Hayao Miyazki may have retired and his Studio Ghibli may be discussing taking a hiatus, but there are other animators who can take a leading role in Japanese animation. This weekend the Japan Foundation showcases the work of one of them - Makoto Shinkai.
From the JF:
The Japan Foundation is pleased to present a double bill of films by Makoto Shinkai, one of the most exciting animation filmmakers in Japan today. Often cited as ‘the next Miyazaki’, Shinkai produces animations which are full of stunning scenes and visuals combined with beautiful stories. The programme will included two of Shinkai’s films; his early film Voices of a Distant Starand his 2013 production, The Garden of Words.
Voices of a Distant Star
In the year 2046, middle school students and close friends Mikako and Noboru find they will go their separate ways when Mikako is chosen to be a member of the United Nations Space Army. Separated by space, the two keep in touch through e-mail, only to find that the ever-increasing distance between them makes keeping their friendship more difficult.
Dir. Makoto Shinkai, 2002, 25min, English subtitles
The Garden of Words
When Takao, a high school student dreaming of becoming a shoemaker, skips school one day in favour of sketching shoes in a rainy garden, he has no idea how much his life will change when he encounters the mysterious Yukino. Older, but perhaps not much wiser, she seems adrift in the world. The two strike up an unusual relationship through chance meetings in the same garden on each rainy day. But the rainy season is coming to a close, leaving many things left unshared between them.