Full Disclosure: I backed this film’s Kickstarter. I have buyer’s remorse. Also, spoilers.
Mai Mai Miracle wants you feel things, other than boredom. Great animation veils undercooked characters and an unfocussed, unmotivated plot. Unfortunately, the film is otherwise so competent, that no especially dunderheaded artistic choice can distract you from how much of a slog the film is.
In 1950s Japan, there forms an unlikely friendship between an outgoing, rural tomboy and a shy, city girl. Our tomboy, Shinko, has a vivid imagination. She transforms the countryside into the ancient Land of Suo’s capital. She dreams of a lonely princess, who wants only to meet a girl her age. Our shy girl, Kiiko, can’t quite grasp Shinko’s fantasies, but reaches out to them regardless. Our heroines, alongside four boys, adventure through the countryside, until one of the boys has his life changed forever.