When 11-year-old Tomo’s irresponsible single mother leaves her on her own for the umpteenth time she turns to her Uncle Makio to look after her. Makio’s pretty girlfriend Rinko proves an excellent surrogate mother and the three form an indelible bond, but not without complications. Naoko Ogigami has defined her own distinct voice with several maverick features centered on women (Kamome Diner, Glasses, Rent-a-Cat). Utilizing an amusingly quirky and often bittersweet mode of storytelling, Ogigami creates unique spaces that offer a respite from the irritations of daily life to both her characters and viewers. Close-Knit finds her taking things to a new level, incorporating a transgender character, presented in a decidedly objective and novel form, and performed in a note-perfect portrayal by uber-popular pretty boy idol Toma Ikuta. Q&A with director Naoko Ogigami.