released OUT NOW! 12A | 90 minutes
Director Keiichi Hara
Cast Anne Watanabe, Yutaka
Matsushiqe, Danshun Tatekawa
At first sight, this unusual anime film doesn’t seem like SFX territory. It’s a period drama, set in the city of Edo ( now Tokyo) in 1814, about the daily life of O- Ei, a striking young woman. She’s an artist, the daughter of the great artist Hokusai, best known for his print “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”. Much of the film depicts the cramped, untidy working conditions of father and daughter – which are amusingly like those of comics artists today – and O- Ei’s various relationships, familial and otherwise.
It’s very episodic, and some of these episodes are unexpectedly supernatural – such as a vignette about a courtesan with a detachable astral head, and a painting of hell which Hokusai must “exorcise”. These sections are well- done in themselves – the courtesan one is particularly spooky – but ultimately they detract from the film. Such an episodic film depends on us getting to know the characters intimately. While O- Ei and her acquaintances are intriguing and even charming, the supernatural scenes don’t help us understand how the characters tick.
Miss Hokusai is an elegant, well- made film, but perhaps would have been better off as a television series, even if that meant lower production values. Andrew Osmond
Hokusai also made erotic print “The Dream Of The Fisherman’s Wife”, which features a woman having sex with two octopuses.
Yep, this one’ll do for the passport picture.