14th Animation Division Excellence Award
Mai Mai Miracle
Animated feature film [Japan]
Mai Mai Miracle is an animated movie of novel: Mai Mai Shinko by Akutagawa Award-winning novelist TAKAGI Nobuko, which is a novel based on the author’s childhood. Set in Kokuga area, Hofu City of Yamaguchi Prefecture during the decade of 1955 to 1964, the film tells the story of a susceptible third grader, Shinko, who often gives thought to the city from 1,000 years back. The story focuses on how Shinko lives fully every day in abundant nature, and grows up slowly with her friends, sometimes going through bitter experiences.
Reason for Award
The act of “imagination” brings together the past and the present
This is a legitimate successor to the animated children’s movies that have continuously existed over the years.
While it utilizes a traditional technique, the director chose to adopt a perspective that is truly unique.
A rural landscape of Hofu in Yamaguchi Prefecture 55 years ago and a city that existed in the same spot 1,000 years ago, as well as the history of this location, are all depicted as if they exist at the same time. For children, the past is not something that goes away.
Their imagination travels between the present and the past, and bring “miracles” to both the present and the past.
Much like such children, the members of the production staff first conducted a thorough research, and based on this, attempted to use their imagination to recreate the landscapes and children that actually existed. This is how the hollowness found in man-made things gets filled. It is a film that, by successfully and thoroughly depicting the essence of child-like qualities through a unique, rich expressiveness, revives the role of animation created for children.