davidehrlich’s review published on Letterboxd:
Above all else, Kitarô Kôsaka’s “Okko’s Inn” is a warm and adorable new addition to the growing subgenre of animated children’s films about grief (see: “Coco,” “Kubo and the Two Strings,” and “My Neighbor Totoro” among many others, most of them Japanese). The film is so colorful and kid-friendly that it’s hard to believe it’s from the same production studio responsible for the hyper-violent likes of “Ninja Scroll” and “Perfect Blue,” but this bucolic story about a little girl who moves into her grandmother’s ryokan isn’t quite as gentle as it looks.
Based on a series of Hiroko Reijo novels called “Waka Okami wa Shōgakusei!” (literally “The Young Innkeeper Is a Grade Schooler!”) — and unfolding like a Kidz Bop cover of “Spirited Away” — “Okko’s Inn” might be too shrill and erratic for most adults to enjoy all the way through, but it deals with death in a way that’s direct enough for even young children to understand. For small kids coping with big losses, this manic little movie could help them make sense of a broken world.