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Miss Hokusai is about the Edo-era painter Hokusai and his daughter, O-Ei.

Sarusuberi Film Partners

3 out of 4 stars

Title
Miss Hokusai
Written by
Miho Maruo (based on the manga Sarusuberi by Hinako Sugiura)
Directed by
Keiichi Hara
Starring
Kumiko Asô, Gaku Hamada, Kengo Kôra
Genre
Animation
Classification
PG
Country
Japan
Language
Japanese
Year
2015

Some would probably prefer a more spoon-fed version of the life of the Edo-era painter Hokusai and his lesser-known artistic daughter, O-Ei, but this plush anime version of Hinako Sugiura's original manga tells a tale in a poetic, episodic fashion.

The film is as much about Hokusai as it is about the titular protagonist, and so she defers to her father here as she apparently did in real life.

Set in the early 1800s in the city we now know as Tokyo, the story involves the brooding painter Hokusai. Talented O-Ei often touches up her father's paintings, but her own works (often erotica) lack sensuality, she is told, because she lacks personal experience. So she ventures off to a brothel for a lesbian experience.

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As much as anything, Miss Hokusai is about the pursuit of art. Hokusai wished to live until the age of 100, but died at 90. On his death bed, he said if he had five more years he could become a real artist. A painting is never quite done. One must just let it go.

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