MIRAI (未来のミラ) (2018)

Genre: Animation
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Cast: Moka Kamishiraishi, Haru Kurok, Gen Hoshino, Kumiko Aso, Mitsuo Yoshihara, Yoshiko Miyazaki, Kōji Yakusho, Masaharu Fukuyama
RunTime: 1 hr 40 mins
Rating: PG
Released By: mm2 Entertainment
Official Website: http://mirai-no-mirai.jp

Opening Day:
30 August 2018

Synopsis: Kun is a spoiled little boy. But ever since the arrival of his new baby sister Mirai, Kun misses his parents’ affection and is baffled by things he has never experienced before. Then one day, he encounters a mysterious girl named Mirai, who calls him big brother. A magical journey ensues as Mirai and Kun travel through time where he meets a mysterious man who claims to be a former prince, his mother as a child, and his father as a young man. Through his adventures, Kun learns life lessons and how to cope with living with a baby sibling. How will his journey end? And why did Mirai travel back in time?

Movie Review:

Touted as the next Hayao Miyazaki, Mamoru Hosoda has established quite a sizeable fanbase since the release of his widely imaginative hit, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time in 2006. With the release of Wolf Children and the fantasy adventure, The Boy and the Beast in 2015 (which sadly skipped the theatrical run here), Hosoda has taken a step forward in contributing to the screenplay and story as well. 

His latest self-penned directorial work, Mirai whose full Japanese title actually means Mirai of the Future marks yet another of his whimsical, aesthetically rich trademarks but on the whole remains more grounded compared to his previous masterpieces. 

Mostly seen through the perspective of a four-year-old toddler, Kun, Mirai is in short a lesson on overcoming sibling rivalry and jealousy especially familiar to those who have a younger sibling or siblings in real-life. Back to our protagonist Kun. He is a normal toddler whose everyday hobbies include playing with his Tomica trains, snacking and indulging in his picture books. Until one day, his parents brought home a baby, Kun’s baby sister named Mirai.  

Kun who is used to having the sole attention of his parents now has to contend with the presence of the cute as button Mirai. And the only way it seems is to throw countless tantrums and wail as loudly as he can to his easily irritable working mother and helpless working-at-home architect father. But no worries, Hosoda is not one filmmaker to rely on boring narratives to convey his parenting tale. So whenever Kun throws his infamous tantrum, something magical happens- like his pet dog Yukko turning into a human prince!

What’s more, Kun even gets to meet the younger version of his mum whose former wild behavior is exactly a replication of her future son and after throwing a hissy fit for failing to ride his bike, Kun met his late great-grandfather, a war veteran who taught him a valuable lesson on riding. And the best lesson of all, the future Mirai turned up in her high school self to teach her elder brother on sibling responsibility.

With Hosoda’s thoughtful, assured skills, Mirai often mesmerized audiences with the realistic portrayal of contemporary family dynamics and struggles. At the same time, not forgetting to sprinkle the anime with imaginative moments and surprisingly, a rather dark, scary finale which involves a demonic looking bullet train.  

Despite lacking a boisterous, playful theme, Mirai is still a wonderful, interesting effort from Hosoda and his Studio Chizu. The integration of traditional and CG animation remains a draw, the overall design top-notch especially the creatively designed Kun’s house. It’s a heart-warming story meant for the adults and definitely not for the attention-deficit younger audiences. 

Movie Rating:

(Don’t let the somewhat subdued theme stops you, bring your sibling along to experience the magic!)

Review by Linus Tee


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