The story focuses on a father-daughter relationship, future dreams, and how two long-running Iichiko poster advertisements connect them all.

Iichiko, stylized as “iichiko,” is a high-grade shochu alcoholic beverage from Oita Prefecture. Every year since 1984, posters advertising Iichiko have been displayed in train stations throughout Japan. They usually depict stunning natural vistas with a bottle of Iichiko somewhere in the frame. With 13 posters released per year, that makes for a total of just under 500 unique advertisements up until now. It’s these posters that served as inspiration for the company to recently produce a short animated commercial titled Iichiko Story: Wildflowers to the Ocean, which is the second in a line of animated “Iichiko Story” shorts. Specifically, the story focuses on two real-life posters that were released in 2001 and 2010, which depict a desert-like field of flowers and the clear ocean respectively.

▼ Iichiko’s origin in Oita Prefecture, also known as the land of hot springs

To produce its vision, Iichiko called in author and filmmaker Masayuki Kusumi, who’s known for authoring The Solitary Gourmet manga and is a longtime Iichiko fan himself, to write the screenplay for his first animated production. A couple of big acting names were recruited to be part of the cast as well, including Suzuko Mimori (who plays the daughter, Suzuka, a 26-year-old illustrator), and Tarusuke Shingaki (Suzuka’s father, who provides some much-needed inspiration for her to go to art school). The animation is provided by Studio Live.

At only two minutes and 46 seconds, the animated short is over before you yourself can down a glass of Iichiko, but it leaves you with a heartwarming feeling long afterwards. View it in its entirety and then check out our summary below.

Wildflowers to the Ocean (2022)

Once her art exhibition concludes, Suzuka and her father stop by an izakaya pub to celebrate, with him ordering Iichiko. There, she reminisces about a time in high school when the two of them met up at a cafe shortly after her mother passed and she was struggling to decide what to do with her future.

In the flashback, her father uses the way she orders coffee as a metaphor for how she should change her way of thinking. While she says burendo de ii desu (“a coffee will do”) with the implication of settling for something, he advises her to rather say burendo ga ii desu (“I want a coffee, please”) in order to not be afraid to speak what she really wishes.

Soon after, while waiting on the train platform, she spots the Iichiko poster featuring wildflowers which also has a subtle message about not being afraid to “bloom” by herself. She suddenly realizes what she wants to do with her life and shares it with her father as the train arrives.

Flash forward to the present, and she jokingly berates her father for not taking his own previous advice and ordering his drink the “wrong” way. Afterwards, she spots the ocean Iichiko poster on the train platform and smiles to herself knowingly.

If that doesn’t get you in the mood to go visit your family and bring a bottle of Iichiko, well, maybe a slightly different kind of shochu with an anime connection will do the trick instead.

By the way, this isn’t the first family-centered animated food and drink commercial we’ve seen, either. Check out this one for another short story that will make you cry into your miso soup.

Source: Twitter/@iichiko_story via Otakomu
Featured image: YouTube/iichiko 
Insert images: YouTube/iichiko
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