As a huge fan of anime, I was extremely looking forward to this movie. I’ve been a big of the directors work for quite awhile, with Wolf Children being one of my favourite anime movies. Mamoru Hosoda’s work is always a good blend of fantasy meets slice of life. A big theme across all his works is the importance of family, it was big in Wolf Children and it’s especially important in Mirai.
Four year-old Kun is disappointed when the new baby in his family promptly replaces him as the center of attention; he refuses to accept his little sister, Mirai. When a magical and mysterious gateway opens in the garden, Kun has the chance to encounter his family members when they were young themselves. He is also visited by an older girl with the same name as his sister, leading to a series of surprising adventures, which change how he sees the world.
If anyone has children then I can see how this movie can deeply connect with you. Although I don’t have any siblings, I know that Hosoda has crafted one of the most realistic families of 2018. Kun’s reaction to his initial sister, not getting all the love that he wants. Dad becoming a stay at home freelance worker, Mom going to work. Leaving Kun to delve away into his own imagination. That is what this movie mostly is, the imagination of a little boy. This is where the fantasy element comes into play, the movie goes back and forth between the household and Kun running away crying and getting lost in his own mind. Where he encounters a human form of his dog and meets future Mirai.
As is the case with all Hosoda’s works, the animation is stunning. Everything from the characters motions, to the landscapes, to the surreal moments. Studio Chizu know how to deliver in the animation department. Another good thing that always comes with Hosoda’s movies is great music, Mirai has a bitter sweet soundtrack, with each sound being carefully chosen to represent what Kun is going through.
The shift in tone is also really well done, with the beginning being really lighthearted with Kun playing with his human form dog. To a terrifying sequence involving a train representing the emotional journey the family is going through. Although this scene was visually really good, It did go on for a little too long and I did get slightly bored if only for a brief few minutes. The character of Kun did also get on my nerves a lot throughout the movie, with his constant whining for attention and crying. However, I understand this is how kids are and I won’t mark the movie down for it. I guess it just proves how much I wouldn’t want kids.
Overall, Mirai is a beautiful movie and one that tells a bittersweet tale about family. Every character is perfectly portrayed as realistic as they come. The close up animation can sometimes seem a little rushed, especially when compared to the breathtaking landscapes. The soundtrack is sweet and beautiful. Something that most anime movies always seem to get right. It’s a movie that I wont see myself revisiting anytime soon but one that I would still highly recommend.
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Runtime: 100 Minutes