The success of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time makes Mamoru Hosoda a Japanese anime director who draws the most attention. Every new work of Hosoda attracts ardent response domestically and internationally. His latest anime Mirai no Mirai released last year won Japan Academy Prize for Animation of The Year and was nominated at several famous international awards. Hosoda’s Mirai no Mirai is the animation public looking forward to most on the 9th Beijing International Film Festival.
The successive successes of The Girl Who Leapt Time and Summer War and Summer Wars gave higher reputations for Hosoda in Japanese animation. It’s not an easy work to create an anime of transcendent artistry and gross satisfactory box office income it deserves. So Hosoda’s achievements bring him the praise as “the successor of Hayao Miyazaki”. Mirai no Mirai was nominated for Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. It is the first anime film not from Studio Ghibli to receive an Academy Award nomination in the category. The nomination is the evidence of international approval of Hosoda’s anime.
Audiences enjoy Hosoda’s imaginative fantasy, pithy fighting scene, and are moved by the vivid family of refined details. But Mirai no Mirai is different from his former works narrative feature. There is no furious fighting under grand background, or imagination of dazzling scene. He zoomed into daily of a plain ordinary family.
It is not an action anime to enjoy with ecstatic excitement and the protagonist is not restless adolescence. It features a four-year-old boy. So the young audience of anime may not resonate with this film.
Actually, the film is based on Hosoda’s own family. Several years ago his second child was born. And his elder son got to have temper tantrum frequently because he was jealous of the attention that his parents were giving his sister. “Such a little boy has gotten the consciousness of being threatened.” Hosoda sighed, “This is the feeling down of love in one’s early life.” Hosoda's curiosity with how his son reacted, and how he would adapt to being a big brother, prompted him to make the protagonist of Mirai four years old.
Hosoda also said that he was also inspired by a Chinese director Edward Yang’s film Yi Yi. To present the atmosphere of a real life, Hosoda gave up lots of fantasy scene he was good at. The only surrealistic premise is the tree that leads the protagonist to cross time. Fantasy in the film becomes a supplementary method to reinterpret the theme instead of a simple demonstration of imagination.