Okko’s Inn review – come for the story, stay for the quirky characters

A traumatised child gets into the innkeeping business – with the help of some benevolent phantoms – in a perky tale from a former Studio Ghibli animator

The Ponyo ramen, that gif staple, now has some serious competition in the enticing anime food stakes: the “hot springs pudding” prepared by the junior innkeeper in Okko’s Inn, with its perfect gelatinous wobble.

Adapted from the bestselling Japanese children’s novels of the same name, the film follows young Okko (voiced in the dubbed version by Madigan Kacmar), who, after her parents’ death in a car accident, goes to live with her grandmother, who runs the idyllic countryside Hananoyu inn. Grief leaves Okko lingering in the foyer between life and death; she is able to see a posse of benevolent spirits – starting with that of Uribo, her grandmother’s buck-toothed childhood friend – who prod her into an apprenticeship at the family establishment.

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