A young boy, jealous of his new baby sister, encounters a magical
garden that allows him to travel through time and meet his relatives.
Written and Directed by Mamoru Hosoda
Starring Moka Kamishiraishi, Haru Kuroki, Gen Hoshino,
Kumiko Aso, Mitsuo Yoshihara
Oscar Nominations - Best Animated Film
Mirai, like many Japanese movies aimed primarily at children, deals with very heavy themes that are going to go way over most kids' heads. Jealousy, life and death, conscience, bullet trains. Heavy stuff. But I believe introducing these big life topics at an early age can be healthy for a child's development. On the other side, grown-up viewers will surely take more from this movie. It's not a Studio Ghibli film, but it has a similar style and vibe. Anyone who enjoys Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle would surely enjoy Mirai.
Kun (Kamishiraishi) is a young boy who has all his parents' affection. But when they bring home his new baby sister Mirai, everything changes. He gets ignored. He's no longer the baby, and he didn't sign up for this. He grows resentful of his sister, and actively tries to hurt her. The kid is a bit of a shit, but he gets better, I promise. Turns out his garden is magical, allowing him to talk to his dog, visit his future sister (Kuroki), and meet his great-grandfather. Each visit helps him grow up a little bit more, sort of like a Japanese Christmas Carol. The animation is gorgeous and the story is very personal. You can tell.
Mirai came from the writer/director's son's reaction to seeing his baby sister for the first time. You don't see films about children that deal with very real things children do, like plotting to murder the new baby. Hell, I remember trying to convince my grandparents to leave my new baby cousin in the woods because I didn't want another kid around when I was two. Kids are weird and selfish, and that's the heart of this movie.