Reel Asian 2015: Miss Hokusai

A young woman is the uncredited artist behind her father’s acclaimed paintings in Miss Hokusai. Tetsuzo is an accomplished painter, who works under the name of Hokusai. While Tetsuzo always receives full credit, it is often his daughter O-Ei, who is painting his works behind the scenes. In addition to painting, O-Ei has to deal with womanizing fellow artist Zenjirô and care for her blind sister O-Nao.

Miss Hokusai is an anime film based on the manga Sarusuberi by Hinako Sugiura. The story is inspired by the real life 19th century artist Katsushika Hokusai, who created works during Japan’s Edo period. The central figure of the story is Hokusai’s daughter O-Ei, who is often the one that has to finish her father’s paintings. There is a bit of a fantastical element to Miss Hokusai, as many of the paintings are seen literally coming to life, such as a dragon flying through the sky or a woman being tormented by demons.

Featuring both comedy and drama, Miss Hokusai is a pretty well done historical-based anime film. While there is much focus on the fantastical elements of this story, there are also some moments that might cause some to shed some tears. The film also features some gorgeous looking animation and it is the latest example of how the medium can be used for more than just entertainment for kids. Altogether, Miss Hokusai is a fantastical and touching historical animated drama.

8 / 10 stars

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).