Inspired by chatter about an “anime licensing wish list”, I watched Minky Momo: Yume ni Kakeru Hashi (Minky Momo and the bridge over dreams) last night.
It’s a neglected treasure made in 1993 during the golden age of the OAV — the era when an expermental work like Angel’s Egg or Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer could be made. This simple little film is not embarassed to be in the company of those films (though it’s a good deal more accessible and less “arty”).
It’s about comings and goings, meetings and partings. A sweet magical story that doesn’t require you to know a great deal about Minky Momo (though knowing that she’s a visitor from another world helps explain how it is she seems to linger on this bridge every day for a year). Minky Momo started her anime career as a magical girl, a princess of dreams, travelling the world in the company of animal mascots. None of this matters much for this story. Minky Momo is able to see things that other people can’t, but that’s the only hint of her magical-girl past in this film.
Minky Momo is waiting for someone on an old stone bridge in a vaguely-European city. While there, she meets a boy about her age who is distraught because the person he’s waiting for has not shown up. As they wait together, an old woman sitting nearby tells them a legend that people who meet on the bridge are destined to meet again. The boy, upset by his missing friend, is in no mood to hear it. Minky Momo suggests that they test the theory by seeing if they two will meet there again, and the boy agrees.
Minky Momo arrives the next day, and waits. She sees the life going on around her — people pass one another, people meet, people part. The trolley passes. People go by on errands. Days become seasons and we become aware of the rhythm of life on the bridge.
It’s something that fans of Aria or Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou will want to seek out — I’d say it rivals any episode of Aria, with Minky Momo being a tad less irritatingly and enthusiastically wide-eyed at the miracle of existence than is Akari.
It’s clearly using late 80s/early 90s character designs, though I think it has held up well.
Megumi Hayashibara plays Minky Momo.