Released in 2018, “Miraï, my little sister” was a great critical success around the world. If its director Mamoru Hosoda was not very surprised to obtain praise in Europe, it was much more when the plebiscite came from the United States.
Miraï, my little sister : the work of a genius
From a Western point of view, we sometimes tend to believe that Japanese animation only stops at Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki. Yet japanimation is full of talented directors. We saw it in 2016 with Makoto Shinkai who turned the world upside down with Your Name. And we could see it in 2018 with Mamoru Hosoda and his film Miraï, my little sister.
The Japanese director is far from being a novice in this field. Indeed, Hosoda already has a 28-year career under his belt. Rejected by Ghibli in his early days, he subsequently joined the famous Japanese studio of Toei Animation, for which he participated in the animation of several flagship cartoons such as Dragon ball z, Slam dunk and Sailor moon. He even made his first films thanks to the studio with Digimon the movie, Digimon Adventure: Bokura no Uō Gēmu! and One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island.
However, during the 2000s, he experiences a new disillusion with Ghibli since he is fired from the project The Howl’s Moving Castle, due to artistic differences. This failure will however boost him, allowing him to stage films very different from those of the studio managed by Miyazaki. He thus knows success with feature films The Crossing of Time, Summer Wars, The Wolf Children, Ame and Yuki and The Boy and the Beast. Internationally recognized, every Hosoda film is now expected. This was notably the case in 2018 for Miraï, my little sister.
On the way to the Oscars
Miraï, my little sister follows Kun, a 4-year-old boy who lives a happy childhood with his parents. However, his existence is turned upside down when Miraï, her little sister, comes into the world. Jealous of no longer being the center of attention, he begins to regularly spend his days in his garden. It is then that he finds himself propelled into a strange world where he meets his sister from the future, his dog transformed into a human being, but also his great-grandfather.
Already selected during the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival, Mamoru Hosoda especially had the honor of seeing his film be nominated for the Oscar for best animated film in 2019. An appointment that he himself struggled to explain, at the microphone of BFMTV :
I didn’t expect Americans to like it. I thought they were not going to understand my film at all, which is far from Hollywood canons. It is a film in which the main characters are children and yet there is no adventure story. There are no scenes of action, of catastrophes, nothing spectacular. I thought Americans didn’t like these kinds of movies where nothing happened. This is why, very spontaneously, when I presented the film, I warned the spectators so as not to disappoint them. Finally, Americans really liked the family relationship, the love parents have for their children. I realized that I had prejudices about Americans.
Finally, Miraï, my little sister was not rewarded (capped by Spider Man: Into The Spider-Verse), corn the selection for the Oscars was already a great victory for the director.
Hosoda fan of Disney?
In the rest of the interview, Mamoru Hosoda notes that his film Miraï, my little sister had as contestants at the Oscars two Disney animated films: The Incredibles 2 and Ralph 2.0. The presence of these films questioned him about the place of animation cinema today. A reflection that echoes an interview he had at Telerama, and in which he was ironic in talking about Disney. Indeed, after indicating that he wanted to make films that spoke to everyone without falling into the Disney style, the director took the explanation further:
I have a very critical view of how Disney dominates the world in terms of marketing. With animation, they did exactly the same as the United States with flour: they exported it everywhere! Still, I have a lot of respect for Disney works, and I particularly admire some of them, like The beauty and the Beast that I have seen at least a hundred times.