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Helen the Baby Fox (2006)
"Kogitsune Heren" (original title)

 |  Drama, Family  |  18 March 2006 (Japan)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 145 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 4 critic

Leaving school for the day, seven-year old Taichi finds a baby fox alongside a road in rural Hokkaido. The two bond, and Taichi decides to leave the fox with the police as a lost item. The ... See full summary »

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Title: Helen the Baby Fox (2006)

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Cast

Cast overview:
Takao Ohsawa ...
Koji Yajima, Vet
Yasuko Matsuyuki ...
Ritsuko Ogawara
Arashi Fukasawa ...
Taichi Ogawara
Ryôko Kobayashi ...
Misuzu Yajima
Shunji Fujimura ...
Professor Uehara
Hideko Yoshida ...
Old woman
Ryoko Tanami ...
Teacher Yamaguchi
Sadao Abe ...
Police
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Storyline

Leaving school for the day, seven-year old Taichi finds a baby fox alongside a road in rural Hokkaido. The two bond, and Taichi decides to leave the fox with the police as a lost item. The policeman on duty takes a reluctant Taichi and the fox to the local Yajima Veterinary Clinic. It turns out that Taichi has begun to live with Ko, the vet, and his teenage daughter Misuzu after his free-spirited mother Ritsuko has gone to Micronesia to work as a photographer. Many people have abandoned animals with Ko, and paying customers are few with most of his income coming from frequently boarding a friendly dog that is almost part of the family. Taichi feels abandoned as well, and clashes with Ko when the vet sees the new arrival as a burden, especially after discovering that the fox is deaf and blind. However, Taichi names it Helen after Helen Keller and attempts to bring her back to full health while teaching her about the world as sort of a young Annie Sullivan. Even though Taichi gets her ... Written by Brian Greenhalgh

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Drama | Family

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Release Date:

18 March 2006 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Helen the Baby Fox  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$178,493 (Hong Kong) (21 July 2006)

Gross:

$406,428 (Hong Kong) (4 August 2006)
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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
A Nutshell Review: Helen the Baby Fox
25 July 2006 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

Helen the Baby Fox belongs to the family of movies which feature cutesy animals and the relationship with their human protectors, along the lines of movies such as Lassie and Free Willy. Interesting enough, the subject of a fox (besides fox vixens in many Chinese folk tales) actually is a novelty in itself, and having bestowed upon him disabilities adequately fueled plenty of heartwrenching moments.

A young schoolboy, Taichi (Arashi Fukasawa), is a social outcast in school, with his vivid imagination he uses to spins incredible tales from. But these are the exact same fairytale-like stories which his mother (Yasuko Matsuyuki) spins for him, as she gallivants to far out locations for her photography fix, leaving the boy alone for most times. Fate would have him chance upon a baby fox, which utters nary a sound, which he likens to be in a similar situation as himself - abandoned.

Again by chance, Taichi and his new found friend encounters a veterinarian (Takao Osawa) and her daughter (Ryoko Kobayashi), the former quite reluctant to accept the baby fox for treatment, constantly reminded that he should not allow his kind heart to rule over their need for some serious dough to keep his business from folding. Convincing the vet to allow Helen the baby fox to stay and receive treatment, Taichi works on the farm to pay off his dues. And thus began a friendship amongst the clinic, and with the many other adorable animals living on the clinic grounds.

The movie seemed to have two contrasting facades, and employed different techniques to highlight the different phases, as the relationship between animal and boy strengthened. The imaginary world from Taichi's mind, enhanced by special effects, gets transitioned (and conveniently forgotten) as the story moved towards a more serious "real-world" and the issues at hand with regards to the fox. Things change as the boy becomes more assertive and responsible as he takes on the surrogate guardian role, and the fox, being given a new lease of life from one without hope.

Fans of Crying Out Loud in the Center of the World, would come to recognize Takao Osawa, who plays the vet here. You got to give it to the Japanese for the many picturesque landscape shots which provided beautiful dreamworld like scenarios in making the countryside so enticing. And trust them too in activating the tear ducts of those with gentle hearts.

There are veiled attempts to subtly add in messages like thou-shalt-not-abandon-animals- or-your-kids, etc, but I guess if you don't buy in, you just don't. The pacing of the movie is relatively slow, perhaps deliberately too, but the ending just dragged, unfortunately. A victim of the multiple ending syndrome, I suppose it got worse as character relationships are suddenly revealed too little too soon without a warning in sight, which probably could have distracted the audience as it was disjointed and too convenient to be plausible.

Oh well. All in all, it's a movie suitable for the whole family. One without the summer blockbuster violence, scary images, swearing and the likes. Just plain wholesome.


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