Makoto Shinkai Explains His Works and Thoughts (A Selection of Interviews)


Voices of a Distant Star

1.Makoto Shinkai’s international smash your name. is approaching the $300 million dollar mark at the international box office

So with all of that combined, I felt like, when I set out to make this movie, I really wanted to incorporate elements of comedy as well as unpredictability for the audience. In doing so, I came up with this very complex timeline narrative structure. At that point, I didn’t necessarily feel like understanding the complex structure and timeline was necessary for the audience. If anything, I wanted to shift the focus to the relationship between the two main characters, our protagonist and romantic interest……It’s interesting you bring that up because I get asked that question a lot: “have you intentionally made this for a much broader audience?” But throughout my entire creative process and career, that was always my intent, to create something that people would be able to engage with, not just a very specific market. So I think at any point and time, I made a movie that was the best I could do with what I had at that moment, both creatively and team-wise. The people who end up supporting it were just a result of what I was able to create. (more)


Mr. Hosoda at the conference


2.Makoto Shinkai interview: how Your Name restored director’s faith in Movies

“It was of course a very simple boy-meets-girl narrative, and I don’t think that narrative has been told in an anime medium in quite some time,” Shinkai, musing on the film’s success, tells EW. “We had no idea that it was going to be received as well as it was and produce the numbers it did. Our initial goal was to aim for about the equivalent of $20 million, and that alone would have been considered a huge hit.”(more)


3.Interview with Makoto Shinkai, Director of Kimi no Na wa.

Yes, I know there are some classics with a switching bodies plot. Back then, the plot of a boy and a girl switching focuses on genders. For example, a girl turns into a boy inside, and the film comically describes “Huh? Isn’t she a bit boyish today?”…and she tries hard to get back to herself. However, this is not the case in 2016. People would rather say, “So what? It’s just gender swapping”. On top of that, the audience would already know how the story goes. So, Kimi no Na wa may seem to start similar to those classic body-switching stories, but as the story unfolds, it actually develops to a completely different theme with unique scenery and unique relationships.(more)


4.Makoto Shinkai: ‘You can’t be Miyazaki, you can only be the second Miyazaki’

Shinkai: I wanted to make a boy meets girl film, but I didn’t want the meeting to come at the beginning of the film, I wanted it to come at the end. The focus of the audience has to be on this boy and girl, and we want the audience to love them. The sci-fi and fantasy elements are there to strengthen those emotions.(more)


5 Centimeters per Second


5.Now Shinkai is back with his latest release, ‘Your Name’ – a tale that crosses bridges and borders with its deep human drama. Check out his exclusive interview with ZTOKYO below.

After completing ‘Garden of Words’, I worked on a few TV adverts and novels. Those experiences opened my eyes up to the power of a good story. It was like I had gained the ability to look down on the entirety of a plot from a birds-eye view. So when I got started on ‘Your Name’, I wanted to focus on the storytelling side of it. I put my entire heart and soul into the plotline, and I’m pretty proud of the result. This is probably my favorite work that I’ve done to date.(more)


6.An Interview with Makoto Shinkai

I wanted to describe those exciting emotions you have as a teenager. The main theme here is these two people have met, and then meet again at the end. But the ‘body swap’ isn’t the main element of the film, they could have met through social media, it was just a prop I used, it didn’t have to be via the body swap…When I started working on this movie, the one important thing I wanted was the audience to leave the cinema with a smile on their face and I also wanted to put some comedy elements into my script, that was the first time I did it.(more)


7.Interview: A Conversation with Makoto Shinkai; the Director of Your Name

We had a series of script meetings once a month for six months, with the producer Genki Kawamura and a team in Toho [one of Japan’s biggest film distributors]. I did the script myself, but every month I met up with them and we talked about it, and they would say, ‘This is boring’ or ‘That’s a bit too complicated.’ So I would update everything and meet up again four weeks later…..Kawamura gave me really good suggestions and a fresh perspective on the structure of the film. For example, Your Name starts with Itomori (a mountain town in the country), where the girl Mitsuha lives. Kawamura said, ‘You’ve got to keep (the opening Itomori sequence) within fifteen minutes; any longer will be boring.’ I agreed that was a good idea.(more)


8.Interview: ‘your name.’ director Shinkai ponders film’s success, own motives

Shinkai: I’ve been making anime for 14 years, and I don’t feel that anything has suddenly changed with this work. There were gradual changes over time. Up until “5 Centimeters Per Second” (Shinka’s third cinema title, released in 2007), the audiences consisted mostly of males. With my next work “Children Who Chase Lost Voices” (2011), there were more females. There may have been elements that women can enjoy, but I also feel that the way anime is received in Japan has changed. I think it’s become more casual, and that they’re not just for the guys……When I went on a TV program the other day, a high school girl asked me, “How can a middle-aged guy in his 40s understand how we feel?” — a bit of a rude question. (Laughs) I didn’t interview any young people and I don’t think I’ve depicted the “true reality.” But the things that were tough for me during my teens are still tough for me now, even though their intensity has faded, and the things that I intensely yearned for, though I may not have gotten them, still dazzle me. The girls that ask “why” don’t just suddenly become adults either, but continue on until our stage in a process of progression. The human differences between each person are bigger than the differences between generations and gender. I don’t think there’s any use thinking about the differences.(more)


9. Please don’t see my film, says Your Name director Shinkai – I don’t want anime body-swapping megahit winning an Oscar

Of course, I’m happy when people mention his name and mine in the same breath. It’s like a dream. But I know they are overpraising Your Name because I am absolutely not at Miyazaki’s level.“Honestly, I really don’t want Miyazaki to see it because he will see all its flaws. ”Despite the rave reviews, Shinkai insists his film is not as good as it could have been – a refreshingly novel approach for the man who is supposed to be promoting it.“There were things that we couldn’t do,” he said, explaining that his team of animators led by one of Miyazaki’s greatest disciples, Masashi Ando, wanted to keep working on it but with money running out he had to cry stop.“For me, it’s incomplete, unbalanced. The plot is fine but the film is not at all perfect. Two years was not enough.”(more)


Hayao Miyazaki

10. Under a Lucky Star: Makoto Shinkai Talks Your Name, The Highest-Grossing Anime Film of All Time

In terms of the digital vs. hand-drawn argument, when I did “Voice of a Distant Star,” I created all of the backgrounds digitally. Because the ultimate medium through which the film was going to be produced and rendered was a digital format. You’re dealing with data, and it seemed like a natural pipeline to already have the backgrounds done and rendered digitally. As far as characters are concerned, frankly I think if we could digitize that process a little more, it would actually be more efficient and better for the pipeline. But that being said, a lot of the staff and a lot of the more experienced people in the industry prefer the pencil and paper method. It’s almost like a legacy artifact from ages before. However, if we can slowly transition to a pen and tablet, that might improve the efficiency of the pipeline.(more)