Rina HidakaRisae MatsudaNana MizukiEtsuko Kozakura
Okko's Inn (TV series)
Also known as: Wakaokami wa Shougakusei! (TV series)
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2018
Director: Azuma Tani, Mitsuyuki Masuhara
Writer: Michiko Yokote
Original creator: Asami (manga), Hiroko Reijo
Actor: Etsuko Kozakura, Harumi Ichiryusai, Mamiko Noto, Masaki Terasoma, Nana Mizuki, Rina Hidaka, Satsumi Matsuda, Seiran Kobayashi, Teiyu Ichiryusai
Keywords: anime, ghost
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 24 fifteen-minute episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=20733
Website category: Anime 2018
Review date: 13 April 2020
Wakaokami Shougakusei
It's based on a series of children's novels about a twelve-year-old who'll inherit an inn. Her parents die in an accident and she goes to live with her granny, who runs a traditional Japanese ryokan.
This yields a charming, slightly old-fashioned children's drama. Even the art style is carefully behind the times. I enjoyed it. Nothing about it demands a rewatch, but it's light-hearted and amusing.
Okko's an interesting protagonist. She's sensible, clever and conscientious, but she's also got quite a short temper and tends to dish out a piece of her mind when annoyed. What she says will generally be correct, but this is still a recipe for trouble. That's reasonable for her age, though.
The show's mostly an inn-based slice-of-life. Guests arrive, usually with eccentricities or some other reason why they're trouble. Some are pretty insufferable, but Okko will work hard and befriend them. That also describes her relationship with Pink, Frilly and Haughty, aka. Matsuki. (There's a flashier, more expensive ryokan down the road, run by Matsuki's family. That girl's hard work. Mind you, she's also studious, ultra-professional and has extremely high standards.)
However the show also has ghosts. Okko can see them, which understandably makes her a magnet for them. They like the attention. Fortunately, these are the kind of friendly, lovable spectres who'll make you wish you could see dead people too. They hang out with Okko, have a laugh and occasionally use their supernatural powers.
Okko's completely grounded about all this, despite being scared of spiders and lizards. Ep.23 made me laugh. On learning that an angry god's making trouble, she goes and talks to her.
NOTABLE STORY ARCS
(a) Eps.13-14 and especially eps.21-24. Okko's inn is pretty much perfect, so every so often we'll visit another inn for the sake of more extreme problems. The Taiwanese one is just family problems, but the Kofujiwara Inn is so ghastly that it stretches credibility that Okko and Matsuki are there in the first place. They're supposedly here for innkeeper training. Why? Who sent them to this guest-hating dump? It can't be the owner, who's basically opposed to everything and hates everyone. That said, though, that's also the show's strongest storyline and a memorable finale.
(b) Eps.15-16 and the child actress. She's such a brat that she's funny. She makes outrageous demands and doesn't even process negative comments, assuming that everything said about her is a compliment. This series excels at creating dreadful people who are, nonetheless, human underneath.
(c) The deeper emotions with Matsuki and Miyo, e.g. ep.10.
(d) On the downside, Uriken in eps.17-20. He's the kind of annoying character who only makes sense as a dramatic function. He's the heroine's romantic foil. They're all only twelve, yes, but Okko's friends are still capable of talking (cluelessly) about boys. I can see the logic behind Uriken as an obstacle for Okko to overcome, in a pseudo-romantic way... but unfortunately he's a pain in the arse. This story arc also has lots of jumping to conclusions (ep.19), Miyo telling Okko to "act more feminine" (ep.19 again) and Okko being an airhead who does two 180-degree turns in five minutes (ep.20).
It's a light, family-friendly show. Anyone could watch and enjoy it. You could leave the children in front of it. It doesn't dig into Okko's grief and bereavement, with Matsuki and Miyo getting more emotional depths than her, but apparently there's an anime film that goes there. I'll be watching that tomorrow.