Miss Hokusai | Japanese anime redraws the life of a famous artist's daughter

Miss Hokusai

In a father's shadow. 

Based on the manga Sarusuberi, this Japanese animated movie looks at the life of famous 19th-century painter Hokusai, but its real subject is the far more obscure figure of his artist daughter O-Ei, a free-spirited chip off the paternal block.

Miss Hokusai is very slight and episodic, but the animation is breathtaking in places, especially when glancingly recreating some of its subjects’ most iconic works, including Hokusai’s best-known painting, The Great Wave off Kanagawa. Things get coy, understandably, when it comes to the erotica the pair produced, and the curious scene in which O-Ei spends the night with a geisha to untap her sensuality is decorously veiled as well. Shame, though, about the bizarre use here and there of jarring guitar rock.

Certificate 12. Runtime 90 mins. Director Keiichi Hara

Miss Hokusai available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Anime LTD.



Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.