All Hosoda films are simple family dramas wrapped in really anime fantasy packages. But Mirai is the smallest film. In comparison, we have to jump back to 2006 through the film The Girl Who Leap Through Time, the most domestic taste of all Hosoda films, and Mirai is much more domestic than that. The story is only struggling in a simple little family. Point, no where else. But since this is a Hosoda film, it is naturally natural that miracles will happen later and time will be deflected.
Maybe it’s because we only see from the point of view of the main character who is a 4-year-old boy. For such children, family is indeed the whole universe. His name is Kun (voiced by Moka Kamishiraishi). As an only child, Kun felt he was the center of the universe; the only people he and his mother pay attention to (Gen Hoshino and Kumiko Aso). Until then Kun arrived a sister named Mirai.
Kun tries to get tired of toys, crying, screaming, screaming while crying, but father and mother pay more attention to Mirai. Especially when the mother has to go back to work. The father must carry out double obligations; working at home (by the way, father is an architect) and caring for two children. Kun was increasingly ignored. So, Mirai means the enemy. And throwing enemies with toys is not taboo.
Really, this looks like any young family that has fussy children. Errors, all of his young families must be fussy. In his earlier, more ambitious film, the Hosoda proved to have the skills to provide a spectacular sequence of actions. And in this film, he successfully presents simple and intimate family dynamics. We can feel how warm this little family is.
Well, the miracle I said was here: in the middle of the house, there is a garden that can bring Kun adventuring across space and time. Here Kun meets several people from different times. The first is his dog, Yukko (Mitsuo Yoshihara) who apparently can turn into a human. Next, a middle school kid who turns out to be Mirai from the future (Haru Kuroki). Then, a mysterious macho man (Masaharu Fukuyama) who invites Kun on a horse and motorcycle. And a girl of the same age as Kun who hooked up was home.
It is not explained whether this really happened or just Kun’s imagination. The hosoda packs it in a dreamy sequence. It really doesn’t feel like something real kids can imagine at that age. But the point is through this encounter Kun got a big growing lesson from various generations in his family. There is an amazing scene in the climax where Kun gets lost in a giant station. He managed to meet the station officer robot, but was threatened to be brought to the loneliness because he could not remember any of the names of his family members.
Hosoda, who this time produced films only with his own studio, Chizu Studio filled Mirai with very very adorable details. The animation is bright, sharp and beautiful. Every detail of character movements is very noticed, and the behavior of the little ones in this film really feels natural. The house of this family is a distinctive character that is strongly tied to Kun, and he is depicted with clear geography. This minimalist modern house feels very warm, making us feel at home for a long time there.
Although the story is based on children’s glasses, I don’t know whether Mirai will really appeal to them in terms of essence. Of course, children will enjoy the funny pictures and animations, but their warm messages about the family will probably not be fully captured. I feel that this film is more a throwback to former children who want to reminisce about childhood. He reminded us again of how valuable the family is in a simple but very touching way.