Thursday, August 18, 2016

Makoto Shinkai's Animated films - Anime review

When I mention Japanese Animated film/movie, a lot people often tend to think of Ghibli at first. Though today I wanted to write a post about Makoto Shinkai, who had been my favourite all-time Anime film director since 2002.

I have been watching his directed Animated films since "The voices of a distant star", and it literally blown my mind FAR away. The graphics, the storyline, the complex and repeating concept of distance and time, and the mixture of emotions buried deep within. Everything about Makoto Shinkai's Animated films fascinated me from the bottom of my heart. To this date, I still consider him as a master and will forever admire his works.

I wanted to write a list of films that I have seen from him, it's not much but each one of them was unique in their own way and some had left great impression on me.

The voices of a distant star (2002)

This was the very first Animated film I have seen from Makoto Shinkai, and one of my favourite up-to-date. I couldn't describe the amazement I felt when I watched this film, and how much I loved the concept of space and time. At the time I wondered if Makoto Shinkai wanted to convey a message, almost like a metaphor that reflected our lives in the present. A simple mobile message merely requires a second to transfer, but what if you are going further and further out into the space? I watched in sorrow as the main characters became aware of the distance between them, and questioned how terrifying that loneliness must've felt like. It was a relatively shorter film compared to the rest, though I'd still strongly recommend this. "The voices of a distant star" did an amazing job to summarize the ideas and emotions of each and in between the two main characters, and it's also a great starting film from Makoto Shinkai to see how they eventually evolve overtime.

The place promised in our early days (2004)

With  the rest of Makoto Shinkai's films mainly concentrated on the relationship between two main characters, "The place promised in our early days" actually portrayed a triangle relationship between a girl and two boys. Again just like "The voices of a distant star", the story began in school days. It was a great journey to see a simple promise from the 3 friends' early teenage days, and how it survived through the complexity and dilemma of their lives later on. I wouldn't say I fully understood this film or even close to it, but many male viewers told me this was one of the best Animated film they've ever seen. I do tend to think "The place promised in our early days" was more focused on male perspectives, but nevertheless it was still a great one to watch.

5cm per second (2007)

Hands up, no doubt, this was my all-time favourite Animated film from Makoto Shinkai, and I couldn't even find the right words to describe how much I was attached to "5cm per second". The film was actually separated into three parts, spreading the setting from Elementary school to adulthood. Once again, I saw the concept of distance and time, yet still inevitable and far beyond anyone's control. However, I felt this was probably one of the most complicated film that Makoto Shinkai has ever done. Although the feelings involved were simple on the surface, there were a lot being conveyed behind the scenes. I found this was a film that almost everyone could relate too, as we experienced that emptiness of having to lose someone due to the reality of time and distance. Although a sense of sombre has been there throughout the film, I do find this time Makoto Shinkai ended the film with the best and most mature way possible. I would highly recommend "5cm per second" to anyone really, it was definitely a true masterpiece in my opinion.

Children who chase lost voices from deep below (2011)

This film had a completely different setting, and to me it felt very different to the rest of Makoto Shinkai's films. Perhaps because it belongs to the fantasy genre, thus it was very unique and magical. Although the film started during school time again, it was more focused on the peaceful countryside rather than the bustling city. The characters took us audiences to a realm that we have not heard or seen before, and I found all the symbolism of life/death involved has added a layer of new meaning to the film. In a way, I was a little distracted by the beautiful graphics in "Children who chase lost voices from deep below", and perhaps neglected the main message that Makoto Shinkai was trying to convey here.

The garden of words (2013)

"The garden of words" was a little different from the rest of Makoto Shinkai's films due to the age gap between the characters. To be honest, I was initially attracted to the OST more than the trailer itself. What I saw from a 15 years old teenage boy and a 27 years old female teacher...was not surprisingly different. We have all thought about what we wanted to become as an adult, and yet we continued to question ourselves once we actually turned into one. If I had to point a major difference of this film and the rest, I'd say the "explosion of feelings". Unlike the previous films, Makoto Shinkai decided not to let their feelings remain hidden in "The garden of words" and that was one of the greatest moment I have ever seen. If you have the same doubt as an adult, I would recommend this film to you. Perhaps, it has taught all of us to regain the courage to "walk" smoothly again.

Kimi no Na wa (2016)

This is the latest Animated film from Makoto Shinkai, and I am really looking forward to it (coming soon). Here's a synopsis (source:

"The story is set one month after a comet has fallen for the first time in a thousand years in Japan. Mitsuha, a high school girl living in the countryside, wants to live in the city because she is tired of life in the country. Then, there's Taki. He's a high school student living in Tokyo with his friends while working as a part-timer at an Italian restaurant. He also has a strong interest in fine arts involving architecture. One day, Mitsuha dreams of herself as a young man. On the other hand, Taki also has a dream where he is a female student attending high school in the countryside. What's the secret behind their dreams?"

PS. You can find all the past films on


  1. The place promised in our early days It was a very sad movie to me I don´t kow I think I start to feel nostalgical and sad remembering this movie. 5cm per second (2007) It was probably my favorite movie from him. Children who chase lost voices from deep below (2011)
    I don´t know I think the concept is pretty interesting I felt transferred to a film Studio Ghibli for some reason. The garden of words (2013) It was my least favorite but was a nice movie too.

    1. Lol I honestly thought of the same thing when I watched "children who chase lost voices from deep below"!! High 5 for liking 5cm/sec the best too, it still has a place in my heart and probably can never be replace :D alot people have been telling me how they were so touched by "the place promised in our early days", perhaps I need to watch it again to understand it more. There were some mixed views of "the garden of words" actually but yea, great movie still, and I was really addicted to the OST haha. Have you seen "the voices of distant star"? It's a shorter film, the graphics are a bit different but still an amazing work from Makoto Shinkai. I'm glad to find more of his fans here :) thanks for sharing your views~