Article Quick Information

Title: Brief spotlight on Makoto Shinkai
Category: Biographical
Author: James
Published: Sat, 11 Mar 2006

James's article

Makoto Shinkai himselfOne of the directors who has risen to prominence in recent years, the small but high quality freelance output of Makoto Shinkai promises much for the future; he has been referred to, despite his protests, as “the new Miyazaki” before. Despite this comparison, however, the work of the two directors differs greatly.

Shinkai was born in 1973 in Nagano, a picturesque setting that he would later claim had a profound influence on his work. After reading Japanese literature at Tokyo, he began to work on videogames. He dealt with creating the more visual aspects of the games’ narratives, such as short anime-based cut scenes, something that influenced his thirst to create lengthier animated work.

The first step towards his current fame came in 1999, with the 5-minute OVA She and Her Cat, which won first prize in the DoGA CG Animation Contest 2005. The feature was monochrome, but infused with beauty, portraying the day-to-day life of a cat and its emotions.

Shinkai took this as his opening, and quit his full-time job to work on the breakthrough OVA, Voices of a Distant Star. Despite offers from numerous companies, Skinkai took a huge decision to remain freelance, and create the whole anime through his own efforts. Mainly self-created, but using a small pool of friends, the 25-minute showpiece appeared in 2002 and rapidly proved a success. With some of the most crystalline and expressive animation in history, and using the voices of himself and his fiancée, Shinkai truly made a name for himself with a short work that, with only a handful of staff, was beyond the quality offered by many large studios.

In December 2002, The Place Promised In Our Early Days was announced, purporting to be a 50-minute film that would take a year to create. It emerged, an hour and a half long, almost two years later, and received an adoring reception. Despite the opportunities for large-studio production, Shinkai still stuck with a small staff, rare in the modern anime world.

Hopefully Makoto Shinkai will continue to produce such heart-tugging stories in the future. His two masterworks have turned him into one of the most influential and famed figures in anime, but he remains freelance, working on projects he personally feels attachment to. Only time will tell the direction he takes next.

Voices of a Distant StarSpotlighted Works

Voices of a Distant Star (2002) was noted on release for its breathtaking CG animation. It could be hard to believe one man had created such a vibrant, detailed setting. Beyond the style, however, lurked a heart-wrenching story of long distance love; Shinkai proved himself to be made of more than presentation, with a particular flair for crating characters. Famously brief, but nothing less than a modern anime classic.

The Place Promised In Our Early Days (2004) shows Shinkai clearly in his element, weaving a tale of relationships and character interaction against an alternate reality backdrop. Expanding the style pioneered in Voices, The Place Promised is another triumph of visuals that manages to appeal to the emotions.


Voices of a Distant Star and The Place Promised are available in the US separately, or as part of a “Shinkai Collection,” which includes art books and the Voices soundtrack. In the UK, only Voices is available but The Place Promised should appear in the near future. As an aside, the Voices releases contain the She And Her Cat short.


Other Voices, Shinkai’s site
Makoto Shinkai's Fan Web
List of projects
Review of Voices

The Place Promised In Our Early Days

4 responses to "Brief spotlight on Makoto Shinkai"

1. Comment by Paul

You need just look at the pictures above to realize how great Shinkai is; every frame of his movies are a considered, detailed work of art.

With Miyazaki, Tomino et all reaching the twlight years for their illustrious careers; I think Shinkai and Satoshi Kon (and possibly Shinichiro Watanabe) have that same pedigree of consistently producing great, magical anime.

Posted on Sat, 11 Mar 2006.

2. Comment by uoa

this is really nice! ^_^

Posted on Fri, 19 May 2006.

3. Comment by Anonymous

Bring back thundercats!

Posted on Wed, 6 Jun 2007.

4. Comment by Nemphtis

I really enjoyed Shinkai's Voices of a Distant Star. I remember well that after I had seen it, I ran to my forum to tell the others to go watch it ASAP. I've also seen The Place Promised in Our Early Days but to be honest, I don't think it had the same impact on me as his first work. :]

Posted on Mon, 27 Aug 2007.

Post your response to "Brief spotlight on Makoto Shinkai"

Editorial Spotlight

"The years between 50 and 70 are the hardest. You are always being asked to do things, and yet you are not decrepit enough to turn them down ." - T. S. Eliot  .. Read more
‘Space Dandy! He’s a dandy guy... in space.’ Searching for rare aliens in the vastness of space, on his spaceship the  Aloha Oe , the cooler than.. Read more (0 comments)
Ever had a show really toy with your expectations? As in, your preconceptions of it got dragged one way, then another, and then in a different direction altogether when you.. Read more (0 comments)

Got news?

Got some news? E-mail it to news@AUKN

Recent Comments

Speedy Z5 on Elemental Gelade #2

Just letting yall know iam still here. Also my favorite is still Rin and it will probably never change.I love her cute innocent moments (Read more)

Jon Turner on Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water

I wish I could give this a 10, but those island/Africa fillers really killed it for me. It really should have been 12 episodes shorter. That... (Read more)

Speedy Z5 on Familiar of Zero 2 - Knight of the Twin Moons

I wish he could get with all the girls, like the queen and the elf (Read more)

Speedy Z5 on Elemental Gelade #2

Still here guys, just need someone to talk to. i kinda cou could hook up with viro and eve plus ren and get a little harem going on. i kinda like... (Read more)

Mel on Familiar of Zero 2 - Knight of the Twin Moons

Amazing (Read more)

About Anime UK News

Anime UK News has been going since 2004, want to contact us or learn a little more about the site? Head to the about us page.