Derik Badman's Journal

2020-01-23 08:43

Watched the anime Miss Hokusai (2015) in bits and pieces over the past few days on Netflix. It's an episodic story, so it actually wasn't too bothersome to stop it between scenes and come back to the next scene later in the day or the next day. Based on a manga, which I have not read but am curious to see, by Hinako Sigiura, it is a historical fiction about O-Ei, daughter of the famous artist Hokusai, herself an artist. She lives with him and another (male) student in Edo. The movie is a variety of episodes from her perspective as she interacts with different people, makes art, and cares for her younger blind sister. It's a quiet anime, interspersed with nature and simple interactions, but also punctuated by mythological fantasies that all seem to be drawn from work by Hokusai (at least the ones that I recognized). The animation is nice though it is occasionally marred by the use of computer 3d imagery to show movement through the landscape (through the streets, under a bridge) that are just a little too stiff and digital to work with the softer animation used for the characters. It always threw me out of the moment when those scenes occurred. I have no concept about the historical reality of the protagonist (though she did exist) nor how the movie relates to the manga.

I enjoyed it, especially scenes between O-Ei and the younger blind sister, where O-Ei describes their surroundings to her, or they discuss the input of her other senses (the sounds and smells, the feel of snow).