Miss Hokusai (2016) review

Updated on October 24, 2016
The official US one-sheet theatrical poster for "Miss Hokusai."
The official US one-sheet theatrical poster for "Miss Hokusai." | Source

Effortlessly Captures the Beauty of Art

Katsushika Hokusai was a Japanese artist from Edo (now Tokyo), Japan. As an ukiyo-e painter, he is known best for creating the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which includes the influentially renowned piece The Great Wave off Kanagawa. Miss Hokusai is an anime film based on Hokusai’s life (referred to mostly as Tetsuzo throughout the film) told from the perspective of his daughter O-Ei, who was also a very talented artist who followed in her father’s footsteps.

From director Keiichi Hara (Colorful, Summer Days with Coo), a screenplay written by Miho Maruo (Tottoko Hamutaro), and the anime studio Production I.G. (the studio behind the Ghost in the Shell franchise, FLCL, Attack on Titan, and many other amazing anime titles), Miss Hokusai is an anime film based on the Japanese historical manga series of the same name by Hinako Sugiura. The manga includes a series of unconnected short stories, so the anime follows a similar pattern. Keiichi Hara made the decision for the anime film to revolve around Hokusai’s daughter O-Ei since her role expanded as the manga series moved forward. The film also includes original sequences not included in the manga.

A look at the workspace of O-Ei and Tetsuzo in "Miss Hokusai."
A look at the workspace of O-Ei and Tetsuzo in "Miss Hokusai." | Source

“With two brushes and four chopsticks, we’ll get by anywhere.”

O-Ei and her father are peculiar individuals. They’re both extremely talented artists with impressive followings, but their lives are wholly and completely devoted to their craft. They don’t cook or clean and they tend to just move on if their living situation gets too messy. O-Ei lives in her father’s shadow and she’s sick of everything that comes with that; living up to his reputation, her work constantly being compared to his, and people expecting a certain result out of her that she may or may not live up to. She’s also completely disillusioned with her father’s public reputation. O-Ei has a younger sister named O-Nao who is extremely sick and cursed with blindness. Tetsuzo refuses to have anything to do with O-Nao, which angers O-Ei and it seems like she tries to spend as much time as possible with O-Nao to make up for her father’s ignorance.

The biographical animated film has a loose storytelling style since the stories it’s based on have little to no connection to one another. While the narrative may feel a bit aimless at times, Miss Hokusai is bridged together by its deep understanding of how poignant art as a whole can be. The film dives into the art behind the art form of painting and creating art. There’s a natural beauty behind painting dragons with a particular mindset the artist has to be in in order for it to come out properly, there’s more craftsmanship and respect found in creating erotica than you may think, different art styles are incorporated throughout the film (the hand story), various forms of computer generation (the boat ride under the bridge, the town as O-Ei runs through it to catch a glimpse of the firemen at work) seamlessly blend with traditional animation, and even the sound is tweaked in a way that makes you understand how O-Nao views the world (snow absorbing sound, wooden shoes clip-clopping against the ground).

Tetsuzo paints a dragon as O-Ei looks on in "Miss Hokusai."
Tetsuzo paints a dragon as O-Ei looks on in "Miss Hokusai." | Source

This artistic journey won’t appeal to everyone. Most stories are bridged together by a painting gig, the love of two sisters, or the competition one faces as an artist. You fall in love with the dog that sticks around despite the cold behavior of Tetsuzo and O-Ei, but while chronological the storyline becomes secondary to the art this family creates and the impact it leaves on Japan and beyond not only in 1814 but in the modern day. This is the type of experience that is meant to trigger that little switch inside of you that inspires you to create something if you’re gifted with the talent to do so. If you look at Miss Hokusai from that wondrous perspective, then it absolutely succeeds on every level.

Tetsuzo's daughter O-Ei in "Miss Hokusai."
Tetsuzo's daughter O-Ei in "Miss Hokusai." | Source

Miss Hokusai is presented as a freshly finished painting on the verge of becoming a masterpiece. Art, in general, is a reflection of the artist, what they see, and how they feel. Individuals who see their surroundings at face value only go so far. Imagination is essential to progressing as an artist. A wandering mind travels farther than one that stays stagnant. This is the type of film that will likely speak more to someone who has the urge to create something artistic or is talented in the craft in some capacity. Miss Hokusai bleeds style and grace from every frame to the extent that you can almost smell the ink as it’s pressed to a paper canvas. Life is art and art is life. If you don’t believe that, then this isn’t your type of film. For the imaginative and the admirers of the fantastical, Miss Hokusai is purely and spectacularly a work of art.

Zenjiro (right) and his canine counterpart in "Miss Hokusai."
Zenjiro (right) and his canine counterpart in "Miss Hokusai." | Source
4 stars for Miss Hokusai (2016)

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)