One film director is attempting to change the structure of the world’s animated movies. He is Makoto Shinkai, the director of the Japanese anime film Your Name (Kimi no Na wa), the anime film that caused a cinematic whirlwind throughout Asia and has won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Animated Film.
Your Name has the record for the second highest box-office revenues for a Japanese movie in its native country, Japan, and has become a great hit overseas as well. It has become the biggest Japanese hit movie in the world.
Today, I would like to introduce you to the previous works of director Makoto Shinkai, who has accomplished this great success and has gained worldwide recognition!
A Challenge Which He Started Alone
Before making anime films, Shinkai used to work at a game company creating package designs and the opening movies of games. At the same time, he started independently producing anime movies. In 2000, he released the movie She and Her Cat (Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko), and in 2002 he released The Voices of a Distant Star (Hoshi no Koe), which became his first short movie shown in theaters. Since both movies were made almost all by himself, their high quality surprised the viewers.
In 2004, his movie The Place Promised in Our Early Days (Yuki no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho) was released. At the 59th Mainichi Film Awards, which is a famous movie award ceremony established in 1946, Shinkai’s movie won Best Animation Film, beating Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl no Ugoku Shiro). Shinkai’s movie was also highly rated in overseas film festivals, and Shinkai’s name started to gain fame throughout the world. Although The Place Promised in Our Early Days was only shown in few theaters in Japan, the movie’s beautiful screen images and delicate story captured the hearts of its viewers, and it became a long-running hit.
The Release of his Masterpiece
The release of the 2007 anime film 5 Centimeters Per Second (Byousoku 5 Centimeters) became another opportunity for Shinkai’s name to spread widely. The movie included beautiful scenes, even better than those in his previous movies, and the touching story charmed many viewers. The movie is said to be one of Shinkai’s best works and is still extremely popular among Shinkai fans.
A movie in China included many scenes resembling 5 Centimeters Per Second, and it was criticized for plagiarism. Ironically, this also became one of the reasons Shinkai’s name and films gained attention from anime fans throughout the world.
The 2011 movie Children who Chase Lost Voices (Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo) included fantasy themes, new to Shinkai’s work. This new anime movie, which had a style inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s films, surprised and fascinated many fans. This movie took Shinkai to a new stage.
The Growth of the Delicate Touch
In 2013, The Garden of Words (Koto no Ha no Niwa) was released. Unlike Children who Chase Lost Voices, this movie did not include any fantasy aspects, and Shinkai had returned to his usual style. The movie included many psychological themes, such as the scenes in which the characters’ feelings were linked to the rain. It had the softest and most delicate storyline of all of Shinkai’s works.
Shinkai Produces the Best Hit Movie in Japan
In 2016, Shinkai became the man in the spotlight. His movie Your Name was released, and it recorded the second highest box-office revenue in Japanese film history, which was recorded as 24.5 billion yen (As of March 6, 2017). His previous movie made about 1.5 hundred million yen at the box office, so you can tell how much of a big hit this new movie was.
Your Name has also gained popularity in other Asian countries, and it has now become the biggest animated Japanese film in the world. It is highly rated by many anime fans living abroad, and Shinkai is now receiving public attention as one of the best Japanese anime film directors of the next generation.
Your Name included many scenes paying homage to Shinkai’s previous works and is said to be ‘the masterpiece of director Shinkai.’ Compared to his other movies which have a rather slow and calm flow of time, Your Name was filled with a feeling of rapid motion. However, it also included a beautiful and delicate storyline, which has become a symbolic aspect of Shinkai’s works. Shinkai has finally carved his name in the world’s movie history by obtaining new fans, recording the greatest hit, and being highly rated throughout the world.
Makoto Shinkai: The Director to Lead the Next Generation
If you are an anime fan, you should definitely watch at least one of Shinkai’s movies. His movies include artistic visuals and breathtakingly delicate stories. There is no doubt that he will be cast into the spotlight as the director leading the next generation of anime films, following Hayao Miyazaki.
Your Name’s success was something that surpassed the expectations of even the staff members who joined the making of the movie. Also, an English version of the movie has been produced with the insert song sung in English. It will be released across North America (The English version was even released for a limited time in Japan prior to its release in the United States.) With the release of the movie’s English version, which is very rare for a Japanese movie, anime fans living in English-speaking countries are going to be able to comfortably watch Your Name.
The movie will be released in the United States and Canada this coming April. Let’s hope the viewers in America will enjoy this beautiful story.
Your Name opens in Cinemas across the US and Canada on 7 April in both English and Japanese audio.