Anime / A Letter to Momo

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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 Miyaura is a 11-year old girl who has recently moved to her mother Ikuko'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 Kazuo, 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 goblins; previous gods sent to Earth to watch over the living in order to atone for their crimes.

This film provides examples of:

  • Animal Motifs: Kawa has the most resemblance to a frog.
  • The Atoner:
    • All the goblins are on earth as punishment because they broke rules as gods.
    • Momo herself atones for what she said to Kazuo.
  • Big Eater: The three banished goblins.
  • Big Heroic Run: Towards the end of the film, Momo and Koichi have to go across the bridge with the goblins' help to save Ikuko's life.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Big Iwa, Thin Kawa, and Short Mame.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ikuko is saved from asthma attack and she and Momo make up for their earlier argument. Momo finally knows what her father wanted to write in his letter to her. But Momo must bid farewell to the trio, but thanks them for all they have done.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: Momo runs away from her house during her argument with Ikuko. But when Ikuko suffers an asthma attack, Momo rushes her to a doctor and they reconcile after everything is said and done.
  • But Now I Must Go: The trio have to leave at the end and bid farewell to Momo.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Ikuko tells Momo 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: Mame's not all there. Umi, too, if her big brother is to be believed.
  • 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.
  • Death by Origin Story: Kazuo Miyaura dies years before the story begins.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kazuo'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?
  • The Exile: The goblins on earth are exiled because they broke rules while serving as gods.
  • Fartillery: One of Kawa's attempts at trying to stop a boar from saving its children that he is about to eat.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.:
    • Momo has a prolonged one at the beginning when Kazuo dies.
    • Momo enters one of these again after her argument with Ikuko. It only takes Momo realizing that Ikuko is having an asthma attack and her looking at the photos of Ikuko and Kazuo to finally snap her out of it.
  • Heroic Bystander: Koichi and the goblins who help Momo during the climax.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Yota mentions to Momo how his father and the other fathers would sail the straw boats, unaware that Momo's father is dead until Momo explains to him about it.
  • Invisible to Normals: The goblins 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 with a Heart of Gold: Even with their annoying personalities, Iwa and Kawa prove not to be totally heartless.
  • Kid with the Leash: Momo, once she get a hold the pass.
  • Mama Bear:
    • The two boars (one a mother) 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.
  • The Mourning After: At the beginning, Momo is still in grief over Kazuo's death.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Momo returns to her home, she realizes that her argument with Ikuko caused the latter to suffer an asthma attack. It spurns her into searching for a doctor to heal her mother.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Mame is the least Jerkass member of the trio of goblins.
    • 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.
  • Papa Wolf: The two boars (one a father) chase Iwa, Kawa, and Momo because the former two kidnapped their babies.
  • Parting Words Regret:
    • Before Kazuo's death, Momo tells him that she doesn't care if he comes back. She is so guilt-ridden over it.
    • Towards the end of the film, Momo regrets the last things she said to Ikuko when she realizes that their argument caused Ikuko to suffer an asthma attack. Then, Ikuko and Momo reconcile after everything is said and done.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Momo often wears a pink shirt and fittingly enough, her name is Japanese for pink.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Kazuo's death by an accident kicks off the film's plot.
  • Posthumous Character: Momo's father Kazuo is dead by the time the film starts.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • After Kazuo dies, Ikuko has to return to her home on the Seto Island Sea, taking Momo with her.
    • The goblins kidnapping of the boars' babies causes them to be chased by the boars.
    • When Momo runs away from Ikuko after their argument, Ikuko suffers a severe asthma attack. And when she has to find her daughter in a storm, her asthma problems worsen.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Momo gives a brutal one to Ikuko during their argument, thinking that she didn't care about Momo or Kazuo after his death. Later, it turns into a Parting Words Regret.
  • Ship Tease: Yota appears to have crush on Momo.
  • 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 Ikuko keeps everything bottled up. This comes back hard on her when Momo inadvertently causes her to have an asthma attack after their argument.
  • Super Speed: Iwa can run really fast.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Kazuo gave Ikuko a mirror when they were dating. Kawa accidentally breaks it.
  • You Can See Me?: The goblins get the shock of their lives when they realize Momo is staring right at them.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Anime/ALetterToMomo