North American premiere

The Concierge (Hokkyoku Hyakkaten no Concierge San)

Directed by Yoshimi Itazu

Hosted by Director Yoshimi Itazu and Character Designer Chie Morita

Japan 2023 70 mins OV Japanese Subtitles : English
Genre DramaAnimationFantasy

“The word ‘no’ doesn’t exist in a concierge’s dictionary.” That’s just one of the demanding rules that Akino must abide by in her new job as a saleswoman at the elegant and expansive Hokkyoku Department Store. It’s a very special store — the customers are all animals, and the most valued among them are of extinct species. Sea minks, laughing owls, Japanese wolves, even an enormous mammoth — that’s Mr. Woolly, the celebrated sculptor whose works are showcased at the store. It’s still a luxury retail space, though, and anxious Akino finds her hands full with the customers’ challenging requests. These range from hard-to-find merchandise to more complicated matters of the heart. Can the inexperienced Akino fulfill their whims and meet their expectations? If she wants to keep her job, she’ll have to succeed while under constant observation by the fussy floor manager Mr. Todo, a creepy consultant eager to downsize the staff, and the store’s enigmatic president (who is not a penguin, by the way!).

Clever, charming, and big-hearted, this anime gem adapts the much-loved manga THE CONCIERGE AT HOKKYOKU DEPARTMENT STORE by Tsuchika Nishimura, winner of an Excellence Award at the Japan Media Arts Festival 2022. Populated by all manner of creatures great and small, all of them sympathetic (except, of course, for that the jerk, the consultant!), THE CONCIERGE is a colourful, comical, compassionate little treasure of bespoke anime, boasting animation production by Production I.G (the GHOST IN THE SHELL studio) and a script by Satomi Ooshima (FORTUNE FAVORS LADY NIKUKO), marking the feature-film debut of gifted director Yoshimi Itazu (PIGTAILS, Fantasia 2016). – Rupert Bottenberg