Summer Days with Coo (Tanaka)

Summer Days with Coo (Kappa no ku to natsu yasumi)
Voice over work by [b:3corkfi5]Tanaka[/b:3corkfi5]


Review from

[b:3corkfi5]The Plot:[/b:3corkfi5]

On his way home from school Kiochi stumbles over a weird stone the size of a rugby ball embedded in the riverbank. When he unearths the stone it breaks, revealing a dried creature which resembles the legendary Kappa from Japanese folktales. When Kiochi splashes water on the creature it awakens and starts to talk. It turns out he was trapped after an earthquake, hibernating for centuries, and has very good reasons to be distrustful of humans.

Kiochi’s family aren’t sure how to handle the situation but resolve to keep the creature, nicknamed Coo, a secret. Kiochi and Coo start searching for other Kappa throughout Japan but when pictures of Coo start appearing on the internet and in newspapers, Kiochi and his family become national celebrities…

[b:3corkfi5]The Movie:[/b:3corkfi5]

Director Hara Keiichi is best known for his Crayon Shin-chan series, but “Summer Days with Coo” never uses that series’ distinctive drawing style. Instead, Keiichi chooses a far more realistic depiction for his characters. It works wonders for grounding the story inside a so-called “normal” contemporary family, as these people do come alive.

The rest of the story is also depicted as straight as possible, a fresh decision given that the premise is rooted in fantasy. The media reaction to Coo’s discovery is believably portrayed, and Kiochi’s suffering school-life is brutally shown. Bullying is shown extensively as the ugly thing it is, and the children here are incredibly cruel to each other. Surprisingly but realistically this includes Kiochi who chooses to torment and bully the girl he secretly likes, because showing her mercy would lower his status within his circle of “friends”.

It is a harrowing depiction of adolescent behavior gone wrong, and Keiichi doesn’t let his young protagonist off the hook easily…

Similarly, Coo’s story is not a happy one, although there are many funny moments. And this brings us to my main complaint: the movie is very, VERY long. Each side-character (including the family dog) gets a sad background story, and coupled with the central theme of loneliness it all becomes a bit heavy after a while. This is especially true near the end, as the sadness starts to stack up and the film leans dangerously over into sentimentality.

With its beautiful background paintings and environmental message, it’s easy to see “Summer Days with Coo” as just another Studio Ghibli-influenced anime. It doesn’t quite reach the height of that studio’s output though, also because the movie never delivers some true fireworks during its long running time.


With its very long spun-out running time, unflinching portrayal of bullying and some graphic violence (especially if you like crows), I wouldnt call “Summer Days with Coo” a typical “children’s movie”. But the sentimental story and at times obvious manipulation show a lack of maturity that keeps it from becoming a classic.

Nevertheless, “Summer Days with Coo” is a very competently made animation, with the depiction of Koichi’s family being the true highlight here (obviously director Hara Keiichi’s strongest talent).

Expect this film to be “above average” and you won’t be disappointed.

p.s. I am getting this as we speak. I will let you all know how it is.

Oh my god. My friend lent me this DVD he bought in Korea and it’s been lying around my bedroom for about 2 months now. If I had known Tanaka was part of it, I would have watched this earlier!

I hope the one he lent me has subtitles in it… and has the Japanese language included.

/brb, watching.

It’s an amazing movie… but I didn’t know Tanaka was in it.
Great animation, alternative design, outstanding backgrounds and touching story.

This does look like a amazing film, thanks for sharing!