Mai Mai Miracle is a clear Ghibli-inspired film, and another one in the collection of slice of life movies about a young child. Not the most original concept perhaps, but it’s still a well executed and very detailed movie.
Especially the characterization here rocks. The kids here tend to act just like real children: the way they play around to their animation, this movie manages to capture this wonderfully. As it’s focused on kids who grow up in a rural town, this movie mostly follows their imagination and how they grow up together. There’s actually quite a bit of character-development in the movie, and it’s handled quite well and believably.
What sets this movie apart I think is that it manages to avoid the classical trope of these kinds of movies, where they use their first parts of slice of life, just to build up to the serious part at the end. Mai Mai Miracle does have a serious part at the end, but it does not feel like the entire movie is just trying to build up to that. Instead, it’s the combination of everything that happens in this movie that makes the characters what they are, and the movie does a great job in making all of the subplots and events important.
It’s a movie that’s wonderfully unambitious: its main purpose isn’t to show an as big drama as possible. It just wants to show the lives of a bunch of kids growing up together. The drama flows naturally and in no way tries too hard. It’s great for nostalgia, but this also doesn’t make it the most exciting movie.
|Storytelling:||8/10 – Uneventful, but realistic and well balanced, making it more than just a Ghibli-wannabe.|
|Characters:||9/10 – Great characterization, realistic and believable characters, very good character-development for a movie.|
|Production-Values:||8/10 – Pretty good for movie standards. Detailed animation that captures the movement of the characters, very charming but subtle soundtrack.|
|Setting:||8/10 – Not the most important part of this movie, but it still made good use of the differences between rich and poor, and the rest of the setting.|