Watch Anime Classics by Makoto Shinkai Online

The films of Makoto Shinkai are currently available on anime streaming site Crunchyroll, although I don’t know for how long. I’ve previously reviewed the half-hour Voices of a Distant Star (which later became a manga). The longer 5 Centimeters per Second can be watched subtitled or in a new English dub.

I recommend them both. They’re beautiful, bittersweet meditations on potential love lost and how young people grow apart with distance.

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8 Responses to “Watch Anime Classics by Makoto Shinkai Online”

  1. Ed Sizemore Says:

    I recommend all his films. They are beautiful and heart-touching. He is one of only four anime directors whose movies I collect.

  2. Ed Says:

    Laz’s closing statements of Global Shinkai Day: http://anime.nickistre.net/audio/play/2267

    Official Website of GSD: http://cherryblossomsfalling.myfastforum.org/forum20.php

  3. Rivkah Says:

    I think I may be the only person who views Shinkai’s works as an example of why some incredibly talented and phenomenal artists just shouldn’t direct or even write. These films have beautifully framed and illustrated backgrounds, the colors are vibrant and lush, and the motions fluid and natural. But as soon as anybody starts speaking, I cringe. Or even the way his characters act. It’s like watching every cliche from every anime every written . . . or as though he’s following every rule ever taught about writing a story and character actions (pretty, shy girl stands behind tree waiting for boy. girl ducks behind tree when he almost sees her. zoom in on face. girl sighs. x10,000) without any attempts to either move beyond or to break them. None of his stories or his characters move beyond a pretty background and a cookie-cutter face.

    Which is sad. Because I feel that it’s phenomenal talent gone to waste. I can’t just watch a movie for the pretty visuals. I expect a decent, semi original story, too. And the contrast between the beauty of one and the cliche flatness of the other makes it feel so much worse.

  4. Johanna Says:

    I thought he used cliches, yes, but moved beyond them in unusual ways. Or commented on, in the case of 5CMPS, how our expectations based on those kinds of assumptions might be wrong.

  5. Ed Sizemore Says:

    Rivkah, I’m going to have to disagree with you. In Voices of A Distant Star, it’s the girl who goes off to war and the guy has to sit at home waiting and worrying. Hardly cliched for either Japan or the West. Part film’s message is the affects of war and technology on the lives of typical (cliched?) people.

    You have to tell me which works you think Voices of a Distant Star and The Place Promise in Our Early Days are derivative of because I thought the plot and ideas in both were highly original. If there are earlier works that have explored these themes, then I would love to read/view them.

  6. Rivkah Says:

    Ed: I think the concepts are original but that the directing itself feels forced and over done.

    For instance: In watching 5CPS, he would often linger over long on an instant or an object or a scene in order to accent it, and while this is common in Japanese film, he prolongs it to what feels, to me, the point of boredom. As though he’s shouting, “Look at me! I’m using a Dramatic Pause!” As Mark Twain points out in his works on presenting humor, a successful joke is about the pacing of the joke, not the joke itself, and that a true artist knows the EXACT time to deliver the punchline. Too early. Too late. And you lose your audience. The same applies to drama.

    Also, the characters themselves: I think his character designs are flat, lifeless, uninteresting, and seem to be wearing the same sad or mildly surprised face in a good 90% of his shots. Or hiding their faces. Which is fine. But again, he overdoes it to the point of trying to PROVE he’s making a point about their personalities instead of letting the audience divine it on their own. I’m also disappointed in the actual art of characters in comparison to the background art. They’re fluid in motion, but their faces are strikingly bland, feeling lifted almost from the pages of a How to Draw Anime book. Whomever his character designer is for these projects, he needs to fire and find a new one with at least some slight degree of originality. And I don’t buy the excuse that might pop up of, “These are supposed to be anyone” because just about anybody has more personality in the way they act and dress than these marionettes. His characters are boring. And why would I emotionally invest in boring characters?

    Also, this may sound like a minor irritation, but I guess it was a pretty big one for me: sounds. The voices and sound mixing in 5CPC were either flat or drawn entirely from stock. I LOVE voice acting in Japan, and felt in 5CPC that the voices were depressing and sad and . . . rather grating in their lack of true strong, realistic emotion. I had to watch it on mute and read the subtitles instead, which I NEVER do with Japanese film!

    The plethora of stock sounds was a minor irritation that became a big one over the long run, as well.

    So, what it ultimately comes down to is that Shinkai’s short films felt sad . . . and nothing but sad. Or nostalgique. Throw in some humor or lighthearted play to spice it up a bit, or even ANGER. something stronger and magnetic. Because if if the ultimate goal of your writing is to make your audience feel sad with your characters, to point out the poignancy of their lives, then you have to provide them with a higher ground from which to start from and bring them down from there. It’s skillful directing to do so and not one that I saw here.

    HOWEVER, in spite of all those negative points I just made, I do also want it to be clear that I haven’t seen his longer works, only these shorter, and I guess I’m disappointed because I’ve actually wanted to see the longer works based on stills I’ve seen of them (though the summaries seemed a little cooked), and watching his shorts just then made me realize that if they’re anything like 5CPC, then I don’t want to watch them either.

    And I understand it’s a matter of taste, too. If it were up to me, the timing on these short films could have been cut in half, the voice actors switched out for better, and right there I probably would have enjoyed it at least 80% more. So that’s the majority of it right there.

  7. Rivkah Says:

    And it sucks because I WANTED to like it. :\

  8. Ed Sizemore Says:

    Rivkah, Unfortunately, we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this. I think he is using a more relaxed, older style of film making in his stories. Where you see overdramatic pauses, I see meditative moments. A chance to let the audience think and feel along side the characters. Maybe I’ve very old fashioned, but I can’t do three emotions a second like a lot of modern movies and anime. I prefer to be in the moment a few seconds before moving on. 5 CPS is sad, but not in a depressive way, but rather in a melancholic manner. The difference is that it’s a productive sadness that motives the protagonist and audience not to make the same mistake again. What impresses me is that this is young filmmaker who seems to be looking back at the films of his parent’s and grandparent’s generations as models and not films his generation grew up and are making today.

    Thanks for coming back and giving a more detailed explanation of your criticism. I only wish my response was as articulate. I appreciate the chance to see his films through your eyes.

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