October 1, 2016
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“Sometimes things aren’t clear right away. That’s where you need to be patient and persevere and see where things lead.” —Mary Pierce
Makoto Shinkai’s Kimi no na wa (the English title, Your Name, will be used from here on out) is one of 2016’s biggest anime movies; while its box office numbers are smaller than those of Finding Dory, Captain America: Civil War and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the film’s sales have reached a total of 11.1 billion yen (roughly 111 million USD), putting it at nearly five times the total box office gross that Girls und Panzer Der Film made. The trailers hinted at a narrative involving exchange of conciousness between a Tokyo high school male student and a high school female student living in rural Japan. Your Name is inspired by the classical Heian work, Torikaebaya Monogatari, where two siblings possessed mannerisms are those of the opposite sex, as well as Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence, in which the eponymous characters fall in love with one another after Griffin receives a post card from Sabine that changes his life forever. With a more compelling and immersive narrative than any of his previous films, Shinkai casts Your Name as a powerful story where themes of distance and longing are now interwoven with initiative and resolve. His characters take charge of their situation and are no longer passive observers; they actively make an effort towards altering their circumstances, resulting in a film that is rather more conclusive and satisfying, even if some elements are roughly presented.
- Kimi no na wa will hitherto be known as Your Name for easier typing. In this short preview review, I utilise screenshots obtained from the trailers, hence their quality, although I’m rather excited to see how sharp screenshots will look in full 1080p. Makoto Shinkai’s films look amazing in full quality, and since The Place Promised In Our Early Days, I’ve aimed to watch his films at the best possible quality to really take in all of the visual elements.
- Makoto Shinkai’s interior environments are incredibly detailed and give a very lived-in feeling: the trend continues into Your Name, with Taki’s room filled with clutter appropriate for that of a high school student. His iPhone 6 is visible here, and throughout the movie, he uses the LINE app for communications. A Japanese platform for instant messaging and VOIP conversations, I prefer to use Skype only because all of my contacts, save one, use Skype.
- Mitsuha expresses total frustration at the monotony in her life, shouting out that she wishes to respawn as a “handsome Tokyo boy” with the expectation that life could be more exciting. The movie juxtaposes this with her experiences as Taki, who leads a busy life. On top of being a student, he works part time at an Italian restaurant. On the topic of respawning, I’m still early to be thinking about that sort of thing, but should respawns be real, I’d probably like a chance to live in the Japanese countryside.
- Notions of conscious transfer and body-swapping remains (thankfully) confined to the realm of fiction for the present: if someone were to swap places with me for a day, the kind of chaos it would cause would be immense. Because such a transfer is impossible, people strongly identify individuals based on their appearance as much as their personalities, so an exchange of any sort would result in an identity crisis of sorts.
- In Your Name, Makoto Shinkai takes his animation to the next level: where Taki is in Mitsuha’s place, he gropes Mitsuha and results in Mitsuha’s younger sister growing suspicious. Later, during a basketball game, Taki executes a move that Mitusha would unlikely carry out, and the camera angles illustrate that non-rigid physics in Your Name are also well-tended to, standing in contrast with his previous films.
- One of the elements I will need to consider for the figure captions in the full review is how to refer to the characters while they’re swapped, without resulting in any sort of confusion. The notation will probably resolve itself, and with no known release date for the BDs, I imagine there will be plenty of time to figure out how I will structure said review. The soundtrack, performed by RADWIMPS, is a reasonably enjoyable listen; I found myself enjoying the violin and piano pieces much more than the lyrical performances.
- The vocal songs interspersed throughout Your Name are a bit different than the sort of music I enjoy, although they do add some impact to the film. I will aim to keep spoilers in this review to an absolute minimum, especially in light of how difficult it will be to access this movie in some places. Intel has been lacking, and besides the fact that Funimation’s licensed Your Name, dates and locations for North American screenings of this movie simply don’t exist.
- A vast field in the top of a caldera is one of the locales in Your Name. The scale of the landscape is reminiscent of the finis terra of Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below, and while Your Name is ostensibly set in the real world, there are enough supernatural elements for the film to be classified as a fantasy, as well. The trailers have done a fantastic job of making it known that body switching is plays a substantial role in Your Name, although the movie itself uses this as one of many elements to deliver a multi-dimensional story.
- Besides figuring out how to best present a talk on the themes in Your Name, I will also take advantage of the (presently) unknown time between now and the home release to eyeball whether or not the effects of an impact event is reasonably depicted in Your Name. I’m normally quite lax when it comes to accuracy in anime, but because Makoto Shinkai’s visuals are particularly good, I hold higher expectations; if the visuals correspond at least somewhat plausibly with real world observations, I will be satisfied.
- As with Girls und Panzer Der Film, I will do my best to let readers know when a home release becomes a reality. With this post now done, and the fall season under way, I will tend to the Non Non Biyori Repeat OVA before Brave Witches kicks off.
Your Name is a moving and engaging film that features an optimistic theme; deriving a combination of elements from Five Centimeters per Second, Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below and The Garden of Words, Your Name tells a tale of separation as a smaller component in a much larger series of events. Driven by a desire to reach closure of some sort, Shinkai has his characters sieze the initiative rather than resigning themselves to what could have been in Your Name. The end result is an immensely meaningful conclusion to Your Name, and consequently, it is unsurprising that the film has performed as observed in the box office. At present, no information is available on when the home release is coming out, but I definitely will be doing a full review of the movie once the home release becomes available: like Girls und Panzer Der Film, it will be a larger talk with anywhere from sixty to ninety screenshots. Experience has found that such a post will take anywhere from nine to twelve hours to write, but this time, with the movie’s contents fresh on my mind, I’ll be able to distribute that time over a greater period, meaning that writing such a post will mean less exhaustion on my end.
September 16, 2016
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“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” —Seneca
Announced back during the Girls und Panzer Heartful Tank Carnival event back on August 28, Girls und Panzer is set to return with a sequel titled Girls und Panzer: Saishuushou (“Final Chapter”) at some indeterminate point in the future. The trailer has just become available on the ‘net, and over its forty-second run, showcases Ooarai’s students in their winter regalia. A group of Leichter Ladungsträger Goliath (Sd.Kfz. 302/303a/303b) units, essentially remote-controlled armoured mines, can be seen in the trailer’s opening moments, followed by students handing out newspapers carrying what appears to be breaking news. At present, it is known that Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter will be a six-part OVA (not unlike Gundam Unicorn), with the first instalment released to Japanese cinema in December 2017. However, what Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter will entail is similarly a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. From a financial perspective, that Girls und Panzer would be getting a sequel is not particularly surprising, although from a narrative perspective, it will be quite intriguing to determine what will await audiences once this sequel does become released.
Screenshots and Commentary
- These Goliath here are German mobile armoured mines, seen rolling in formation under snowy weather reminiscent of that seen in Tom Clancy’s The Division. Beyond the setting during the winter season and the occurrence of a large news event, the trailer does not tell much more about Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter, leaving much speculation in its wake.
- The student handing out the newspaper in this image bears a remarkable similarity to Sore ga Seiyū‘s Futaba Ichinose, minus the purple hair. The trailer has been available at 1080p, and as such, details in the newspapers can be made out. They suggest that the events will take place over the course of a day, leading some to (incorrectly) speculate that this will be an OVA. However, I present the counterargument that trailers do not usually tell the full story, and it is possible that these students are handing out newspapers with information that act as a catalyst for what will occur within Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter. Ergo, a one-day event being shown on a newspaper in a trailer does not sufficiently show that The Final Chapter will consist of a single OVA episode.
- Ooarai is seen making use of barrage balloons to further broadcast news: barrage balloons were historically used to dissuade enemy attack by holding up cables that could disrupt aircraft operation, although modern aircraft can easily circumvent their function by flying at much greater altitudes than the balloons. Such balloons are not widely used in contemporary militaries, but such balloons have been re-purposed to carry nuclear devices higher into the atmosphere for testing purposes.
- Whereas an immensely long wait would await audiences if Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter were to take the form of another film, a TV series would allow for superior accessibility, followed by an OVA series. As it stands, I am hoping that Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter will take the form of a TV series — any wait extending beyond April 5, 2018 would extinguish the English-speaking community’s capacity to watch and review a movie short of flying to Japan.
- Screenshots of Momo and some other students operating under night lighting conditions immediately surfaced on Twitter following the announcement of Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter, and at the time, I noted in my DOOM impressions post that I would refrain from discussing this sequel announcement in detail until more information became available. Nearly four weeks later, a trailer has appeared, and I’ve made substantial headway into DOOM, having just completed Kadingir Sanctum.
- That “more information” takes the form of a 40-second trailer, and as I’ve got ten screenshots in this here post, down from the original fourteen, suggests a screenshot density of twenty-one images per minute, making this one of the posts with a large number of screenshots relative to the media length. The red lighting seen here is a common attribute in military settings active under dark: red light has a longer wavelength than other colours and disrupts night vision to a lesser extent. For civilian applications, astronomers also use red flashlights to consult star charts, and some stargazing apps now come with a night vision mode that renders all elements in red.
- Going into a continuation, I personally was not expecting one to be announced so soon, but upon realising that Girls und Panzer Der Film‘s box office performance was impressive, such a development became much more plausible. That this will be a sequel is interesting, and I am looking forwards to seeing what directions Girls und Panzer will take next, but the prospect of another movie is not one I would enjoy: the wait for Girls und Panzer Der Film was not pleasant, especially on account of the social media reactions of the film’s contents and the knowledge that a chance to see the film for myself would require at minimum a half-year’s wait.
- Girls und Panzer never explicitly provided a timeline for when its events occur, but using a bit of reasoning, Miho transfers to Ooarai in around March, and most of the events of the TV series and movie occur between April and August and September, respectively. The depiction of snowfall and winter uniforms suggests that Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter will take place in November or later, which is not particularly far away from the events of the movie.
- Some viewers have suggested that the presence of winter uniforms indicate plans to make Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter a TV series. Winter uniforms alone are an insufficient indicator that there are plans to make The Final Chapter a full TV series: the Locodol OVAs featured new footage in their openings, despite no known plans to create a second season. With that being said, I see no evidence to firmly suggest that the continuation will be a single OVA and as such, I’m hoping that The Final Chapter will be a full-fledged TV series.
- I was planning on doing a DOOM post now that I’ve crossed the halfway point, and that would have brought my no-anime-post-streak up to a month, but the Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter trailer released earlier today, giving me a non-gaming topic to discuss. With that in mind, the trailer is quite short, and in the absence of further intel, it’s time for me to return to ripping and tearing my way through DOOM. I cannot guarantee that I’ll be on top of Girls und Panzer-releated news as I had been for the film owing to real-world obligations, but I will do my best to blog about information as it becomes available, as well as Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter itself once it does come out.
Going solely from the title, it would appear that Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter will be the conclusion to the Girls und Panzer franchise. After the events of Girls und Panzer Der Film, the ultimate fate of Ooarai’s Panzerfahren team remained indeterminate — they had succeeded in saving their school carrier a second time, but the accomplishment itself disclosed little about what experiences Miho and her classmates would encounter in their future Panzerfahren endeavours. Ergo, a successful continuation would need to address what the significance of Ooarai’s accomplishments are for its students, and as such, Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter would have been ideally be granted a TV series in which to adequately explore developments for Ooarai’s Panzerfahren team. For the first time in living memory, the entire Girls und Panzer community’s perspectives align with mine: a TV series would be a fantastic means of creating such a narrative, and allow Girls und Panzer to utilise time as a means of presenting more strategically-driven Panzerfahren scenes, as opposed to the spectacle in the movie. More is known about Half-Life 3 than about Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter, for the present. With this in mind, I will be keeping two eyes on developments pertaining to Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter.
February 17, 2016
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“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” —Joyce Meyer
I interrupt regular programming to announce that Girls und Panzer Der Film‘s home release (BD and DVD) will be scheduled for May 27, 2016. The complete special edition will retail for 9800 yen (117.41 CAD) and feature 200 minutes of footage: the movie itself is 119 minutes in length, and the bonus edition includes an additional 81 minutes of behind-the-scenes, promotional, opening night and Ooarai Anglerfish Festival 2015 footage. Also included is an eighty-page art booklet, a 20-page correction sheet collection by character designer Isao Sugimoto and a new album with the song “Boko no Uta” song, performed by Miho Nishizumi (Mai Fuchigami) and Alice Kotobuki (Ayana Taketatsu). Additional bonus features include a Bandai Visual+ serial code and a download code for the Girls und Panzer: Sensha-dō Daisakusen! smartphone app. The standard edition BD will cost 7800 yen (95.04 CAD), and the DVD will cost 6800 yen (82.85 CAD). All three variants will include a three-minute OVA following the aftermath of the movie, plus another OVA titled Akiyama Yukari no Sensha Kouza. So, clocking at exactly six months after Girls und Panzer Der Film‘s theatrical release as per predictions, viewers overseas will finally have the opportunity to view the movie for themselves.
- The last time I was anticipating an anime movie to this extent, it was for the K-On! Movie: its release date was published in April, and I was staring down the MCAT. In an amusing turn of events, I’m facing my Master’s defense later this year, and I remark that the last time Girls und Panzer was airing, I was set to do my Bachelor of Health Science’s defense. For the K-On! Movie, I managed to push out a full review within two days of its release, so this time, I will strive to write the most comprehensive and insightful review of the movie that I can, as quickly as is possible without compromising quality. Regular programming resumes in a few days, after I settle back into things following a research symposium on simulations and VR.
This announcement is most welcome, and in comparison to some other much-anticipated movies in recent memory (namely, the K-On! Movie, which released on BD/DVD seven months after the theatrical release), Girls und Panzer Der Film is moving along at a much more reasonable pace. Girls und Panzer Der Film was a limited theatrical run and as of February 2, 2016, grossed 1.04 billion yen (around 12.5 million CAD) over 718,625 admissions to become the twelfth top-grossing animated movie for 2015 in Japan. To put these numbers in perspective, Spectre has grossed around 1.2 billion CAD internationally, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens grossed 2.7 billion CAD (exchange rates are at the time of writing). With that being said, Girls und Panzer Der Film‘s revenue is still impressive considering that the anime itself is relatively recent. Presently, armed with a concrete release date, all that’s left is to busy oneself: in comparison to the K-On! Movie, time is going to fly for this wait. So, in the spirit of good discussion, is the release date as far off as it may seem for you?
January 25, 2016
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“Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart.” —Pablo Casals
My German skills have not rusted out: translating to “Autumn Music Festival”, the Girls und Panzer Herbst Musikfest album features songs performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra during the November 3, 2015 event at the Yokosuka Arts Theatre in Kanagawa. The soundtrack will retail for 4104 Yen (an abysmal 49.62 CAD) and will be available for sale starting February 10, while the Blu-Ray set featuring the live performance will be released on February 24, 2016 and retail for 8424 Yen (101.86 CAD). The live performance in Kanagawa featured orchestral versions of ChouCho’s “DreamRiser” and “GloryStory”. The ending song, “Enter Enter Mission” and even the “Anglerfish Song” will be performed, as well — the audio album will feature forty-three songs over two disks. The Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the oldest orchestras in Japan, being founded in 1911 (the same year the M1911 entered service) and has performed several concerts in anime and gaming related music, including Suzumiya Haruhi no Gensou.
- Dressed in a sparkling evening gown, Miho looks absolutely breathtaking, and a close look at the front row shows that her friends are quite excited to watch her step onto the stage. From my end, I’m looking forwards to hearing this album: I had not known that there was a live album, much less one performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.
A brief inspection of the tracks below will quickly show that this orchestral performance will feature some of the most iconic songs from the original Girls und Panzer soundtrack, from the gentler pieces reflecting on Miho’s everyday life at Ooarai to the tenser pieces played during the battles (and everything in between). There also appear to be some vocal tracks, marked “monologue”, where Mai Fuchigami provides a short talk. Translating most of the track names is quite unnecessary, given that the English translations for each track already exists, but I’ve taken the liberty of providing them here for completeness’ sake. Some of the translations have been restructured to read more naturally in English. I’m looking forwards to hearing how each of these songs will sound when given an orchestral treatment: Suzumiya Haruhi no Gensou illustrated that some songs sound majestic when performed by a full orchestra, while other songs remain less suitable for such arrangement, and in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, an orchestral accompaniment allowed the OVA’s soundtrack to properly capture the tenor the anime required to convey its message.
- 戦車道行進曲!パンツァーフォー! (Panzerfahren March! Panzer Vor!)
- 「これからの毎日が、本当に楽しみ!」Monologue (From now on, every day is really going to be fun!)
- 新しい朝の始まりです!～こんな普通の学園生活って素敵です! (A new morning begins, a normal school life such as this is wonderful!)
- 横暴は生徒会に与えられた正当な権利です! (The Student Council has the right to tyranny!)
- 生徒会、悲壮な決意とともに進みます! (Unto the student council’s heroic decision!)
- 戦車の知識では誰にも負けません! (With our knowledge of tanks, absolutely no one can lose!)
- 戦車を可愛くデコレーションしちゃいます! (The tanks’ cute decorations!)
- 戦車、乗ります! (Riding a tank!)
- 学園艦は今日も勇壮に海原を進みます! (The academy ship boldly sails the ocean each day!)
- 「どこまでやれるかわからないけど、精一杯やってみよう!」(Monologue) (I don’t know how far we can go, but let’s put in our utmost!)
- ブリティッシュ・グレナディアーズ (The British Grenadiers)
- いざ!試合にのぞみます! (Come on! I want a challenge!)
- 敵戦車進軍してきます! (The enemy tanks approach!)
- 「もう少し戦車道続けてみるね、お姉ちゃん」(Monologue) (Sister, we’ll try to continue on the path of the tanks)
- リパブリック讃歌 (Battle Hymn of the Republic)
- 開会式です!～栄光の戦車道全国大会始まります! (It’s the opening ceremony, the glorious National Panzerfahren Tournament begins!)
- 私、いやな予感がします! (I have a bad feeling about this!)
- アメリカ野砲隊マーチ (U.S. Field Artillery March)
- 「いつか私も、私の気持ち、ちゃんと話せるようになりたいな」(Monologue) (Someday, I’d also like to be able to voice my feelings properly)
- これが友情ですね! (This is friendship!)
- 理由があります… (There’s a reason…)
- 秋山優花里のアンツィオ校潜入大作戦です! (Yukari Akiyama’s infiltration at Anzio Academy!)
- Le Fiamme Nere (The Black Flames)
- フニクリ・フニクラ (Funiculi Funicula)
- 金平糖の精の踊り～カチューシャ (A fine dance of confetti- Katyusha)
- 大洗女子学園チーム前進します! (Advance, Ooarai Girls’ Academy Team!)
- ポーリュシュカ・ポーレ (Polyushko-polye)
- 「落ち着いて考えよう、今私に、私たちにできること」(Monologue) (I should think clearly now, what can we do?)
- あんこう音頭 (Anglerfish March)
- 「私はもう、戦車道はやめないよ」(Monologue) (I, too, won’t stop on the path of Panzerfahren)
- 昨日の敵は今日の友です! (Yesterday’s enemy is today’s friend!)
- エーリカ (Erika)
- 乙女のたしなみ戦車道マーチ! (Maidens’ art, Panzerfahren March!)
- パンツァー・リート (Panzerlied)
- 息を殺して待ちぶせします! (Waiting with bated breath)
- 戦車道とは女子としての道を極めることでもあります! (Panzerfahren is an art for girls to master!)
- 緊迫する戦況です! (A tense situation!)
- 戦線は膠着状態です! (Stalemate on the front!)
- 戦車道アンセムです! (Panzerfahren Anthem!)
- Enter Enter MISSION! (Orchestra Ver.)
- Enter Enter MISSION! (Herbst Musikfest 2015 Ver.)
- The artwork above would not be an unreasonable outcome of Hibike! Euphonium colliding with Girls und Panzer, mirroring the theme in the BD. Looking at the previous post, some sixteen days have elapsed since my last post. I think this is the longest no-post streak I’ve had in all four years of blogging, and the reason for this is that I’ve been busy with all manners of graduate school and preparations to transition onwards into industry. With that being said, I’ll still try to blog where time permits: I’ve finished watching Glass no Hana to Kowasu Sekai and finished Battlefield: Hardline‘s campaign, so those posts will make their way into “published” status within the next few weeks.
Overall, the Herbst Musikfest album looks to be amazing, and of note is the fact that the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra is playing the quieter everyday life pieces from Girls und Panzer. This decision is non-trivial: life at Ooarai is clearly intended to be quite busy, as the students go about their studies, but these activities are comparatively relaxed when Panzerfahren and the emotional tenor surrounding each match is considered. The dichotomy within the environments is appropriately captured through the soundtrack; without the calm slice-of-life pieces, the anime would not have been able to effectively use music as a contributor towards build tension during the major battles. As such, when coupled with action themes and historical pieces, the original soundtrack was a fantastic album: orchestral variants of these songs means that Herbst Musikfest is an album that is definitely going to be worth listening to. It’s worth reiterating that the BD of the performance itself will be released two weeks after the album. While it’s definitely not Girls und Panzer Der Film, whose home release date is still unknown at the time of writing, this is something to tide audiences over (somewhat) whilst waiting for said film.
December 18, 2015
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“I am searching for you, whom I have never met yet.” —Movie Tagline
Late in January 2015, Makoto Shinkai posted to his blog that he was working on the storyboards to a new story. Nearly a year later, the film’s title and story has been released. Called “Kimi no Na wa” (Your Name), the new film is going to follow the seemingly disparate lives of two high school students shortly after a comet has impacted Japan for the first time in a millennium. Mitsuba (Moka Kamishiraishi) lives in rural Japan but longs to move to a city its hustle and bustle. She frequently experiences dreams of life as a young man. Taki (Ryuunosuke Kamiki) lives in Tokyo; working part time at an Italian restaurant, he has a particularly strong interest in architecture, but dreams that he’s a female student attending a rural high school. This enigmatic connection seemingly links the two together and appears to form the basis for the main story, leading one to question what secrets said connection entails, and how all of this relates with the impact event. The unique combination of everyday familiarity with a touch of fantasy is distinctly Makoto Shinkai, and as per the post’s title, it will be released in Japanese theatres somewhere in August 2016. A bit of pattern analysis suggests that a home release will follow anywhere from two to six months after depending on its length (so, if it’s an hour or less, it’s quite possible that the movie could be out as soon as September-October 2016, while a feature-length movie exceeding 90 minutes will probably mean a home release in February 2017).
Screenshots and Commentary
- Impact events have a very profound effect on the immediate landscape, and larger impacts can significantly alter the planet’s climate. Sources are painting the impacting object as a comet, although this is technically incorrect: most comets average from several hundred meters to tens of kilometers across. An object with a 75 meter diameter would hit the surface with roughly 100 MT, which would annihilate a major city and yield a 1.5 kilometer wide crater. The smallest of comets, a few hundred meters in diameter, would impact with 15 GT, enough energy to destroy an area the size of Taiwan. So, the translations might not be accurate, and the impacting object is probably an asteroid no greater than 10 metres in diameter.
- Discussions off-site marvel at the level of detail that an iPhone 6 is depicted in. There are just enough differences between the real-world equivalent and this fictionalised version to avoid a lawsuit: while the interface seen on the screen is clearly iOS 9, the fictionalised phone’s edges are more angular than that of its real-world counterpart. I upgraded my Nokia Lumia 520 to an iPhone 6 more than a month ago for iOS development purposes, and because I’m quite familiar with the iOS ecosystem, this phone’s proven to be far more useful than my old Windows Phone.
- I still retain enough of my Chinese knowledge to read the squared-out section as “During the evening” (literally “evening-time”). The trailer was released on December 10, and featured extremities that characterise Shinkai’s specialities: intricate, highly-detailed depiction of mundane subjects (phones, blackboards and what appears to be a loom), as well as stunningly vivid skies.
- The cityscapes depicted in the Kimi no Na wa trailer appear to depict the same areas of Tokyo that were seen in Five Centimeters per Second. Both the previous films (Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below and Garden of Words) are as detailed as Five Centimeters per Second but made use of more advanced lighting techniques to bring scenes to life: I often compare the differences in the artwork for Shinkai’s later works to the differences between Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4, where the graphical advancements were quite subtle but noticeable.
- With that being said, there is an upper limit to how intricate or vivid Shinkai’s works can be: the visual fidelity improved dramatically between The Placed Promised in Our Early Days and Five Centimeters per Second, but since then, have remained quite consistent. Thus, I can be quite certain in saying that Kimi no Na wa will be very similar to Garden of Words in terms of graphics, leaving only the story as an avenue for improvement.
- While Shinkai’s artistic talent and sense are unparalleled, his story-telling comes across as being weaker: Five Centimeters per Second is easily his best film, for being focused and telling a realistic, but melancholic story about one individual’s distance defeating his feelings for a girl he’d known since childhood. However, the ending proved to be somewhat difficult to understand for the audience. I’ve done an exhaustive review and analysis of the anime, hopefully clearing up some of these inconsistencies.
- Distance and separation form the bulk of the themes for Shinkai’s movies, and admittedly, I am not particularly keen on his interpretation of distance in Five Centimeters per Second, which suggested that the process of absence driving longing, and longing begetting melancholy, is outside of one’s control. Consequently, his characters suffer, grow depressed as a result of being unable to affect their circumstances. His later films attempt to step away from this, and while the execution becomes choppier (it would appear that Shinkai is not particularly versed on writing happier stories), I appreciate them all the same for aiming to be more optimistic: Garden of Words was quite fun to watch for that reason, as Takao is actively doing everything he can to connect with Yukari, and even though she ultimately moves, the efforts turn out to be worth something.
- Therefore, going into Kimi no Na wa, I think that the story would stand to gain a great deal if either 1) the romance aspects are outlined in a positive manner to help Mitsuba and Taki understand more about their circumstances or 2) is discarded altogether in favour of a conventional friendship, such that any romantic overtones need not be explored in further detail. The second approach is preferred simply because it would allow for Mitsuba and Taki to explore their dreams much more openly, in greater detail, without demanding inordinate time to reasonably build up a relationship, plus all of the challenges, especially since it’s clear that neither Mitsuba or Taki have previously met.
- I do not believe that the composer for Kimi no Na wa‘s music is known yet. Garden of Words‘ soundtrack was by Daisuke Kashiwa, and previous films featured music from Tenmon. The minimalistic presence of music in Shinkai’s works is fitting: details in the environment and lighting serve to convey particular moods and emotions in place of heavier musical accompaniment, and consequently, the music in most of Shinkai’s films (save Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below) acts to create ambiance.
- The upcoming wait for Kimi no Na wa is anywhere from ten to sixteen months; I’m willing to bet an arm and a leg that Girls und Panzer Der Film will have a home release well before then. Because the release date is so far in the future, I cannot guarantee that I’ll still be in a position to review this when the time comes, but I am going to do my best to try and watch it.
With Shinkai’s previous showings in mind, I anticipate that Kimi no Na wa will probably not be the powerhouse performance that Five Centimeters per Second was: his most recent two works, Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below and Garden of Words both were quite unique and entertaining. Moreover, they carry Makoto Shinkai’s signature style, featuring incredibly detailed interiors, landscapes, lighting details and artwork of common everyday objects. This particular aspect has become something that Shinkai’s become quite renowned for. In addition to his artwork, Shinkai’s love stories are also distinct: they tend towards a more open ending, leaving viewers to speculate what might progress from there. In doing so, Shinkai suggests that life itself is most definitely not deterministic and can’t be predicted; besides Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below, most of Shinkai’s stories take a particularly melancholic outlook on love itself, suggesting that it is unattainable for some. I am hoping that this will not be the case in Kimi no Na wa, as the premise appears to be conducive for two individuals coming together through fate. In fact, I assert that Kimi no Na wa will probably deliver a superior story if love is omitted: Mitsuba and Taki’s encounter should result in a friendship, not relationship, that allows the two to learn more about the secrets surrounding their dreams without introducing additional detritus that limits the main story.