Posted by psgels on 3 August 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews

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.

Arete Hime
My Neighbour Totoro
Whisper of the Heart

5 Responses

  1. Firechick says:

    WHAT!? This is out already!? I’ve wanted to see this movie! Is it subbed!? Where can I find it!?

  2. Ikari says:

    Psgels: glad you enjoyed the movie.

    Fire.. bleah: It’s been on DVD for a week or two. It’s also been shown at some festivals subbed. Does the dvd have subtitles? No. A german/french dvd has a slated august release.

  3. Azule says:

    Awwh, this looks like the perfect kinda film for me =p

    Wonder if it’ll get subbed. D:

  4. GPrieto says:

    Psgels: I’m glad you enjoyed the movie. It’s true that is not an exciting movie (from how many anime movies can you say that?), but is wonderful to see from time to time an unambitious movie like Mai Mai Miracle that at the end make you feel glad. For me it’s a good movie that I can share with my children.

  5. kero says:

    I just watched it in the ICA to it, I loved it!
    The kid that sat next to me really enjoyed it to, lovely to see the smile on his face :)

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  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 02:36 AM)
    @Masky: lots of game designers aspire for realism. Now this can be done for cosmetic purposes like face textures and lighting, practical with physic engines and movement, or contextual like believable character reactions and dialogue. Now some games thrive in being ridiculous and fantastic, but some want to create a realistic setting to further the emotional impact. Nothing wrong with that.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Nov 27. 2015 02:32 AM)
    @ratsgnoF: and happy Thanksgiving to you as well.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:43 PM)
    Anyway seriously though, I’d say it does actually make sense in context xD Since none of monsters are actually that threatening.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:42 PM)
    .-. I have no words, mainly because whenever anyone uses word “Realism” in context of video game, I want to say rude words xD
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:40 PM)
    I think he gave it a passing glance and felt it wasn’t his thing, I remember he also felt that he thought the idea of sparing the monsters wasn’t believable or realistic given that he felt if you were realistically placed in that situation yourself, the real thing to do would be to fight back out of fear.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:37 PM)
    Did he actually play the game though? I mean, did he actually discover it himself or did he just heard the spoilers?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:35 PM)
    I had a talk with a friend about undertale and he wasn’t a fan, he prefers other types of rpgs, the choice element also made him uncomfortable and that he felt the game was too punishing.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:34 PM)
    @Kaiser: Puzzle elements, outside of sparing everyone, seem to be mainly just parodying video game puzzles. Like, only place where you actually have to solve actual puzzles is in Hotland, before that pretty much every puzzle is automatically solved, really easy or has some silly twist to it. Like the puzzle you can skip by pressing a switch in tree trunk. Can’t say I’m too fond of puzzles either, but I liked how game was making fun of them
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:32 PM)
    Speaking of awful sense of humor and things that dorks like, just wanted to say that turns out I was right about Jitsu wa watashi wa in that main couple does get together before chapter 100(forgot what exactly, some where in 80-90 range I think). But they are such huge dorks that they do everything ridiculously slowly because they are that embarrassed, so they have had like just one date(in chapter 100). Not that I expect anyone to remember what the heck I’m talking about xD
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:32 PM)
    The battle system grew on me a bit, but I didn’t like the puzzle elements it offered, the actual gameplay looked kind of dull also. Some of the characters were likeable enough, Papyrus, Asogore, the flower guy being my favourite though the plot didn’t really get interesting until the end.

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