The little known daughter of ukiyo-e legend Hokusai is the main character in this animated featured film.

Even among non-Japanese painting enthusiasts, many people around the world recognize the name of the great Edo-period artist and printmaker Katsushika Hokusai (葛飾北斎), also known simply as Hokusai (1760-1849). He is, after all, the creator of the Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji woodblock print series, which includes the singularly famous The Great Wave off Kanagawa. However, what many people are unaware of is the existence of his daughter Katsushika Oi (葛飾応為) and her role in his burgeoning fame, as well as her own skills as an artist.

In fact, Oi is such a mysterious figure that even her exact dates of birth and death are unknown. Testimonials from her contemporaries cite her eccentric personality and her divorce from a man due to his poor art skills; her own father claimed that she drew portraits of beautiful women even more skillfully than him. Modern manga artist Hinako Sugiura sought to explore Oi’s enigmatic life in her father’s shadow in her Miss Hokusai (Japanese title: Sarusuberi/百日紅) historical manga series, which was originally serialized from 1983-87 in Weekly Manga Sunday magazine. This story was then adapted into a May 2015 anime film titled Miss Hokusai and directed by Keiichi Hara.

In this adaptation, Oi is portrayed as a 23-year-old woman who often paints in her father’s stead but remains uncredited. The film has already garnered a number of domestic and international awards since its release, with more likely to come following its greater international distribution. Check out the original trailer below:

GKids recently licensed the film for North America, with initial screenings in New York City and Los Angeles on October 14 to be followed by more widespread releases thereafter.

While I personally have yet to see Miss Hokusai, my excitement has been escalating both as a resident of North America and after reading that the film was produced by Production I.G of Ghost in the Shell fame. The art in the trailer also looks like a pleasant departure from the styles found in many contemporary Japanese animated feature films (not that I don’t love me some Studio Ghibli or Mamoru Hosoda works).

However, I am left with a single remaining comment after watching the trailer, which I’ll leave here for those of you so inclined:


Sources: Japaaan, Wikipedia
Images: YouTube/Cinema Today, YouTube/FUNimation