25th Animation Division Excellence Award
FORTUNE FAVORS LADY NIKUKO
Animated feature film
“FORTUNE FAVORS LADY NIKUKO” Production Team (AKASHIYA Sanma / WATANABE Ayumu, Representative)［Japan］
A family of two, a mother and a daughter, Nikuko and Kikuko. Nikuko is a gourmand and carefree woman, passionate and easily falls in love, and also easily deceived by men. She eventually follows a man to a fishing port in the north and ends up living on a boat. Kikuko is an adolescent fifth-grader who has recently become embarrassed by her mother’s strong character. This heartwarming comedy depicts a mother and daughter with contrasting looks and personalities living strong and full of vigor. The best-selling novel of the same title by NISHI Kanako, which sold over 350,000 copies, was planned and produced by multi-talented comedian AKASHIYA Sanma, who made the film adaptation over five years after the offer to NISHI. The animation was made by STUDIO4℃, directed by WATANABE Ayumu, and the character designs and animation direction by KONISHI Kenichi, along with the talented crew with whom they worked for the 23rd Animation Division Grand Prize winner Children of the Sea. The beautiful animation vividly illuminates the life of the two characters with overflowing light and expresses the natural scenery of a fishing port and the changing of the seasons.
Reason for Award
The world will feel very endearing after watching this film. This work captured much attention, having the original story written by Naoki Prize-winning author NISHI Kanako, the planning and production by AKASHIYA Sanma, direction by WATANABE Ayumu, and starring OTAKE Shinobu as Nikuko and Cocomi as Kikuko. This was Cocomi’s first-time challenge as a voice actor. The essence of this work lies in the fact that the original novel is adapted beautifully into an animation, which is a challenge different from animating a manga loaded with images. Nikuko-chan, who accepts life by saying, “Normal is the best,” without being attached to anything she doesn’t like, makes everyone around her smile and drowns out Kikuko’s worries and anxieties that are peculiar to adolescence. The scenes of baked sweet potatoes, French toast, and grilled meat, which are depicted with great care, also stand out for their heart-melting effect on Kikuko. In addition, the comical movements of Nikuko-chan, which at first glance give a strange feeling, are marvelously integrated into the fantastical scenery created by the narratives of natural creatures inserted into the colorful and realistic fishing port town. The tragic scenes depicting the lives of Nikuko-chan and her old friend Miu are also brilliant. (SUGAWA Akiko)