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Anime / Josee, The Tiger, and The Fish

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Josee, The Tiger, and The Fish (ジョゼと虎と魚たち; Josee to Tora to Sakana-tachi) is a romantic comedy anime movie by Studio Bones released in December 2020. The story follows Tsuneo Suzukawa, an college student who likes diving and aspires to study abroad in Mexico. One day, he meets and saves Josee, a disabled girl who is rarely allowed to go outside by her grandmother. The grandmother hires Tsuneo, who's a little tight on cash, as a caretaker for Josee. Josee (whose real name is Kumiko) makes odd requests, which, at first, aggravates Tsuneo. However, after seeing her room filled with drawings of sea creatures in the sky over cities, Tsuneo resolves to help Josee fulfill her wish to taste the sea.

The movie is an adaptation of a short story of the same title by Seiko Tanabe. There is also a Japanese live-action adaptation released in 2003, and a Korean live-action adaptation called Josee released in 2020.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: Josee accuses Tsuneo of groping her when he catches her after she's sent flying from her wheelchair.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Kana suspects this when Tsuneo calls Josee much to her embarrassment.
  • Book Ends: When they first meet, Tsuneo catches Josee after someone pushes her downhill and she's launched from the wheelchair. The same thing happens when they meet again at the end, after Tsuneo spends a whole day searching for her.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Subverted. Tsuneo breaks his ankle in a car accident, but he recovers.
  • The Caretaker: Josee's grandmother to Josee. And later Tsuneo when he is offered to work by Josee's grandmother.
  • Cats Are Mean: Downplayed. A stray cat at Josee's house hisses at Tsuneo early on. Eventually, he and Josee adopt the cat and name it Yukichi.
  • Cute Bookworm: Kana, who Josee befriends, is a librarian that likes Françoise Sagan and wears glasses.
  • Cue the Rain: It starts to rain after Josee ends her relationship with Tsuneo.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Josee, a classical tsundere, warms up to Tsuneo after learning that both of them like the sea.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Both Josee and Tsuneo. Josee finally starts working as an illustrator despite discouragement from the social services due to her disability. After the car accident, Tsuneo recovers just in time to depart for university in Mexico. In The Stinger, Tsuneo surprises Josee after going back to Japan for spring break.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Happens twice to Josee: when she fell for Tsuneo and when she gave up on her dreams and took an office job to "fit in" with society.
  • Flying Seafood Special: In Tsuneo's Dream Sequence, he dreams of flying sea creatures and Josee above Tokyo sky. The dream is based on Josee's painting he saw in her room.
  • From Stray to Pet: The stray black cat that often wanders into Josee's house for food is named Yukichi by Tsuneo and stays in Josee's house.
  • Gilded Cage: Josee is confined to her house and rarely goes outside because "there are terrible creatures out there" as her grandmother says.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Josee says this when the librarian asks about Tsuneo.
  • Heroic BSoD: Tsuneo suffers one after a car crash break his legs a few months before his departure for Mexico. He nearly gives up on his dream of studying in Mexico.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Josee is established as a spoiled brat early on. It turns out it's just a facade to conceal her lack of experience with other people.
  • Killed Offscreen: Josee's grandmother dies just when Josee resolves to follow her artistic dream.
  • Look Both Ways: Happens to Tsuneo when he tries to save Josee from being stuck in the middle of the road.
  • Luminescent Blush: Josee does this a lot.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: gender flipped version Tsuneo gets involved with Josee's life, pulling her out of her shell despite her brusque behavior.
  • Meet Cute: Tsuneo and Josee meet after someone pushes Josee's wheelchair downhill. The scene is made more dramatic with a rotating camera and slow motion as Tsuneo catches Josee.
  • Ocean Awe: Both Tsuneo and Josee loves the sea. Tsuneo in particular enjoys diving and works part-time at a diving shop, much to Josee's awe.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Most of the time, Kumiko is addressed as Josee.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: After Josee's grandmother dies, Tsuneo is so worried about Josee that he loses track of his oxygen supply during a diving trip and has to take oxygen from Hayato's tank. After they surface, Hayato and Mai immediately figure that something's up.
  • Parental Substitute: Josee's grandmother.
  • Physical Therapy Plot: Tsuneo undergoes one.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Hayato.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Mai. She's a close friend of Tsuneo's in college and works at the same diving shop. She shows sadness when she hears about Tsuneo's plan to study abroad, and later on attempts to compete with Josee for his feelings.
  • Scenery Porn: As expected from Studio Bones, the movie is animated on par with Studio Ghibli or Makoto Shinkai with attention to details both in background or close-up view of objects. Even Josee's messy room is depicted as beautiful in the movie.
  • Self-Applied Nickname: Kumiko insists on being called Josee, after a character in Françoise Sagan's Those Without Shadows. The only person who doesn't call her Josee is her grandmother.
  • Shout-Out: Josee is the name of a character in Françoise Sagan's Those Without Shadows. Josee quotes Sagan in some parts of the movie.
  • Spoiled Brat: Josee is established as one with her ridiculous requests for Tsuneo when he starts working as her caretaker, such as counting tatami holes and bringing four-leaf clovers. Somewhat justified, since she can't do anything on her own and her grandmother is overprotecive.
  • Story Within a Story: Josee reads a The Little Mermaid picture book to the children while Kana is busy, but fails to keep their attention. Later on, Josee draws Little Mermaid and Shiny Wings as an allusion to Tsuneo's and Josee's condition and to show Tsuneo that she cares about him and encourages him to fight for his dream.
  • Strict Parents Make Sneaky Kids: Josee's grandmother forbidding walks pushes Josee to make Tsuneo go on walks with her. Josee's grandmother knows, but lets them be.
  • Tragically Disabled Love Interest: Josee is wheelchair-bound since birth and has to drag herself to reach places her wheelchair can't.