Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko

Gyokou no Nikuko-chan


In this spirited rebellion against patriarchal culture’s body-shaming and denial of pleasure to women, Nikuko (’Meat-girl,’ voiced by Shinobu Otake) is a plus-sized single mother who adores food, Japanese wordplay, and shifty men, and never loses her joie de vivre. After drifting half her life with daughter Kikuko (voiced by Cocomi, daughter of SMAP megastar Takuya Kimura), Nikuko settles in an idyllic fishing village, and finds work at a yakiniku joint. Kikuko’s dreamy coming-of-age is jolted by a big secret in Nikuko’s past.

From the director of Children of the Sea (VIFF 2019) comes another exquisite visual wonder with a gossamer whiff of magic realism. Unlike the artfully esoteric Children, this family-friendly story is hilariously down-to-earth and sizzles with the most appetizing Japanese cuisine that animation can render.

A collaboration between animation powerhouse Studio 4ºC and executive producer Sanma Akashiya—whose standing as a comedian matches Takeshi Kitano—this is a exceptional showcase of the cream of Japan’s creative industry.

Director Icon Director
Ayumu Watanabe

Shinobu Otake, Cocomi, Natsuki Hanae
Executive Producer Sanma Akashiya
Music Takatsugu Muramatsu
Art Director Shinji Kimura
Production Company Yoshimoto Kogyo CO., LTD., Dentsu Inc., Beyond C. Co., Ltd.,
Contact STUDIO4ºC Co., Ltd.
Japan 2021 97 min. In Japanese with English subtitles Rated G
Supported by
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Watanabe-Ayumu headshot


Ayumu Watanabe debuted his first original picture with Studio Mates, which he joined in 1986. In 1988 he moved to Shinei Videos and was active in a wide range of roles including key animator, animation director, and director. Watanabe directed the short film Obachan no Omoide (2000), and the feature film Doraemon: Nobitaʼs Dinosaur (2006). His TV series directing credits include Mysterious Girlfriend X (2012), Danchi Tomoo (2012-15), and After the Rain (2018), among others. In 2019, he released Children of the Sea, which was acclaimed for its visuals and themes. Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko is his fifth feature film.

Doraemon: Nobita’s Dinosaur (2006); Doraemon: Nobita and the Green Giant Legend (2008); Space Brothers (2014); Children of the Sea (2019)