Otaku News : UK Edition Otaku News Postcard Campaign
||
Search
 
Advanced Search
\ -
-

\

Edition
World Edition
UK Edition
US Edition
PSP Edition

Site Nav
Main Page
News Categories
DVD Reviews
Manga Reviews
Links We Like
Otaku News Shop

 
Site Info
About Otaku News
FAQ
Wallpaper
Link To Us
Contact Us

UK RSS Feed
RSS Feed Details
 
\

\

Advert Space


 
\
/ \
Sponsored Link: Amazon.co.uk
\ /

/ \
News Categories

> Anime
> Anime > Film
> Culture
> Features
> Production
> Production > Production I.G.

Miss Hokusai Screening Review

Date: Monday 1st February 2016 [13:43] | Posted By: Voxie

Whether I'm reviewing or not, when I go in to watch a new feature film, I try to read up on it as little as possible. With Miss Hokusai, I had only seen the short Japanese trailer (on purpose, so I wouldn't understand everything), and later skimmed the first few paragraphs of the production notes, handed to me when I walked into the screening. What I was expecting was something of a behind-the-scenes, biographical approach to Katsushika Hokusai's life, through his daughter's eyes. But instead I got something a little different.
Full Story
It's the year 1814 and we zoom towards the scenic Ryogoku Bridge in Edo, Japan. We're introduced to 'Miss Hokusai', the famed artist's daughter O-Ei. Unlike your usual fair of young, female anime protagonists, O-Ei comes across as more antagonist - miserable and unfriendly. We follow on to meet her atypical family: her quiet mother, her even quieter father and her sweet little sister. Her famed artist father is Katsushika Hokusai himself. He is a reserved and stern man, now in his 50s and quite well known in Japan at this time. O-Ei acts as his art assistant, often saving the day when that unexpected deadline looms a little too closely. This sounds like a warming father-daughter relationship, but it is far from picture perfect.

Miss Hokusai

While Hokusai himself comes across as the calm and collected artist, O-Ei comes across as cynical and sometimes even scary. This shows mostly towards another resident artist/student of Hokusai's, the drunk Zenjiro. All three artists have their own interests, work ethics and art styles. As we're drawn into their daily lives, I'm amused watching their conflicting personalities in the tiny, cluttered environment that is Hokusai's home. While O-Ei doesn't refer to Hokusai as her dad, Zenjiro rolls in drunk from Edo's red light district) there are also ghosts from paintings to be discovered. But before feeling like a chapter from Ghostbusters, we come to understand the importance of how Hokusai (and art in general) affects the mind.

Miss Hokusai

Being a practising artist myself, I could relate to all the quirks and qualms that come with producing art, let alone something worthy enough to call "your art". Hokusai refers to his daughter being a little too proud of her work, so with that, she won't become a "real artist". Zenjiro on the other hand, can't "see" the world around him, so with that, he won't become a "real artist" either. Whatever being a real artist may mean to you, these opinions come from a man who, in an opening scene, humbly throws away hours of work after it is spoilt by a smidgen of cigarette ash. Historically, Hokusai once wrote that "none of my works done before my seventieth is really worth counting". The man was a perfectionist, a character trait you will truly grasp with this movie.

Miss Hokusai

Going back to who we're following throughout the film, Hokusai's daughter O-Ei has a little sister, O-Nao. Despite O-Ei's cold first impression, O-Nao is the apple of her eye. There are several elements in the story that bring out the warmth in her character, all worth watching for. But what I found most endearing was O-Ei's understanding of the world around us. O-Nao was unfortunately born blind, so we're not only taken on an artistic journey, but also on a compassionate one, which without doubt, would open your "eyes".

Miss Hokusai

To top it off, Production I.G. renders Edo Japan perfectly, from the frumpy clothes to the clunky gallop of clogs. The animation is as beautiful as you would expect from the same studio behind Blood: The Last Vampire and that one animated scene in Kill Bill. Every frame flows like silk, seamlessly into the next, you can almost feel the drop of each kimono, the brushstroke against each sheet of paper, but without being overdone. The movie even seems 'traditional' in a sense. Throughout I felt like I was literally being transported back in time and watching a 90ís anime! For me, the only reminders that this was a modern anime were the 3D bits, which were subtle. That and the interesting choice of having a heavy rocking opening/closing soundtrack (by the wonderful rock/jazz musician, Sheena Ringo).

Miss Hokusai

And for fans of Hokusai's work, there are moments where his style is effortlessly blended into random scenes. These moments are a touching, understated homage to his work, so brief that if you blink, you'll miss them.

What I found most captivating about this film is the underlying message of seeing the world through eyes other than those you see with, as well as that decision-making in producing a piece, the creative process. Miss Hokusai is a mere snapshot of Hokusai's mundane life through his daughter's eyes, which felt like it ended too soon and left me wanting so much more.

But as an afterthought, after being taken through that fleeting, clutter-creating art process, the "mindfulness", the subtle homages to Hokusai's art style, and then finally coming to the film's moreish aftertaste... I am left sitting humbly, reminded of our mortality and the ever-passing of life itself. Perhaps that was its point.

Rating: 9/10

Miss Hokusai is screening around the country as part of the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2016. The JFTFP website lists all the venues showing the film.

If you can't catch it in the cinema Miss Hokusai will be released on 31st March 2016 on DVD, Blu-ray and Collector's Edition Blu-ray by Anime Limited.

If you're curious to know more about who Miss Hokusai really was, you'll be interested in our article Katsushika O-Ei - The Real Miss Hokusai.

Otaku News

\ /

/

Recent News
Fireworks UK Anime Cinema Screening Reminder
An Interview with Toshimichi Mori of Arc System Works
An Interview with Katsura Sunshine
Ronja The Robber's Daughter UK Blu-ray and DVD Release Details
An Interview with Little Witch Academia Creators
Perfect Blue UK Halloween Cinema Screening Review
ReedPOP Acquires UK MCM Comic Con
Fireworks UK Anime Cinema Screening Details
Your Name DVD Competition
Little Witch Academia Creators to Appear at MCM London Comic Con October 2017

Recent DVD Reviews

One Punch Man Collection 1
One Punch Man Collection 1
Digimon Adventure Tri
Nisekoi: False Love (Season 2 Complete)
Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions - Heart Throb (Blu-ray)
When Marnie Was There
Sound Euphonium! (Streaming 1-14)
Golden Time Part 2 (Blu-ray)
Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie
Terror In Resonance (Blu-ray)
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU (Season 1)

DVD Review Archive

Recent Manga Reviews

The Birth of Kitaro
The Birth of Kitaro
One-Punch Man - Volume 1
A Bride's Story - Volume 2
Atomcat
The Book of Human Insects
PINK
Tokyo Cycle Girl
Shiawase Restaurant - Volume 1
A Bride's Story - Volume 1
Breathe Deeply

Manga Review Archive

Links We Like
Maliki
Helen McCarthy's Blog
Lego Howl's Moving Castle
DannyChoo.com
Emma Vieceli's Workblog
Jet Arts
AnnaTheRed's Bento Factory
Tokyo Mango

Link Archive

Links
Essential Reading
Nausicaa.net
Anime News Network
ICv2
Pirate Anime FAQ
Otaku Calendar

WebComics
AppleGeeks
Johnny Wander
MegaTokyo
Nemu-nemu
Three Panel Soul

UK Sites
Anime UK News
BritAnime
UK-Anime.net

US Dead Tree Magazines
Giant Robot
Otaku USA
Shonen Jump

UK Dead Tree Magazines
Neo Magazine
MYM

UK Anime Companies
Anime Limited
Manga Entertainment UK
MVM

Manga Publishers
Dark Horse Comics
GEN Manga
Kodansha Comics
Vertical
Viz
Yen Press

UK DVD Retailers
Amazon.co.uk
HMV
Play
Sendit

Import Retailers
Amazon.com
Animaxis
CD Japan
DVD Pacific
J-List
Play-Asia
Tokyo Otaku Mode

UK Focused Importers
Otaku.com
Otaku.co.uk
United Publications
 
\
/ \
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
Everything Else ©2002-2017 Otaku News