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[My Oni Girl]
AKA: 好きでも嫌いなあまのじゃく
Genre: Fantasy Adventure/Romance
Length: Movie, 112 minutes
Distributor: Currently available streaming on Netflix.
Content Rating: Pg (Violence.)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Penguin Highway; Ni no Kuni
Notes: An original film. Directed by Tomotaka Shibayama, written by Shibayama and Yuko Kakihara

My Oni Girl


Hiiragi Yatsuse is always doing favors for classmates, so it's only natural that when a girl can't pay her bus fare, Hiiragi covers it for her. But THIS girl, named Tsugumi (and dressed in coat and snow boots), ALSO has a horn on her head- which, apparently, only Hiiragi can see. She is there to find her mother, and has come from the Hidden Village, where her (Oni) kind live, concealed in a snowy landscape whose isolation is protected by Snow Gods. But the Snow Gods seem to have had a change of heart, and even as Hiiragi tries to help Tsugumi find her mom, Tsugumi, her fellow Hidden Villagers, and even Hiiragi come under attack from Tsugumi's former protectors.

"Although Oni have been described as frightening creatures, they have become tamer in modern culture..." - From Wikipedia article on Oni


Not only tamer, but, in Tsugumi, positively cute. (There's an Oni girl who's a minor character in another show I'm watching, Delicious in Dungeon, but while that one is also likeable, she's not nearly as petite as Tsugumi.)

But I SHOULD start with Hiiragi. The opening scenes establish that Hiiragi is the self-sacrificing sort, always getting exploited by his classmates because of this. (At one point he's asked by a girl to pretend to be her boyfriend at a festival. Other animes have of course built entire series out of this exact scenario, but here it's just used as another example of what a "soft touch" Hiiragi is.)

Now later we're supposed to feel that Hiiragi has become more assertive about his own wishes when he finally goes against a request made of him; but since he was, in that case, eager to go through particular pain and effort to help someone- even against that person's own expressed wishes- I think you could argue that Hiiragi STILL has something of a martyr complex; the difference here is that he has developed personal feelings for THIS individual.

Feelings, by the way, are a big thing here, especially unexpressed ones. Tsugumi says that there are two ways to be an Oni: to either be BORN that way (as she was), or to "suppress emotions" for too long, which means Hiiragi, who's always hiding his true feelings, is in danger of becoming Oni himself. (I guess this is another example of the general proposition that EVERYTHING sooner or later gets psychological ramifications attached to it.)

In fact, Hiiragi is incipient-Oni enough to see Tsugumi's horn, which is invisible to others. (I thought it could at least be felt by oridinary humans, so I was a little surprised when someone doesn't detect it while brushing her hair. Yes, it's a TINY horn, but STILL.) While Tsugumi is mildly tsundere toward Hiiragi (emphasis on "mildly"; she IS willing to open up to him about SOME things), Hiiragi is nevertheless willing to do whatever it takes to support her, especially important since they both become runaways. The show once again gets to make its points about opening up and being honest with one's feelings when they encounter a pair of itinerant used-clothing sellers who aren't open with each other. (And yet one important member of the cast doesn't offer to come clean about their feelings until very late in the movie, despite the dangers of keeping it "bottled up").

Oh, and the whole thing with the Snow Gods- even their sinuous bodies flying through the air- reminded me of Maboroshi, though ostensibly these Gods keep prying eyes OUT rather than inmates IN. (The Hidden Village must nevertheless have SOME contact with the outside world, since they own some modern conveyances.) While the show doesn't explicitly make the connection, I would infer that Tsugumi's quest itself (and the likely denouement of it, should she succeed) is what caused the "Snow Gods" to turn on the Villagers.

I've no complaint with the character or background art.

I was particularly intrigued when I heard that some of the creative team that worked on this had worked on Penguin Highway. And yet this one does not have that one's delightful weirdness- the plotting here is fairly conventional, Oni or not- nor did I find Hiiragi's problem with being too self-sacrificing as poignant as the "crushing on an older woman" melancholy in Penguin Highway, even though BOTH of these were issues I personally had as a young man. (I'm sometimes amazed how much I've had in common with the protagonists in these shows, though I've never gotten to visit another world, never met ANYONE magical, and never had a harem. (Alas!) )

This one was difficult to place, star-wise. It's more emotionally accessible than Maboroshi (3 star show), but also more conventional than Penguin Highway (4 stars). I finally leaned toward 3, but nearly went 4 here.Allen Moody

Recommended Audience: Netflix rates TV-PG. There's violence, and for ONCE there really IS "smoking" in the show.

Version(s) Viewed: Netflix video stream
Review Status: Full (1/1)
My Oni Girl © 2024 Studio Colorido/Netflix
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