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  • Letter to Momo

Letter to Momo (ATOM Study Guide)

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    Clinging to an unfinished letter written by her recently deceased father, thirteen-year-old Momo catches the ferry to Shio. Momo's mother Ikuko has sold their apartment in bustling Tokyo, to return to the island of Shio, her girlhood home. Momo is unhappy about the move.

    Momo's adjustment to life in Shio is not made easier by the appearance of strange creatures in the attic of her new home. It's difficult to make friends and fit in, when you are being followed by a hulking ogre called Iwa, a flatulent lizard called Kawa and the mischievous Mame. The creatures ransack orchards to fill their empty bellies, pilfer belongings and thrive on mischief.

    Annoyed by the mayhem that they cause, Momo embarks on an adventure to discover the reason for the trio's appearance on the island. Having discovered that they are in some way connected to her father's mysterious letter containing only two words, 'Dear Momo ...'. She tries to make sense of Iwa, Kawa and Mame's constant presence and guess what her father was trying to tell her.

    Iwa, Kawa and Mame are spirit guardians from Above. Having returned to earth, they have inhabited the form of three characters from an ancient book that once belonged to Momo's great grandfather. They trio have been entrusted with the care of Ikuko and Momo until her father's soul makes the transition from one world to the next. Motivated by duty and a fear of being punished if they fail, the three keep close tabs on mother and daughter.

    Ikuko cannot see the creatures and she refuses to believe Momo's stories. When she discovers Momo in the attic surrounded by stolen goods and the broken pieces of the mirror that her husband gave her, there is an argument. Momo accuses her mother of being heartless and then runs out into the night. As a storm sets in, Ikuko grows so worried that she heads outside to look for her daughter.

    Momo's mother is a severe asthmatic. Her extreme exertion and panic trigger an attack. Thankfully Momo's new friend Yota and his father met Ikuko and take her home. Koichi, a friend of the family and Shio's postman, finds Momo at the island's shrine and takes her home. Her mother is now gravely ill. Momo is frightened. She argued with her father and he died before she could apologise. What if her mother dies before Momo can say sorry? Desperate to save her mother's life, Momo insists that they find medical assistance. Koichi and Momo brave the typhoon but all seems impossible until Iwa, Kawa and Mame realise that they must step up and take on their roles as 'Lady Momo's' guardians.

    A Letter to Momo (2011) is a Japanese animation feature film directed by Hiroyuki Okiura, suitable for upper primary students and secondary students in Years 7 to 9. Teachers will find the film relevant to units of work in the strand of Physical, Personal and Social Learning and the domains of The Arts, English, The Humanities and Languages Other Than English: Japanese.

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