Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Mirai Movie Poster Image
Sweet, magical family adventure is best for older kids.
  • PG
  • 2018
  • 98 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Intended to entertain rather than educate, but Kun does learn to value being a big brother and belonging to his family.

Positive Messages

Promotes loving your siblings, family togetherness, finding out about your family roots, and recognizing that everyone wants to be seen and valued.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kun's parents are understandably overwhelmed with new baby but are kind, loving, want Kun to love his baby sister. Kun is precocious, clever. Kun has typical sibling envy, impulse-control issues, but grows to appreciate sister and his role as big brother. Kun's grandparents and great-grandfather are supportive, loving.

Violence & Scariness

Kun pinches baby Mirai's cheeks, pokes her, hits her on purpose with train. He struggles with compulsion to hurt her more than once. Flashback to great-grandfather's time in war, when his leg is injured. Kun falls over while riding a bike. A couple of times, his mom's face turns into a demon's. When he's lost, he ends up in a scary fictional train station/train that's for "lost kids."

Sexy Stuff

Nonsexual partial nudity as the family takes a bath together (shoulders and sides visible).


"Witch," "I don't like you!"


MacBook, Miele appliances, iPad.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The parents drink beer at dinner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mirai is a Japanese animated movie about a 4-year-old boy who's bored and upset about being a new big brother and ends up  time-traveling to meet family members from the future and past. Although the movie features a young main character, the overall story and lessons may be better for tweens and up -- and it may be most appreciated by adults, who can understand the nuances of Kun's journey. There a few potentially frightening moments, like when Kun imagines people turning into demons and when he ends up alone at a train station for "lost kids" that also seems to stand in for a scary nightmare. Kun also purposely bothers, pokes at, and hits his baby sister with a toy. But ultimately, this is a sweet story about a little boy learning to value being a big brother and belonging to his family.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMPJones January 27, 2019

"Culture" can come at a cost

The "potentially scary moment" when the child imagines people turning into demons will be very disturbing to any seven or eight year old. It should be... Continue reading
Adult Written byHolly R. February 11, 2019

Nominated For Best Animated Film at the 91st Oscars!!!

This film has been nominated for Best Animated Film 2018 and for good reason. It's a wonderful movie about family and a 4 year old boy feeling a little sib... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bySJBailey780 November 30, 2018

Mirai is the next incredible film by legendary director Mamoru Hosada!

Mirai is a great anime by director Mamoru Hosada, who also directed such films as Wolf Children, The Girl Who Lept Through Time, Summer Wars and The Boy and the... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bywizardortitan December 14, 2018

Largely innocent film with a few mild scares.

Mamoru Hosada's latest film is an engaging story about family from the perspective of a young child, with some fantasy elements and breathtaking/experiment... Continue reading

What's the story?

MIRAI is a Japanese animated drama about a 4-year-old boy named Kun (voiced by Jaden Waldman in the English-dubbed version) who's not thrilled when his mother (Rebecca Hall) and father (John Cho) come home with his baby sister, Mirai. Kun starts to feel increasingly ignored and usurped in his parents' affections and acts out accordingly: yelling, poking his baby sister, crying, and throwing tantrums. Things change when Kun starts to have time-traveling experiences in his garden and meets an older, teen version of his baby sister; a human version of his family dog; a preschool-age version of his mom; and also his WWII-veteran great-grandfather (Daniel Dae Kim). Each experience helps little Kun appreciate his family -- even baby Mirai -- more and even offers him the strength to do things like ride a bike.

Is it any good?

The type of animated film parents might enjoy more than kids, this magical sibling adventure is a dreamy, touching look at the importance of family ties and knowing your personal history. Kun is a believably upset new big brother who, however misguidedly, feels replaced in his parents' affections. Director Mamoru Hosoda beautifully captures the emotional turmoil of introducing a newborn to an already established family of three -- from the realistically exhausted (and occasionally bickering) parents to the no-nonsense grandparents and, of course, the skeptical, downright angry older child, who in this case can't control his emotions.

The trippy time-defying moments in Mirai are funny and heartfelt. Even the dog is turned into an older human man who recalls being upset by Kun's birth. A particularly touching sequence has Kun meeting his great-grandfather, a motorcycle-driving mechanic injured in World War II. The older man (who doesn't really know what's going on) teaches Kun about confidence and courage, and little Kun brings that message back into his current life. The dreamy sequences all change Kun for the better, making him a more empathetic son, dog owner, and, finally, big brother.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Mirai compares to other Japanese animated movies. Do you think young viewers are the intended audience? If not, who is?

  • Are there any role models in the movie? Who are they, and what character strengths do they display?

  • How does little Kun learn from his mistakes? What changes does he make to his behavior? How is he representative of young preschool-age boys?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love anime and sibling stories

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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