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Miss Hokusai

Miss Hokusai

May. 09, 2015 Japan90 Min.PG-13
Your rating: 0
8.9 1,137 votes

Video trailer


Keiichi Hara


Anne Watanabe isO-Ei (voice)
O-Ei (voice)
Kumiko Asou isSayogoromo (voice)
Sayogoromo (voice)
Gaku Hamada isIkeda Zenjirô (voice)
Ikeda Zenjirô (voice)
Kengo Kora isUtagawa Kuninao (voice)
Utagawa Kuninao (voice)
Yutaka Matsushige isKatsushika Hokusai (voice)
Katsushika Hokusai (voice)
Jun Miho isKoto (voice)
Koto (voice)
Shion Shimizu isO-Nao (voice)
O-Nao (voice)
Danshun Tatekawa isManjidô (voice)
Manjidô (voice)
Michitaka Tsutsui isIwakubo Hatsugorô (voice)
Iwakubo Hatsugorô (voice)


The time: 1814. The place: Edo, now known as Tokyo. A much accomplished artist of his time and now in his mid-fifties, Tetsuzo can boast clients from all over Japan, and tirelessly works in the garbage-loaded chaos of his house-atelier. He spends his days creating astounding pieces of art, from a giant-size Bodhidharma portrayed on a 180 square meter-wide sheet of paper, to a pair of sparrows painted on a tiny rice grain. Third of Tetsuzo’s four daughters and born out of his second marriage, outspoken 23-year-old O-Ei has inherited her father’s talent and stubbornness, and very often she would paint instead of him, though uncredited. Her art is so powerful that sometimes leads to trouble. “We’re father and daughter; with two brushes and four chopsticks, I guess we can always manage, in a way or another.”

Miss Hokusai
Miss Hokusai
Miss Hokusai
Miss Hokusai
Miss Hokusai
Miss Hokusai
Miss Hokusai
Miss Hokusai
Miss Hokusai
Miss Hokusai
Original titleSarusuberi: Miss Hokusai
IMDb Rating6.7 1,290 votes
TMDb Rating6.6 14 votes

(11) comments

  • AlisonJuly 25, 2015Reply

    Beautiful Anime

    In 1814 Edo, Japan, a master artist Katsushika Hokusai, known as
    Tetsuzo, and his daughter O-Ei spend their time creating splendid
    paintings, some on commission and some just because. Tetsuzo lives away
    from his wife and younger daughter, who is blind, and he tends to have
    little to do with them, perhaps because he is afraid of illness and
    disability. Instead, he instructs O-Ei and others in his art, but in
    some ways his daughter outstrips even his talent. This lands them in
    trouble on occasion, for example when one of her paintings is believed
    by its owner to be enchanted by devils, but Tetsuzo knows how to make
    things right again. If only his daughter wasn’t so hot-headed!

    This is a beautifully rendered anime based on a manga, Sarusuberi;
    having not read the manga, I don’t know how faithful the film is to the
    source material. In any event, it looks lovely and the story of the
    artists’ lives is very well told. It has more of an episodic feel to it
    than a straight plot-line, but since Tetsuzo was apparently a real
    person in 19th Century Edo (now Tokyo), that method of story-telling
    works very well. If you like anime, you’ll love this movie.

  • quincytheodoreApril 14, 2016Reply

    Simple heartfelt celebration of art and era

    Miss Hokusai is a ”slice of life” animation, it portrays the
    characters’ at their daily lives in briskly light mood. It may set in
    one of the most romanticized eras, yet it’s mostly a few short stories
    about artists, especially the heroine Oei, woven together. This is a
    tribute to Japanese classic painting ukiyo-e, the tumultuous time told
    in different light and appreciation of the artists themselves.

    Oei is the daughter of talented painter Hokusai, who has a knack for
    painting herself. She can be crude at times, but she gives of warm
    subtle kindness, especially with her drawings. There’s no great dilemma
    or adventure, although it presents a few strange mysteries. The
    animation is more of a method to appreciate the art as it changes
    constantly when the characters do narrative or monologue.

    It uses classic touches on the tales, which can seem supernatural yet
    bizarrely fitting for that particular era. The setting is made with
    great care, details like the street corner or dimmed room with faint
    light of candles provide fine atmosphere for these characters to play
    in. Occasionally, they would talk in vague words, it’s not a drama
    where people yell at each other frequently, there’s a restrained on
    their mannerisms.

    Miss Hokusai is a nice homage to early art works, celebrated by modern
    Japanese animation, it’s quaint, unimposing and warmly colorful.

  • tranceformer13September 8, 2016Reply

    A vague, spiritual journey

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • cguldalOctober 15, 2016Reply

    Great art, no plot or character development

    The art, as well as the way the making of art is portrayed in the film
    is great; however, there is no real story arc or character development
    to speak of. Perhaps not much is known about the daughter of Hokusai,
    but even so, historical fiction is fiction for a reason. Though the
    film is narrated by the daughter, it is not about her at all, which is
    misleading (title, trailer all suggest the film will be about her). Her
    character does not develop much, though there is ample room for it to
    develop. Just when she may go beyond her immature, mean self, beyond
    her father’s shadow, the film ends with a few narrated summary lines
    conveying what happens in the next 30 years without actually showing
    it. The film seems to focus on the period in which the blind daughter
    of the famous painter (the narrator’s sister) is young, falls sick, and
    dies. It is not clear how and why Hokusai is separated from his wife,
    why his eldest daughter draws and paints with him (though she resents
    him plenty)… None of the romantic interests develop during the film,
    yet the summary in the end tells us she married once! It is hard to
    imagine her marrying, so this would be a great story, but it is not the
    subject of the film. At one point, we learn that she has a passion for
    fire, but have no idea how, if at all, this affects her paintings, her

    All in all, the art is great, especially the parts where painting and
    drawing itself is discussed. But the story is severely lacking and

  • otaking241October 24, 2016Reply

    Wistful window into life in Edo

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • subxerogravityOctober 30, 2016Reply

    Did not like it as much as I wish I would

    I have to admit this is not my favorite style of anime.

    I am the type that grew up on Dragonball Z and Akira, but at the same
    time, I can appreciate things like The Wind Rises and From Up on Poppy

    I wish I felt the same about Miss Hokusai, but I don’t. It’s one of
    those stories that does not need animation to be told. Not much of it
    did anything to exploit the use of this technique. it was very

    On top of that, I thought the story was dull. based on the credits it’s
    a loosely true story but most likely this woman’s actual story would
    have been more interesting.

    Good for a few amusing laughs but not my cup of tea

  • alerterNovember 3, 2016Reply

    to fully enjoy MISS HOKUSAI, you must discard cultural blinders

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • rigoletto339November 3, 2016Reply

    Fine story, well made

    We meet O-Ei, grown daughter of the famous Japanese painter Hokusai.
    She has a younger sister, O-Nao, who is blind. (O-Ei’s name was
    actually Katsushka Ōi, but it also appears as ”O-Ei”.) Hokusai is
    depicted as a gruff, single-minded man, living in his studio, apart
    from his wife and children. The blind young sister is invented – as is
    most of the rest of the story. But she plays a very important part.

    There are great moments here. One incredibly beautiful moment occurs
    near the end of the film. And of course, there’s a delightful scene
    involving his most famous print, ”The Great Wave off Kanagawa”.

    The animation is beautifully done, in typical Japanese fashion. Not as
    beautifully as Miyazaki, but still, good.

    The story covers a lot of ground, including the Japanese form of erotic
    art (shunga). Part of that thread involves an important plot element.

    The musical score is very Western and modern, which could be a little
    off-putting. As the credits went by, I saw one of the song titles given
    in Spanish!.

    It’s a movie that keeps you involved, and doesn’t let you nod off.

    PS: Keep your eyes on the little dog that shows up at the beginning.

  • Vlad B.March 17, 2017Reply

    Like an anime ”Mr. Turner”, with a dose of magic realism

    As others have noted, some of the musical choices can be a bit
    off-kilter, but perhaps they are meant to demonstrate that bustling
    Tokugawa-era Edo was every bit as exciting as modern-day Tokyo. The
    animation is gorgeous, and the fact that ”Miss Hokusai” does not follow
    traditional biopic conventions only strengthens it. It also passes the
    Bechdel test with flying colors, without being historically inaccurate.
    With all the interest around Hokusai and woodblock prints in the West,
    it’s unfortunate that this film was not publicized more.

  • MartinHaferMarch 22, 2017Reply

    Not a children’s movie.

    Despite being an animated film, ”Miss Hosukai” is not a film for
    children nor was it ever intended to be. Instead, it’s a very
    melancholy portrait of the life of the famed Japanese artist Hosukai
    and his daughter, O-Ei and it’s seen through his eyes. But it’s not a
    normal biography, as you only see bits an pieces of one period of
    Hosukai’s life. If you want to learn a lot about the guy, you’re better
    off reading a biography. The story itself is VERY meandering and this
    lack of direction to the film made it difficult viewing for me. You see
    how flawed a man Hosukai was and MOST of the information about him and
    O-Ei is learned at the very end through a very brief prologue.
    Beautifully animated but otherwise the film left me very cold and left
    me wanting to know more.

  • VetiverMay 11, 2017Reply

    If you want to impress your date, take him/her to see this film

    American films are a shallow, inane mess. That’s why people go see
    foreign films at art houses. They want to feel good about themselves,
    and they want to look good to others. Miss Hokusai probably isn’t
    playing in theaters anymore. But if it was, it’s a great place to take
    a date if you want to impress them with your amazing and elitist

    I’m not one for typical anime. And of the other anime-ish films that
    were big in America – Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, etc. – I guess
    I kind of liked them, but I’m not sure why, other than I’m supposed to
    like them, and it’s good and right to like them. Agree, NPR crowd?

    Well. Miss Hokusai is a film critic’s dream. As soon as I saw it
    playing at my local college town theatre, I already knew it got 100%
    from Metacritic and consistent red tomatoes on Rotten Tomatoes. Film
    critics’ tastes are extremely predictable. The more pretentious and
    experimental a film, the more it merits 5 stars, or 10 stars, or
    whatever’s the highest rating of X publication or website.

    Why Miss Hokusai gets rave reviews from critics:

    -It’s Japanese anime-ish, and critics and TED lecture fans alike all
    salivate for those.

    -It has – gasp! – LBGT in there, and it’s not even implied or subdued!!

    -I don’t know what the f— it’s about, but it sure looks good!

    -Japanese Edo period, about famous artist/painter! Critics love

    -Beautiful Japanese anime-ish characters! Critics appreciate different

    -Japan, Japan, oh how they love and adore Japan!

    -Gorgeous 19th-century Edo cityscape and scenery. Critics adore and
    appreciate cinematography, history, architecture, and the outdoors – a
    plus if it’s a different culture!

    -And what is the film about again? I don’t care, it seems experimental
    and cool, so I’ll upvote it!

    Anyway, I’m guilty of thinking like critics, so I was pretty impressed
    with the film, and I enjoyed it. I’d hate to say this, but it really is
    way better than typical American films. Art-house elitism!

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