Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Producer: Yuichiro Saito
Art Directors: Takashi Omori, Yohei Takamatsu
Music: Masakatsu Takagi
Animation Studio: Studio Chizu
Licensed By: Anime Limited
From the most inspiring Animation Director of this Century – Mamoru Hosoda, brings us his next coming of age masterpiece. Mirai, the tale of how one young boy named Kun must come to terms with the fact he is no longer an only child. Tasked with being the big brother to his newborn sister Mirai, Kun goes on a magical journey through the past, present and future of many of the members of his family tree, to learn just who he really is in life. Through the eyes of a four year old, we see how Kun views his newborn sibling as a pest in his household. Craving all the attention from those around him, Kun has to learn how to lean less on his stressed parents and how to live with a baby. A bumpy road filled with heartache, tears, tantrums and touching family moments. Mirai is not a film to be missed!
Kun is a feisty and spoilt little boy, who craves constant attention. Then again he has been an only child for the past four years. Well that all changes when his parents come home with their newborn daughter – Mirai. Having not been around a baby before, Kun is unaccustomed to their needs and quickly takes a disliking to her. It’s fascinating to watch this film and relive and look back upon those early days in your life as a small child. The out of control tantrums, the refusal to understand and the battle when they don’t get their own way. However Kun’s imagination is spectacular, as not only is this story set in this one household, Kun also meets his time travelling little sister Mirai as a teenager, hoping to ensure her father does not break an age old superstition. With the help of Mirai and their dog, they go on many adventures, as not only to help with the future lovelife of his sister, but to also learn to deal with his own feelings.
Kun’s family consists of his salaryman working mother and architect father, who designed their unique home. At the beginning of this film, we see how they changed and adapted a small, modest looking home into this intricate and functional dwelling. Whilst also incorporating the old tree into it, by building around it and making it the centrepiece of their small garden. With the arrival of their second child, Kun’s mother returns to work shortly after the birth in order to cover another going on maternity. Due to the flexible work that Kun’s father does, he becomes a stay at home dad and takes on the child rearing and housework. This is all brand new to the guy and there are some hiccups along the way.
Kun is like many typical 4 year olds, by having a short attention span, he likes to play 24/7 and loves all the attention he gets from adults he knows. His home is his main environment, seeing as he hasn’t started school yet, so many of his imaginative experiences take place under his roof. Mirai appears as a newborn baby and her later teen self, as she visits Kun whilst their mother is away. Now I believe the appearance of an older Mirai is actually real to Kun, as he has no experience with teenagers so shouldn’t have been able to vividly imagine his sister in such a way and especially her personality. His dog transforming into a grumpy middle aged man is another matter though. It is lovely to see how this story unfolded, as once older Mirai’s mission to travel back in time was accomplished, I had no idea in what direction the rest of the film would go. To see Kun travel back through his ancestry and meet a few members of his close family in their younger days was special.
First off, many of you have heard of this Director from some of his previous works. For instance he was behind Digimon The Movie, a film that has the same feel to it as his 2009 work – Summer Wars. The must own Hosoda collection doesn’t end there however, as we also have The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Wolf Children and The Boy and The Beast. Unknownst to myself before I began writing this piece, Hosoda was once commissioned by Studio Ghibli to direct the Studio’s much loved masterpiece Howl’s Moving Castle. However Hosoda left the project in the early stages after not bringing forth a concept for the film the Boss’s agreed upon. Oh well, Hosoda appears to work far better on his own ideas instead.
Although Mirai has not yet been released on DVD and Blu-Ray, let alone a date announced. Thanks to the great people over at Anime Limited, they have organised for both the Japanese and English dubs of the movie, to be screened across several cinemas across both Ireland and the UK in the last two weeks. I was lucky enough to catch the Dub screening at my local Odeon cinema.
Although not my favourite Hosoda film, that honor goes to Wolf Children, Mirai is certainly worth picking up when the time comes!