Monday, May 11, 2009

Makoto Shinkai

I’m going to kick off May with a marathon of Makoto Shinkai reviews. I see the most reasonable way to start this marathon is by looking at the Director himself. In this article I’ll be looking at what makes this young director so great and promising. But let’s first take a look at his background.

Makoto Shinkai was born February 9th, 1973 in the Nagano Prefecture. He spent his child hood here and graduated from in 1991. After that he went to Chuo University where he majored in Japanese Literature. He then took a job at Falcom for 5 years before quitting so that he could work on anime full time.

The first thing that he actually worked on (from what I can gather) is a short called “Other Worlds”. But his first recognizable success would be She And Her Cat which was released in 1999. This was what first started to get him attention. After this he worked on the movie he’s most known for, Voices of a Distant Star. From there he went on to make his other noted movies such as The Place Promised In Our Early Days and 5 cm per second.

Now that we got that out of the way let’s move on to looking at his actual directing. It’s no secret that Makoto Shinkai’s signature, if you will, is touching love stories. When looking at movies like Voices of a Distant Star and 5cm Per Second we see that his stories often involve young love standing against all obstacles. Some would argue that the type of love that he presents in his stories are idealistic and foolish, but when you see his movies all you can do is think “that is love”.

With this much passion being put into his movies you’d think that he was pulling these ideas from the raw experiences of his love life. But in the director’s interview on 5cm Per Second’s dvd, he reveals that this is not true. He said that people often ask him if his stories are based off events in his real life. He said no, that he hasn’t even had a long distance relationship (like the one from 5cm Per Second) except for one which only lasted a few months. I actually found this to be a bit funny. People often say that you should write about what you know, and yet he’s writing amazing scripts out of just plain imagination.

Aside from his unique sours of inspiration, Makoto Shinkai has become known as an unorthodox director from many other reasons. One of which is that fact that he is so involved in the making of his movies. When looking at the credits for his more popular movies we see the name Makoto Shinkai pop up countless times listed under many different jobs. Doing everything from Directing, to Story Board, to even Theme Song Lyrics he’s like a one stop movie man. It’s hard to believe that one person could do so much work. This ‘do it your self’ mentality is epitomized in the movie Voices of a Distant Star in which Makoto did nearly everything on his own over the course of 2 years. While making this he even tried his hand at voice acting for the original director’s version.

I think I should end it here for now, other wise I won’t have much to talk about when reviewing his actual works. Next time I’ll be reviewing the astounding Makoto Shinkai movie, The Place Promised in Our Early Days.

P.S.: If you don’t feel like reading my reviews on Shinkai I would suggest his fan site to gather info on him. They have a large amount of information on him that helped me write this.