Connect with us
Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko
Image Courtesy of Fantasia

Film

Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko is a Delightful Coming-of-Age Film

Ayumu Watanabe’s latest anime is a heartwarming tale of a mother and daughter’s tenuous relationship in a remote fishing village.

Fantasia 2021: Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko

Past decisions and future aspirations collide in the wonderfully endearing Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko. Extremely spirited and heartwarming, Ayumu Watanabe’s latest film tracks a tenuous mother-daughter relationship in a small town where gossip and rumors spread quickly. A coming-of-age film at heart, Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko’s strengths lie in its strong women and the difficult burdens they carry to achieve happiness.

Kikuko (voiced by Cocomi) is tired of moving from town to town, but she has no choice. Her mother, Nikuko (Shinobu Otake), can’t seem to keep in one place without needing to move on, whether it’s from gambling debt or a broken heart. To most, it looks like fortune really doesn’t favor Nikuko. When Kikuko finally starts settling into their new home in a small fishing village and her mother appears to be falling for another man, the threat of moving again looms over Kikuko and the relationship between her and her mother reaches a breaking point.

Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko
Image Courtesy of Fantasia

Calling Nikuko “embarrassing” would be selling her short. She’s loud, finds herself constantly in potentially harmful situations (financially, emotionally, and physically), and she sticks out like an eyesore. As an animated film, Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko is able to really accentuate this by turning normal scenes into bright, colorful, eccentric moments where Nikuko fills the whole screen either yelling loudly or stuffing her face with more food than should be humanly possible. Even the way the characters are presented – Kikuko a small, skinny girl who keeps to herself, while Nikuko is overweight and brimming with energy – emphasizes the dissonance between the two characters and why Nikuko effortlessly embarasses Kikuko, even if unintended.

This will also be a sticking point in how Nikuko’s portrayal is perceived by audiences. Almost all of the emphasis is put on her being a caricature of loud, overweight women. No character can go by without acknowledging it. Even her daughter calls her “Totoro”. She’s abrasive. As a counterpoint to Kikuko, it works exceptionally well, and it’s worth noting that even though every other character points at Nikuko and laughs, she does not acknowledge their insults. Thick-skinned and resilient end up being the most definitive character traits for Nikuko, and it overshadows some of the body shaming that the film falls into by being so over-the-top. 

Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko
Image Courtesy of Fantasia

Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko has multiple relationships between Kikuko and friends and acquaintances that are all fleshed out relatively well, with her crush on Ninomiya (Natsuki Hanae) being particularly engaging. It’s all a little saccharine by the end, but it undeniably packs an emotional wallop. Everything in the film just flows in a chronological order, all the while threatening a potential move away from the village in the future.

It’s an undeniably cute movie though that fits well into its calm, rural setting. Balancing between heartfelt drama and vibrant whimsy, it strikes that equilibrium with a cool effectiveness. Some of that whimsy isn’t capitalized on enough, such as animals in the village that talk but no one seems to acknowledge their silly musings, yet even then Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko ends up entertaining throughout. Packed to the brim with delicious food, engaging animation, and a powerful relationship that’s fully nourished, it’s a delightful drama that never ceases to tug on the heartstrings.

The 25th edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival will run from August 5 – 25, 2021. Check out our full coverage here.

Written By

Chris is a graduate of Communications from Simon Fraser University and resides in Victoria, British Columbia. Given a pint, he will talk for days about action films, video games, and the works of John Carpenter.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook

Trending

Flo Milli Ends Performance After Fans Hurl Objects At Her, Gunna Shows Support

Celebrity

Who is Jacob Batalon, and where is he now?

Celebrity

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ 7 Kids: Everything to Know

Celebrity

Latto Pulled Up To Angel Reese’s WNBA Debut In Style

Celebrity

Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande constitute the global viewers’ attention “All About the Wicked” movie cast.

Celebrity

Who Is Christopher Lloyd’s Wife? For How Long Has He Married Lisa?

Celebrity

Who Is Gavin Rossdale’s Girlfriend? Know More About British Singer’s Girlfriend!

Celebrity

Tim McGraw Wife and Children: Explore America’s Country Singer Relationship Journey!

Celebrity

Bernard Hill Cause of Death: Titanic Movie Captain Dies at 79!

Celebrity

Who Is Sabrina Ionescu’s Husband? A Relationship Timeline with Hroniss Grasu!

Celebrity

Harrison Butker Controversial Graduation Speech: What Did He Say?

Celebrity

Who Is Mahershala Ali’s Wife? Discover the Time He Got the Love of His Life!

Celebrity

Who Is Kevin Costner’s Ex-Wife? Has He Finalized His Divorce with Christine Baumgartner?

Celebrity

DJ Akademiks’ Instagram Account Mysteriously Disappears, Fans Craft Their Theories As To Why

Celebrity

Susan Buckner Cause of Death: Sandy’s Cheerleading Friend Patty Simcox dies at 72!

Celebrity

Who Is Adele’s Boyfriend? Explore the Renowned American Singer’s Love Life!

Celebrity

Connect