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The movie was released on December 14, 2002 and won a popularity award from the Awards of the Japanese Academy.
The movie inspired a manga by Shirasawa Marimo, which was released on January 6, 2003. The manga characters are based on the characters from the movie.
The movie was released on June 21, 2003 on DVD and September 21, 2003 on VHS. Months prior to the DVD and VHS release of the movie a making of was released on January 21, 2003 in both DVD and VHS format.
Morishita Mao (Tsugunaga Momoko) is a bright young girl living in today's Tokyo and is fed up with how her parents don't seem to care for her. Her father has to work in Toyama and needs to move. Since Mao's mother is a working florist it's impossible for her to move as well and Mao's parents announce that they're getting a divorce. Mao has to choose her father or her mother. She rejects this and chooses to live with her grandparents in Gunma.
When Mao is in the local grocery store she sees Nomura Chika (Shimizu Saki) stealing milk from a store. Chika reveals that she is stealing the milk for a dog, Dan, she found in the river. Mao meets the dog and becomes friends with Chika. While there, though, they realise Dan is blind.
Meanwhile, Mao is struggling with unwelcoming classmates at her new school and her parents' divorce. Chika is unable to provide adequately for Dan, who she hides in the back of her apartment block where she lives. The apartment council leader finds out about Dan and threatens to forcibly remove him from Chika and Mao unless they can find a new owner. The local football club's leader, Okubo Saki says she has an uncle in Ayamebashi, Tochigi who loves dogs, who will be happy to take him. Mao and Chika reluctantly give him to them, safe in the knowledge that Dan will have a loving home.
After Chika does not come home for a few days, Mao thinks she has gone to Ayamebashi to see Dan. Chika is not there, but Mao finds her on the way back. China takes Dan back from the uncle in Tochigi and brings him back home with her.
Mao and Chika go to the apartment council leader to plead with him to keep Dan on the premises. After some persuasion, he agrees, and starts building a doghouse and pen on the green at the apartments.
The neighbourhood leader confronts them with other residents of the apartment blocks, saying dogs are not allowed and that Dan must be killed. Chika tells the residents that if seeing-eye dogs can help blind people, then surely humans can help a blind dog. The neighbourhood leader is convinced and apologises. They start building the doghouse again.
Earlier in the movie, Mao gets a letter from her father in Toyama, apologising for the stress he and her mother have caused. He says that Mao's mother is a hardworking woman for keeping her florist business going singlehandedly, and that Mao should be proud of her. Her mother also visits her later, where Mao says she wants to live with her father.
Mao's father comes to pick her up to take her to Toyama. As the bus is leaving, Mao sees her friends from school on the riverbank, calling her name. She waves to them as the bus passes over the bridge and out of sight.
- Tsugunaga Momoko as Morishita Mao (森下真生; Main Role)
- Shimizu Saki as Nomura Chika (野村千香; Main Role)
- Umeda Erika as Nishizawa Madoka (西沢まどか)
- Yajima Maimi as Tsujimoto Rena (辻本玲那)
- Tokunaga Chinami as Saito Kana (斉藤佳奈)
- Natsuyaki Miyabi as Tanaka Ai (中田亜依)
- Kumai Yurina as Matsuda Hikaru (松田ひかる)
- Ishimura Maiha as Hara Yukari (原由香里)
- Murakami Megumi as Ayada Hitomi (綾田瞳)
- Nakajima Saki as Hoshino Chiyori (星野ちより)
- Okai Chisato as Nomura Mina (野村美奈)
- Iida Kaori as Okubo Saki (大久保佐紀)
- Abe Natsumi as Furusawa Yayoi (古澤弥生)
- Yasuda Kei as Nishita Kou (西田香)
- Ishikawa Rika as Morishita Tomomi (森下知美)
- Yoshizawa Hitomi as Kudo Risa (工藤理砂)
- Konno Asami as Matsushita Kanae (松下かなえ)
- Ogawa Makoto as Miyashita Yuka (宮下由香)
- Niigaki Risa as Kawaguchi Ako (川口麻子)
Other Cast MembersEdit
- Goto Maki as Natsume Honami (夏目保奈美)
- Harada Mieko as Morishita Wakako (森下和歌子)
- Enoki Takaaki as Morishita Yoshitaka (森下祥隆)
- Okumura Kouen as Morishita Mitsuzo (森下光造)
- Oshima Satoko as Morishita Yumiko (森下弓子)
- Ohbayashi Takashi as Muranaka Toyoki (村中豊輝)
- Tomura Michiko as Muranaka Hatsue (村中初枝)
A soundtrack for the film, Koinu Dan no Monogatari Original Soundtrack, was released on February 14, 2003. The soundtrack reach #56 on the weekly Oricon charts and charted for three weeks.
- Ganbacchae! (がんばっちゃえ!)
- HEY! Mirai (HEY!未来; HEY! Future!)
- Sen Kaori no Moto he (千香の元へ)
- Akiramenaizo (あきらめないぞ)
- Inukoya wo Tsukurou! (犬小屋をつくろう!)
- Danketsu (団結; Unity)
- Honto no Tomodachi (本当の友達; True Friend)
- Waurenai yo (忘れないよ; Don't Forget)
- Kazabana (風花; Flurry of Snow in a Clear Sky)
- Ganbacchae! (Symphonic Version)
- HEY! Mirai (Symphonic Version)
- One of Goto Maki's lines is "There was a time I refused to go to school..." which is a possible reference to her movie, "Seishun Bakachin Ryojiuku".
- Morning Musume members Yaguchi Mari, Tsuji Nozomi, Kago Ai, and Takahashi Ai, and Hello! Project Kids members Sudo Maasa, Sugaya Risako, Suzuki Airi, and Hagiwara Mai were not casted in the movie because they were occupied with Minimoni the Movie Okashi na Daibouken!, which was released around the same time as Koinu Dan no Monogatari. However, they all appear in the ending credits, where the music video for Ganbacchae! is played.