Movies about kids befriending creatures from another world or a supernatural world always have a serious issue. The special effects used makes the creature less real than the child actor. The performances are hampered not only by what can the child actor deliver emotionally, but also the budget applied to the extraordinary new friend. Luckily Summer Days with Coco avoids this issue by animating everything so that everything imaginatively equal. We’re not looking for glitches in the creature or the kid. We can just can enjoy the animated film from director Keiichi Hara that was originally release in 2007.
Two Japanese men are walking along a muddy road when they encounter a father and son Kappa. What are Kappa? They’re not members of a college frat. In this case the duo are legendary creatures that look like a cross between a man and a frog yet have turtle shells. They’re kind of feared because they are known to attack people and remove the human’s shirikodama from their butt. The father gives them a message about not turning their swampland into a rice patty. This is probably why the samurai attack the Kappa. The younger son runs for cover while his father tries to sort out the miscommunication with the men. What happens to the son? Well one afternoon after school, young Kōichi finds a fossil of the little Kappa. He washes off the remains and rejuvenates the creature. After a bit of confusion and discomfort, Koichi’s family and the Kappa bond enough that they name him Coo. The family respects their new friend’s privacy and don’t go raving to the media. Coo does have major issues with people after what happened to him and his father nearly 200 years ago. At the same time, he needs to find other Kappa to get a sense that he’s not the last of his kind. He talks Kōichi into going on a journey to more Kappa. But it’s hard to find a large source of water that hasn’t been invaded by people. Almost as hard as hiding from people with cameras in the 21st Century. Can Coo hook up with his kind or be forced to be a media freak?
Summer Days with Coo had never been officially released on home video in the United States and Canada until now. The wait is worth it since this isn’t the usual tale of boy and strange creature. Even when Coo gets dragged before the hot lights of a TV studio, the most unimaginable and emotional tone deaf moment occurs thanks to an invited guest. It’s the type of stupid event you can imagine happening on a lame TV show wanting to push ratings. Plus there’s a scene that would have been a completely touching moment in a Disney production with the family having what could be a final meal with Coo. Instead of a sweet farewell, Coo (with the ability to speak English) talks about humans losing their souls because they can’t respect land and water. Unlike so many American films with similar concepts, there’s no massive subplot about a government agency wanting to abduct Coo. This is not a clone of E.T. Summer Days with Coo gets deep inside a water sprite that’s trapped outside of his time. While there’s no rating on the film, it seems suitable for a older elementary school student.
The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The Blu-ray resolution brings out the odd nature of Coo and the details in the background animation. The audio is Japanese DTS-HD MA 5.1. There’s no English dub track. The movie is subtitled.
DVD with the movie at a lower resolution.
Trailers and TV Spots (5:23) includes US video TV spot, the full Japanese trailer, a shorter trailer and Japanese TV spots. All are in Japanese with subtitles.
Shout! Factory presents Summer Days With Coo. Directed by: Keiichi Hara. Screenplay by: Keiichi Hara. Starring: Kazato Tomizawa, Takahiro Yokokawa, Naoki Tanaka & Tamaki Matsumoto. Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 138 minutes. Released: January 21, 2020.
Tags: GKIDS, Keiichi Hara, Shout! Factory, Summer Days With Coo