Miss Hokusai / Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai
Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans
Genre: Historical, Supernatural, Drama, Art
First Released: May 2015, 90-minute film
Summary: It is the year 1814 in Edo, a city that will eventually be known as Tokyo. Tetsuzo is an accomplished artist in his fifties known for his wide range of abilities, from creating a giant Bodhidharma on a 180-meter-wide sheet of paper to creating a pair of sparrows on a grain of rice. Tetsuzo is first and foremost a stubborn artist with an obsession for perfection. If the slightest brush stroke is off when a painting is finished he will deliberately ruin it and start again. His third daughter, O-Ei, inherited his talent and stubbornness. Often she paints uncredited in his name. While he is tough on her, he claims it is to help her progress. Decades after he passed away, Tetsuzo was discovered and admired by Europeans, becoming best known by the name Katsushika Hokusai. To this day few are aware of his daughter O-Ei and how greatly she contributed to his art without any of the credit.
Miss Hokusai is based on the true story of Katsushika Oi and her father Hokusai. The subdued story is told appropriately for what it is. It doesn’t rely on adding Hollywood drama, opting instead to hold true to the source material. At times the story loved slowly, but it felt like watching real life, allowing time to reflect on everything that had happened. The animation and art are beautiful throughout, which is to be expected in this type of film.
You might enjoy this if: You want to learn about Japanese history, from Hokusai to the background of Tokyo.
You might not like it if: You want a fast-paced anime that doesn’t leave time to stop and paint the roses.
Note to the Viewer: The original Miss Hokusai manga series was written by Hinako Sugiura, who was a researcher in the lifestyles and customs of Japan’s Edo period.
AMV – The Little Blind Girl and the Artist by NightAl AMV
Miss Hokusai Official US Release Trailer