Dlready noticed for the realization of GHOST IN THE SHELL (1995) and JINH-ROH – LA BRIGADE DES LOUPS (1999), in which the darkness and the violence clash in the world of film, animation, Hiroyuki Okiura needed to create something more joyful. After more than ten years of hard work, his last born, a LETTER TO MOMO, a real little gem to be released in Japan in 2012, arrived in France last September and only now in DVD, is definitely more cheerful, playful, and childish. Price of the Kinder Film Festival near Tokyo and the award-winning international Festival of films for children of New York, this is a true success and a real success especially among the young audience.

LETTER TO MOMO tells the story of a grief in a little girl very imaginative. History of monsters and then of friendship, solidarity and imaginary childish mix of very happy, and the scenes of the funny, strung together brilliantly. The scenario is served by a design on the paper remarkable that appeals to the sizes of the animation.

Arrival on the island of Shio with her mother Ikuko to try to rebuild after the death of her father, Momo has trouble adapting to it and is contained in a constant sadness. Gradually, voices that only she can hear emerge from the attic of the family home and the shadows and shapes appear… and lastly of the body, real and alive that Momo discovers in these three yôkai (supernatural beings and strange) as monstrous as they are frightful, whose mission is to watch over the two women and the time that the deceased’s soul to attain heaven.

While most animated films for children will design their own imaginary creatures as being cute and charming, Hiroyuki Okiura has here use of yôkai that have nothing of these assets in the imagination and folklore of japan. Iwa is also massive and chunky that Mame is small, bald and eyes protruding. As to Kava, a kind of human fish head dried up, it causes the first of the repulsion. The comic is all the more successful they are displayed as being sensitive, even if sometimes their pet pulls of situations that are embarrassing ! Saved by their humour (these are real gluttons), and anxious to carry out their mission, the three yôkai occupy quickly an important place in the life of Momo. We are slowly getting used to them and we have laughed often their clumsiness. They will even bring good luck to the little girl…

“History of monsters and then of friendship, solidarity and imaginary childish mix so very joyous.”

The drawing of a LETTER TO MOMO has been handmade by the virtuosos of the animation : the artistic director, Hiroshi Ono, has already been proven on KIKI THE LITTLE WITCH and the key facilitator, Masashi Andô, is a veteran of Studios Ghibli. It emanates from the drawings, a real delicacy, both in the choice of colors, as in the expressions and the lines. The backgrounds, made with a brush, are real pictures and quickly plunge us into an exotic backdrop. You will discover a traditional way of life as it may have courses on the island that has inspired Hiroyuki Okiura for the sets of the film : the orchards that are decimating yôkai, mandarins, which they relish, or even the monorail used to flee the attack of a couple of wild boars in the mountains, are elements drawn from the real.

The unfinished letter left by the father of Momo is at the heart of the film, such as a wire driver which recalls the presence of the loved one beyond death even if it takes shape only through a few letters. While the beginning of the film shows the include of the girl and his difficulty in linking of new contacts in particular with Yota, a young man of his age, the yôkai, which make it see all the colors, will, by their mischievousness, gradually bring them back to life. The progress alert of the film, which heats up on the end with one last bounce, creates interest and, after the fear related to the discovery of these supernatural beings, monstrous, but fun, fun as in a scene of choreography, where monsters and humans have finally found a semblance of complicity.


Do not skimp on the purchase of this DVD because it is really worth its weight in gold. Colors, sounds, music, the whole is excellently well made, with a French version and an original version subtitled for the more courageous, allowing for this latest version of the consider the hard work of voice dubbing (Karen Miyima for Momo). The supplements (one hour) are a rare quality among the interview of the director who looks back at the genesis of the film (more than ten years all the same!) and sheds light on some of the scenes, and a making-of awesome that follows all aspects of the design and production of the film (location scouting, script, story-board, layout, boards, animation, dubbing…) and where we see the key actors in the workplace. In short, a well of information for those who want to go beyond the simple viewing of the film.

Original title : Momo e no tegami

Achievement : Hiroyuki Okiura

Scenario : Hiroyuki Okiura

Actors of dubbing, voice original : Karen Miyima, Yûka, Toshiyuki Nishida, Yûichi Nagashima, Kôichi Yamadera, Daizaburo Arakawa, Cho.

Country of origin : Japan

Output : 5 February 2014 (DVD)

Duration : 2 hours

Distributor : Les Films du Préau

Synopsis : Three drops of water fall from the sky and bounce on the shoulder of Momo, who holds in his hand an unfinished letter written by her father, an oceanographer, was lost at sea. This letter, which begins, “Dear Momo,” remained white. After this death, Ikuko, the mother of Momo, decides to leave Tokyo with his daughter and returning to his native island, the island of Shio, located in the Seto inland sea. The two women go to live with uncle and aunt Ikuko, delighted to see the arrival of a little new blood on their island that is aging. The family home has not changed for years. Ikuko radiates happiness at the idea of finding it. For her, this decor is just wonderful ; for Momo, it is conducive to boredom, especially as she doesn’t know yet, no.

Guided by his mother to make the acquaintance of the young people of the island and are soon taken under the protection of a nice Yota, Momo does not, however, to integrate the friendly band. The day on which it is invited to jump into the water from the top of a bridge, it may not. It has head elsewhere. She wanted to know what his father wanted him to write before disappearing. She remembers the last time she was raced with him and feels guilty. One day, she makes out a shadow alongside her mother. Then, in the attic of the house, she discovers that the figures of a graphic novel have disappeared, and she hears suspicious noises. She gets scared…

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