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Mirai of the Future The World of Mamoru Hosoda

What does the future hold for Japanese animation? Mamoru Hosoda perhaps offers an answer. He is […] Read more

What does the future hold for Japanese animation? Mamoru Hosoda perhaps offers an answer. He is the acclaimed director who creates “Mirai” (meaning: the future) – literally, it’s his latest anime which champions an unparalleled achievement for being the first Japanese animated work ever to receive a world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival; in a broader vision, it represents the promise of a new hope for the Japanese tradition of hand-drawn animation.

His path to success is not a straight line, though. Missing opportunities at Studio Ghibli and dropping out of the production of Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) turned out to be blessings in disguise; the door to an unknown magical world is already opening up for him. Life’s tough experiences are transformed into inspiration and motivation, leading to his directiorial debut feature anime, ONE PIECE: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island (2005). His most acclaimed work, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), awe audiences and critics alike for its creative mix of sci-fi and puppy love in a contemporary twist, and places him under global attention as one of Japan’s leading anime directors.

While keeping alive the fundamentals of animation as an art, Hosoda creates his own distinctive brand of whimsical fantasy and imaginative adventure. Summer Wars (2009), as well as Wolf Children (2012) and The Boy and the Beast (2015) – both produced under his own animation house, Studio Chizu – further establish his signature style: a strong sense of family ties and friendships, and the growth to greater maturity through perseverance. Highly symbolic of his own life’s path, the way his characters overcome difficulties to reach final vindication offers audiences hope and courage beyond mere entertainment.

“I’m striving to do better from one movie to the next,” Hosoda said when talking about Mirai . For a talented director who is adamant in blazing a new path, we can expect more amazing surprises to come in the future.

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