With the combination of the Director of the fim, Hiroyuki Okiura, whom has worked on powerhouses such as Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, Akira, Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, and The Evangelion and Ghost in the Shell franchises, and the animation/production studio behind Attack on Titan, Eden of the East, FLCL, every Ghost in the Shell anime, and Psycho-Pass, Letter to Momo doesn't seem like it can fail. Did it live up to expectations?
A Letter to Momo revolves around the life of eleven year old Momo Miyaura (voiced by Amanda Pace/Karen Miyama) whose father has just died in a tragic accident and is now living with her now widowed mother, Ikuko (voiced by Stephanie Sheh/Yuka.) Due to her father's untimely passing, Momo is also now being uprooted from her entire life. Once living in the big city of Tokyo, Momo's family moves to her mother's childhood home, a remote island named Shio.
Not getting along in Shio, Momo has no friends, is isolated from her friends, but she also has an emotional state that is absolutely shattered. Not only because of her father's passing, but because she had a fight with her father just before he was killed in an accident at sea. The harsh words she screamed at him the moments before he left still haunt her.
While unpacking belongings at her new house, Momo uncovers a piece of paper that she recognizes from her late father's stationary, with the words "Dear Momo..." scribbled onto it. She is left wondering what her father possibly wanted to tell her, but couldn't bring himself to do so.
Soon Momo begins to hear strange sounds around the house,... sounds of chatter when no one is around, the pitter patter of footsteps above her in the attic, she feels chills go up her spine like someone or something has touched her and lastly, Momo begins seeing three odd looking beings literally everywhere she goes... school, at the nearby shrine, on the street, and even her home. She eventually finds out that these beings are known as imps otherwise known as yokai, supernatural apparitions in Japanese folklore.
Momo relents and begins to get to know these goblins, named Iwa, Kawa, and Mame, soon coming out of her reclusive shell because of their influence. She learns from them that in punishment for their past immature behavior, they've been assigned to watch over surviving family members for spirits who have not yet reached heaven, obviously in this case being her father. Momo begins to realize that these imps may be the answer to her finding out what exactly her father wanted to tell her before his passing.
+ Beautiful animation.
+ Well developed characters.
+ solid story.
+ Great voice work in both Japanese and English tracks.
Video and Audio:
Production IG once again knocks it right out of the park with this beautiful film. Animated in the same style as Wolf Children, the details in the artwork are wonderfully done and the color palette of the film is absolutely stellar. The colors are vivid, bold and striking, the character designs are unique, with the background scenery well detailed. I honestly cannot say anything negative about the artwork in the film.
For Audio, the film is presented with two different tracks. The first is the original Japanese track presented in a DTS HD master audio 2.0 and the second is a DTS HD master audio 5.1 English track. I watched the film twice, once in English and once in the original Japanese, both were terrific that were cast perfectly. I might have slightly preferred the English dub, but that's because I'm used to them but both were great tracks. The score on the film was excellently done with the subtle soundtrack being used effectively over the quieter scenes with the score being amped up in it's more dramatic scenes. There were no signs of any kind of dropouts or distortions throughout the film.
Sadly there's not much here in terms of extras...
- The main supplement on this release is The Making of A Letter to Momo, which is a nearly twenty minute feature documenting how the film came to be in Japan.
- Japanese Trailers
- Original TV Spots.
- U.S. Trailer.
- Leaflets showcasing the three goblins from the film.
Letter to Momo down to it's foundation is a breathtaking achievement in animation that doesn't come around very often. The visuals are stunning, it has a beautiful story, well rounded characters, and a great resolution that will leave you satisfied and maybe a little teary eyed. Just a small notch below a DVDTalk Collector series, the film has a very high recommendation.