Mamoru Hosodas fifth animated feature Mirai may seem a bit more small scale compared to his earlier movies such as The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Summer Wars and Wolf Children but its no less mesmerizing. To anyone unfamiliar with these aforementioned films I do recommend them highly theyre all magnificent movies almost the equivalent of Hayao Miyazakis work. Mirai isnt quite that but its the next best thing. The film tells the story of a pampered little boy named Kun used to his parents catering to him all the time. So much so that when he gets a new sister Mirai which means future his parents start neglecting him and of course he gets jealous. He behaves like any kid in his situation would. He throws tantrums he bawls he says nasty things and at one point even throws one of his toy trains at his sister. Your attitude stinks says another character in the film quite accurately. At the peak of every outburst he flees into the garden where a tree is growing at which point the scene changes to a different location where he meets members of his family when they were younger including the pet dog as well as most mysterious of all his new sister as a teenager. These close encounters send Kun on flashback journeys where he must learn to be more appreciative and caring and stop acting like a spoiled brat. In a way this is sort of like A Christmas Carol for 4 year olds but not feeling dumbed down in the least. Hosoda handles this story with just the right touch of tangibleness as well as his occasional trademark moments of surrealism. However badly Kun behaves he remains a very relatable character throughout in fact this might be the most realistic portrayal of any such boy Ive ever seen in any animated feature. And of course the animation as mentioned is nothing short of gorgeous complete with a mix of CGI and handpainted backgrounds a rarity in animated films these days... even in Japan. Hosoda laments how rare this style of background art is becoming and is quite vocal for its support and rightly so. MIRAI is also a surprisingly funny film one scene in which Kun and two new friends of his have to put away some dolls without Dad in the room suspecting in particular is hilarious. Theres even a brief episode in which Kun tries to ride a bike for the first time without training wheels The results go as well as youd expect resulting in yet another outburst as well as a visitation after which he gets a second chance. Theres even a frightening climax at a train station although I dare not reveal more about it at the risk of spoiling the story. If youre a fan of Japanese animated features and Hosodas work in general Mirai should be a great one to check out. Its accessible to children and adults and easily superior to many other Western animated features released in 2018 notably the overbloated Ralph Breaks The Internet. It deserved its Oscar nomination. Adding to an already great movie is an even better dub provided by the folks at NYAV Post with top notch directing by the always reliable Mike Sinterniklaas and script adaptation by the similarly talented Stephanie Sheh. This dub like the similarly grand DisneyGkidsGhibli dubs features a cast of noteworthy names such as John Cho Rebecca Davis and Daniel Day Kim. Surprisingly too Crispin Freeman yes that Crispin Freeman has a brief cameo and its always a pleasure to hear him. The real triumph of the dub is as per usual in a NYAV Post the casting of the kids. Young Jaden Waldman does an absolutely excellent job at rendering Kun effectively conveying his mood swings and giving him a lot of appeal in spite of this characters sometimes unlikable personality. Only issue is that he screams a bit too much but on the other hand it makes sense considering the circumstances. Ive always appreciated hearing children voice children as evidenced in my praise of the dub for Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water and its a pleasure to see that there are dubs doing this practice today Mirai being one of them. The lipsync is also spot on with well timed and written dialogue a difficult task for any scriptwriter but its done well here. Mirai marks yet another glorious achievement for Hosoda all the more so because he bases it on a personal story. Its often been said that some of the more inspiring features sing best when the writers write from their own experiences. This is no exception. I look forward to seeing what this director does next.
96 /100
7 out of 15 users liked this review