With the massive success of Your Name in Japan last year (close to around $350 million dollars from box office receipts so far), Makoto Shinkai’s lush anime art style of massively gorgeous and realistc backgrounds and “baked in” cinematic camera effects such as bokeh and sunflares has really set the bar for high budget anime to come.
But Your Name didn’t just came out of nowhere.
Shinkai-san has been developing his signature style for a while now in his previous films, all leading up to his smash hit and below are just a taste of some of the most expansive and iconic shots from his previous movies leading up to his latest release.
Byōsoku Go Senchimētoru ( 5 Centimeters a Second – 2007)
Kotonoha no Niwa (The Garden of Words – 2013)
Shinkai’s next flim, The Garden of Words, runs only for 45 minutes but handily expands and improves on what came before, not just in story, character emotions and interaction, but an improvement on visuals.
The rain effects and backgrounds are rendered with a little more detail, not as much kaliedoscopic color (ranging in the warm greens) and the “in-camera” effects are now more prevelant and expanded upon.
By this time, the director was now getting compared to the legend Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli fame.
Kimi No Na Wa – (Your Name – 2016)
The vistas of both Tokyo and Hida are stunning and the resultant animation is overall very impressive indeed. There’s also a great deal of warmth with the characters, especially in the Hida segment, and it really grounds the film as being an honest slice of life story.
While being a Tokyo resident, I do find the depiction of the city somewhat overly flattering, as it’s nowhere near that clean, but the way in which the countryside is shown is incredibly well done and really quite accurate.
From the raindrops hanging off the web of a joro spider to the simple act of weaving threads, this film really is a visual tour de force in a strangely understated and very particular way.
Even though for most Americans being able to see Your Name or any of these films in the theater is rather remote, watching the general visual evolution of Shinkai’s films can only be really understood (and felt) seen in the complete cinematic package.