The Mamoru Hosoda Collection is an anime box set filled with some of the best non Studio Ghibli anime films to date. Consisting of The Boy and the Beast, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Wolf Children and Summer Wars, below is a brief breakdown of what I thought of each film.
The Boy and the Beast
The Boy and the Beast is a film which is unexpectedly charming and entertaining. Set in two different realms, the wonderful and magical world of the Beast Kingdom, and our present day world, the film tells the tale of the young runaway, Ren, who is taken in and raised by anthropomorphic animals.
The film is a magnificent tale of bonds, friendships, strength and love that will tug at your heart and make you both laugh and cry as you become invested in the characters and their development. The Boy and the Beast is truly an animated film that brings to the forefront the core values that all creatures should possess and is a reminder to us all to appreciate those who are good to us and be kind to others.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
This film has an interesting premise, following the main character, Makoto, who gains the ability to go back in time. Being a typical teenager with no concept of there being consequences to her actions, Makoto continually uses her ability to prevent undesirable events from occurring, such as being late, or having one of her best friends confessing their love for her.
Her flippant attitude toward using her newfound ability inadvertently costs her as those who are close to her suffer the consequences of her childish antics. Her response is heartfelt and we truly come to feel for her as a character.
This film is light hearted and entertaining but still manages to teach us the important lesson of being generous and not wasting our precious time away with silly, childish pursuits, as time, once its gone, can never be regained.
Wolf Children is a film that managed to leave me speechless and a little confused. The anime film follows Hana, a young woman who marries a ‘wolf-man’ and raises her two ‘wolf children’ out in the secluded countryside, after his death, in order to give her children the opportunity to be themselves.
While the film is focused on how Hana copes with raising children who are both human and animal, the film essentially explores the notion of coming of age, individuality and acceptance of one’s self.
Told in a feel-good manner, the film does have its warm and fuzzy moments, though as a whole, viewers are advised to take the film in with an open mind.
Much like Hosoda’s previous films, Summer Wars involves an incredibly imaginative world where all things technology is controlled by the ‘cloud’, a place known as OZ. Everyday systems and processes from emails to managing traffic lights are all done via information being sent through this virtual artificial intelligence system. So what happens when an A.I hacker takes over control of OZ and begins reigning havoc on the world?
Through this time of strife, which puts the world literally in danger, the film manages to portray the power of familial bonds, teamwork, and of course, the strength of one’s conviction.
Despite being a little drawn out, with some rather unnecessary scenes, Summer Wars is a touching and heartfelt story about the importance of family and to an extent, community, as well as the dangers of A.I programmes, especially when left in the wrong hands.
While highly imaginative and often in the realm of impossibility, Hosoda’s works often provide feel-good, positive emotions, and important life lessons. Each of these four films stay true to Hosoda’s style and vision. Though they may not be at the same level as Studio Ghibli films, they are most definitely a worthy contender. All four films in The Mamoru Hosoda Collection are worth the watch.