Blu-ray Review: Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko



We’re all a bit embarrassed by our parents. It doesn’t matter who our parents are. There are times when you don’t want to be seen near them. I’ve known quite a few children of famous parents and they seem to act like they grew up with my folks in the house. It makes rebelling against them difficult when they’re winning awards at Cannes, running for president or touring with the Rolling Stones. But you still don’t want to be seen next to them when your friends are around. Kikuko (Cocomi) is hitting an age where her mom Nikuko (Black Widow Business‘ Shinobu Otake) is a bit embarrassing to have around. But there’s more to Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko than an extrovert mother and her introvert daughter.

Kikuko recounts her early years with her mother as a series of low-level jobs, low life boyfriends and constant relocating. Nikuko has a thing for guys who will take advantage of her including lying married men and con artists. At this point in their lives, things are a bit stable since Nikuko has a job as a waitress in a seaside town and no boyfriend. They live on a houseboat which is a rather stable place for them. Kikuko is making friends at school and enjoys that her basketball skills have made her in demand by the popular girls for their team. But she knows she’s far from the popular girl status. She gets more weirded out by her mother’s childish behavior which comes to a peak when they visit the local aquarium to see the penguin. She’s has become the adult in the family. But then we get a major twist and learn that she isn’t the only person who had to grow up suddenly.

Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko is a stunning animated tale that’s full of beautiful drawings, comic moments and heartbreaking revelations. The film could have been made live action, but the animated moments bring out so much more in Kikuko’s recounting of her life. Director Ayumu Watanabe had made a splash two years ago with Children of the Sea and now he’s gone beyond it. Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko is a film that’s made for an older animation crowd that will be richly rewarded. You won’t be embarrassed.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer brings out the details of life in the seaside town. The audio is Japanese DTS-HD MA 5.1. You’ll get brought into the locations. The subtitles are in English and Spanish.

Making Of (72:25) follows the production from the novels to the screen. Producer Sanma Akashiya got into the book because his name pops up in it. He also shares an emotional experience with the characters which helped in securing the rights. We are taken into the recording studio to see the voice actors at work.

Film Completion Press Conference (26:54) has the cast and crew on stage on May 26, 2021 to announce the film is in the can. It took five years to make it happen. There is talk of the movie theaters opening back up from the COVID lockdowns.

Official Premiere Event (18:34) is from June 12, 2021. There’s plexiglass between everyone on stage as they talk before the movie screen. Sanma Akashiya does most of the talking and cracks up his cast.

Sanma Akashiya Birthday Event (18:02) is at a theater in Osaka on the 4th of July, 2021. There are 700 seats in the sold out theater. Director Ayumu Watanabe joins him for the event. Sanma explains what he did as producer for the film.

Guest Speaker Event (19:55) has the cast show up at a theater on July 7, 2021.

Trailers (4:22) has several trailers for both Japan and the International market. They promote the love at the core of the film.

Shout! Factory and GKIDS present Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko. Directed by Ayumu Watanabe. Screenplay by Kanako Nishi & Satomi Ohshima. Voices by Shinobu Ôtake, Cocomi, Natsuki Hanae, Ikuji Nakamura & Izumi Ishii. Rated: Unrated. Running Time: 97 minutes. Release Date: July 19, 2022.

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