Tag Archives: Summer Wars

“Belle” and Mamoru Hosoda

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It was announced recently that Mamoru Hosoda would be premiering his next film in Japanese theaters come 2021. As this article from Variety explains, “Paris-based sales company Charades is set to reteam with Japanese auteur Mamoru Hosoda on his next directorial outing, ‘Belle.'” The article also explains that the movie will follow a female lead and interaction within the virtual world of “U.” (Note: The Japanese title is “Ryu to Sobakasu no Hime,” which in English would be “The Dragon and the Freckled Princess.”

While this will probably already be old news by the time this post comes out, I want to take today just to celebrate this new film and Mamoru Hosoda.

Now, while he never started there, Mamoru Hosoda has slowly become one of my favorite directors of all time. His works like “The Girl Who Lept Through Time,” “Mirai,” “The Boy and the Beast,” and “Summer Wars” have slowly become some of my most cherished first time viewing experiences. On top of that, all of these films have a the sort of timeless feel that radiates from a lot of Hayao Miyazaki’s and Ghibli’s work.

After the release of his latest smash hit “Weathering with You,” There was a point in which people were starting to wonder whether which of Makoto Shinkai or Mamoru Hosoda would be considered Miyazaki’s successor. While it is certainly a fun conversation to have, ultimately I do not think it does any good to pit to great directors against each other. Still, if I had to pick one…it would probably be Hosoda.

While Shinkai does a great job at capturing feelings of youth and romance, it is rare that his films are ever grounded in any kind of substance. In fact, “Weathering With You” was probably the closest he has come so far, and even then the themes about Climate Change and the need to act are kind of secondary.

Hosoda and Miyazaki, meanwhile, do a lot to work substance into their films at nearly every turn. Miyazaki is a lot more concerned with the environment and the need to protect it, while Hosoda tends to focus on the idea of how we interact online and the need for family. For a good example of how he deals with both these themes at the same time, I would highly recommend watching his 2010 film “Summer Wars.”


“Summer Wars” actually has a pretty similar storyline to “Belle,” at least from what is known so far, with the only major difference being the gender of the main character, though knowing Hosoda, this will probably matter quite a bit.

The internet, while having been around now for around a generation, is still a complex web of interwoven communities existing both separately and often within the same spaces. Looking at nearly any popular social media site will give a good example of this. Even here on my own website, while I am usually the only person who writes on it, there are still people like you who are reading, commenting, interacting, sharing, etc.

All of this rambling aside, Mamoru Hosoda has come a long way since his days directing “Digimon: The Movie,” and while it is clearly to early to say anything definitively, his next film will likely end up being a powerful statement about the nature of communication online, and I for one am extremely excited.

How do you feel about Mamoru Hosoda? Do you think he is a better director than Shinkai? Let me know in the comments below.

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Reflecting on the Works of Mamoru Hosoda

While Makoto Shinkai has been sprung to the forefront of the anime directing world the recent massive success of Your Name, my school winter break was filled with two of the works from a director that often gets brought up alongside Shinkai: Mamoru Hosoda.

The first of those works that I watched was The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, the story of a girl who, quite literally, leaps through time. One day she is cleaning up her classroom and hears a noise coming from the chemistry lab. She then gets scared by a shadowy figure, falls on her back, and before she knows it, is traveling through time.

The stories main lead Makoto is, of course, the center of all this. At first, she uses her newfound powers for benign things, like going back a day so that she could enjoy the pudding that her sister ate without her permission, but as the emotional stakes of the story increase, her priorities in how she uses the power change. This all builds up to the climax of the story which, I’ll be honest, I felt a bit lukewarm about.

On one hand, her friend also being a time traveler was a really great twist ending, and the fact that the writing drops hints of this early on. On the other hand, though, the motivations established for why he comes back are a bit too abstract for the movie’s feel. It tries to go in a more arthouse direction, but the rest of the movie kind of clashes with it.

The other movie I watched this break was The Boy and the Beast, the tale of an orphan boy who discovers an alternate world in which animals live in their own society after running away from home. This boy, Kyuta, is then taken in by Kametetsu, a warrior who has been training to take over the position of ruler of the land when the current ruler becomes reincarnated into a god.

While I might have enjoyed The Girl Who Leapt Through Time more, It’s fair to say that The Boy and the Beast is overall a better movie. It has a great eye for background and details in both the human world and the animal society, and its animation is also much more lively.

The Boy and the Beast also enjoys a much more developed set of characters in Kyuta and Kametetsu. Their interactions are always either funny or heartwarming, and the attention to detail in their character is some of the best from an anime movie in a while.

I am also glad to say that I have seen both of his other feature films, Summer Wars and Wolf Children, both of which are also worth a watch if you haven’t seen them.

Wolf Children

Summer Wars

After watching a most or all of both men’s discography, I can honestly say that I much prefer Mamoru Hosoda overall. While Shinkai may have a similar cinematic feel to Miyazaki, Hosoda’s films all usually have strong characters and themes revolving around family.

When watching a Hosoda film, I can feel the intimacy between the characters much more than in Shinkai’s works, whose films sometimes feel overproduced. Hosoda’s films are much better for feelings of loneliness, or worse depending on your reaction.

I also look forward to seeing his upcoming film Mirai to the Future, which, based on the trailer, looks like it could go a lot of different places. Much love for that man and his wonderful films.

P.S. probably gonna do a review of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time after I rewatch it cause I have a lot more to say about that movie.

Thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!