Anime: A Letter to Momo

A Letter to Momo is an anime film that debuted at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, and has also been shown at other film festivals in various cities worldwide, including Honolulu (USA), Glasgow (UK), Sitges (Spain), Warsaw (Poland), and Busan (S. Korea). Director Hiroyuki Okiura was previously responsible for Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, but as this film was not scripted by Mamoru Oshii, it is much easier to understand.

Momo is a 11-year old girl who has recently moved to her mother's hometown on a small island in Japan's Inland Sea. She and her mother are in mourning after an accident that killed her father, whose last words to her were the words "Dear Momo," the beginning of a letter he was not able to finish. Soon after she moves in, she realises she is being followed by youkai; previous gods sent to Earth to watch over the living in order to atone for their crimes.


This show provides examples of:

  • Animal Motifs: Kawa has the most resemblance to a frog.
  • The Atoner: All the youkai are on earth as punishment because they broke rules as gods.
  • Big Eater: The three banished youkai.
  • Big Heroic Run
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Big Iwa, Thin Kawa, and Short Mame
  • But Now I Must Go
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Ikuko sated that while her husband could write an excellent research paper, he was at a complete lost when it came to writing his feelings.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The spirit friends that are seen around Mame come back to help Momo find a doctor for her sick mother during the storm.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander / The Ditz: Mame's not all there. Umi, too, if her big brother is to be believed.
  • Comic Trio
  • Coming-of-Age Story
  • Daydream Believer: Iwa and Kawa spin a tale to Momo about being trapped in a book for thousands of years, and now she's awakened them. Mame ends up believing it too because he forgot his own past.
  • Fartillery: One of Kawa's attempts at trying to stop a boar from saving its children that he is about to eat.
  • Disappeared Dad: Momo's father's death is what kicks off the whole plot.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Kawa doesn't like fish because it makes him gassy.
  • Driving Question: What was supposed to be on that letter?
  • Innocently Insensitive: Yota mentions to Momo how his dad and the other dads would sail the straw boats, unaware that Momo's father is dead.
  • Invisible to Normals: The Youkai are only visible to Momo because they hit her when they fell from the sky. Umi sees them, too, but it's not explained why.
  • Jerk Ass: Kawa.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Even with their grating attitude, Iwa and Kawa prove not to be totally heartless.
  • Kid with the Leash: Momo, once she get a hold the pass.
  • Mama Bear/Papa Wolf: The two boars chase Iwa, Kawa, and Momo because the former two kidnapped their babies.
    • Ikuko goes out into a storm to look for Momo.
    • Inverted when Momo runs out into a worsening storm to help her mother who's having an asthma attack.
  • Nice Guy: Mame is the least Jerkass member of the trio of youkai.
    • Yota is quite laid back and sensitive.
    • Kazuo, Momo's deceased father, was described as "one of the rare good ones".
  • No Antagonist: There's no main villain against Momo in the story.
  • Posthumous Character: Momo's father.
  • Ship Tease: Yota appears to have crush on Momo.
  • Shrinking Violet: Momo, at first.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Implied. Kazuo, Momo's father and Ikuko's husband, was described as a good, kind man.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Kazuo wore them when he was alive and was in career involving doing research papers, and Ikuko stated he wrote excellent ones.
  • Stepford Smiler: Momo's mother keeps everything bottled up.
  • Super Speed: Iwa can run really fast.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Kazuo gave Ikuko a mirror when they were dating. Kawa accidentally breaks it.
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Youkai
  • You Can See Me?: The youkai get the shock of their lives when they realize Momo is staring right at them.

Alternative Title(s):

A Letter To Momo