mIrAI I A young boy learns to live with his baby sister in Mamoru Hosoda’s animated gem…
While Studio Ponoc may safely be considered the natural successor to Studio Ghibli, Mamoru Hosoda is the rightful heir to Miyazaki’s Japanimation crown. The writer/director behind Summer Wars, Wolf Children and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Hosoda’s sensibility is positively Miyazakian – family dramas filtered through a fantastical lens.
“For a grown-up, something would seem fantastical,” Hosoda tells Teasers. “But for children, it may be very real. Cinema can explore the middle ground between reality and fantasy.”
As well as delving into this middle ground, Mirai is also Hosoda’s most personal work yet. A film born from his own experiences as a father, it follows Kun, a young boy who develops a serious case of sibling jealousy after the birth of his baby sister,
Mirai. “The older boy was completely shocked by the arrival of the newborn,” Hosoda recalls of his own kids. “He’d raise his voice and break into tantrums. He felt he lost our love to his sister. And being an only child, that was really interesting for me.”
After Kun is accidentally left behind on a family day out, the distraught boy steps into the seemingly magical family garden and is taken on a metaphysical journey through past, present and future. Learning lessons from his late ancestors, and even meeting a school age Mirai, Kun comes to appreciate what it truly means to have a sister.
An intimate and moving tale about realising your place within a family, Mirai also explores the cosmic idea that becoming a parent allows you to experience childhood all over again through a new set of eyes. “I learned that parenting is reliving your life,” Hosoda smiles. “It becomes this circulatory loop of life. Which is, of course, huge. And even though this story may be very small, it is about very, very big things.”
Kun is surprised to find his baby sister, now school-age, in the garden…