, especially in situations that are all too real, that really help build towards what is, thankfully, a wonderfully happy ending. It is also an interesting perspective on someone who is paraplegic, as Josee’s bitterness at first turns to determination and finally empathy, which is inspiring to anyone who is in a similar situation. So I highly recommend everyone check this movie out, it is touching, beautiful and it proves that, while life is not always easy, it is filled with wonder and often times it is the wings in our hearts that make the greatest difference.

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