Mamoru Hosoda is a renowned Japanese animator and film director known for creating emotionally powerful and visually stunning films. His works often explore themes of family, identity, and the intersection of humans and technology.
With a career spanning over two decades and a devoted fan base, Hosoda has earned numerous accolades within the anime industry. Hosoda’s work is characterized by detailed and expressive character designs, beautifully crafted environments, and smooth action sequences, and he often incorporates elements of fantasy and science fiction into his stories.
He was once approached by the prestigious Studio Ghibli to direct Howl’s Moving Castle. Despite his admiration for the classic Japanese animators at Ghibli, Hosoda ultimately declined the offer to pursue his own creative vision.
His movies often center on themes of family, relationships, and personal growth. His animation style is characterized by detailed and expressive character designs, beautifully crafted environments, and smooth action sequences.
In addition, Hosoda is known for incorporating elements of fantasy and science fiction into his stories, often featuring characters with extraordinary abilities or the ability to time travel.
Throughout his career, Hosoda has directed numerous critically acclaimed films, including “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,” “Summer Wars,” and “The Wolf Children.” In this ranking, we will take a look at some of Hosoda’s best movies and see how they stack up against each other.
Whether you’re a fan of Hosoda’s work or new to his films, this ranking is sure to introduce you to some of the best animated movies of all time.
06. Ryuu to Sobakasu no Hime (Belle)
- Genres: Drama, Fantasy
- Duration: 2 hr. 2 min.
- Aired: Jul 16, 2021
- Studio: Studio Chizu
Belle is the most recent and internationally acclaimed film of Mamoru Hosoda.
The story follows Suzu Naito, a shy girl from the countryside, who becomes a popular singer on the social media platform “U” under the alias “Belle.” Despite overcoming past trauma, she struggles with the challenges of fame, identity, and love as she navigates life on the platform.
One of the challenges she faces is the rumor of a chaotic beast known as “The Dragon.” However, after a chance encounter, Suzu learns that the Dragon may not be as wicked as the rumors suggest. As she continues to sing on the platform, her vocals quickly go viral, bringing her even more fame and attention.
This work, like any work of art, it is not without its flaws.
Despite being a well-regarded anime film, the reason Belle comes in 6th position in comparison to his other films is because the plot is not always well-explained or fully developed.
For instance, there are certain aspects of the story, such as the details of the magical world where the main character finds herself, that are not fully explored or explained.
This lack of explanation can leave viewers feeling confused and disconnected from the story. Additionally, some viewers have also criticized the pacing of the film, stating that it can feel slow in certain parts. This slow pacing can make it difficult to keep up with the story and can make it harder to become fully engaged with the film.
05. Summer Wars
- Genres: Award Winning, Comedy, Sci-Fi
- Duration: 1 hr. 54 min.
- Aired: Aug 1, 2009
- Studio: Madhouse
Next in the list is “Summer Wars”. The movie is about a young math genius named Kenji Koiso, who is asked by his love interest, Natsuki, to come to her family’s hometown to celebrate her great-grandmother’s 90th birthday.
As Kenji becomes increasingly involved in the family’s festivities, he finds himself drawn into a virtual world called OZ, where a rogue AI is wreaking havoc on the real world.
Summer Wars is a masterful blend of several different genres, including comedy, romance, science fiction, and family drama. Hosoda perfectly balances these different elements, creating a film that is both heartwarming and thrilling.
The animation is absolutely stunning, with rich colors and detailed backgrounds that transport the viewer to the idyllic Japanese countryside. One aspect that makes “Summer Wars” noteworthy is its examination of how technology and humanity intersect and interact with each other.
Additionally, the film highlights the dangers of becoming too absorbed in virtual reality and losing touch with reality. It serves as a reminder to be mindful of how much time we spend on our devices and to strive for balance between our digital and real-world interactions.
- Genres: Adventure, Supernatural
- Duration: 1 hr. 59 min.
- Aired: Jul 11, 2015
- Studio: Studio Chizu
Ren, a nine-year-old boy abandoned by his family, is struggling to survive on the streets of Shibuya when he meets Kumatetsu, an intimidating beast. Kumatetsu leads Ren, now known as Kyuuta, to the beast realm of Shibuten, where Kumatetsu is seeking recognition and hopes to become the successor to the Lord of the realm.
Kyuuta, on the other hand, is searching for a home. To help each other achieve their goals, the two embark on a journey together and begin to understand that they have a deeper connection. As they journey, they learn to see beyond their differences and find common ground, despite their opposing backgrounds. Together, they discover the true meaning of friendship and acceptance.
The film delves into themes of identity, loneliness, and the bond between mentor and apprentice as it follows the journey of Ren and Kumatetsu.
Along the way, it also touches on themes of coming of age, self-discovery, and the power of friendship. Through their journey, Ren and Kumatetsu learn to accept and understand each other, ultimately discovering the true meaning of friendship and the importance of making one’s own choices in life.
Though its a good movie overall, there are some divided opinions on the ending, which makes the movie rank only 4th in our list of best Mamoru Hosoda movies.
- Genres: Award Winning, Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi, School, Time Travel
- Duration: 1 hr. 59 min.
- Aired: Jul 15, 2006
- Studio: Madhouse
We are in the top 3 now! And the best way to start this is with a timeless classic, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
One of the reasons “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” stands out is its relatable and well-developed protagonist, Makoto. Throughout the film, we see her struggling with the typical challenges of adolescence, such as relationships and finding her place in the world.
The plot follows, Makoto Konno, a high school student, grappling with the difficult decision of what to do with her future. She tries to balance the demands of school and her friendships, but her life is turned upside down when she discovers she has the ability to time travel. As she experiments with her new power, she learns that every action has consequences and that the concept of time is much more complex than she originally thought.
However, when she gains the ability to time leap, she is faced with new and complex ethical dilemmas, adding layers of depth to her character.
Another reason the film stands out is its approach to the concept of time travel. Rather than focusing on the science fiction aspect of time travel, the film delves into the emotional and psychological impact it has on Makoto. It explores the idea that with great power comes great responsibility, and the choices we make have consequences, not only for ourselves but for those around us
The film’s engaging plot, lovable characters, and visually stunning animation make it a standout in Hosoda’s filmography.
- Genres: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
- Duration: 1 hr. 38 min.
- Aired: Jul 20, 2018
- Studio: Studio Chizu
The second spot in our list of best Mamoru Hosoda movies goes to the family drama Mirai No Mirai.
Four-year-old Kun Oota’s simple life is turned upside down when a new baby sister, Mirai, is brought home. Kun has a difficult time adjusting to this change and feels left out as Mirai becomes the focus of his parents’ attention.
In order to help Kun understand and cope with this situation, he travels through time and meets different versions of his family. Through these experiences, Kun learns about the significance of being part of a family and the role of an older brother.
One of the things that makes “Mirai no Mirai” special is its use of fantasy elements as a plot device to explore the theme of family and relationships. The movie manages to portray the difficulties of adjusting to a new member in a family and how it affects their dynamics and emotions.
As an attention seeking, tantrum throwing Kun is whisked away by little sister from the future into different adventures, Hosoda beautifully weaves and portrays the threads that hold together a family.
The animation in the film is also noteworthy and stunning, along with soundtracks that leave you completely engrossed, making this one of the best Mamoru Hosoda movies out there.
- Genres: Award Winning, Fantasy, Slice of Life, Drama, Fantasy
- Duration: 1 hr. 57 min.
- Aired: Jul 21, 2012
- Studio:Studio Chizu
Finally, the movie that took the top spot in our list of best Mamoru Hosoda movies without a doubt is… The Wolf Children!
The movie follows the story of a young woman named Hana who falls in love with a man who turns out to be a wolf-man. The two have two children together, Yuki and Ame, who are born with the ability to transform into wolves. After the death of their father, Hana must raise her children on her own while keeping their true nature a secret from the rest of the world.
What makes “Wolf Children” stand out is the way it manages to blend a touching family drama with a unique and captivating fantasy premise. The bond between Hana and her children is incredibly powerful and is sure to bring tears to your eyes.
The story also explores the idea of fitting in and finding one’s place in the world, as the children struggle with their dual nature as both humans and wolves.
The movie features stunning landscapes and detailed character designs that bring the story to life in a very immersive way. Additionally, the movie explores themes of motherhood, family, and the struggles of raising children, which resonate with a wide audience.
Overall, Wolf Children is a cinematic masterpiece that showcases Mamoru Hosoda’s talent as a filmmaker, and is according to us the best Mamoru Hosoda movie out there.
These were our top picks for Mamoru Hosoda’s movies. Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts. Thanks for reading and we will see you next time.