Featured voices: Haru Koroki, Moka Kamishiraishi, Gen Hoshino, Aso Kumiko
This charming animation from Japanese writer-director Mamoru Hosada tells the hugely rewarding story of a headstrong tot who learns to adapt to what seems a catastrophic change in his life. Four-year-old Kun (voiced by Kamishiraishi) lives with his slightly scatty but loving young parents (Aso Kumiko, Gen Hoshino) in an ingenious split-level house that was designed by his architect father, and centred around a solitary tree. Kun is doted on by his parents and grandmother and he has an affectionate dog, Yukko. His life is turned upside down, however, with the arrival of baby sister, Mirai who steals all his parents’ attention. When he gets into trouble for tormenting her, Kun retreats to the yard, where is surprised to encounter a regal young man in 18th Century clothing. Later he meets various members of his family who appear to him from the past and the future in order to teach him some important life lessons about family. What sound soppily didactic is actually surprisingly sophisticated storytelling. Kun is realistically bratty and petulant, while the director’s deft mixture of the quotidian and the fantastical is sophisticated enough to appeal to children of all ages. A sequence when Kun meets his grandfather as a dashing early twenty-something is disarmingly poignant.