Jarinko Chie is a movie directed by Takahata in 1981. Based on the very popular manga by Etsumi HARUKI, it is about ten year old Chie, "the most unfortunate girl in Japan", who manages her family diner while her unemployed yakuza father and her mother are separated. This sounds really depressing, but it's actually a very funny comedy.
The story is set in Osaka, which has a totally different culture from Tokyo. After the success of the movie, a TV series was made, and Takahata worked as the chief director.
There are very few words needed to describe this movie. Let's say, it is a classic Takahata.
Do not go in there expecting an emotionally heavy movie like 'Grave of the Fireflies' or even something fantastical like 'Tales of Princess Kaguya'. These movies were magnificent but you cannot compare them to Jarinko Chie because they aren't of the same genre and they aren't trying to achieve the same thing.
'Chie' belongs to the same category as 'My Neighbours The Yamadas', meaning, for this genre, it is one of the best you can get out there. This movie is mature, it is deep but it is
very well directed so that it is light and funny with just a pinch of drama. The story is simple and it is just as poignant as any other because that's a story which you believe, which you know can happen, which you know has happened. It is your average dysfunctional family, trying to get back together. This movie has characters who are real and believable and likable. They all have flaws and they all have their distinguished idiosyncrasies and they all come out as fully developed human beings which you can never get enough of.
Sure, technical wise, it is nothing like 'Fireflies' but the style of the animation suits the mood of the story and the quality is actually pretty high. For the dub, the Japanese did a wonderful job but, and I'm gonna say this knowing that many might disagree or even be completely unaware of it, I believe the French dub is really good as well. Trust me, I'm a very demanding person when it comes to dubs and I must give credit where credit is due. The French dub was amazing.
At the end of the day, 'Jarinko Chie' is just a pleasant story that you can watch over and over again because the characters are so true to themselves and you can easily relate to them. This was a movie of my childhood and shall forever remain my favourite from the master Takahata.