Posted by psgels on 30 August 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews


Makoto Shinkai is a very strange director. With this, I’ve seen all of his major works now, She and her Cat included, but only The Place Promised in our Early Days gave me enough inspiration to write a review about it. It doesn’t happen often, but some movies just aren’t fit for my review-system, and She and Her Cat, Byousoku 5cm/second and Voices of a Distant Star are examples of this. I could be nitpicky, and pick out lots of flaws, like where did these aliens come from, or the lack of a proper aftermath, but that’s not what this movie’s about. All Makoto Shinkai is interested in is pretty graphics and romance, and he definitely delivers on these points.

While this isn’t going to be a fully fledged review, I do want to grab this chance to say a few things about it. Makoto Shinkai is a master in creating subtle feelings, mostly about loneliness, and being away from your loved one. All his works share this similarity. The setting he places it in often doesn’t really matter, and often only is used as a means of creating this feeling.

The Place Promised in our Early Days is, in my opinion, his weakest production. I think that this is because 1) it was too long, 2) it tried too much to be a standard movie and 3) the ending was his only happy end, in which everything was unrealistically resolved in the end (this is because of 2) as well).

My main gripe with Makoto is the following. It’s not really a problem, it’s not really a flaw, but it seems that he’s only good at one specific style. Am I the only one who noticed that his male leads are practically the same everywhere? Okay, the cat may be different, but the male leads in Voices, Place and Byousoku could very well have been the exact same person. Nevertheless, his particular style can be watched over and over, and I’m looking forward to his next movie. He’s also going to be involved in ef in the next Season, isn’t he? Is this as the writer, or is he just going to do the backgrounds?

6 Responses

  1. Wyrdwad says:

    Hmmm… I’m not familiar with Byousoku 5cm/second, but I absolutely *LOVE* Distant Star and Place Promised (the latter especially — I disagree with you on the ending, which I thought was beautiful and entirely appropriate). What is Byousoku, and is it commercially licensed, or can I get it online?

    -Tom

  2. psgels psgels says:

    Byousoku was released about a month ago. You can find it on Tokyo Toshokan. If you loved Voices of a Distant Star and Place Promised, then you’ll absolutely love that one. :)

  3. Immelman says:

    I agree with you psgels.
    On one hand, you have these incredible graphics, and you can really grab the feelings of the characters (I think I cried for Byousoku and voices of a distant star).
    But on the other hand, as you said, it’s pretty the same story. And why is it always so sad!!?? I mean, why is the male character always so narrow minded and can’t accept the fact that his love is impossible??

  4. DrEpicFail says:

    I don’t know about you since different writers have different personalities and get inspiration from different sources.
    As for me, Byousoku 5 cm is definitely my all time favourite.. after all, I like metaphorical components.

  5. :] says:

    Well, Mikato is one of my favorite directors and he certainly has a great talent. I must say that his works are very beautiful. um.. I don’t understand what is wrong with the happy end? and it’s not too long – even if it is ‘The place promised in our early days’ isn’t boring, so you can enjoy it’s length.
    ‘the lack of a proper aftermath’ if that movie had ‘proper aftermath’ it would get boring and lost it’s main idea.
    But. They really have something in common – they are nice pieces of art.

  6. :] says:

    Well, Mikato is one of my favorite directors and he certainly has a great talent. I must say that his works are very beautiful. um.. I don’t understand what is wrong with the happy end? and it’s not too long – even if it is ‘The place promised in our early days’ isn’t boring, so you can enjoy it’s length.
    ‘the lack of a proper aftermath’ if that movie had ‘proper aftermath’ it would get boring and lost it’s main idea.
    But. They really have something in common – they are nice pieces of art.

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:30 AM)
    Watchmen was deemed ‘unadaptable’ for about thirty years, so just getting what Snyder got out of the material is a huge success; it is said that what he did was to write a book version of Ingmar’s Holy Mountain. Watchmen is the only graphic novel to ever win a Hugo award and is easily the most intricate and multilayered Alan Moore comic, so it’s no surprise that it continues to top ‘best comics of all time’ charts to this day.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:20 AM)
    I beg to differ. Doctor Manhatten is the most intriguing character of Watchmen and the comic is a giant in ,not only in the comic world, but the history of literature itself. It is a deconstruction of superheros and Dr. M shows how afraid the world would really be when faced with a ‘superman’ and how a creature in such a higher realm of time and perception would show apathy toward humans and their foolish struggles.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:15 AM)
    GitS just won’t work. Maybe in a world before the Matrix, but not now with so many elements of it borrowed liberally by so many franchises in various mediums. Scarlet Johansson is decent in roles that fit her. She was enjoyable in Lost In Translation, but race aside she has nothing in common with Kusanagi. This is a travesty and the franchise is dear to me so it especially burns my ass.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:10 AM)
    While I am no fan of man of steel, Nolan and Snyder, just about anyone would have a hard time taking a difficult character like superman and making him work on screen.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:08 AM)
    Apart from Veidt and Rorshach I could never get into the characters all that much in watchmen. I also found the film overly long and mediocre acted for the larger part. But to each there own. For Alan moores works I always preferred his Miracleman, swamp thing, V for Vendetta stories.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:06 AM)
    Nolan can produce the action plus personal and dark story that Alita would need, and he also brings talent such as composer Hans Zimmer and Cinematographer Sally Pfister to the table. Him and Snyder have too much combined integrity to make a mockery out of Alita like Spielberg did with the GitS license.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:03 AM)
    Well Snyder has respect for his source materials and that is key in anime-to-film adaptations. Hell I’m a big Watchmen fan and I thought his version was (almost painfully) close to the comic. You’re not going to get that anywhere else in Hollywood. Also the combination of Nolan/Snyder is quite different than them individually.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:34 AM)
    And directed it as a co-production with America, using a Japanese cast.
    Yeah…this is impossible…
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:32 AM)
    The only way a live action ghost in the shell film would work is if Mamoru oshii directed it.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:29 AM)
    Wait wait…his Van helsing film is a reboot sorry I confused it with the other one.

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