A Letter to Momo

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A Letter to Momo
A Letter To Momo movie poster.jpg
Film poster
Japanese ももへの手紙
Hepburn Momo e no Tegami
Directed by Hiroyuki Okiura
Produced by Arimasa Okada
Keiko Matsushita
Mariko Noguchi
Motoki Mukaichi
Written by Hiroyuki Okiura
Starring Karen Miyama
Yuka
Toshiyuki Nishida
Chō
Kōichi Yamadera
Music by Mina Kubota
Cinematography Koji Tanaka
Edited by Junichi Uematsu
Production
company
Distributed by Kadokawa Pictures
Release dates
  • September 10, 2011 (2011-09-10) (TIFF)
  • April 21, 2012 (2012-04-21) (Japan)
Running time
120 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Box office $6.7 million[1]

A Letter to Momo (Japanese: ももへの手紙 Hepburn: Momo e no Tegami?) is a 2011 Japanese anime drama film produced by Production I.G and distributed by Kadokawa Pictures. The film was written and directed by Hiroyuki Okiura and stars Karen Miyama, Yuka, Toshiyuki Nishida, Chō and Kōichi Yamadera. In A Letter to Momo, 11-year-old Momo Miyaura has a hard time coping with the sudden changes after her father's death.

A Letter to Momo premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Canada on September 10, 2011 and was released on April 21, 2012 in Japan.

Plot[edit]

Following the death of her father Kazuo Miyaura, Momo Miyaura and her mother Ikuko travel to the Seto Inland Sea from Tokyo. Momo carries Kazuo's later, which contains the words, "Dear Momo." The two soon arrive at her mother's estate in Shio Island (汐島 Shiojima?). While there, they meet up with their relatives Sachio and Sae Sadahama as well as Koichi, a local postman. She opens a present containing a rare picture book about goblins and Yōkai, which was collected by Sachio's father. However, three droplets from the skies enter the Ikuko's estate and transform into three yokai consisting of Kawa, Mame, and Iwa, the group's leader.

When Ikuko begins to take nursing classes, Momo reads the book and begins to hear some strange sounds from the house. She is chased out of the estate by the Yokai, only to encounter a young boy named Yota. However, Ikuko and Yota assume that her house is safe. The next morning, she meets Yota and his sister Umi. The three meet up with his friends and swim under the bridge, but Momo decides not to and runs to a shelter during a thunderstorm. Iwa, Mame and Kawa soon reveal themselves, having stolen some fruit from around the island. Frightened, Momo runs back to Ikuko's estate and discovers that Sachio's orchard was ransacked. Sachio then tells Momo that the yokai were originally gods, but they were transformed as a punishment for breaking the divine laws.

Momo's attempt to prevent the Yokai from stealing Ikuko's vegetables causes an argument with Ikuko and Momo leaves.

In the aftermath, Momo reconciles with Ikuko during the tōrō nagashi and realizes that Kazuo wrote that he was proud of her. Later, she swims with Yota and the other children under the bridge.

Voice cast[edit]

Original Japanese[edit]

English Dub[edit]

Production[edit]

The Seto Inland Sea as shown from Miyajima island. A Letter to Momo used the sea as the film's setting.

Development[edit]

Distributor Kadokawa Pictures announced this film in its lineup of 2011 and 2012 films on 15 February 2011.[3] More details of the film were announced on 11 July 2011.[4] It was announced that the director Hiroyuki Okiura will be in charge of this film. His previous work as a director includes the 2000 film Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade.[4] The film A Letter to Momo is Hiroyuki's first film in 11 years after Jin-Roh. He had spent 7 years coming up with the script, directing the film and creating the storyboard for this film.[4]

Casting[edit]

The main voice cast members of A Letter to Momo was first announced on 17 November 2011.[2] It was announced that actress Karen Miyama will voice the 11 year old lead character Momo, while singer Yuka is voicing Momo's mother.[2] In addition, actor Toshiyuki Nishida will be voicing a character in this film.[2]

Theme song[edit]

In an announcement made on 11 July 2011, it was revealed that the theme song for the film A Letter to Momo is the song Uruwashimahoroba ~ Utsukushiki Basho ~ (ウルワシマホロバ~美しき場所~?) by Japanese singer Yuko Hara.[5] This song is an acoustic piece, and it creates an image of the rich natural scenery of the Seto Inland Sea.[6] The "美しき場所" in the song title is the old way of describing "a beautiful place to live".[6] Hara wrote the song's lyrics and composed the music, with Junichi Soga as the editor of the song.[6]

Yuko Hara, who is the keyboardist for the Japanese band Southern All Stars, reportedly spent 5 years working on this piece of music.[4] She said that "I loved animation from a very young age, so being able to contribute the theme song for this film makes me happy and honored.".[6]

Release[edit]

Film festivals[edit]

A Letter to Momo made its international debut at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival that took place from 8 to 18 September 2011.[7][8] It was screened at the festival under its "Kids" programming.[8] Later, it was announced that the film will be shown at the 44th Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival that ran from 6th to 16 October 2011 and at the 16th Busan International Film Festival, which took place on 6th to 14 October.[7] It will be shown in Busan as part of the festival's "Wide Angle" program.[7]

Additionally, A Letter to Momo was screened at the 27th Warsaw International Film Festival.[9] This is the first Japanese anime film to be showcased at the Warsaw International Film Festival and it competed at the festival under its International Competition section.[9] Also, it was announced that this film will be competing for the Halekulani Golden Orchid Award at the 31st Hawaii International Film Festival, which took place from 6 October to 16 October 2011.[9]

A Letter to Momo made its US continental premiere at the New York International Children's Film Festival that took place March 2 to 25, 2012.[10]

It was featured in the Boston International Children's Film Festival, which ran from August 18 to September 1, 2013 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.[11]

GKIDS distributor New Video/Cinedigm released A Letter to Momo on bilingual DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S. on October 21, 2014.

Theatrical release[edit]

A Letter to Momo was released in Japanese cinemas on April 21, 2012,[1][12] debuting in over 300 theater screens on its opening weekend.[13]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film grossed $4,969,070 in Japan, $1,700,694 in South Korea, $6,409 in Hong Kong, $1,003 in Belgium,[14] and $71,712 in the United States, for a total of $6,748,712 worldwide.[1]

Critical response[edit]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 77% approval rating with an average rating of 6.7/10, based on 29 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Sweet, sad, and visually striking, A Letter to Momo is a hand-drawn experience for animation fans to savor."[15] On Metacritic, the film achieved an average score of 65 out of 100, based on 11 reviews, signifying "generally favorable reviews."[16]

Mark Schilling of The Japan Times said that Okiura "manages [the film's] transition from light to serious with the craft and assurance of a true storyteller, while firmly grounding his human and nonhuman characters in their Seto Inland Sea setting, from the narrow portside streets to the gloriously expansive view from the island’s highest point," and also praised the film's hand-drawn animation.[17] Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times also praised the film's look and said, "As Momo conquers her fears, averts a tragedy and finally sees the beauty of her surroundings, the movie grabs your heart with the softest of hands."[18]

Accolades[edit]

Year Name of Competition Category Result Recipient
2011 27th Warsaw International Film Festival International Competition Nominated A Letter to Momo[9]
31st Hawaii International Film Festival Halekulani Golden Orchid Award Nominated A Letter to Momo[9]
2012 14th Future Film Festival - Italy Future Film Platinum Grand Prize Won A Letter to Momo[19]

Merchandise[edit]

Manga[edit]

A Letter to Momo will be adapted into a film manga and will be serialized in the Monthly Asuka magazine, published by Kadokawa Shoten.[20] This manga is written by Akiko Kitami, and the first chapter of the manga will be published in the November 2011 issue of the magazine.[20] Kitami's previous works have also previously been serialized in the Monthly Asuka.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "A Letter to Momo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 16, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Hawaii, Warsaw Int'l Film Fests to Show A Letter to Momo" (in Japanese). eiga.com. November 17, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2011. 
  3. ^ ""新生"角川映画ラインナップは15作品 「貞子3D」製作も発表" (in Japanese). eiga.com. February 15, 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d "2012年GW公開「ももへの手紙」 主題歌に原由子さんが決定" (in Japanese). Anime Anime Japan. July 11, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  5. ^ 原由子、アニメ「ももへの手紙」で5年ぶり映画主題歌 (in Japanese). eiga.com. July 11, 2011. Retrieved September 28, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c d 原由子、大作アニメ映画に美しい主題歌書き下ろし (in Japanese). Music Natalie. July 11, 2011. Retrieved September 28, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c トロントで好評「ももへの手紙」 シッチェス、釜山にも正式出品 (in Japanese). Anime Anime Japan. September 12, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "2011 Toronto International Film Festival Programming". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c d e 「ももへの手紙」日本アニメ史上初のワルシャワ国際映画祭進出 (in Japanese). eiga.com. September 28, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  10. ^ Graeber, Laurel (March 2, 2012). "Kids’ Film Festival: Fear, Astonishment and the Beatles. New York International Children’s Film Festival 2012". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Boston International Children’s Film Festival". Boston International Children's Film Festival. 2013. 
  12. ^ "ももへの手紙 on eiga.com" (in Japanese). eiga.com. Retrieved November 17, 2011. 
  13. ^ 海外でも絶賛の『ももへの手紙』は全国300館規模の公開に!劇場オリジナルアニメーションとしては異例の公開館数! (in Japanese). Cinema Today. September 14, 2011. Retrieved October 1, 2011. 
  14. ^ "A Letter to Momo - By Country". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 16, 2015. 
  15. ^ "A Letter to Momo". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  16. ^ "A Letter to Momo". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 16, 2015. 
  17. ^ Schilling, Mark (April 13, 2012). "Momo e no Tegami (A Letter to Momo)". The Japan Times. Retrieved May 16, 2015. 
  18. ^ Catsoulis, Jeannette (July 22, 2014). "A World Teaches and Tugs". The New York Times. Retrieved May 16, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Future Film Festival 2012: The Winners!". Future Film Festival. April 2, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b c "アニメ「ももへの手紙」先行コミカライズがASUKAで開始" (in Japanese). Comic Natalie. September 24, 2011. Retrieved September 28, 2011. 

External links[edit]