MISS HOKUSAI

Anime artistry

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

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.

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