- Alt. Name
- Mirai no Mirai
- Release Date
- July 2021
- 1 hr. 38 min.
- Studio Chizu
Mirai is a 2018 Fantasy Adventure anime film by the Japanese animation studio, Studio Chizu. While this film may not bring any attention to newcomers within the anime community, the director and creator of the film most definitely will, Mamoru Hosoda, has created some of the world’s most beloved anime films of the twenty-first century. Though his creations are often discussed, this film seems not to be mentioned as much, if at all. This brings viewers to question whether this film is worth it and whether they should watch it or skip it altogether?
In a quiet corner of the city, four-year-old Kun Oota has lived a spoiled life as an only child with his parents and the family dog, Yukko. But when his new baby sister Mirai is brought home, his simple life is thrown upside-down; suspended, it isn’t all about him anymore. Despite his tantrums and nagging, Mirai is seemingly now the subject of all his parents’ love.
To help him adapt to the drastic change, Kun is taken on an extraordinary journey through time. He meets his family’s past, present, and future selves, as he learns not only what it means to be a part of a family but also what it means to be an older brother.
First, when a film can be summed up within barely two spoiler-free paragraphs, that tends to be a red flag. However, when it comes to Mirai’s story, it was very well written. The amount of detail about how children react and show emotion was spot on. Alongside those same lines, the parents’ neglect from the child’s point of view was written so well that parents of any culture or language can learn from them.
Regarding the Adventure and Fantasy elements, viewers will be pleased that there is a good dose of both. Having a film that can take Adventure, Fantasy, and Drama and combine the three to entertain its audience without being too cheesy is a great accomplishment to have on any series or film. But what makes Hosoda’s writing in this film stand out even more than his work leading up to this is that it’s a film that encompasses sibling rivalry, the entire family unit, the ups and downs of having children, and having to work care for them.
Though some may argue that this premise sounds a lot like Hosoda’s previous work: Wolf Children, due to its family focus and emotional connection, of course, there will be similarities between the two due to common parent-child problems that happen to most parents, if not all of them in some shape or form. Please be assured that these two films are on different wavelengths for viewers questioning those similarities as well.
Mirai has some troublesome areas within its story that viewers should know about before watching. With any anime movie, the problems vary for many reasons, whether it be a lack of actual story, the pacing was uneven, or not even finishing the story that it started with. One problem that this film had was the pacing; was it terrible? Not, but it was no walk in the park either. Viewers may like to know that the pacing could be divided into three parts, the first being a decent pace where the characters get established. The second was a bit slow, but it built up character development in some areas. Then it was rapid, almost as if they were running out of time and needed to finish as soon as possible.
Another problem that might turn viewers away was that for a Fantasy Adventure film, for a majority of the film, it is very much like a Slice-of-Life anime. While this is not a negative towards the film, some anime viewers don’t enjoy watching that genre, but this film would be an excellent place to start.
Potential viewers will be in for a real treat when they watch Mirai due to the fantastic art style and creativeness of the entire movie it showcases. When the film gets into the Fantasy genre, that’s when the artwork gives it everything it’s able to provide the viewer. The color, the designs, and even the sudden shift from one scene to another without missing a beat or boring the audience are nowhere to be found in this film. The different animation styles were well used and will be greatly appreciated by even the newest anime viewers.
Though the animation production of Mirai was phenomenal, as to be expected, of course, it may leave the viewer wanting more for a fantasy-type anime. If viewers are wondering if they’ll potentially dislike the soundtrack or score of the film, be aware that Masakatsu Takagi is back and adding his unique touches to the film as well. For those unaware of who Mr. Takagi is, the creator of the soundtracks and scores of films such as Wolf Children, The Boy, and the Beast, The Kingdom of Dreams, and Madness.
Outside of the musician and filmmaker, Mirai has well-established voice actors in both the original and English versions of the film. While some anime viewers strictly only watch one or the other, they’ll be happy to know that no matter what version viewers choose, both are very entertaining and just as poignant to the viewer. But what stands out the most during the production is the smoothness in scenes with a high level of animation. These scenes are well done and perfectly crafted to the point where they can be compared to blockbuster movies that try to do the same within the fantasy and adventure genres.
While some anime viewers may be disappointed by the small list of characters within the film, the lack of characters works better to their advantage. Kun Ota is a four-year-old boy who was the only child in his family. He spent his days being the center of his parent’s attention, which inevitably made him a little spoiled. He is a typical four-year-old child, and he can express all his emotions full-heartedly, but he’s not able to communicate well with them past the point of one emotion at a time. At the start of the film, he was indifferent to Mirai, but as the film progressed, he slowly began to dislike her as she took his attention away. Even though he may do bad things like hitting his baby sister or not picking up his toys, deep down, he is a good child.
Mirai Ota is the titular character of the film and, surprisingly, the one with the least amount of dialog. While she is the film’s central premise, not much is known about her as nearly all the film viewers see her as a newborn baby. What viewers do know is that she has a birthmark on her hand and that she has a crush on an unknown person. Outside of these two facts, viewers don’t know anything about her and may wish to find out more, but it can not be done as there was nothing written for the character.
Unfortunately, the other character classified as “The Mysterious Man” in the Original version is not that mysterious to the viewer or the main character. These characters within the film are well written and exposed very naturally without feeling boring or forced. Still, without giving away key details, these characters cannot be written about. Even though they are in the film just as much as the parents, there is nothing below the surface of their nature.
Viewers will enjoy the entire film overall, and if they are a fan of Hosoda, then they’ll undoubtedly love Mirai. The art styles within this film are spectacular and keep the viewers’ attention throughout the movie without any trouble. The animation production and the story are some of the best aspects of this film, and even though viewers may not enjoy the simplistic story, it is still top-notch. When longtime Hosoda fans realize Masakatsu Takagi, this film gets taken to a new level of entertainment—watching this film for the family atmosphere or even the multiple viewings without any loss of enjoyment. This film will make the viewer relive all the emotions viewers experienced as a child long ago through their child’s eyes.
Mirai has captured the entire nostalgic factor that makes living worth it! We may have forgotten what it was like to be a child, but this film gives all viewers, young and old the chance to relive that emotional connection we lost long ago. With the story to the excellent art style, Mirai will surely please all your senses, making you wish you could rewind the clock to your younger days.
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.