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Modest Heroes (2018)

Chiisana eiyû: Kani to tamago to tômei ningen (original title)
1:02 | Trailer
An anthology of three original shorts written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Yoshiyuki Momose and Akihiko Yamashita.


Yoshiyuki Momose (written by: segment "Samurai eggu"), Akihiko Yamashita (written by: segment "Tômei ningen") | 1 more credit »





Credited cast:
Alex Cazares ... (voice)
Jessica DiCicco ... (voice)
Scarlett Estevez ... (voice)
Todd Haberkorn ... Dad / Doctor (segment "Life Ain't Gonna Lose") (voice)
Kate Higgins ... (voice)
Henry Kaufman ... Shun (segment "Life Ain't Gonna Lose") (voice)
Fumino Kimura ... Kanîni (segment "Kanîni to Kanîno") (voice)
Erica Lindbeck ... (voice)
Yuri Lowenthal ... Sato (segment "Invisible") (voice)
Liam O'Brien ... The Invisible Man (segment "Invisible") (voice)
Joe Odagiri ... Tômei ningen (segment "Tômei ningen") (voice) (as Jô Odagiri)
Machiko Ono ... Mama (segment "Samurai eggu") (voice)
Nicholas Oteri ... (voice)
Maggie Q ... Mom (segment "Life Ain't Gonna Lose") (voice)
Kentarô Sakaguchi ... Papa (segment "Samurai eggu") / Isha (segment "Samurai eggu") (voice)


An anthology of three original shorts written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Yoshiyuki Momose and Akihiko Yamashita.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some thematic elements and peril | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


"Life Ain't Gonna Lose" is Yoshiyuki Momose's first time directing an original creation of his own since Ghiblies: Episode 2 (2002), premiered 16 years ago. See more »


Chiisana eiyû
("Modest Heroes")
Performed by Kaela Kimura (as Kaera Kimura)
(ELA/Victor Entertainment)
[Ending theme]
See more »

User Reviews

Bitesize animation segments to go
28 January 2021 | by VartiainenSee all my reviews

Studio Ponoc's second animation film ended up being a collection of three shorter films, each focusing on unlikely heroes that don't set out to do great deeds, but who achieve a small degree of greatness even still.

The first short film, Kanini & Kanino, was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and resembles his directorial debut, The Secret World of Arrietty, a lot. Some would argue it resembles that film a bit too much. It's also the segment most resembling what you would call Studio Ghibli style, which makes sense because Yonebayashi worked for them when he directed Arrietty. It's a visually pleasing little story about shrimp-sized kids going on an adventure to find their lost father, but it doesn't really soar as far as plot goes.

The second film, Life Ain't Gonna Lose, was directed by Yoshiyuki Momose and tells of a young boy with a severe egg allergy. Even a hint of eggs in his food will cause him to go into shock and as thus he must live his entire life walking on eggshells, if you'll pardon my terrible pun. This is the segment that I liked the most, mainly because its characters have the most personality and you quickly come to care for their struggles. It's also the most grounded story. People like this most certainly exist and it must not be easy for them. Which makes the boy's upbeat energy all the more endearing.

The third and last film, Invisible, was directed by Akihiko Yamashita and tells of a man so alone and ignored that he's in danger of becoming so impermanent that he'll literally float away. But even those ignored can have their moment if they're in the right place at the right time. Visually the most interesting of the three segments and with a poignant message.

All in all I liked the collection. It's nothing groundbreaking, but each of the segments was at least animated well, the music was nice and I was positively reminded of those short story films Disney did in the 1940s.

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Japan | USA


Japanese | English

Release Date:

24 August 2018 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Modest Heroes: Ponoc Short Films Theatre, Volume 1 See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$178,027, 13 January 2019

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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