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One of the popular hits at the second annual Animation Is Film Festival, “Mirai,” from famed Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda (who was admitted into the Academy this year), could deliver GKids’ 11th feature nomination.
“Mirai” marks Hosoda’s most personal movie yet about family. The enchanting, time-traveling fantasy about a four-year-old boy jealous of his baby sister is also unique for animation. “The story is about a secret garden showing the secrets of their family, and that was inspired by western children’s literature,” said Hosoda (“Summer Wars,” “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,” “Wolf Children,” “The Boy and the Beast”).
“We learn about the family tree through different methods,” he added. “On the other hand, unlike children’s stories, it’s not a fable with a lesson to be learned, other than children understanding the importance of experiencing family.”
Mirai - Sister - Experience - Hosoda - Wife
“Mirai” (named for the sister) was inspired by personal experience. When Hosoda and his wife first brought home their newborn, the three-year-old son gave his sister a suspicious look. “And when I saw that, I wondered how he was going to accept his role as an older brother,” Hosoda said. “But because we were so busy dealing with the baby, he threw a tantrum and shouted that his sister stole his love. The way he expressed his feelings like that was how an adult would act when they lose a love, so I wanted to depict a story based on my son.”
The result is a fascinating reversal of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” with a child experiencing a journey about love, responsibility, and family. But Hosoda admits he met early resistance. “When I first brought up making a four-year-old the main character, a lot of people said it was really reckless. Not much has happened to him. Why don’t we make him older so he’s more relatable? But...
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