Josee, the Tiger, and the Fish | Review
Josee, the Tiger, and the Fish
Original story by Seiko Tanabe, Art by Nao Emoto
Released 9/20/22, Yen Press
College student Tsuneo loves oceanography and has dreams of studying abroad to learn more about the ocean and its inhabitants. What he needs to achieve that dream is more money to do so. As he is searching for a new job, an opportunity comes to Tsuneo (literally) as he is hit by a wheelchair-using girl named Josee, who had lost control of her chair as she was coming down a hill.
Josee, who is cared for by her grandmother, uses a wheelchair because she is paralyzed from the waist down. When Josee’s grandmother hires Tsuneo to be Josee’s caretaker, he finds out Josee rarely leaves her room and is sheltered and hindered, mostly due her grandmother’s fear of Josee getting hurt. When the grandmother leaves to play pachinko, leaving Josee in Tsuneo’s care, he decides to take Josee out so she can experience life for the first time. This act leads to a series of events that cause the relationship between the two to develop into something more.
Josee, the Tiger, and the Fish explores many important issues, such as ableism, dependency, and prejudices towards people with disabilities. Tsuneo allows Josee to decide what she wants to do with her life on her own terms. Her grandmother cannot take care of her forever, and without proper life skills, Josee wouldn’t be able to care for herself and must rely on others. Tsuneo has hopes and dreams of his own, and he lets Josee know that he can care for her and achieve his goals. This is perfectly illustrated when a female friend of Tsuneo expresses interest in him and tries to make him see Josee as a burden and not worthy of him. Fortunately, Tsuneo sees Josee’s strength and determination, despite her limitations.
Another great aspect of this story is the symbolism of the tiger and the fish. The tiger represents Josee’s fear of the unknown, especially after her encounter with a tiger at a zoo they visited. The fish represents not only Tsuneo’s dream, but Josee’s desire of living life on her own terms. She even uses the ocean as her escape and inspiration for her true passion: art.
Josee, the Tiger, and the Fish is a fascinating story about living life and achieving your goals, no matter what circumstances you’re in. It handles ableism in a realistic way and is a beautiful love story that shows that nothing is beyond your reach if your passion is stronger than your doubt.
About Renee Scott
Renee Scott is a young adult librarian based in NYC, as well as a dedicated otaku and gamer. She is a lifelong fan of comics, anime, and manga. She can be found on Twitter at @libraryladynyc, and on her review blog, The Library Lady of NYC Reviews.
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