Miss Hokusai is based on the historical manga series, Sarusuberi written and illustrated by Hinako Sugiura and was adapted into an anime by Production I.G. (Guilty Crown, Psycho Pass). It marks something of a departure from their usual style of both film-making and animation. It is directed by Keiichi Hara (Crayon Shin-chan).
The film is set in 1814, in Edo period Japan and centres around the daily life of O-Ei Hokusai (Anne Watanabe). She is the daughter of the renowned artist of the period, Tetsuzo (Yutaka Matsushige), better known by his pen name, Hokusai and remembered best these days for his striking work, The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, part of the Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji series of paintings.
She lives with her divorced father and another aspiring artist, Zenjiro (Gaku Hamada) and splits her time between looking after them and spending time with her blind sister O-Nao, who her father is unwilling to see.
A talented artist herself, she paints at their tiny home, even sometimes completing work in her father’s name when deadlines approach. Sadly, until very recently this strong and talented woman has been hidden in the shadow of her father’s memory.
Miss Hokusai is a very powerful yet gentle story, with beautiful animation and some stunning use of light and shade. O-Ei and O-Nao are fond of the local bridge and the crowd scenes which they encounter are truly stunning. There is also very clever use of musical soundtrack, helping you to completely immerse yourself in her world.
Although heartbreaking in places, it is charmingly written and very relaxing and uplifting to watch, a lovely way to spend an afternoon. I would thoroughly recommend it to anime fans and for those who are yet to discover the joys of anime, this would be an excellent starting point.
“You’re a lousy liar. That’s why you can’t snag a man…”
Miss Hokusai is available to Pre-Order now on DVD, Blu-ray and Collector’s Edition