Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko Blu-ray Review

Charming anime about coming of age

A portly single mother steals the limelight in director Ayumu Watanabe’s sweet film. Fortune favors Lady Nikuko. The heartwarming anime film is a coming-of-age story about a daughter who struggles to accept her reckless single mother. Producing laughs and even a few tears, the entertaining animated film sends the right message even if its sly cultural humor from Japan may fly over the heads of some Westerners.

Director Ayumu Watanabe has learned a thing or two since making children of the seathat it was more flash than substance. Fortune favors Lady Nikuko offers a grounded narrative with relatable characters and a simple charm of life.

Shining with love and charm, Fortune favors Lady Nikuko it’s a sincere movie with some eccentric touches

Kikuko is still finding her place in the world when the first pangs of teenage love arise for a classmate, Ninomiya. The young tomboy is ashamed of her mother Nikuko, a bold woman with personality and spirit. The chubby mother loves Japanese puns and other silly jokes, but no one questions her deep love for Kikuko. Arriving as a newcomer to a small port town, Kikuko navigates high school social politics as she uncovers a deep secret about her own family.

Fortune favors Lady Nikuko is lovingly animated by STUDIO4°C (Tekkonkinkreet, Mental Game) in an elegant style. There are small homages to Studio Ghibli and other anime classics among the often cartoonish techniques used in the designs and animation. The playful animation amuses itself, using the medium playfully. Which doesn’t take anything away from the often beautiful backgrounds with peaceful Japanese images.

The movie can be quite touching and tender when it wants to be. It’s a clever blend of comedy and drama, a character-driven piece with the lovable Nikuko at the helm. The narrative begins with his horrendous dating history and bad luck with men, but his personal failings only help endear him to the audience.

Nikuko is a bundle of energy, always quick with a gag or making lame jokes. He loves weird humor like puns that only make sense in kanji. She is also a great eater and Ayumu Watanabe serves up more food scenes than I can remember in an anime movie.

Shining with love and charm, Fortune favors Lady Nikuko it’s a heartfelt film with a few eccentric touches, expanding its rather hackneyed message of self-discovery far beyond the normal anime market.

Video

The combination of traditional animation and some CGI enhancements looks great in 1080p video. The GKIDS Blu-ray delivers wonderfully vivid colors and fluid details in pristine condition. Fortune favors Mrs. Nikuko The 2.35:1 presentation highlights a diverse palette with lush green foliage and expressive line work.

Kenichi Konishi is on board as chief animation director and character designer for this Studio 4°C project. The film is one of his best works to date, a quirky but well-managed aesthetic with detailed backgrounds and fluid movement. This is not demo material, but the film fits right in with other recent anime films in scope and video quality.

The main feature runs 96 minutes on a BD-50, encoded in high bitrate AVC. It’s flawless coding with no banding, always a potential problem for new anime with such colorful designs. Black levels are perfect with even contrast and consistently fantastic saturation.

Audio

The Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack is a delight, actively engaging with realistic atmosphere and crisp fidelity. Nikuko is voiced by esteemed Japanese actress Shinobu Otake and newcomer Cocomi voices Kikuko, Natsuki Hanae has joined as Ninomiya and Hiro Shimono as the lizard and gecko.

Dialogue is always rendered cleanly within the expansive dynamics and quirky score. There’s a bit more bass than most anime productions, but it’s not a subwoofer showcase.

The immersive tracks are limited but very well integrated into the mix, highlighted by a wacky opening that details Nikuko’s troubled dating history in vivid style. The polite fall of rain subtly lands around you on the soundstage. A soft instrumental score helps control mood.

Optional subtitles in English and Spanish are reproduced in a white font, within the scope display. English dub audio is not included.

Additional features

Fortune favors Lady Nikuko arrives on home video in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack courtesy of GKIDS, distributed by Shout Factory. A sleeve is available in first editions. The BD is coded for region A.

All bonus features are in Japanese with English subtitles. It’s a surprisingly deep variety with an extensive behind-the-scenes documentary and multiple interviews from the producer, director, and main cast. He has a lot of fun in group appearances since the producer was married to Nikuko’s voice actress.

Manufacturing of Fortune favors Lady Nikuko Documentary film (72:25 in HD) – This expanded feature focuses heavily behind the scenes on the recording process for the voice actors. Producer Sanma Akashiya and director Ayumu Watanabe feature prominently as they deal with the voice cast.

Movie wrap-up press conference (26:54 in HD) – Cast and crew answer questions from the audience in a fun and relaxed conversation on 05/26/2021.

Official premiere event (18:34 in HD) – As of 06/12/2021, the producer and cast appear on stage.

Sanma Akashiya’s Birthday Event (18:02 in HD) – As of 7/4/2021

guest speaker event (19:55 HD) – Miu’s voice actress shares the stage with Nikuko’s voice actress.

Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko Trailers (04:22 in HD) – Three previews are offered.

full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page for more information.

Fortune favors Lady Nikuko

Movie

A tender, moving story with endearing characters that moves to its own beat about a quietly pensive daughter and her reckless and extravagantly jovial mother.

The following six screenshots serve as samples for our exclusive subscription set of 39 full resolution uncompressed HD screenshots taken directly from the Blu-ray:

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