18 July 2024
Animated boy and girl from Netflix anime My Oni Girl

Anime Review – My Oni Girl (2024)

Studio Colorido made debatably one of my favourite anime films of recent memory with Penguin Highway. It is an utterly gorgeous and impactful film that has resonated with me since I saw it back in 2018. So, it should come as some surprise that I haven’t watched any of their other films since then. They have made three films for Netflix, with My Oni Girl being their third release on the streaming platform. When I loaded up My Oni Girl, I was interested to see what I was getting into.

My Oni Girl follows Hiiragi Yatsuse, a student who seems to have no idea what the word “no” means. He is constantly doing things he shouldn’t, hoping to fit in and be accepted. One day, after responding to a request from a girl at school, he encounters a girl struggling to pay for a bus ticket. He decides to help her by buying the ticket. The girl, Tsumugi, turns out to be an Oni (a demon) searching for her mother. Hiiragi is then brought along on this journey with Tsumugi to a shrine he knows the location of, which was the last place Tsumugi’s mother was known to be.

This film starts promisingly; the animation is utterly gorgeous. Our leads have very unique and interesting designs, and the snow gods that appear in the film have a distinctive look. Hiiragi, the main male lead, is a bit of a pushover, which could be seen as a negative by some. However, I feel it is grounded enough to be relatable. Everyone has done something in the hope of being accepted or feeling less like an outsider, so we can connect with his journey throughout the film. At a certain point, I understood what the film was aiming for: Hiiragi is bottling up his true feelings, which is shown through a magical essence leaking from him and his reluctance to speak to his father. We see similar ideas explored with the other characters, but as we approach the final act, the film loses a lot of steam and its message becomes less impactful.

That being said, it is a shame that My Oni Girl had me gripped at the beginning, but by the time the credits rolled, I had lost all interest. As my interest waned, the film felt much longer than its 1 hour and 52 minutes runtime. I hate that the film left me with a sour note because if the second half had been as compelling as the first, I would be raving about it. As it stands, I am only slightly positive about it.

★★★

Out Now on Netflix / Victoria T. Washington, David Errigo Jr, Jeannie Tirado, Cindy Robinson / Dir: Tomotaka Shibayama / Netflix / PG


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