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.
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!