Forum - View topic
This Week in Anime - Is Mamoru Hosoda's Mirai Any Good?


Goto page 1, 2  Next

Note: this is the discussion thread for this article

Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Lann



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 221
Location: Brighton UK
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:32 pm Reply with quote
I dont know how well this film did in Japan, but I felt it lacking. Its incredibly average. It doesnt help that it had some weird dream sequences which are not part of the actual time travel elements.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger
Soulwarfare



Joined: 10 Dec 2017
Posts: 152
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:57 pm Reply with quote
I've watched it on an airplane and it was all right.

I don't think it was a masterpiece but I do like that it showed the struggle of being a parent and also growing up in general with the use of weird time travel.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
heavyweather



Joined: 29 Aug 2008
Posts: 76
Location: Fargo, ND
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 4:09 pm Reply with quote
The talk about the father figure in the context of Wolf Children is interesting. I always thought that The Boy and The Beast - Hosoda's film between Wolf Children and Mirai - was his commentary on fatherhood.

All of Hosoda's (post-Digimon/One Peace) films have been about family to some extent. After reading this, it's interesting to see how that fits into themes that he revisits.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
Neko-sensei



Joined: 19 Jan 2007
Posts: 194
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:38 pm Reply with quote
I actually learned to ride a bike on the grass myself! Since we had a nice big yard of soft loam, falling was practically a pleasure, and my parents couldn't get me to even try on the scary scrapey concrete. I spent a month or two tumbling all over the lawn, and by then I could handle the bumps so well I never once fell down when I moved on to the roads.

The father, according to interviews, is based on Hosoda himself, who also has a creative job that requires meeting the demands of his clients by spending absurd amounts of time immersing himself in his work. However, I think that you've done the film a bit of a disservice by entirely ignoring its main character—the house itself.

For all four-year-olds, the physical space they inhabit is the shape and boundary of their universe, defining their experience of their family and their family's world. Hosoda had the house in the film designed by an architect from scratch in order to make it the fruit of Kun's father's labors; it's important to note that "home" is the contribution Dad made to Kun's upbringing, although he had to sacrifice his time with his son to make it.

Having been constructed by the generation before Kun's, the house becomes the temporal nexus connecting him to the generations of the future and the past. The house stands for the family itself, the eternal story in which each individual life is its own chapter—a chapter that tells its own standalone tale that is nevertheless entirely incomprehensible without the larger context of the family story it serializes. The climactic fall through the family's full history, with all of its horrors and joys and amazing connections, its acknowledgement of the devastating power of death and the even more incredible life-force of the ongoing family that can overcome it, brings me to tears every time I watch it. (My own grandfather died when my father was a teenager, and I have often felt the mysterious, intimate connection to a man I've never met who is nevertheless present in all of my father's actions, and grieved for the loss of someone I never knew; that aspect of family is the real heart of Mirai's action.)

So yeah, having written all that up, I guess that for all I agree with this article's take on the failures and foibles of Kun and his parents, I really disagree with its conclusion about the film's worthiness. Viewed as being "about" family history from the perspective of a very small child, I think it's a unique and positively mira(i)culous work.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Blackiris_
Aria CompanyAria Company


Joined: 06 Sep 2013
Posts: 483
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:28 am Reply with quote
I think a big reason the movie didn’t resonate with many who watched – aside from the unfocused narrative – it is that they are no parents. I think it is easy for everyone to enjoy movies about idealized children, but compared to Hosoda’s previous works the main character is not only a lot younger, but also a lot less idealized. (That also goes for some of the other characters.)

It certainly didn’t have the impact of any of Hosoda’s previous works in me, but I definitely respect the film for what it is. It definitely is not "average". In fact there are very few movies like these out there, anime or not. I personally find it very fascinating how every Hosoda movie projects a part of his personal experiences and growth into the story, and although they all tackle similar themes ("family"), they always explore different perspectives and tones and thus never feel derivative.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
nobahn
SubscriberSubscriber


Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 4644
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:44 am Reply with quote
In my 'Seen some' section I wrote:
[...]
It's charming, there's no denying that; but how much of that was his imagination and how much was real?
[...]
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
Zeparu



Joined: 10 Jun 2020
Posts: 4
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:51 am Reply with quote
In MIRAI there's so much to unpack visually and frankly it's a bit sad that this chatlog doesn't scratch any of it. It's a sentiment I have with most critical writing and reviews on ANN: The discussion usually stops at story, theme and how the characters behave and barely touches the aesthetics used to get the storytelling across. Writing on a work as ambitious and artful as MIRAI this really appears as a wasted opportunity.

Neko-sensei already discussed the importance of architecture for MIRAI. The elevating structure of the house is visually absolutely unique. It resonates with so many themes of the movie. It also allows for the family tree to be the actual centre of the property the whole movie takes place in which is obviously important for a lot of reasons.

There are also quite a few nods to film history. Hosoda has been called "the Ozu of Anime" at least since SUMMER WARS and every of his non-franchise films has focused on a different aspect of family, much alike Japan's most lauded family portrayer. In MIRAI he actually makes up for this comparison by mirroring some of Ozu's famous "tatami shots" - a static camera positioned roughly on eye level with a small child and a delicate framing of family life in carefully structured interior spaces. This makes extra sense as MIRAI is told entirely from the perspective of a toddler.

The camerawork in MIRAI is just gorgeous! It's by far Hosoda's aesthetically most mature work so far. It's definately not as flashy as some of his older works but damn, some of these shots are beautiful to perfection. The scene that always gets me is the bird's eye view on the race between Kun great-grandfather and his future wife in the climactic falling-through-family-history montage. The way this little scene is framed just knocked me out of my seat. It echoes a casual discussion the family has almost an hour earlier in the film (how could he have won the race if he was hurt in the war?) and resolves and emotionally amplifies it through the sheer beauty of visual storytelling. It's something that might slip your attention the first time watching it but it mirrors the connectedness of the family history inside the structure of the film, and MIRAI is full of little details like that. It's one of those movies that keep growing on you every time you watch it.

Even aside from more art-related themes, there's visual aspects of MIRAI that simply cannot be overlooked, for example the lovingly detailed character animation. Making Kun utterly adorable and utterly annoying at the same time is a stroke of genius. I have never seen anyone able to pull this off in animation. As mentioned before, Hosoda drew inspiration from his own children for the film and it is by far his most personal work.

This is barely scratching the surface of what you can get out of MIRAI, even without being a pundit in film theory. I'd really love ANN to approach anime in a way that pays a little more attention to visual storytelling. Ultimately that's what makes anime so special.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Maidenoftheredhand



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 2482
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:13 am Reply with quote
I definitely enjoyed it but it’s not my favorite work by his (those would be Wolf Children and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Neko-sensei



Joined: 19 Jan 2007
Posts: 194
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:59 am Reply with quote
In summary, Zeparu wrote:
Why can't we have nice things?

Having grown up at the knee of a college professor father who studied literary and film theory in the 20th century, and having studied lit and film theory myself at a university with a strong emphasis on historical trends in the field, I'd say that it's because Formalism is dead and close reading has become a purely idle pastime. The newer theories teach that the most important procedure of textual analysis is to bring your own perspective into dialogue with the work and thus uncover something that only you, from your unique angle, could say; and it is this procedure that every YouTube reviewer, Tweeter, anime blogger, and yes, ANN reviewer must observe in order to get followers, Patreon donations, and really any attention whatsoever in a world of relentless content. Even those with no training in theory whatsoever naturally learn that their personal reaction, opinion, or commentary is why the views come, and that no one would show up just to see "attention being paid" unless they were promised some sort of mind-blowing discovery only close analysis could reveal.

Of course, it is important for critics to recognize that they have a personal perspective and that "objectivity" is a pipe dream, and it is valuable for queer theorists, ecocritics, postcolonialists, and all the rest to add their voices to the critical dialogue (I'm not going for some reactionary "School of Resentment" tirade here), but if you long still for the days when formal analyses were the stock-in-trade of writing about art, this knowledge may be cold comfort. Ultimately, so long as ANN's goal as a media website is to attract more readers—and really, what else should it be?—the site will follow modern trends and you won't find what you're looking for here (outside of the very, very odd guest editorial). That you also won't find it anywhere else on the Internet is a dismal reality, but not one for which the ANN staff is responsible.

spoiler[(Still, many of us would be pleased enough if we could count on ANN contributors to watch all of the anime about which they are writing...)]
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Zeparu



Joined: 10 Jun 2020
Posts: 4
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:53 am Reply with quote
Good point, but I wasn't so much talking about formalist or in any way "objective" discussion of anime as is formerly associated with any form of media analysis. Of course aesthetic experiences are highly subjective as well, especially in a visually complex film as MIRAI. For me it was overhead shot I described earlier that got me. A friend of mine got his kicks out of the snowflakes scene in the beginning of the movie. Micchy and Steve touched at this with the scary train sequence but there's so much more that you could discover when you just looked for it.

I'm mearly asking critics to pay as much attention to the presentation of an anime as to how stupid character X acted in this or that scene. If someone tells me they watched this film and absolutely nothing resonated with them aesthetically in any way, then they probably just lack the vocabulary to adress these aspects and might want to catch up on that a bit. Anime is more than plot.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FireChick



Joined: 26 Mar 2006
Posts: 1665
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:04 pm Reply with quote
I liked Mirai okay, but my biggest issue was the idea that Kun is somehow able to understand what time travel is and know the girl he meets is his sister from the future. Can a four-year-old even understand such a high level, abstract concept? I myself didn't know what time travel was until I was about nine or ten thanks to that one Pokemon movie that came out during that time. Having a four year old know what time travel is seemed to stretch my willing suspension of disbelief way too far for my liking.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
nobahn
SubscriberSubscriber


Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 4644
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:58 pm Reply with quote
Zeparu--

I was so impressed by what Neko-sensei wrote that I copy & pasted it into the entry in my "Seen some" category.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
Blackiris_
Aria CompanyAria Company


Joined: 06 Sep 2013
Posts: 483
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:54 pm Reply with quote
Zeparu wrote:
In MIRAI there's so much to unpack visually and frankly it's a bit sad that this chatlog doesn't scratch any of it. It's a sentiment I have with most critical writing and reviews on ANN: The discussion usually stops at story, theme and how the characters behave and barely touches the aesthetics used to get the storytelling across. Writing on a work as ambitious and artful as MIRAI this really appears as a wasted opportunity.

Neko-sensei already discussed the importance of architecture for MIRAI. The elevating structure of the house is visually absolutely unique. It resonates with so many themes of the movie. It also allows for the family tree to be the actual centre of the property the whole movie takes place in which is obviously important for a lot of reasons.

There are also quite a few nods to film history. Hosoda has been called "the Ozu of Anime" at least since SUMMER WARS and every of his non-franchise films has focused on a different aspect of family, much alike Japan's most lauded family portrayer. In MIRAI he actually makes up for this comparison by mirroring some of Ozu's famous "tatami shots" - a static camera positioned roughly on eye level with a small child and a delicate framing of family life in carefully structured interior spaces. This makes extra sense as MIRAI is told entirely from the perspective of a toddler.

The camerawork in MIRAI is just gorgeous! It's by far Hosoda's aesthetically most mature work so far. It's definately not as flashy as some of his older works but damn, some of these shots are beautiful to perfection. The scene that always gets me is the bird's eye view on the race between Kun great-grandfather and his future wife in the climactic falling-through-family-history montage. The way this little scene is framed just knocked me out of my seat. It echoes a casual discussion the family has almost an hour earlier in the film (how could he have won the race if he was hurt in the war?) and resolves and emotionally amplifies it through the sheer beauty of visual storytelling. It's something that might slip your attention the first time watching it but it mirrors the connectedness of the family history inside the structure of the film, and MIRAI is full of little details like that. It's one of those movies that keep growing on you every time you watch it.

Even aside from more art-related themes, there's visual aspects of MIRAI that simply cannot be overlooked, for example the lovingly detailed character animation. Making Kun utterly adorable and utterly annoying at the same time is a stroke of genius. I have never seen anyone able to pull this off in animation. As mentioned before, Hosoda drew inspiration from his own children for the film and it is by far his most personal work.

This is barely scratching the surface of what you can get out of MIRAI, even without being a pundit in film theory. I'd really love ANN to approach anime in a way that pays a little more attention to visual storytelling. Ultimately that's what makes anime so special.


These are some lovely observations. It’s almost been a year since I’ve seen the movie and it definitely felt like it was brimming with little thoughtful details, but now I’m convinced it’s definitely worth rewatching to appreciate the things I may have missed on the first time.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
Posts: 1807
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 9:12 am Reply with quote
Man, this was just not a film for me. I think as someone who a) has no interest in kids and b) has no relatives with young kids I interact with, this was a movie that felt like it was custom-made to not work for me on just about every level. But I also felt like this was Hosada's least interesting movie, and I don't mean that so much in reference to the actual content so much as its execution. Since you could basically see the end goal of the story within its opening sequence, there wasn't a whole lot that I found engaging or surprising, since to me it felt like a series of vignettes strung together to keep the film afloat until it hit the sequence the film had *really* been aiming for all along. There were some moments that I enjoyed, but it felt like none of them were really fleshed out because we were so beholden to Kun's viewpoint. And that makes sense from a thematic sense, but I just kept feeling like there was a more interesting story dancing around at the fringes (specifically when Kun spoiler[meets his older self; it felt like that version of himself deeply regretted the following train sequence, whereas our version of Kun seemed to come out fine]).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Animegomaniac



Joined: 16 Feb 2012
Posts: 3441
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 9:33 am Reply with quote
Zeparu wrote:
This makes extra sense as MIRAI is told entirely from the perspective of a toddler.
.


And this part reminds me that I did indeed watch Mirai and that is where all the problems lie. You can use all the visual tricks in the world for story telling but if you don't have a narrative to pin it to then it won't connect to the audience. In Hosada's films, it's usually the POV character but in Miraii, it's a four year old who remains a four year old.

It's not a character arc, it's a character dot. I'm not sure what a "character dot" is but whatever it is, you'll find it in Mirai.

from TVtropes:
Mamoru Hosoda based several elements of the film off his own family experiences. Kun’s jealousy of Mirai mirrors his elder child’s jealousy toward his younger sister, and Kun seeing middle school-age Mirai is taken from a dream in which his older child saw his sister at that age.

The first part isn't a surprise but I'm still trying to understand the second part about a dream Hosoda's kid had. Look, it makes sense that Hosoda's four year old would be jealous of the new sibling but did the dream come later when Hosoda's child was older? Otherwise, it diverges from being precocious to outright supernatural... even a four year old describing a dream to their parent where they are middle school age would be weird. In the movie with the two POVs/identities combined, a lot is lost since Hosoda hand waved the two different mind sets into one life lesson... for a four year old.

Hosoda wanted the jealousy angle so Kun had to be young but I just can't see a four year old appreciating or even understanding anything that happens to him in the movie though I could see it work for a ten year old.

And to think that a few minutes ago, I remembered nothing about this movie, not even watching it.

Number of Hosoda films I've liked: 0
Number I've seen: 4.
Number I've owned but sold: 2, Wolf Children and the Girl Who Leapt Through Time. If Wolf Children was actually about what everyone who loves it say it was about, it would have been good but it's about a very specific time in the lives of the Wolf Children... after montaging away years to get there, years I would rather have watched instead. I liked the Girl Who Leapt Through Time at first but I watched it three times and with each viewing, its plot elements got quieter while its truly awful sexual politics got louder.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group