Friday, 12 April 2013

Hosoda Mamoru: Beautiful and Enchanting Anime

Hosoda Mamoru has directed a handful of animated films including two belonging to the Digimon franchise and one of the One Piece series but it is for his three most recent films that he best known, at least here in the West.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time/時をかける少女 (2006)Summer Wars/サマーウォーズ (2009) and Wolf Children/おおかみこども雨と雪 (2012) are three enchanting and touching stories.

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The Girl Who Leapt Through Time tells the story of Makoto, a teenage schoolgirl who discovers that she can leap backwards through time and change events. As she battles with her grades and other high school concerns she also struggles to understand her new found powers and the best way to use them.


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In Summer Wars Kenji and Natsuki battle online for the safety of the world against the backdrop of Natsuki's extended family and their problems and secrets, the story is at heart one of family values and tradition.


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Wolf Children follows Hana as she struggles to decide how best to raise her two young children alone after the death of their father, an issue made all the more complex by the fact that he was a wolfman and his children have inherited their father's wild nature.


In each of Hosoda's films the magical and fantastical is blended with the everyday and stories of real life emotion and social issues. They are touching and enchanting without being too sacharine-sweet. The animation of all three films is breathtakingly beautiful, at times strikingly realistic at other times simple and cute. Hosoda's films have been compared to those Ghibli director Miyazaki Hayao and fans of Japan's most famous animated exports will enjoy these films too. Personally I loved these films and felt that they showed just what the medium of anime is capable of when it comes to storytelling.

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