Makoto Shinkai – The Emotional Visual Master of Anime Filmmaking
Makoto Shinkai, a remarkable anime director, started his career in 1998. Since then, he has produced numerous exceptional films that have been nominated for various awards. Shinkai’s films are known for their relatable stories, reflecting his personal experiences. As a director and in various other roles, his dedication is reflected in the deeply emotional essence of his films. Over 20 years, Shinkai has released at least 12 anime films with unique flavor but always with a distinct style that can be recognized instantly. Here are the top-rated films of Shinkai on MyAnimeList:
8. Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho – 7.4
Released in 2004, Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho, aka The Place Promised in Our Early Days, takes place in an alternate world where half of Japan is occupied by the Soviet Union. Amid the increasing tension, three friends try to find a ray of hope. They are fascinated by a mysterious tower built in Hokkaido and promise to fly to it in the future. But tragedy strikes when one of them mysteriously disappears. Sad at the loss of their friend, the remaining two decide to abandon their dreams.
7. Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo – 7.5
Released in 2011, Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo, aka Children Who Chase Lost Voice, is quite different from Byousoku 5 Centimeter. This film is more energetic and has more adventures than the previous films. The storyline revolves around a sixth-grader elementary student, Asuna Watase, who lives her life at a faster pace than her classmates. Her father’s death and mother’s long working hours make the little girl learn everything quickly. After meeting a mysterious boy, Asuna’s life drastically changes, and she sets out to seek answers to inexplicable incidents surrounding her.
6. Byousoku 5 Centimeter – 7.5
Byousoku 5 Centimeter, aka 5 Centimeter Per Second, may not have gained the same recognition levels as Kimi no Na Wa or Shinkai’s latest films. However, the quality of the film is not inferior to any other films. Released in 2007, it won many awards. The movie narrates the story of a teenage boy named Takaki Tono and his relationship with many people. The story is divided into three segments, each telling about Takaki’s relationship with different people. The story is set in Japan in the early 1990s and slowly moves into the 2008 era.
4. Kotonoha no Niwa – 7.9
Kotonoha no Niwa, aka The Garden of Words, was released in 2013. This film was then adapted into a manga and a light novel in the same year. The artwork of the film is splendid and beautifully utilizes its theme song, “Rain,” sung by Motohiro Hata. The story is about a teenage boy, Takao Akizuki, who aspires to become a shoemaker. On a rainy morning, when Takao visits Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, he meets a woman. After several meetings, the two get to know each other. The film highlights the problems associated with loneliness and how people cope with it.
3. Tenki no Ko – 8.3
Tenki no Ko, aka Weathering with You, was released in 2019. The film earned USD 193.8 million and became the highest-grossing film in Japan for that year. The story takes the audience to Tokyo in the present era. A runaway high school student, Hodaka Morishima, tries to get a new life experience. Due to his age, Hodaka finds it hard to find a job. Fortunately, he eventually becomes a personal assistant to a local magazine. Due to his work, Hodaka then meets a girl named Hina, who has the power to change the weather.
2. Suzume no Tojimari – 8.5
In conclusion, Makoto Shinkai has set the standards for anime filmmaking with his emotionally relatable films with breathtaking visuals. Among them, Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo, Byousoku 5 Centimeter, and Tenki no Ko stand out with their captivating storylines and visually stunning graphics, that tugged at the heartstrings of the audience. Shinkai’s films are truly a magical experience that the audience will never forget.