The Japanese Anime “Mirai no Mirai” Wins Annie Awards in L.A.

The film Mirai no Mirai by Mamoru Hosoda won in the independent feature category at the 46th Annie Awards in Los Angeles. The award is consider to be one of the highest honors in the anime industry.

MUTAFUKAZ, a film born of Japanese-French collaboration. That between Shojiro Nishimi and Guillaume Renard, was nominate but miss out on the award.

Hosoda comment happily, saying: “This film is model on my son. I made a film with the idea of relating what an amazing experience it is to live together with a small child. I want to thank everyone for the support.”

The plot follows four-year-old child Kun, who travels in time through the garden, finding there different heartfelt stories about his family. The movie was release in Japan in July 2018, and was a major hit, grossing ¥2.88 billion JPY ($26.3 million USD).

The film was also nominate in the animate feature film category at the 91st Academy Awards. Other nominees were Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, and Ralph Breaks the Internet. The winners will be announce on February 25.

The Annie Awards’ independent feature category covers animation films. Which are not mainstream and are shown in fewer than 1,000 theaters all over the United States.

In 2017 Studio Ghibli took home the award with Red Turtle. A film which was made in collaboration with other companies. Studio Ghibli is best known for Hayao Miyazaki films, including Spirited Away.

I saw the Mirai movie. It was playing at the local film society.

My wife had recently watch some sort of horrible anime on Netflix about girls and ghosts. She seem disappoint. So I took her to see an actual good anime on the recommendation of my anime-watching friend, who knows about these things.

In Mirai, a toddler boy name Kun lives happily in Japan with his two NPR-type parents. The father is a passive-aggressive architect, and the mother is a corporate type who struggles to Lean In. Then along comes a baby sister, name Mirai. Kun gets confuse and jealous. He shrieks a lot, and when he doesn’t shriek, he whines.

About a half-hour in, the imaginative anime bits take over. First comes a great fantasy sequence where Kun encounters a shaggy depose prince. Who we quickly figure out is an anthropomorphize fantasy of the family dog. Then a teenage girl, Mirai from the future, appears. About every ten minutes or so, Kun disappears into some sort of reverie, imagining himself transport through time or into fantasy realms, where he learns important lessons.

He frolics with his mother as a child and meets his great-grandfather as an young man. In a spectacularly spooky sequence, he gets lost in a surreal Tokyo train station full of monsters and evil robots. Kun and teenage Mirai fall endlessly through some sort of weird historical matrix. Where Kun learns that he’s part of something bigger than himself and that nothing matters more than family.

This movie remind me of two relatively recent American cartoon features.

It resembles Inside Out in that it uses animate flights of fancy to depict a certain kind of difficult childhood transition. Also, like in Inside Out, the family exists inside a privileg urban bubble. Where the concerns of the babies take precedence over everything else. However, unlike Inside Out, the movie basically lacks a sense of humor and imaginative celebrity voice work. And, of course, there’s no Bing Bong.

It’s also a bit like another Pixar movie, Coco, in that it places family history as the most important thing, perhaps the only important thing, in life. But it contains no amazing songs, and only the most subtle of plots. Yuppies have a kid, and then they have another kid, and the world just keeps on turning.

Seventy-five percent of this movie’s dialogue consists of Kun shrieking stuff like “WHAT?” or “MOOOOOOOM!”. I had a toddler once, so I figure I was clear of hearing that endless self-absorb howl. Mirai should contain a trigger warning for anyone who’s ever raise a little kid. This movie will not relax them.

Behind me at the screening, a young female couple, all snuggl up and in love, cooed delightfully at all of Kun’s antics. They gasp when he fell off his bike and laugh when he scream for his dad. Foolish humans. I’d like to see how they react to this movie in ten or 15 years, assuming they go through the baby-wringer. At a certain point, little kids in movies don’t seem so cute anymore.

INFO:

Rating: PG (for thematic elements including some scary images)
Genre: Animation, Anime & Manga, Art House & International, Kids & Family
Directed By: Mamoru Hosoda
Stars: Rebecca Hall, John Cho, Daniel Dae Kim
Written By: Mamoru Hosoda
In Theaters: Nov 29, 2018 Limited
On Disc/Streaming: Apr 9, 2019
Runtime: 98 minutes
Studio: GKIDS

CRITIC REVIEWS FOR MIRAI

Bruce DeMara
There’s enough wisdom to be found in this engaging tale for a trip to the theatre. Whether to take the whole family is up to parents to decide.

Carlos Aguilar
Merits comparison to works of similar relevance and poetic ambitions, like Shoplifters and Roma, masterworks that share its inquiries about familial ties, parental insecurities, and the inescapable pull of the past.

Emily Yoshida
Like Hayao Miyazaki, whose mantle Hosoda is often considered to be on an unofficial short list to pick up, Hosoda tells this child’s story at a child’s eye level, and the diversions feel part and parcel of that point of view.

Joe Morgenstern
Expands into a lyrical realm that is both very Japanese and entirely universal.

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