Written and directed by Mamoru Hosada, Mirai of the Future is a charming story about a 4 year old boy who grows jealous of his newborn baby sister. Fighting for his mother's affection, Kun becomes agitated by his perceived neglect and resents the fact that he is no longer the centre of attention. Angry and confused, Kun stumbles across a magical garden where he meets his future sister, Mirai, and a host of other family members from the past. Through each encounter, Kun begins to learn what it means to be a brother and to cherish the moments he has with his family.
Having previously directed The Boy and the Beast and Wolf Children, Hosada has had plenty of experience when it comes to helming fantasy-driven films that contain a family theme. With his latest venture being more of a grounded affair, there are still fantastical elements sprinkled throughout which manage to sweep the viewer into an imaginative adventure. Written from the perspective of a child, we’re able to see life through Kun’s eyes and witness all of the complicated emotions he goes through. Feelings such as love, jealousy, fear and anger are all prevalent as he tries to make sense of everything that is going on around him.
With family life changing rapidly, his mother and father are busy trying to find a state of equilibrium. As Kun continues to travel through time, his mother and father are going through their own journey of self-discovery. With his mother having given birth and quickly returning to work, it’s up to Kun's father to take more responsibility around the house. Whether it’s cooking, cleaning or looking after the children, it’s clear to see that he's out of his depth and we soon start to realize how much of a big role Kun’s mother plays in everyday family life. Hosada’s script effectively conveys how stressful it can be for everyone involved when bringing up a child, and shows the kind of situations a family has to come up against. By working together and becoming more open with each other they soon start to form a closer bond and gradually learn what it means to be a family.
As Kun travels through time we’re able to see how his family tree has grown over the years and the important events that have taken place. Masakatsu Takagi’s music is the perfect accompaniment for these moments as it perfectly captures the magic and, at times, melancholy of each scenario. Whether it’s meeting his rebellious mother as a child or riding a motorcycle with his grandfather, these scenes are drenched with the sentimental offerings that we’ve come to expect. The animation does a great job at bringing the characters to life and manages to capture the finer details to much success. Whether it’s capturing a child’s walk or a fathers uncertainty, the animation never fails to enrich the characters with personality.
Overall, Mirai of the Future is a film which manages to appeal to the whole family. Funny, heartfelt, and full of emotion, Hosada has created a film which intelligently touches upon parental guilt and childhood fears through a fantasy-driven narrative. A relatable story which is bound to resonate with all who watch, Mirai of the Future shows how childhood can at times be a selfish endeavour.
MIRAI OF THE FUTURE / CERT: PG / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: MAMORU HOSADA / STARRING: MOKA KAMISHIRAISHI, HARU KUROKI , GEN HOSHINO, KUMIKO ASO / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 2ND