Miss Hokusai Review – Woman who Worked in the Shadow of Her Father

Miss Hokusai AnimeMiss Hokusai isn’t a anime film in my opinion anyone can take pleasure in, but I have no concerns about calling it some sort of work of art. It’s not only a wonderful film overall, the experience it provides in both its characters and its setting are poignant and thought-provoking even though its straight-forwardness, something that can be sadly rare in major feature-length anime releases.

Miss Hokusai comes with neither a main conflict or a linear plot, instead consisting of a few shorter stories that are loosely held together by Oei, the main character of the show. It can be challenging to asses the effectiveness, since there is not really a certain goal that it attempts to obtain, thus no tangible factors to judge it idea against. However, I did think that each part of the movie had something of interest in it, is well-paced, and never seemed pointless.

This Miss Hokusai review will only include:

  • What is Miss Hokusai anime?
  • Miss Hokusai anime film review

Even though being a slice-of-life animated film, Miss Hokusai isn’t a film for children or is it ever intended to be. Instead, it is a really melancholy portrait of the life of the popular Japanese artist Hokusai and his daughter, Oei, and it is noticed through his eyes. But it is not a standard biography, as you only see bits an pieces of one period of Hokusai’s life. If you want to know a lot about the guy, you are far better off reading his biography.

Miss Hokusai Anime


Miss Hokusai Manga
Cover of first volume of Miss Hokusai, reprinted in 1992

Miss Hokusai, or also known as Sarusuberi in Japanese is the historical anime film produced by production I.G. and directed by Keiichi Hara. The film was released on May 9, 2015 in Japan. The film then received its premiere in North America at the Fantasia Internation Film Festival between July 12 and August 5, 2015.

Miss Hokusai itself is based on the historical Japanese manga written and illustrated by Hinako Sugiura of the same name, Sarusuberi. The manga was serialized in Weekly Manga Sunday between 1983 and 1987.

Miss Hokusai was also released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 7, 2017.

Miss Hokusai Anime Film Review


Miss Hokusai Blu-ray
Miss Hokusai (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)
Released on March 7, 2017
$19.99
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Synopsis

The story starts out in Edo in 1814, during the Edo period. Oei is one of the four children of the famous painter, Tetsuzo, who later grew to be known as Hokusai. The film takes place at the moment when Oei reaches adulthood, while her father, aged about 50, has already been a recognized artist in his country. The studio in which they both work is totally messy, she goes to her mother’s place to eat but stays the night in the studio. Tetsuzou is famous for his legendary painting abilities, such as painting the great daruma or two sparrows on a grain of rice. Oei has the ability and obstinacy from her father. She paints regularly at her desk, without placing her signature to her work, so as to complete the orders.

Story

The story is good. it doesn’t have a lot of a focus, but this is to be expected. It features various arcs and has several characters that interact with each other. Yet there is almost never any progress or character development. The characters are natural, yet it isn’t a story. it is a series of events that took place to someone in a chronological order with no theme or message. The only arguable theme may be to stop being afraid of death, yet there is so small focus on it, it can be hardly called that.

Artwork

Even though it is focus on traditional Japanese arts, the art style itself is mediocre. The style is not something I enjoyed, nor is it extremely complicated or beauty. A couple of times some scenes are lacking too much in detail for it to be a film produced in 2015.

Miss Hokusai Artwork

Characters

As a result of lack of a real plot, it is also complicated to asses the film’s characters. Even though there is small development for most of them, it can also be said that they are not truly meant to undergo much development from the outset.

Sound

The soundtrack can only be referred to as unpleasant. For a story set in 1800 in Japan, people would expect a much more traditional soundtrack with minimal electrical sounds. However, the audiences are introduced to the opening scene with an electric guitar as a background sound. I mean, the soundtrack is not just terrible, it is just not fit the theme of the film.

Overall (75/100)

Not all people will have the patience for or the eye in this kind of film, but I would still recommend this Miss Hokusai to fans of historical anime, and slice-of-life shows without moe characters. It can be a beautiful, delicate, intelligence film.

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