Mirai Review – The Sister who Leapt Through Time

Mirai no Mirai, shortened to Mirai for western audiences, is a coming of age story of a four year old boy. This boy is named Kun, the first born of a newlywed couple. His first four years on earth is a wonderful experience as everybody fawns over him, spoiling him silly, but things begin to change when his new-born sister usurps his place as the apple of his family’s eye.

Mirai is delicate, an innocent babe that compels everyone to dote on her as babies often do. Kun is peeved by the sudden change in everyone’s behaviours and sets out to prove that him and only him, is worthy of love and affection. The four year old is a brewing cocktail of jealousy and an incident sends him storming to the garden.

There, he encounters a strange guest… and his teenage sister from the future?

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Mamoru Hosoda’s movies make me warm and fuzzy while evoking a waterfall of tears at appropriate moments. I find his movies peculiar because they don’t always involve romance but remain popular with to a wide audience. It doesn’t reach the mega success of Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name, but it has its fans.

The focus of Hosoda’s movies are typically on family, the loss of innocence with age, and loss. Not all of his movies are bangers, but that’s mostly due to personal preference than the quality of the story. My all-time favourite is still Summer Wars, followed by The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Wolf Children.

The last two are below the first because I only watched them once. I can’t do it again. They were so overwhelming sad that when I think about them on occasion, I have to sit down to catch my breath.

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For me, Mirai rests in the middle ground among his movies on par with The Boy and the Beast.

Kun’s sibling rivalry with his sister didn’t capture me as much as I wanted to. It’s not that Hosoda’s intent fails to come through, because it does, but it felt like I like an outsider witnessing events rather than being a part of them. I think my apathy towards those moments can be forgiven given my status as an only child. It doesn’t help that I lack any kind of family rivalry. I have a dog, but he stole everyone’s affections from day one, so it doesn’t count.

Time skips in the movie (both literal and figurative) occasionally fall flat, but it can’t be helped seeing as the plot deals with Kun meeting his sister’s older self. The pacing felt a little awkward because of the back and forth between past and present, but the situations themselves are immensely enjoyable. Actually, some even blew me away. Not all time travelling is done by Mirai!

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The themes of the movie are clearer here than his past movies. In fact, I felt like they were a little too on the nose. Especially towards the end, it felt like the movie was reaching out and smacking me while shouting, “DO YOU GET IT?” As you can tell, it felt a little too heavy handed for my tastes.

Despite my problems with the movie, it’s still definitely worth a watch. If you’re not into family oriented films, Mirai is also still worth your time for its animation alone. It’s a spectacular treat for the eyes with bright colours, detailed set pieces and crisp animation.

7/10

FUTUREEEEE??

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Overlord S2 – Ranting about Lizards

I don’t know if it’s a testament to my luck, but most anime I watch can be considered pretty good. Some might be completely average, but if I enjoy it, it’s time well spent. Looking at the number of series I’ve reviewed since the blog’s inception, it’s extremely rare to see a bad review. But I certainly didn’t expect Overlord of all anime to break that streak. Continue reading “Overlord S2 – Ranting about Lizards”

After the Rain – Love over a cup of coffee

If you watch anime or consume anything from movies to video games, you’d have realised romances portrayed in them aren’t very realistic. They pander to our fantasies and private daydreams. A handsome man, woman, or creature, with a perfect personality and supermodel looks attracted to a plain, faced, absolutely boring nobody who could disappear the next day and not turn up on the missing section of a newspaper until a month later. Wish fulfillment is thy name. Everyone is but a slave to its whims. Continue reading “After the Rain – Love over a cup of coffee”

Made in Abyss – An intimate, mind-blowing, and heart breaking affair

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It’s been a long time since I binged an entire series. I can’t remember when I last did it, which is kind of alarming, but I’m glad I finally broke the dry spell. Gaming took up most of my time, as did writing, and going back to my roots, so to speak, has been quite rejuvenating. The anime under the spotlight this time is none other than the widely praised fantasy anime, Made in Abyss. Continue reading “Made in Abyss – An intimate, mind-blowing, and heart breaking affair”

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid – A bundle of cuteness worth watching

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As a fan of the Yuri or Shoujo-Ai genre I’m always glad to see new anime with such traits becoming popular. It’s an unfortunate fact that people associate yuri or yaoi with hardcore gay sex, but its series like Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid which help assert the fact that not everything in this genre must feature women or men squishing their intimate parts together. Continue reading “Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid – A bundle of cuteness worth watching”

March comes in like a lion – Prepare yourself for this feels train

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I went into this not expecting much but once again, was surprised by the sheer depth and handling of March comes in like a lion. It brings home the point that anime, as a medium, is extremely versatile, and naysayers who insist it is only for children are thoughtless hacks.

This anime might just be one of the best in 2017. I’m surprised how little it’s been mentioned in the sphere of anime youtubers, and I hope someone talks about it soon because it’s looking criminally underrated. Continue reading “March comes in like a lion – Prepare yourself for this feels train”

Detective Conan: The Crimson Love Letter

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Every year, my friend and I go to our local cinema to watch the latest installment of the Detective Conan franchise. We’ve been doing this since 2014, going through the movies whether good or bad.

I entered the cinema with fingers crossed and hoped for the best. After the disaster that was the 20th movie I was cautiously optimistic about this one, and while a small part of me was reluctant to watch it, the squealing fan-girl within me pushed me to give it a chance.

And so fast forward several days later – I can still recall the utter relief that rushed through me when I finished watching The Crimson Love Letter. I left the cinema with an excited smile on my face, mind whirling with thoughts and opinions to prepare for this review. It’s a little depressing to be happy just because the movie didn’t suck, but eh. We’ll just have to wait and see if the movie 22 turns out to be good, so that the spike of dread at each new Detective Conan movie will finally cease.

Story

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The case this time is simple and straightforward, no closed room murder or intricate murder mystery for the viewer to unravel. I think it’s a good thing because instead of getting a complicated mess of a story what we got instead was a simple and solid mystery. The whodunit didn’t become clear to me until they were revealed but more astute watchers might guess who it might be if the manage to piece together the evidence quicker than I could.

The Crimson Love Letter not only gives us a good mystery, it also provides a generous dollop of competitive Karuta – something some anime fans might be familiar with if they watch or read Chihayafuru. Basically, it’s a sport wherein players have to ‘steal’ cards from their opponent’s territory, a one-on-one battle to see who gets the card first. It requires a fast-reflexes and an intimate knowledge of the poems written on the cards, and the first player to get rid of all their cards, win.

A deep understanding of Karuta isn’t necessary but you would enjoy the Karuta battles more if you did, I suppose. The movie does a good job of tying it in with the main plot and character motivations, so I was slightly impressed by that. The inclusion of Heji and Kazuha also served to spice up the regular mystery formula due to the fact Heji’s childhood friend has a role to play in the story as well. Overall, I think the plot was well-paced and kept my interest for the entire runtime.

Characters

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Hattori Heji and Tomoya Kazuha stage an epic return in this movie. I really missed them as it’s been quite a while since they appeared in both the manga and the anime, and as I watched Conan and Hattori bicker like old pals I felt indescribably happy at such a familiar scene.

In contrast to Conan’s rational and sometimes cold personality, Hattori’s hot headedness provides a nice change. He spices up boring exposition scenes and makes the regular doom and gloom of searching for the murderer more enjoyable, and his ‘will they or will they not’ relationship with Kazuha makes The Crimson Love Letter more energetic and humorous. There were many scenes throughout the movie where the chemistry between the two childhood friends were downright intense – you can literally see their affection for each other through every action and remark.

This causes the appearance of the movie’s new character, Ooka Momiji, to have a bigger effect, one of the side plots being that she is ‘engaged’ to Heji due to a childhood promise. This was another aspect of The Crimson Letter that I really liked as it gave the movie a lot more personality, rather than going through the usual tired detective mystery and eventual capture of the suspect.

In many ways, the characters here felt more genuine than those in the last few movies.

Animation

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Editing was on point for this movie, and the creative use of panels from the manga to convey flashbacks was a very nice touch, and honestly, damn impressive. They really stepped up the game for this movie. The animation was consistent with several standout moments, like one scene where Kazuha and Momiji admire their surroundings from a boat. Overall, I have nothing but praise for the animation.

Conclusion

The Crimson Love Letter may not be a return to form, but it does a fine job of reminding DC fans of why they like it in the first place. A solidly written mystery with entertaining characters and impressive animation, you can’t go wrong with this one. Take it from someone who hated the last movie, The Darkest Nightmare. This movie is definitely worth your time.

8/10

A Love letter to the fans