A Preview of the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Film Festival 2018

Kotatsu Japanese Animation Film Festival 2018

Mirai Film Image

Cardiff                                                                                         Aberystwyth

Chapter 28th – 30th September      Aberystwyth Arts Centre 20th – 21st October

So I work as a writer for the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival and it’s going to launch soon. More than 10 feature films have been programmed to present the wide variety of stories and styles in Japanese animation. This year, we welcome two guests from Japan who will treat audiences to special events.

The festival gets off to a start on September 28 at 14:00 at Chapter Arts, Cardiff, with a screening of the Masaaki Yuasa’s latest film Lu Over the Wall.

Continue reading “A Preview of the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Film Festival 2018”

Japanese Films at the Vancouver International Film Festival 2018

Vancouver International Film Festival 2013 Logo

The Vancouver International Film Festival 2018 runs from September 27th to October 12th and it has a selection of Japanese films seen at festivals such as Cannes and Udine but there is one new title which hasn’t been picked up by any festival that I have seen thus far. Just like last year, it has a film starring Ai Hashimoto and one directed by Daihachi Yoshida. It’s a good line-up so if you cannot attend Toronto or Fantasia, go see the films here.

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the Vancouver International Film Festival 2018”

Japanese Films at the BFI London Film Festival 2018

This year’s BFI London Film Festival is going to run from October 10th to the 21st and various cinemas across the city will be screenings films from around the world. There are three Japanese films listed and I have brought them together here. The only one I have seen is Of Love and Law and, in an era that is often marked by nationalism, division, and hate, it’s a refreshing and heartwarming film that reminds us there are good people trying to build bridges and protect others. There is also the anime film Mirai from Mamoru Hosoda which looks swell.

Click on the titles to get to the festival page:

Continue reading “Japanese Films at the BFI London Film Festival 2018”

Japanese Films at the Cannes Film Festival 2018 Review Round-Up: Mamoru Hosoda’s “Mirai”

Mamoru Hosoda’s new Mirai no Mirai (Mirai of the Future) was screened at Cannes in the Directors’ Fortnight section and it took a while for a bunch of reviews to be published online but they are there to be discovered and they are all full of praise for the film.


Mirai of the Future Film Image

Mirai of the Future    Mirai of the Future Film Poster

未来のミライ Mirai no Mirai

Running Time: 100 mins.

Release Date: July 20th, 2018

Director:  Mamoru Hosoda

Writer: Mamoru Hosoda (Screenplay/Original Work)

Starring: Haru Kuroki (Mirai-chan), Moka Kamishiraishi (Kun-chan), Gen Hoshino (Father), Koji Yakusho (Father), Kumiko Aso (Mother), Mitsuo Yoshihara (Mysterious Man), Yoshiko Miyazaki (Grandmother)

Animation Production: Studio Chizu

Website ANN MAL

Synopsis: A family living in a small house in a corner of a Yokohama dotes on a spoiled four-year-old boy named Kun-chan. When he gets a little sister named Mirai, he feels that his new sister stole his parents’ love from him. Jealousy and resentment well up until he meets an older version of Mirai, who has come from the future and takes him on an adventure.

As previously written, great plaudits for the film. Universal praise. A lot of focus is placed on Hosoda’s own experiences of being a father in a family where a newborn girl took the attention of the parents away from the elder sibling, a boy, and this dose of reality gives the story its hearty content.  

…Hosoda turns life lessons into an exuberant and enriching story full of intriguing ideas…

…From the very start Hosoda nails the chaos and pure joy of family life.” Katherine McLaughlinSciFiNow

Films based on families are what Hosoda tends to do and he tends to mix human drama with the fantastical to make it palatable. There were unconventional families showing the dedication and beauty of personal connections in Wolf Children, Summer Wars, and The Boy and the Beast. The film is closer to The Girl Who Leapt Through Time since it has time-travel with a coming-of-age story and we have time-travel again with all the familiar themes.

Once Hosoda’s fantastical premise kicks in, Mirai unfolds into an episodic, almost plotless story of a child finding their place in the world, and discovering the responsibilities and relationships that help make up their developing identity.” Michael Leader – Little White Lies

The story sounds simple enough and easy to dive into, much like Hosoda’s other films. The real richness comes from the characters and family dynamics.

The film gets praise for its character design/animation as well as the design of locations such as the house. It shows the care and attention that Hosoda typically puts into his films. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars really capture the imagination with their locations which are so rich with details, well, I have tried on a number of occasions hunting down an old post from a blogger which went into detail about specific rooms and the symbolism of decorations.

“…the character design walks the line with grace between big-eyed anime cutesiness and closely observed realism, capturing with insightful wit the way dogs and kids move and wiggle, especially given the fact that they have different centers of gravity compared to adults. There are also some finely timed slapstick moments, and altogether, the story lasts a comparatively sprightly and pleasant 98 minutes, displaying a brevity that would serve more cartoons from the region well.” Leslie FelperinThe Hollywood Reporter

This film is going to be good!