When I was writing my post on my trip to Yanagawa, the kappa statues that I saw on the canal boat tour reminded me of Summer Days With Coo, a slice-of-life animated film that I watched some weeks ago.
Made in 2007, it is a heartwarming story about a kappa, a legendary Japanese water spirit, which was buried alive in a stone during an earthquake in the Edo period, and miraculously survives till modern day Japan. Rescued by a boy called Kouichi and given the name ‘Coo’, the kappa is subsequently adopted by the boy’s family.
According to Japanese folklore, a kappa inhabits the ponds and rivers of Japan and its powers are derived from being close to water. It has a humanoid appearance that is a cross between a frog and a turtle, possesses scaly reptilian skin, a beak for a mouth, and a flat water plate at the top of its head which must always be wet whenever it is away from water so as to retain its powers.
The animated film runs for close to 2.5 hours, which is fairly long, but it does not contain a dull moment, at least not for me. The story talks about how Coo discovers that the swamp that he used to live in has been replaced by a modern-day Japanese neighborhood and has to adjust to living in present-day Japan with his adopted human family. He also has to cope with the disappointment of not being able to find fellow kappas in rivers to live with, and that he is solitary in this new strange world, as well as hide from the harsh, unwanted attention from inconsiderate human beings. Coo finally realizes that he must leave his adopted family and find his own place somewhere else.
This animated film is very well-made, cute with an appealing family-themed story and loveable characters. Worth every minute of my time!