A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Characters help each other through perseverance, compassion, and empathy. There is a strong theme of friendship and understanding in the movie. Positive and realistic representation of a wheelchair user.
Positive Role Models
Josee is a 24-year-old woman who has grown to fear the outside world due to a life-long disability that means she is a wheelchair user. When she meets Tsuneo, she reluctantly starts to embrace new experiences. Her newfound confidence is put to the test when she is needed to help someone else in need. Tsuneo is 22-year-old man who works and studies hard in order to follow his academic dream. He starts to work as a carer for Josee and does not rise to her taunts. Instead he remains caring, open, and helpful. Josee's grandmother is protective of her and has taught her that the world is scary and dangerous.
The main character is a wheelchair user. She is depicted realistically, with complicated feelings and behaviors resulting from emotional reactions to her disability. She is treated with respect -- for the most part -- such as a scene where a train guard helps her onto a carriage with the aid of a ramp. Good gender balance among the animated characters. Set in Japan the movie depicts aspects of Japanese culture.
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Violence & Scariness
A character bites another's arm and throws a cushion at someone's head. Character hit by a car is thrown into the air and lands unconscious -- they are taken to hospital where some blood is shown. A character wrongfully accuses a person of groping them and calls them a "pervert." Later they threaten to make the same false claims in order to get them fired from their job.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Romantic feelings develop between characters. Characters kiss.
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Some name calling. One use of "jerk." Also "hell" and "heck." A character calls someone a "pervert."
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Products & Purchases
7-Eleven store shown.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character drinks beer with a meal. Characters twice have beer in a bar.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Josee, the Tiger and the Fish is a Japanese anime romantic drama, adapted from a short story, with strong messages around perseverance, compassion, and empathy. The main character, Josee (voiced by Suzie Yeung), is a wheelchair user with a lifelong disability. She lives a reclusive life and is fearful of new experiences after being taught by her grandmother that the world is scary and dangerous. She is sometimes rude and even mean. In one scene, she threatens to make false claims that someone groped her in order to get them fired. But the movie understands she acts out of fear or worry. She meets Tsueno (Howard Wang), who encourages her to experience life and eventually moves toward independent living, using what she's learned to help others. Their relationship ultimately becomes romantic with the two sharing a kiss. The movie has a complex and honest reflection of disability. It has many positive messages, including compassion, perseverance, friendship, and empathy. A character is hit by a car and thrown through the air in a scene, which might be distressing to some. There is both a Japanese version with English subtitles and an English-dubbed version available. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Gentle and empathetic, this Japanese animation celebrates friendship and the joys of encouraging others. Josee, the Tiger and the Fish is also thoughtful, never taking its central character, Josee, a wheelchair user, for granted. We accompany her on her journey from shut-in to independent adult and sometimes she's not great company. Her carer and friend Tsuneo is shouted at, picked on, and abused by her. Like the movie, Tsueno understands that Josee's life experiences may well have caused her emotions to be mixed up. He doesn't fight back, he just keeps trying to help how he can.
When they first set out, we're with Josee at a train station. She feels in the way and a man bangs into her and loses his temper. At first it looks like Josee's grandmother is right -- the world's a bad place. But Josee sticks around long enough to see the guy's being rude to someone else, it wasn't personal. She boards the train with assistance from the guard, who respectfully puts down a ramp. In the carriage, she's in the section designated for wheelchairs. Suddenly the world seems OK. In this short scene, our perspective shifts. The movie constantly and subtly shows the importance of how we see the world and ourselves, and how that impacts how we live our lives, regardless of our situation. Beautifully animated and even smarter than it seems on the surface, Josee, the Tiger and the Fish is an inspirational triumph.
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