Personal Ballots: Best Actor and Best Actress - And so it's come to this, the finale of the traditional Oscar-like categories in our own annual Film Bitch Awards. All the nominations have been announce...
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Yes, this is another Anime post. Hey wait, where are you going? Don't go, it'll only last for a minute. Just a little prick - like a need at the doctor's office. Hey, stop! Come back. Please! I love you! *cough cough* Too much? Alright, back to the serious stuff.
You see, Shinkai Makoto represents to me a sort of encompassing much of what Anime can be when done correct. Personally I'm not as big a fan of the turbulent, blood laden, long tongue monsters, half-human hybrids of the Ninja Scroll anime variety; generally finding myself far more engrossed in the whimsical fantasy and science fiction filled worlds often created by the likes of Makoto, and the much revered Hayao Miyazaki (hopefully you've at least heard of him). I enjoy a careful, methodical attention to detail and design, imagination and wonder. Something I can simultaneously engage in mentally and vainly enjoy the beauty of. That's not to say I don't enjoy realistic, heartfelt anime. After all Grave of the Fireflies sits firmly in the #2 spot on my all time anime films. Either way, there's something to be said for any film that can whisk you away to another world and make you truly want for its existence.
Which is perhaps ironic in the case of Makoto as what I would argue is his best film is entirely void of that science fiction/fantasy element and is far more grounded in reality. But more on that later. My first introduction to Makoto was, in fine fashion, his first feature length film, the 2004 romance-friendship tale The Place Promised in Our Early Days. A beautiful tale of two one-time friends who, in an alternate mid-war Japan, band together, despite their conflicts and possible damage to their own world, help heal their childhood whose conscience is trapped in an alternate universe.
It's a heartbreaking and heartwarming take on how far one may go for someone they love, and Makoto captures this beautifully. Despite the at times graphical woes, the emotional chords struck in the narrations by Noboru and Nagamine resound deep within. It is perhaps for that reason that this short is held in such high regard, and perhaps equally so why it is often derided by those who came seeking action.
Through flashbacks and misdirection we see the collection of missed connections that came to define their absence in each others lives. The struggle they go through in traveling down a road of love that they know will only lead to loss and regret. If there is one complaint I would lodge it is that it shirks some responsibility of closure by keeping the 3rd episode short, and open to interpretation. Not to mention the gross absence of Kanae whose 2nd episode woes really capture that uncertainty that comes with young love and fear of the future at hand.
All in all one might say I find Shinkai Makoto to be one hell of an anime director, and I'm eagerly anticipating the US release of his latest anime film - Children Who Chase Lose Voices from Deep Below. Sure, he's a bit rough around the edges, but what he does well, he does so well it quite strongly stamps down any bad. So if you find yourself with a couple of hours to kill - all the time it would take to watch his three major works - please consider checking out his films. I simply cannot recommend them enough.