“My Oni Girl” (2024) Movie Review & Summary: A Heartwarming Story That Falls Short In Being Unique

My Oni Girl Review
My Oni Girl Movie Review

“My Oni Girl” (2024) is a newly released coming-of-age anime adventure by the production companies Studio Colorido and Twin Engine. Directed by Tomotaka Shibayama, the film boasts the voice talents of Kensho Ono, Miyu Tomita, Noriko Hidaka, Satsuki Yukino, and Miou Tanaka. “My Oni Girl” follows a shy high school student named Yatsuse Hiiragi, who embarks on a whimsical journey with Tsumugi, a mysterious demon girl, in search of her mother. The movie has heartwarming storytelling with a touch of Japanese folklore. It is available to stream on Netflix

Plot Summary

“My Oni Girl” begins one sunny morning at Yonezawa, where Hiiragi Yatsuse, a gentle and lonely high school student, takes a train to school all by himself. He is mostly ignored by his classmates, despite his helpfulness. While heading to school, he contemplates saying ‘hi’ to one of the popular athletes but decides not to, fearing he may come across as a pushover. There are many times when Hiiragi assists others with homework but never gets invited for group activities or anything else apart from being used for kindness. As he’s seen as a pushover, a fellow female classmate asks him if he can pretend to be her boyfriend and back up her lie before her friends. Despite this agreement in place, Hiiragi feels bad, as the girl would never date him in real life. 

One night, Hiiragi sees a girl struggling with bus fare. He tries to help, but she refuses and decides to walk home. The girl’s name is Tsumugi, and she refuses his help only to finally follow him back home, where the rest of his family assumes that she is his girlfriend and lets her stay overnight. Later on, Hiiragi is attacked by an evil spirit monster, and Tsumugi helps him escape, revealing that she is an oni (demon girl) with a small horn on top of her head.

Tsumugi comes from Hidden Village in search of her mother, who left when she was young, together with her father. The reason she is drawn to Hiiragi is because he bottles up his emotions, causing mini-oni to appear around him. Tsumugi befriends him to help with his emotional struggles. Together, they set out to find Hie Shrine, the last place mentioned by Tsumugi’s mother. They go together searching for Tsumugi’s mother at Hie Shrine, which was the final place her mother mentioned.

At the shrine, they found Izuru, Tsumugi’s father, who had been looking for her. Tsumugi, still focused on finding her mother, lashes out at Hiiragi and hurts him deeply. He becomes more withdrawn and is soon taken by a spirit demon called a Snow God. Tsumugi realizes her mistake and apologizes sincerely. Her apology reaches Hiiragi spiritually, causing the Snow God to release him. This rare event surprises even the Hidden Village guards.

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Directional and Technical Aspects

The animation quality in “My Oni Girl” is delightful, with a clean and vibrant style that uses a soft color palette to beautifully depict lush countryside landscapes and the fantastical spirit world. Shibayama’s direction keeps the audience engaged, ensuring a visually appealing experience throughout the film.

Traditional hand-drawn animation is blended seamlessly with contemporary digital techniques in the art style. A whimsical world of vibrant colors and careful attention to details where humans live together with supernatural beings is created. The character designs are distinct and memorable, particularly the playful expressions and vibrant hair of Tsumugi, the Oni girl.

The scenes set in the mystical forest, where Tsumugi searches for her missing mother, are particularly enchanting. Subtle changes in color and detail mark smooth transitions between the human world and the spirit realm. For the animators’ meticulous work, which includes calming soundtracks that ultimately match the overall tone of this movie, they deserve our appreciation.

The movie’s themes are quite evident, but the climax lacks enough impact; it just happens. In the final part of the film, it loses its impetus as key moments involving the main characters start feeling like abrupt twists out of nowhere. It’s almost like the writer wanted to add a twist for excitement’s sake. However, this does not serve any purpose in relation to the story and only diminishes satisfaction after such a long and winding journey. The music is not that much worth remembering, though it enhances one’s watching experience.

Anime movies often provide opportunities for reflection. However, “My Oni Girl” does not make its protagonists, Hiiragi and Tsumugi, grow significantly from their encounters through their travel which leads up to an anticlimactic ending. By that point, the plot becomes uninteresting as technical failures in a movie become more obvious.


This Japanese animation has a group of Japanese voice actors who are very talented. Hiiragi Yatsuse, the timid and awkward protagonist, is voiced by Kensho Ono, while Miyu Tomita voices Tsumugi, his counterpart, who is sociable and gregarious. A versatile actor, singer, and voice artist, Kensho Ono has worked in live-action and animated movies, video games, as well as radio shows.

Tsumugi is a very lively character who has been brought to life by Miyu Tomita. Her animated voicing really captures the essence of Tsumugi’s hot temper. The supporting cast, featuring established Japanese voice actors, adds depth and humor to the narrative, bringing the various yokai characters to life with distinct personalities.

The main character of the story is Hiiragi, but his journey feels like nothing new or different. On the other hand, Tsumugi, a young Oni girl who’s on a touching quest for her mother, says that they parted ways when she was just a little girl. What stands out about “My Oni Girl” is its straightforward storytelling, leaving little room for ambiguity or lingering questions. It caters to a younger audience, focusing on the emotional experiences of each character, particularly highlighting Hiiragi’s struggles with self-expression.

Fantasy saturates this film, though its plot follows clichés, thus making it rather easy to predict what will happen next. While they meet numerous characters in their course of movement, one cannot feel any weight in Hiiragi and Tsumugi’s interactions with them. Nevertheless, while at it, voice actors do justice to their roles by giving them some semblance of vitality within their somewhat flatly-drawn guidelines.

Basically, My Oni Girl has interesting main characters with an emotional plot lineline. However, it does not succeed as a fully immersive, thought-provoking cinematic experience due to its adherence to a formulaic narrative and limited character development.

Audience Appeal

“My Oni Girl” is a delightful film suitable for viewers of all ages. Rated TV-PG, it ensures there’s nothing inappropriate for younger viewers. The film’s core themes of friendship, self-acceptance, and overcoming fears resonate with audiences of all ages. Children will be captivated by the vibrant visuals, the fantastical creatures, and the lighthearted adventures of Hiragi and Tsumugi. 

Moreover, this movie has a coming-of-age concept, which may be more appealing to older viewers. Consequently, it creates a sense of identification for teenagers and young adults who are familiar with such issues as Hiragi’s self-discovery and his efforts to overcome shyness. Alternatively, for adults, it awakens memories about childhood friendships or how incredible folklore seems sometimes.

Though predictable at times, this narrative is heartwarming with interesting characters. It’s got a gentle tone, which can make younger people laugh out loud. This is a family-friendly movie. 

Final Thoughts

“My Oni Girl” by Tomotaka Shibayama presents a visually enchanting tale with delightful animation and a whimsical spirit world. However, despite its vibrant style and charming characters, the film falls short of delivering a truly captivating narrative. While the animation seamlessly blends traditional hand-drawn techniques with modern digital artistry, and the voice acting brings the characters to life, the story feels derivative and predictable.

The transition between the real world and the spirit realm is smoothly executed, and the film’s themes of friendship and self-acceptance are commendable. Yet, the lack of significant character growth and the anticlimactic ending diminish the overall impact. The movie offers an enjoyable experience with its emotional plot and endearing characters, but it ultimately falls short of becoming a truly immersive cinematic journey due to its adherence to formulaic storytelling and limited character development.

Although it feels like a one-off film, its re-watch value lies in the beautiful animation, thoughtful script, and endearing relationship between Hiiragi and Tsumugi. While some might find it forgettable, it’s still a good one-time watch that will leave you feeling uplifted and hopeful.