The Concierge Anime Film Review – Review
In many ways, this film is more a series of vignettes surrounding Akino and her experiences at the department store rather than a single, cohesive story. While everything does somewhat connect in the film’s final act, this movie is more concerned with exploring the experience of working in the service industry creatively rather than anything else.
As a concierge, Akino has far more responsibilities than any of the individual shop clerks. To put it simply, a concierge serves as a troubleshooter of sorts for the entire department store. On the one hand, this can mean helping people—using the information given by the customers combined with their in-depth knowledge of everything the massive building offers to find the perfect gift. Conversely, it can mean needing to step into and defuse awkward or hostile situations—hopefully in a way that leaves no customer unsatisfied.
This would be a high bar for anyone to clear, so it doesn’t help that Akino is a bit of a klutz. Moreover, she has issues reading the non-verbal cues of the various animal clients—trying to figure out who needs help to step in before even being asked. Then there is the size problem that comes from interacting with so many non-human clients: she can literally step on some of them if she’s not paying attention.
Yet, while her start is a rocky one, Akino is one of those people who truly wants to help others. She’s doing the job because of this—not simply for the paycheck. She loves to see people happy and satisfied and is willing to go above and beyond to accomplish this. Yet, while this is undoubtedly a laudable aspect of her personality, it also gets her into trouble. Sometimes, she goes too far in trying to please people or makes promises she might not be able to keep. The main question of the film is if her enthusiasm makes up for her other issues or if she is more of a hindrance than a help when all is said and done.
This film is highly relatable to anyone who has worked in the service industry—and highly informative to anyone who hasn’t. While Akino’s experiences are mostly positive with the animals she helps, that’s only one side of the coin. Akino also has to deal with issues like a couple expressing a bit too much PDA (despite constant warnings) and a nightmare customer who takes the phrase “the customer is always right” way too far. The fact that she has an overbearing, micromanaging manager who is constantly spying on her—ready to pop up whenever she makes even the tiniest mistake—is something I’m sure many will identify with (even with the comedy spin this movie puts on it).
The vignettes themselves each revolve around a different animal customer and their problems. These are cute and enjoyable—relating to things like connecting with family, finding love, and dealing with the lingering pain of loved ones long gone. Moreover, there is a strong animal conservation message woven throughout as many of the animals shown are extinct—and by human hands at that.
On the visual side, The Concierge is a wonderfully animated film. While the character designs are simple and only lightly detailed, for the most part, the fluid and expressive animation makes them come alive. Meanwhile, the department store is highly detailed in nearly every aspect, making it appear as the magical, high-class store it’s supposed to be in the eyes of its visitors. As for the music, it is generally light and suits the film’s mood well, even if it never really stands out.
Overall, The Concierge is a light-hearted look at working in the service industry. It shows some of the best and worst of both customers and clerks and ties it all together through a series of short stories featuring animals you’ve likely never heard of. And while it’s nothing groundbreaking, it’s still the perfect kind of film to watch as a family or while decompressing on a lazy afternoon.