Movie in a Sentence
Kun, a young boy struggling to cope with the diminished attention he receives from his parents thanks to his new baby sister Mirai, magically meets family members from the past and learns what it means to be a brother.
What I liked
Here, I’m going to talk about a few of the vignettes/stories that I really and truly enjoyed, the lessons they imparted, and the way they were all wrapped up. To start, I loved the opening cuts that showed the life of the family as it evolved. Set to the movie’s theme, Mirai no Theme, we as viewers got to see the start of a family, from dating to marriage to buying a house to buying a puppy to having a child. Though quick, this introductory section set up a lot for the movie going forward. Specifically, this made the section involving Yuuko the dog way more impactful. That brings us to my first favorite section: Yuuko’s. Given a human form, the family dog here is able to voice his grievances to Kun, stating that Kun’s arrival has led to a decrease in his attention. However, he learned to deal with it despite not being wholly satisfied. This first lesson of accepting change and changes in status and making the best of it (the best being playing with Kun whenever he could and getting better food) was a powerful first lesson for Kun to receive (even if he didn’t learn fully from it at the start).
Moving on, despite it’s short run, I loved the look into Kun’s mother’s past. As the disciplinarian in the present, Kun really couldn’t relate with her. Seeing her past, that past being one where she was very much like him, and seeing how she was treated, with that treatment being way more strict than he ever experienced, was a moving wakeup call accompanied by some impactful environmental animation. Again, this was a short segment, but it played strongly into the theme of understanding where you come from.
My favorite section, though, had to deal with Kun’s great grandfather. As a survivor of World War II, his grandfather made a living fixing motorcycles in the wake of the war and lived with a near-crippling injury. However, he worked past his shortcomings and lived looking forever ahead rather than dwelling on failure. This message, presented in the context of Kun learning to ride a bike and eventually riding a motorcycle in the past, was a powerful message in the context of the vignette but also was strong when the conclusion to the whole movie came about.
The final thing I loved was the conclusion itself. In particular, I loved Kun and teen Mirai’s journey through the tree. In this section, we got to see extensions to prior stories that really drove home the idea that other lives were at play. From seeing Yuuko leave his mother to live
with the family to seeing the AMAZINGLY impactful and emotional beginning and ending of the great-grandfather’s story (also, shout out to seeing the dad’s past finally), there were some amazing shots that really hit home. As a culminating moment that expanded on nearly every theme, this sequence actually brought tears to my eyes and Kun finally understanding everything about himself and others was truly satisfying.
What I Didn’t Like
I ranted in the “what I liked” section so I’m going to keep this short: I didn’t like how Kun didn’t immediately learn from each encounter. Yes, he was a kid, so it took a powerful conclusion to hammer everything home but his lack of noticeable growth in the wake of some of his encounters (particularly the early encounter with Yuuko or the first encounter with a teen Mirai) took away from the impact of the lessons being conveyed in-movie (though they were still strong lessons to the viewers).
The longer it’s been since I’ve watched this movie, and the more time I’ve had to think about it, the more I’ve liked it. Mirai had some truly special and real feeling moments that had messages behind them, it had gorgeous animation (despite some obvious CG), and all in all it was a relatable experience. When I finished the movie I knew I really liked it but questioned how it was presented; having sat on it for a while I know I really love the movie and I appreciate the way it was made. Regardless of what you have done or will do, your family will always be there for you in some form or another.