Beautiful spring scenery.
Sad and delicate snowflakes.
Skies that ask to be gazed upon for hours.
Perhaps each of these images made you think of a Makoto Shinkai film. From the windy expanses of The Place Promised in Our Early Days to the mythical environment of Children Who Chase Lost Voices, Shinkai has brought an immense beauty to anime that is matched by few, while expressing painful themes like separation, loss, and distance.
At only 40 years old, Shinkai, at least in the west, is as popular an anime director as anyone short of Hayao Miyazaki (to whom he’s frequently compared). On May 31, his most recent film, The Garden of Words, was released in Japan. Again, the images from the film are breathtaking.
My own journey into Shinkai’s works are both significant to me and frustrating – the earlier because he’s had such an impact on how I feel about the medium and about the beauty of artistry in anime and the latter because to me, he has yet to fulfill his potential.
Still, there’s no doubt that Shinkai is an important filmmakers nor that his works contain themes that are worth exploring on this blog. However, though I’ve long meant to, I haven’t yet written a post on a Shinkai film. This despite even nearly finishing a post on Children, which I later abandoned.
Thankfully, one of our writers, Kazehydra, was struck with the inspiration to write about 5 cm per Second, perhaps the piece that most defines Shinkai. And then, he suggested a week full of the director. I said, “YES, PLEASE,” so expect a week full of posts on several of the director’s films. We hope you’ll participate in discussion through the comments sections, not only by responding the posts, but talking about Shinkai and his films in general and how you feel about them.
I hope you’ll enjoy!