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
    (Friday, May 22. 2015 04:42 AM)
    Even Anno admitted that Evangelion’s success was heavily reliant on Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s unique and attractive character design. It was familiar but still original. Rei and Asuka’s designs as well as the plug suits and the look of ye Evas had a huge impact in the industry and inspired a whole slew of future animators. You could’ve done the same exact series with a cruder art style and it wouldn’t have been nearly as good.
  • Bam
    (Friday, May 22. 2015 04:19 AM)
    @Aidan: art-style is integral to the overall quality of a product, that’s why it irks me so much when Type-Moonies endlessly praise Nasu and underappreciate Takeuchi as if he didn’t contribute all that much to Fate’s success.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, May 22. 2015 02:38 AM)
    @Bam, it’s a rough style admittedly. But mate I played Umineko with the original artwork. It’s hard to find anything worse than that…expect Higurashi’s artwork…(shivers)
    Ryukishi, great writer but not an artist.
  • Bam
    (Friday, May 22. 2015 12:24 AM)
    You guys made me want to go see Fury Road in IMAX now.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 21. 2015 10:13 PM)
    @Aidan: you know I tried looking into Muv Luv since it’s supposedly a seminal LN, but that character design is horrendous. The story sounds interesting but there’s such a divide between that and the art style that there’s no way I can get into it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, May 21. 2015 02:04 PM)
    Another Muv luv spinoff gets an anime adaption. Sure, lets adapt everything except the work that made it famous in the first place.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, May 21. 2015 04:10 AM)
    Muthafuckas cancelled the Constantine tv adapatation…
  • Emma
    (Thursday, May 21. 2015 03:45 AM)
    Come to think of it, Tsugumi’s personality at odds with her monster design. I’m getting reminded of that mech from zone of the enders dolores that had the personality of a young girl .
  • Emma
    (Thursday, May 21. 2015 03:43 AM)
    @Aidan: The bear will be explained as it was done so recently enough in the manga, Ochiai remains however a very dull villain.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, May 21. 2015 03:27 AM)
    You know when grabbing screenshots Sidonia really does look better when you look at it in still images. I really do think that if they just gave the models more natural movement then it would look metric tons better.

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