This installment of Oto na Joshi no Anime time brings us 3 episodes and 3 stories, each about a Japanese woman and her life. We are shown a day or two in the life of each one, and watch her interact with the people around her, while we listen to her thoughts, which are often different from what she says and does. Through each story, we touch on social issues, all of which are of pressing concern for contemporary Japan and particularly women.
Story: Fabulously done, the stories follow each woman through her daily life. We are shown how their life seems normal, and as the episode develops, we find out that not is all as it seems. In some way or another, each woman is trapped by social rules and expectations. From a woman who has run away from her cold husband and is living for her lover, a woman who is almost 40 and hasn't found the right man to marry yet, to a woman whose husband lost a job and is working part-time, as well as running the household, to supplement the income from his new job. These stories are realistic, detailed, developed, emotionally stirring, and contain extremely relevant social commentary & insight.
Animation & Sound: I won't dwell on animation. It's quite good, but not quite up to Ghibli/Shinkai-sensei standards. It works. The sound was excellent. From the music to the voice-acting, it fit the atmosphere and themes of the show.
Characters: Fascinating and very very real. These women are flawed in character, and have been dealt a difficult hand in life, each in their own unique way. They struggle to live day-to-day, but they hide their struggle as best they can in order to preserve harmony with those around them.
Overall: I loved the first Oto na Joshi, and I loved the expanded version we got in 2. History should be told through the eyes of those who experience, and these 3 stories have a lot to say about contemporary Japan.
If you like seeing big issues through stories about real people, then Oto na Joshi is definitely a good pick for you.
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