Mirai is a 2018 animated film by director Mamoru Hosoda. It was the first anime movie nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the Oscars that was not produced by Studio Ghibli. I thought this movie was very sweet and enjoyable – it shows the struggle of four-year-old Kun to adapt to changes when his new baby sister, Mirai, comes home from the hospital. He is helped by encounters with his dog in human form, a version of Mirai from the future, his late great-grandfather, and his mother as a child. I think Kun’s emotions are universal, and watching a Japanese movie that addresses the pains of growing up can help young children realize that there are commonalities across cultures. At the same time, there are glimpses of Japanese culture in the film. For example, one plot point revolves around Girl’s Day, a Japanese holiday where special dolls depicting the wedding of an emperor and empress are placed as decoration in the home. According to tradition, the dolls must be put away directly after the holiday, or the girl’s marriage will be delayed one year for each day. This can spark a conversation about different holidays and beliefs in other countries. Although there were some scary scenes near the ending, overall I think this is a film that can be used to expose younger students to Japanese culture, both in its story and its different style of movie-making.
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11/24/2020 12:59 AM#1