Why Josee, the Tiger and the Fish is a Must-Watch

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Deanna Nguyen
Deanna Nguyen is a writer and editor with several years of experience in content creation and editorial management for print and digital publications. Aside from watching anime and simping for her favorite characters, she enjoys playing otome games and cuddling with her bichon frise, Yoshi, during her free time.

It’s been a fantastic year for anime movies, whether you’re into everything from gripping period dramas to demon-slaying adventures. Later this month, the breathtaking, emotional Josee, the Tiger and the Fish joins their ranks and arrives in select theaters. And you cannot miss it.

The film, which tells a loving coming-of-age story that captures the emotions of youth, arrives from July 12-14 in the United States (English dubbed on July 13), and on July 12, 14 and 17 in Canada.

Here are a handful of reasons why Josee, the Tiger and the Fish is worth your next watch, from the pedigree behind the film to its perfect summer vibes. Let’s jump in!


It’s the perfect romance for a summer watch with your partner

Oceans and beaches remind us of summer, and Josee, the Tiger and the Fish revolves around two main characters who love the sea and exploring new places.

The two eventually become romantically involved with each other, which will either make you appreciate your partner even more or feel really single (with plenty of coming of age elements!). That’s not to say it’s heavy on the romance, but it explores the bonds and dreams shared between two people who support and trust each other. 

So, what’s the story, you ask? Here’s the official synopsis

“With dreams of diving abroad, Tsuneo gets a job assisting Josee, an artist whose imagination takes her far beyond her wheelchair. But when the tide turns against them, they push each other to places they never thought possible, and inspire a love fit for a storybook.”


It’s produced by studio BONES

From the studio that’s brought us My Hero Academia, Mob Psycho 100 and SK8 the Infinity, BONES continues its streak of gorgeous animation and visuals with Josee, the Tiger and the Fish.

Instead of epic action or flashy superpowers, though, the movie offers vivid environmental details and fluid water movements. See for yourself in the trailer above! 


The director also worked on Noragami 

The director, Kotaro Tamura, also directed both seasons of Noragami, a supernatural comedy with doses of drama and romance. If you’re a fan of Tamura’s works, you’ll want to check out his vision and direction for Josee, the Tiger and the Fish!

Aside from being a director, Tamura has also been a unit director, episode director, assistant director and was in charge of storyboarding for a handful of shows and films (Bungo Stray Dogs, Wolf Children, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood). Now that’s an impressive portfolio! 


It’s based on a short story written by a prolific author

Many anime shows and films are based off of a source material (i.e., manga), but for Josee, the Tiger and the Fish, it’s actually based on a short story written by Seiko Tanabe, an Akutagawa Prize-winning author.

The story was published in 1985, so the characters have existed long before some of us were even born! Even though the story is set then, the movie has transformed it to a more modern setting.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any official English translations for the short story, but at least we have the movie! And just so you know, the ending for the original story and the film here are different.


The main theme and insert song are by Eve

Whether you’re into utaites or you’ve been listening to the first Jujutsu Kaisen opening theme on repeat, you’ll be thrilled to know that Eve composed and sang the main theme song for Josee, the Tiger and the Fish!

You can listen to the song, “Ao No Waltz,” on Spotify right now, as well as his other tracks and albums. “Shinkai,” which is on the same album, is the insert song for the movie too!

Both songs have a different vibe from the Jujutsu no Kaisen opening theme, but they’re still bangers!


Evan Call composed the original soundtrack

Speaking of music, Evan Call, who worked on the soundtracks for Violet Evergarden and APPARE-RANMAN!, composed the soundtrack for Josee, the Tiger and the Fish!

These days, it’s not uncommon to see Western artists composing music for anime shows and films. If you want to get a feel for the tone of the movie, you can listen to the original soundtrack on Spotify right now! 


It received multiple film award nominations

To drive home the point that Josee, the Tiger and the Fish is worth the watch, it was nominated for Best Animation in the 75th Mainichi Film Awards, Animation of the Year for the 44th Japan Academy Film Prize and an official selection for the 2021 Annecy International Film Festival.

While the movie didn’t win, being nominated is a huge honor in itself and speaks volumes about the story, production, casting and so on. Let’s hope for anime films to be recognized and nominated at The Oscars


Fans around the world are loving it

If you still need more persuasion, Josee, the Tiger and the Fish has an 8.63 rating on MAL—a pretty high score when comparing it to all the thousands of anime out there! It’s currently ranked #61, so it’s in the Top 100! 

Have we convinced you yet? Snag your tickets right now and let us know your thoughts on the movie once it premieres on July 12 – 14!

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