Anime film review: Kimino Nawa (Your name) and Makoto Shinkai’s other works

Written by @mayshing

To be very honest, Director Makoto Shinkai’s work is really a hit or miss for me. One thing he does consistently well is the use of camera, cinematography, and landscape, he is an absolute master at those skills. Story telling wise… I am not always able to board the train on his “feels” for his films like those of his loyal fans, so I will first admit, with disclaimers, I did not follow him very closely, I have watched the following films by him thus far:

List of his films:
Your Name
Probably the cutest story he has made out of all the “HELLO! CAN YOU HEAR/FIND ME NOW?!” romance tale, with beautifully cut together scenes, great pacing to create mystery to an other wise simple story.
Yes, I think this story is not that complicated… fans, don’t kill me. Maybe I need to re-watch it, but due to the fact I have watched other similar story types… I have to say I am not going to call this “complicated.” But I will call it a simple story well done on cinema, if the pacing, or shots are out of line, this would have been a not-so-great tale instead, but thanks to the masterful use of the cuts, it is a good film. His use of cinematography, cuts, composition, the description of quiet moments is starting to closely resemble Miyazaki, the master of quiet moments. Quiet moments no longer bores me in this film but gives me critical information about the character, keep me guessing about their lives, the glimpse has reached a sense of “peeking” magic. You start to feel like a kid again, watching what is going on with the characters lives that you should have not intruded. The roles between male vs female mind is also well captured for me whom grew up in a similar society setting. Safe to say this is not depressive, the mood is optimistic. I did not shed a tear but I did get the sense why certain emotions are portrayed in the characters immediately without the film explaining. So overall, a pleasant film to watch.
Rating: Cute and fun (OMG HE HAS A CUTE FILM… ahem…)
The Garden of Words
This film impressed me the most so far, from pure artistic stand point. You just have to agree every shot is extremely beautiful, small moments really start to speak to you here in this film. Everything has a serene feel, and the quiet, kind of a forbidden love story in the film can bring you the feels in climax. I would consider this an ageless master piece for 2D animation from an artistic stand point, it’s like viewing a moving artbook, it’s that pretty.
Rating: The Feels
Children Who Chase Lost Voices
This film lost me…. really early on, the pacing was… too slow. It’s alright, I committed that sin before with mine. I started looking at the watch, seriously. I could tell how the story will play out really early on, it feels like a homage to Miyazaki film, but didn’t quite “get it”. I don’t know what happened there. I couldn’t watch until the end. It was definitely not a film I want to sit through, sorry.
Rating: Nap time
5 Centimeters Per Second
I think… for a single person film, this is a beautiful film.
Story wise, REALLY NOT MY CUP OF TEA though… the pacing was slow, hardly any animation, long melancholy shots…
the hopeless romantic feel is not something I would board the train for,
the main characters cry over something I am deadly used to… long distance. Sorry… I really can’t relate much. I understand it, but I still can not empathize thus killed the film for me.
I gotta admit, the title is brilliant, it’s the most catchy title because it’s got a number, a fact, and it relates to an emotion… and well… just deliver that line somewhere in the film has you set…
If being sappy, hopelessly romantic, with beautiful, beautiful scenery is your thing…. enjoy~

2017 Birthday features

January Feature girl of the month: is Maxine from our adventure game Assess K!

Age: 19, Bday: Jan
2nd Year – Physiological Science
Likes: Gymnastics
Dislikes: Mushrooms

Even though a child of small stature, she stood up and fought bullies, earning her the nickname “Mighty Mouse,” also a champion gymnast!

Our Inspirations


mayshingMayshing: One of my major film inspirations is Hayao Miyazaki where his film really embodied strong messages for viewers to take away but explores a world of wonders, and meaningful interactions.
My all time favorites are Laputa and Nausicaa, his older films but I am also very influenced by Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away.
My desire for my own films, games or stories is to create something with strong messages but entertaining, making them long-lasting classics.

Tsukushi Akihito is my illustration inspiration. A strong sense of child-like innocence with a world of wonders, great details in objects and each tells a story, with color splashes everywhere yet achieves harmony. I aim to make something similar to this type of illustrations in my recent days.



elysseElysse: Hayao Miyazaki is a huge inspiration for me as well (Spirited Away is a wonderful smorgesbort of fantasy meets supernatural and imagination), though in general most of the Studio Ghibli films are (namely Whisper of the Heart). However growing up I was immersed in Disney films, live action and animated. A lot of inspiration came and still comes from those films, many of which were based on preexisting stories (ie: novels and fairytales, which are a constant source of food for my muse). However one exact Disney animator’s work I fell in love with is Glen Keane. He recently did a beautiful 2D animated short film that’s actually an interactive game on Google’s Spotlight Stories: Duet.

Glen Keane worked on many films, including the well-known The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast (responsible for the Beast and Prince’s design), Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan as well as The Great Mouse Detective and The Rescuers Down Under plus many more, including my more recent favorite Tangled. His designs alone are unique and beautiful to look at, not to mention his animation technique is top notch with its fluidity, bringing life to whatever the subject is. Being I went to college for animation he was a huge inspiration for technique, but also as a design/concept artist he’s a wonderful inspiration too. His mastery of motion in single drawings is something I want to achieve. His grasp on anatomy to create something believable in look and movement is remarkable. To be able to create and render a believable original creature that matches the world its set in is a dream and challenge for any design artist.

For illustration, his daughter Claire Keane is great inspiration for her vivid colors and range of style; her style can be seen in Tangled via Rapunzel’s artwork. Her art style is inspiration for me for illustrations, a desirable look for a cutesy warm feel children’s story. But her ability to render cute yet still masterful illustrations is a feat in itself; she can easily create works reminiscent of famous classical paintings. She is a wonderful design artist.

The illustrator LeUyen Pham has an adorable art style that is memorable and super cute, perfect for children’s books. I look at her work for inspiration of how to color simply yet tastefully and draw and convey energy. She has a knack for portraying kids as their lively energetic selves which is a great challenge to convey motion and emotion in a still drawing. I hope to achieve a similar feel with my children’s illustrations, if not just hunt for her books when at a library because they’re so adorable to look at!

Going back to film inspiration, the director Mamoru Hosoda has been a huge influence long before I even knew his name. Given I got into the Digimon craze when it first came out in 1999 (Yes it and Pokemon), I feel in love with the energy and personalities of the characters the series had along with the designs. However aside from the TV show what’s stuck with me for years is Digimon: The Movie (Digimon Adventure OVA and Our War Game), as well as episode 21 “Home Away From Home” which he directed (the lone episode whose art style matches the movies and punches you in the gut with feels as it was directed as the last episode should the series not continue). His endings always get you.

His art style is recognizable as all his films have the same look and ability to make the viewer laugh and cry. He is a master at storytelling, at conveying funny as well as heart-felt moments that make you empathize with characters. His works I’ve seen of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars (which is reminiscent of his early work Our War Game), and Wolf Children are each unique yet have real feeling characters between how they act and convey emotions. His films range from improbable to probable but with realistic characters that grow and have a range of emotions.

If you want to get all the feels, watch his stuff (I still need to see The Boy and the Beast.) I hope to be a master of writing, directing and visual storytelling like him; between settings and characters he builds enchanting worlds and stories that leave an impression on the viewer. There is always at least one suspenseful moment per movie. The backgrounds alone are breathtaking as I can see a still of a location and immediately place the movie it was in. Certainly memorable; I consider him getting close to the level of impact as Miyazaki.




2016 Birthday Series

CD: I decided to do a birthday series for my own need to post happy birthday wishes on Facebook. That’s how this series started. Half a year in already! I am doing good. Man, time flies. XD You are welcome to use it for your facebook congratulations!

Continue reading