Presented by Japan Foundation

North American premiere
Axis In-Person Screening

Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko

Directed by Ayumu Watanabe

Sun August 22, 2021
1:00 PM

Official selection

Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2021


Ayumu Watanabe


Satomi Oshima


Cocomi, Natsuki Hanae, Shinobu Otake


Shu Kamigaso, Eiko Tanaka, Mitsugu Yamada


STUDIO4ºC Co., Ltd.

Japan 2021 97 mins OV Japanese Subtitles : English
Genre DramaComedyAnimationFamily

“Everyone in town knows Nikuko. The cheery plump lady with a past. She stands out in this little place. What’s more, she’s my mom.” Kikuko, a girl on the cusp of adolescence, is pretty, skinny, pensive, and shy – nothing like her mom, Nikuko, who’s big, brash, loud and foolish. The two live on a modest houseboat in the harbour of a small fishing village in northern Japan, where they’ve ended up after a decade of drifting (chalk it up to Nikuko’s poor choices in men, who’ve left her only heartbreak and debt). Nikuko’s a source of embarrassment for her daughter, who has a life of her own beginning to unfold. Kikuko has her misgivings about growing up, and dreads being dragged into her classmates’ social rivalries. Then there’s Ninomiya, the odd and withdrawn local boy she finds intriguing, and the startling revelation that fate holds in store for her. Before the first snowfall, big things are going to happen in the lives of this small town.

The devil is in the details, they say – but so are the angels. Following the wondrous, well received CHILDREN OF THE SEA (2019), director Ayumu Watanabe and the ace Studio 4ºC team return with a quirky, candid, colourful comedy-drama, a combination of coming-of-age tale and sharp-eyed character study. Based on a popular book by author Kanako Nishi, an astute observer of the human condition, FORTUNE FAVORS LADY NIKUKO demonstrates with precision and panache how the most ordinary people and places can be quite extraordinary, the most mundane things truly marvellous (warning: do not watch this anime on an empty stomach!). Laughter, tears, life lessons and a lot of love, served up fresh for the Fantasia audience! – Rupert Bottenberg


Sun August 22, 2021
1:00 PM