Since Hayao Miyazaki redefined the anime genre, there’s been a seemingly endless stream of imitators. ‘Mai Mai Miracle’ is one such, a whimsical flight of fancy that tells the story of Shinko, a girl whose grandfather’s stories about their rural village’s history captivate her imagination, while she struggles with a loss of innocence and the reality of growing up. Director Katabuchi goes to great lengths to give his film a a distinctive feel, but never quite manages to reach the poignant heights of, say, Isao Takahata’s ‘Only Yesterday’, its most obvious Ghibli counterpart. Nevertheless, this remains a touching and powerful film.
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