Summer is just around the corner and children will be off from school soon. Hiking, camping, going to the beaches or theme parks… there are many fun events awaits everyone. If your summer becomes busy, however, why not enjoy some Japanese animation film masterpieces ever created for a quiet, down time! Let’s take a look of the master director Mamoru Hosoda’s four masterpieces.
#1. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Photo Credit: kadokawa.co.jp
40 years since Yasutaka Tsutsui wrote the original “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” story, it has been converted into movies and TV dramas, but in 2006, it was converted into an animation film written by Satoko Okudera and directed by Mamoru Hosoda. Just like it encouraged girls to dream about future 40 years ago, this remake also brings its audience a world of summer adventure as the main character Makoto, a 17-year-old high school girl, leaps through time.
Makoto first discovered the power to time leap because of an accident at the railroad crossing she encountered on her bicycle. Ever since, Makoto has learned how to control her special power. She eventually is able to time leap to the past as she wishes. But, it is hard to say whether or not her power to time leap is a curse or a blessing. Makoto starts to time leap to the past in order to “fix” certain situations, which would end up creating more mess of the situations instead.
You can travel through time with Makoto as you watch her literally runs through the town as she time leaps. Enjoy this science fiction romance film this summer!
#2. Summer Wars
Photo Credit: s-wars.jp
On August 1, 2009, another masterpiece of director Mamoru Hosoda was added to Japanese animation films. “Summer Wars” with a catch phrase of “This is a new war!” was released.
This is a story of a high school boy who saves the world by fixing a virtual world. Main character Kenji Koiso is a shy, nerdy 17-year-old who almost won a spot in the Japan team for the Math Olympic, which is still one of his deep disappointments.
In the summer of his junior year in high school, Kenji ends up landing on a summer job at his senior, Natsuki Shinohara’s hometown in Ueda, Nagano Prefecture. It was there Kenji found out that his “summer job” was to pretend to be Natsuki’s fiancee, which was followed by a series of unexpected events that they will never forget.
The crisis started with an email Kenji received that was filled with rows of numbers and an instruction to “solve it.” Without thinking much, Kenji actually solved the math problem, which was actually the password for the virtual world “Zero” and therefore, he unlocks the whole chain of chaos. Fortunately, with the help from Natsuki’s big family, Kenji was able to solve the problem, averting the world crisis at the end. Join Kenji and Natsuki and her huge family to unlock this mystery this summer!
#3. Wolf Children
Photo Credit: ookamikodomo.jp
“Wolf Children” is another Mamoru Hosoda’s masterpiece. It was released on July 21st, 2012. Following its release in Japan, it was also released in five other countries : Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Spain, and Thailand by the end of 2012.
This story portraits a widowed single mother and her two special children. A 19-year-old girl, Hana met and fell in love with a Japanese werewolf. Then she gave birth to two children, a daughter (Yuki) and a son (Ame). But the werewolf died of a car accident right after Ame was born, leaving Hana to raise her two young half-human half-wolf children herself.
Because both Yuki and Ame can turn into wolves, in order to protect them, Hana decided to move away from the city and raise them in a remote village. The story unfolds as Yuki and Ame struggle to find their own identities and choose the path that belong to them as they grow. Hana, on the other hand, has to learn to let go and let her children go on their own paths that they chose.
Cuddle with your love ones and get a box of kleenex ready to enjoy this heart warming, love story between a mother and her two children that will guarantee to touch your heart this summer.
#4. The Boy and the Beast
Photo Credit: bakemono-no-ko.jp
Following the previous three masterpieces, “The Boy and the Beast” is Mamoru Hosoda’s 4th masterpiece, which was also the very first animation film nominated in the competition category at the 63rd San Sebastián International Film Festival in Spain in September, 2015.
The story of “The Boy and the Beast” takes place in Shibuya, Tokyo where there is a world of monsters (Shibutengai) connected to the human world. Ren, also known as Kyuta in the film, is a lonely 9-year-old boy who lost his mother to a car accident. After his parents divorced, he was separated from his father and with his mother’s passing, Ren was left alone to live in this world.
As he wonders around the street alone, he runs into Kumatesu, a monster that looks like a bear, who is looking for someone to disciple. Although Ren lost a sight of Kumatestu, he accidentally finds his way into Shibutengai and ultimately becomes Kumatestu’s disciple. As Kumatetsu disciples Ren for the next 8 years, their relationship becomes more like that of a father and a son. The story takes a turn, however, when Kyuta finds his way back to the human world. Take some time to watch “The Boy and the Beast” this summer and find out about how this story between the two different worlds end.