There are a lot of people who view Manga with disdain and prejudice. However, the art-form, whether it be in the medium of comic, TV show or film, is highly regarded in its native Japan. Many series make the transition to live action films and there’s almost a self-contained industry. Based on the comic Sarusuberi created by Hinako Sugiura which was popular in the 1980s, Keiichi Hara’s new film, Miss Hokusai, is an impressive tribute to her life.
Miss Hokusai/O-Ei (Anne Wattanabe) lives in Edo (19th Century Tokyo) with her father Tetsuzo (Yutaka Matsushige). They live an unusual and rather disorganised life, but then again they are artists. In fact, Tetsuzo is famous and renowned throughout Japan. Extremely prolific, he produced hundreds and thousands of works. what is little well known is that his daughter often helped him with his work and was possibly the hand behind many of them.
Keiichi Hara follows up the beautiful Colorful with the more downbeat Miss Hokusai. The Manga tells the story of her life through small episodic tales and the film follows the same lines. Tetsuzo (Katsushika Hokusai0 is best known in the West for his iconic picture The Great Wave off Kanagawa, but his legacy has lived on in his native Japan. Miss Hokusai eschews excess drama to tell a slight but beautifully realised tale of an overlooked figure in history.
Miss Hokusai is released on DVD and Blu-ray by All the Anime on Monday.