Amidst the scary tigers roaming the surface, hides a fish with crippled tail who yearns to swim free, and an angel with wings that seeks to soar the sky.

Adapted by studio Bones from a short story of the same name, Josee, the Tiger and the Fish, in brief tells the story of a girl who lost both her legs in a car accident and a university student: one loves drawing, the other loves fishes, and their fate intertwines together on one fateful night.

For some insights, this story was originally created by Seiko Tanabe, and published in the same year of 1984. Yes. 37 years ago. The 90’s. Even after so long has passed, the warm elements that the story bring and the passionate plot that it inherits have not dimmed out a bit. A Japanese film with the same tittle was made in 2003, and a South Korean romantic drama film in 2020; then, comes the anime movie.

Josee, the Tiger and the Fish: a story about tigers, a fish, and an angel.

Having lost the ability to swim—the essences of freedom for a fish—Josee lives her life guarded by her protective grandmother from various beasts roaming outside her small little house. One strange night however, just as Josee is about to be eaten by a tiger, an angel saved her. Talked to her. Listened to her. Spent time with her. Cared for her. Opened her world. Gave her purpose. Taught her freedom.

Draped by colorful, vivid art and animation, Josee ventured out with the angel to do things she never dared to, to escape the little confront zone she was roped to. She became a human, just at those instants and savored various moments. To eat crepe, to ride a train, to taste sea, to be buried in sea of books—it was all but a dream come true, and she was happy.

Accompanied by breathtaking scenery, melancholic music that blend into any ambience, song performances by Eve, and heart-tugging interaction with the angel, she couldn’t be happier. With her vibrant red rose eyes, the angel is always by her side, to see and experience, capture those moments together.

But angel and fish was never meant to be together.

Blocked by barriers of all forms and shapes, challenged by the society, not every dreams can become true. However small, yet selfish they are. No matter how many efforts are poured into realizing them. Sometimes, it isn’t even our ability that restricts us, but the capability to understand that certain things cannot be changed. They cannot be conquered no matter how hard we try. And, understanding this just makes it more frustrating, devastating.

That is, if, we have to face it alone.

There is no path that is purely embedded with sharp corals, or infested with hungry tigers, and no path without an angel as well. And definitely, not every story has a happy ending. However, in the cases that they do, you’re in for an emotional ride. But, we never know until the end of the story.

That’s what makes it worth your time, isn’t it?

Overall, Josee, the Tiger and the Fish is a compelling story that pursues not only the meaning of dreams and the values within, but also the cost of having them, leaping beyond the expectation of a melodramatic romance. The laughs, the cries, the smiles, the tears: these are the fundamental emotions that made up a life, a life that’s worth loving for, and create a story that is worth discovering.

A story about how a fish met an angel, on that one fateful night.