Jarinko Chie (1981, English Subtitles)

Jarinko Chie is Isao Takahata's 1981 slice-of-life comedy about the misadventures of a young girl and her family in Osaka, Japan. Her parents are separated, and her father is a bumbling gangster wannabe who frequently gets into fights and gets into trouble. She meets a cat who walks upright and talks and also enjoys getting into fights. Various episodes of hilarious hijinks ensue, with occasional forays into the emotional melodrama that Paku-san mastered so easily.

This movie is adapted from a Japanese manga comic, and was successful enough in theaters to spawn its own TV series, which ran for two seasons. Takahata served as the "general director" for that series, which means that he oversaw the production, but did not direct any specific episodes himself. The tone is generally light and funny and maybe a touch satirical, at least if you understand the region.

The voice actors all hailed from a famous comedy troupe, whose name I can never remember and forgot to write down many years ago. They're basically Japan's answer to SCTV or Saturday Night Live. If you lived in Japan in those days, you'd recognize the voices and have a good laugh.

The episodic structure of Jarinko Chie is similar to My Neighbors the Yamadas, except that there is a narrative thrust throughout the picture, as Chie tries to bring her dysfunctional family back together.

Basically, this movie is Paku-san's version of The Simpsons. I love this movie. It's magnificent and touching. It doesn't quite reach the heights of Gauche the Cellist, but it's a work of brilliance. There are a number of "Ghibli Riffs" for fans to discover. Let's see if you can catch them all!

Longtime friends Yasuo Otsuka and Yoichi Kotabe both served as animation directors, offering some really inspired character designs that are cartoonish, yet grounded in realism and daily life.

I much prefer the Japanese title "Jarinko Chie" over its English translation "Chie the Brat," because I don't think that title really fits. I just have issues with "A the B" grammar. Whatever, doesn't matter. The important thing is that you watch and enjoy this movie.

This movie includes English subtitles and is broken into eight short videos. Hopefully, I have successfully posted the entire playlist in this post. Enjoy!

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