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Makoto Shinkai's Aesthetics (HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!)
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Shinka
VelaCiela


Joined: 28 Oct 2008
Posts: 27


Location: ummm... I dont know....

PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:21 pm    Post subject: Makoto Shinkai's Aesthetics (HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!)  Reply with quote

This is loooooooooooooooooooooong overdue XD. Its quite long (a bit over the 4000 words), so no one really has to read it if they dont want to, howvever, since I consider it still to be incomplete (it was for a college paper that I had to give in in a hurry) feedback will be more than appreciated. Since I translated it to english, it not being my mother tounge, any grammar and/or spelling mistakes you notice and want to tell me about, feel free to do so, you'll be helping me out.

Like I said, its not complete and I want to continue expanding it I'd like to hear everyones opinions, so that as to transform it into something really awesome. Thanks!!

1. Introduction

I will use only three of his works in this present study:  Voices of a distant star; Beyond the Clouds (In order not to rewrite the whole name “Beyond the Clouds, The Place Promised”, we will refer to it only as “Beyond the Clouds”.  Likewise, “5 Centimeters Per Second - a chain of short stories about their distance” will be referred to as “5 Centimeters Per Second”) and 5 Centimeters Per Second; as I believe these are most representative of Shinkai's work and art.

Referring to these three movies, we will be looking at themes such as: love, distress, solitude, time-space distance and differences between lovers. We will also look at Shinkai's use of images; their realism, their impact and beauty; his “rotoscoping” technique, and the use of CGI.

We will use interviews with the creator, where he speaks of his own feelings, objectives and experiences.

3. Development


To facilitate understanding, I shall begin by talking about the three films to be analyzed.

In an interview, Makoto Shinkai says “The desire to do something which would stay in people's hearts has always been in me.”  

The first film, the short Voices of a Distant Star, was designed and produced entirely by Makoto Shinkai and no one else.  From script to production, animation and sound (although the music was composed by someone else); Makoto Shinkai did it all on his Macintosh computer; in my opinion highly deserving of special praise. In the original short, the voices of the two main characters were those of Shinkai himself and his girlfriend.  Professional voice actors were hired for the DVD version.

While Shinkai was free to create later projects as he wished, Voices of a Distant Star has a more personal, intimate element.

In his next project, the full length Beyond the Clouds, Shinkai had a full production team at his disposal and thus dedicated himself exclusively to directing the film. It was a product of teamwork but nevertheless Shinkai's style comes through the screen distinctly as he was deeply involved in all production aspects, not just production strictly speaking, but artistic and music production as well.  He even composed the final song.

For 5 Centimeters Per Second Shinkai returned to the studios and cooperative work, and the big difference here is not only the length, but also the format of the film; three short stories which together form a whole story. ANN (Anime News Network) states in its summary of the movie, “Shinkai's previous projects have shown that his storytelling style is best-suited to shorter, more intimate works, so he tackles this 62-minute feature by breaking it down into three sequential parts […]” .

The main difference between the films is concisely given in an ANN summary of 5 Centimeters Per Second: “Whereas Voices was about trying to maintain a connection and Place Promised was about reestablishing one, Five Centimeters is ultimately about moving on from past connections instead of just living in the past, about finding a way to become happy in the present rather than just pining for what has been lost over time.”

Love as a guiding thread
The central theme, the stem from which all else flowers in Shinkai's work, is love; and as the ANN summary of Voices of a Distant Star rightly states, “The plot sounds archetypal: "Two lovers, separated by fate...Will they ever meet again?" But the execution is brilliant” . Shinkai reverts to universal themes, but his genius, his innovation, lies in how he communicates the content, his aesthetics.

His chosen format is cinema, using the three different film lengths, short, long and medium.  As to cinema techniques, he has chosen one: animation, more specifically, anime, given its characteristics and origin; and within this technique he has chosen a specific format:  3D CGI.

Love is the beginning and the end of Shinkai's works; but the curious thing is that Shinkai never introduces love per se, but rather alludes to it.  He plays with the audience; the word “love” does not appear until the climax of the film. While he alludes to it strongly when Mikako sends an e-mail saying “We are separated by earth and space like lovers, right?”, it is only in Agharta, where she finds herself missing Noboru so much that she breaks down and cries uncontrollably – only here does the word “love” appear.

Likewise in Beyond the Clouds, only at the climax does the word “love” appear.

In 5 Centimeters Per Second something different occurs:  the word does not appear in the entire film.  Nevertheless the film is totally impregnated with its presence and absence.

Despite the fact that the characters think of love, (always female rather than male characters, although this does not mean they do not think of love too), they never manage to talk about their feelings to the person of their affections. Mikako feels but does not talk, and as she dies at the end, her feelings are not shown although for a series of reasons which we shall explain further on, it is understood that this is the only possible outcome – she will never tell of her love. Sayuri prays to god that she may remember her feelings, begging that if only for a second, not to strip her from them and that she will be capable of telling Hiroki that she loves him. This never happens because Sayuri forgets and all she is left with is the pain of knowing that she has forgotten something she should really never have forgotten.

Shinkai makes us accomplices to his wickedness, to his game of never talking about feelings.  In Voices of a Distant Star we know everything Mikako has written in that final e-mail, only two lines of which reach Noboru, again despite prayers and entreaties. Again, in Beyond the Clouds the same occurs as we are fully aware of what Sayuri has forgotten.

Shinkai's love has no place for erotism, sexuality or anything like it:  his is love in the purest sense, absolutely platonic love. Even so, love in Shinkai's world is a little more complicated despite its apparent simplicity.

The amatory world of Shinkai is a cold world, lacking colors and warmth.  Rain is a constant element, together with snow and metallic lifeless colors. Where there should be warmth, where hearts should melt, they shiver, suffer and die. Shinkai's love is always accompanied by impotence and crushing pain. Although he deals with love, a happy fulfilling sentiment, the love exposed by Shinkai is one which can only generate unhappiness:  instead of fulfilling, it leaves an emptiness which is in turn filled by negative feelings.  It is anti-love, the impossibility, non viability of love.  This is true in Voices of a Distant Star and in 5 Centimeters Per Second, but not completely so in Beyond the Clouds.

Voices of a Distant Star showcases love felt by both parties: Mikako loves Noboru and he loves her, but fate renders their love impossible as an interplanetary conflict intervenes and our young heroine finally dies. We are aware of her feeling because her e-mails are always read and awaited, not his. This gives us the idea that there is no one to reply to.  Furthermore, due to the time-space differences, which we will discuss in a moment, while Mikako is still a young 15-year old girl, Noboru grows older as the film advances. The 15 year old Mikako is immortalized forever. There is no growth.

5 Centimeters Per Second shows us corresponded love initially in the first episode but distance between the characters, particularly spatial, cause this love to be lost. Loss is complete in the final episode but it is already evident in the second episode. Finally, in the third episode, Akari has found a new love while Takaki, despite having a companion, still feels an emptiness left by a love that was in the past, and emptiness only filled by depression. Takaki is unable to go on with his life, until he sees Akari on the other side of the railroad tracks where so many years ago they had said goodbye.  Finally Takaki turns, smiling, and although he has still not filled the empty space, he knows that he will manage to move on with his life. Just as in Voices of a Distant Star both are separated by fate, here moving homes results in a physical separation which makes their love unviable.

Beyond the Clouds provides us with space-time differences which are quite similar to Voices of a Distant Star, and the ANN summary goes as far as saying that Beyond the Clouds is the full length version of Voices of a Distant Star. Sayuri and Hiroki are separated by a physical and time difference which makes their love impossible at the start, but the strength of their love manages to break the barriers and they find each other. This is the only difference with Voices of a Distant Star and is also incongruent with the rest of Shinkai's world of love.

However, if we take a closer look, the first film ends with the death of a beautiful woman, which, according to Edgar Allan Poe, is most romantic; the second deals with hope and strength after love, the triumph of love, which is also very romantic; and finally, the third film deals with getting over love and getting on with life without it, once again, absolutely romantic.  Therefore, the guiding thread is Shinkai's movies is love.  Thus it is so important to study the amatory world.

In previous paragraphs we have mentioned the time-space differences which always, inevitably, seem to exist between the characters, resulting in solitude, which in turn derives in anguish and death.  Let us take a closer look.

Time-Space differences
In Voices of a Distant Star such differences have already slipped into previous paragraphs. The physical distance separating lovers as one is in space and the other stays on earth.

Time difference is slightly trickier. Let's look at the time line of both characters.  y the time Mikako reaches Pluto 6 months have passed; at this point time has passed in a similar fashion for both; but Mikako is forced to make a jump which will take her one light year from Noboru. This means only 30 minutes time for her. Calculating one light year at 30 minutes, we can then conclude that her next jump of 8.6 light years will take her approximately four and half hours. Before making this second jump, Mikako sends an e-mail to Noboru “By the time you get this e-mail I’ll be in Sirus”. In fact when Noboru receives this mail, Mikako is already dead only he does not know it.  Furthermore, when Noboru gets this last mail 8.6 years later, an eternity has gone by, yet it does not seem so to him because those years have already gone.

For clarity's sake let's set out a timeline. In the year 2046 Mikako sets off in the Lysithea. She exchanges mails with Noboru for 6 months. As a result of the evacuation, her next mail will reach Noboru in 2047, the year of the battle. 8.6 years later, in 2056, news of the battle arrive together with Mikako's last mail. 10 years have gone by for Noboru, although in Mikako's time no more than 7 months have passed at the absolute most.

This distance, both physical and temporal, perceived by the characters, is what generates such feelings of solitude for they are not at the side of their loved one, their hearts find no solace as all they have are e-mails which take longer and longer to arrive. The cold of space, the cold of a world without the loved one causes suffering for both, anguish and above all longing and an oppressive solitude as they cannot escape it.

We find the same in Beyond the Clouds, where there is a physical distance imposed by the unknown whereabouts of the loved one, together with a time distance as three years have gone by for Hiroki, while those same three years have passed for Sayuri's body but not in her mind.  In her dreams, Sayuri sees herself as that 15 year old girl before succumbing to her present state of affairs.

The main separation in 5 Centimeters Per Second is physical.  In the first episode the family moves house, and this is highlighted when Takaki asks his friends where Tochigi is “Tochigi?  No idea.” They had never heard of the place. Time differences feature too, not only between characters, but also between them and nature which seems to work against them showing no respect for their time and practically making efforts to ensure they do not meet. In the second episode physical distances are lengthened when Takaki moves even further away. There is a time distance between Takaki and Kanae: When she finally manages to surf and gathers courage, she feels truly ready but he is not at his best and is unable to return her feelings - it is not yet his time.  In this episode Akari appears only in Takaki's dreams. There is an approachment in time and space in the third episode. Takaki is living in Tokyo after graduating from high school and Akari is returning to Tokyo to meet her fiancé. The temporal distance is still latent, although the spatial distance has inverted: Akari is getting married, while Takaki still does not know what to do with his life. Akari is happy. Takaki has not found happiness yet, and is still incapable of doing so.

This is the amatory world of Makoto Shinkai. His favorite material elements are: rain, snow, metallic colors. He uses them to express ethereal elements: cold, darkness, solitude, agony, longing, suffering and pain.

The beauty and reality of the world

Backgrounds are the most important part of Shinkai aesthetics.  He once said in an interview that since childhood he has been fascinated by landscapes and that when troubled he found comfort in them. He seeks to transmit this to the spectator: his admiration, his fascination for landscapes, and he does so brilliantly.

Let's see some examples:


Beyond the Clouds, the promised place


Voices of a Distant Star


5 centímetres per second – a chain of short stories about their distance

The incredible realism of the images created by Shinkai is outstanding. This is due to the rotoscoping technique of drawing over real photographs.

Let's compare:









The detail in landscape reproduction is amazing.  One cannot but admire the beauty of these images.  But if it were simply a mimic, as defined by Plato, it wouldn't be art.  The images, despite being amazingly similar to models, are landscapes in Shinkai's mind.  What makes the images visually different from the models is the lighting. Shinkai has been hailed as an absolute genius when it comes to lighting and shading.

The aesthetic world of Shinkai is composed mainly of these images. His objective is to generate some kind of feelings, even if only for a second as he once said in an interview.  If the image can do that, then it has accomplished its mission. In another interview, Shinkai said “I try to use images to express what I cannot in words.”  That is a very powerful statement and sums up Shinkai's thoughts on images, their value over words, their capacity for expression, their meaning. However, his statement does not in any way take away from dialogue, or monologue, one of Shinkai's favorite narrative techniques.  

Shinkai's characters are character/narrators (according to Todorov’s classification of the different narrators, it’s the narrator=character) and all have their moment for narration, their monologues or soliloquy's if you will, where they express their thoughts and feeling “every word is meaningful”  states the ANN summary of Voices of a Distant Star. Just as no image is random, dialogues and monologues are thought out to the last word.

We now need to make a small break to talk about character design . Shinkai's characters have been referred to as superficial. I understand that this statement is due to the fact that his characters know nothing else but love. Their only driving force, whether due to its presence or absence, is love. I should like to underline that absolutely all of his characters whirl around love.  There is nothing else for them but love. They are not 3D characters, meaning they do not have various different facets; in fact it is interesting to note that the characters are designed in 2D.  I believe that besides the contrast created with the 3D background - on which I will expand shortly- the fact that the character design is in 2D speaks of character deficiciency. One could say that the characters are not deep but one cannot say that the characters are not lifelike. Shinkai ultimately tries to expose reality and he takes this to the limit in 5 Centimeters Per Second.

An anonymous internet user who can only be identified as “AT” refers to the contrast generated between the 2D characters and the 3D background: “leaving aside the non rotoscoped character design, the reality of the landscapes and the flat character design create a strange tension which seems unsolvable” (I believe the wording of this quote is not exact. Problem is despite re-reading the essay I can’t find where I quote it from, and the original quote I translated it to Spanish and didn’t keep it, I’m not really sure where from in the essay I quote it from. However, the concept can be found in the essay.) . Our friend defines Shinkai’s aesthetics as realist, and I agree.

The 2D characters contrasts with the 3D landscapes making them look more real, giving them more depth. The images in Shinkai's films are another character if not the main character, to the extent that Shinkai sometimes does away with characters to give way for his images. This is especially notorious in She and her Cat.  In Voices of a Distant Star the characters gain a little more importance but they never outshine the images.  In Beyond the Clouds the characters seem to be as important as the images, but in 5 centimeters Per Second Shinkai returns to his beginnings and his images regain greater importance, depth and meaning than in any of his earlier works.
Shinkai says: “Rather than use science fiction, we sought out locations.  I want to try to represent today's reality through anime”  

Shinkai uses ordinary images: a washing machine, lampposts a neon street sign, etc. But these images have been filtered by his aesthetic vision, and as such have changed with the results molded eternally on the big screen. Paraphrasing Pedro Salinas, it is obvious that Shinkai is not only able to copy landscapes but the final processed image is even more beautiful. The artist's vision is greater than reality.

Shinkai aims at highlighting everyday objects “images which are more than common in the family context.” , says Shinkai. In other words, Shinkai uses what Russian Formalists refer to as the process of “disautomatization”

Shinkai’s realism is full of detail which is particularly visible in trains. This is his scenic style.  Let's take a look at some graphic examples:


Voice of a Distant Star


5 centímetres per second – a chain of short stories on their distance


Beyond the Clouds, the promised place

Trains are a recurrent theme in Shinkai's works. “I always looked out of the train so as not to miss anything for there is always something noteworthy” . Trains are a kind of observation platform but also, trains represent movement. The world is in constant movement, and does not wait for humans much less the characters. Time marches on even though the characters may have been petrified in another time.

A perfect example is in Beyond the Clouds: Soon after Sayuri's disappearance, Hiroki finds himself in Tokyo where he must cross some railroad tracks. The girl with him crosses quickly, jumping with happiness while Hiroki hesitates for a moment, unwilling to cross. His time has stopped three years earlier when Sayuri disappeared.

Another example is when Akari and Takaki are separated for the first time by a railroad. Akari manages to cross them, but Takaki doesn't and stays on the other side. In the third episode, they cross these same railroad tracks and this time Takaki is able to cross over. Even though they are separated and stay separated, Takaki has managed to leave the past behind and from this moment on he can look to the future. His time is unfrozen.

A perfect example of Shinkai realism in projecting landscapes is the followoing:  


Really, I can only say one thing:  beautiful.  This photograph is quite good in summing up Shinkai's aesthetic sense in projecting, not mimicking landscapes.  Let's see two examples of detailed realism:




It is hard to believe that this is CGI. The details, a typical construction crack in the school wall is viewable, are an obsession to Shinkai. However these details, together with his incredible handling of lighting give his images such a realistic overtone.

Shinkai felt that the beauty of the landscape saved him from problems he suffered in adolescence, “I wanted to show something really pure” , “and so I am constantly trying to show these feelings [those of being saved by the beauty of the landscape] in my movies” ; once again: “I always looked out of the train so as not to miss anything for there was always something noteworthy” .  And with his use of everyday images, stylized, he tries to make the spectator become aware of this. Thus, his use of the rotoscoping technique to portray sceneries that many Japanese come across every day.

In Beyond the clouds the design and background art, as well as the character design, was done by other people rather that Shinkai himself. Shinkai gave his input and guided them, but did no actual drawing. By the end, the team had done such a good job that Shinkai, upon seeing the product thought “Didn’t I drew these? […] It had almos the same touches as my own” . Alter the images were complete, he would simple adjust the color ballet and the ilumination, intrinsic elementes to his style and aesthetics. Lets see, as an example, the ever so recurrent dusks in the movie.






At first sight it might not look like it, but everything in the images and the scenary is intrinsically related to love. Love is the guiding thread, as we mentioned before, as it is always present in the images. Through the images and material resources that Shinkai utilizes, he is capable of making feelings such as pain and angst come through to the audience - that is to say, all the bueaty and over realism of the images is a beauty that hurts, wounds the spectator who suffers the imposibilities of the love reflected, and in some cases directly represented, through the images, but at the same time, those images, that beauty, its a beauty that saves.

We have already quoted Shinkai when he said he felt that the beauty of the world, of the scenary, saved him during his adolecent years, and through his images he tries to acomplish just that, he tries to make the ideal of the beauty of the world which saves pierce through the screen. He astounds the audience as he was astounded before. In Shinkai’s world, images are a character in themselves, they come to life, being able to transmit any and every feeling, including oposite feelings at the same time, making the beauty of the world hurt and save us all together. Absolutely fantastic.
-----------------------------------------------------

I know I can speak more about reality and all of that, since there is still a LOT of info in AT's post which I havent used. Also, I know that a conclusion is missing. The thing is, the original piece had a different approach, I was forced to add something I completely dissapproved off and did want to, but had no choice, and that element made me write a different conclusion than the one I want to write, other thing is, I've been too lazy to actually write a new conclusion up XD.

I hope it was undestandable and enjoyable. I'll await you commets eagerly!!!

Thanks!


Last edited by Shinka on Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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IsUa
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So...let me be the first to reply to your post, Shinka...first being a non english also, like you said , your english is amazing (for a spanish, I'm guessing) Laughing , sorry it's the rivalry between neighbours (Península Ibérica).

I really like to ready your essay (A+)  Wink

What I take for the first read....The importance of LOVE "...At first sight it might not look like it, but everything in the images and the scenary is intrinsically related to love. Love is the guiding thread, as we mentioned before, as it is always present in the images." (Shinka)

In further post, after a better reading, I will give a better opinion...

so, Felicidades for your brilliant work.
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Shinka
VelaCiela


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Location: ummm... I dont know....

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your reply  Very Happy, I'm glad you liked it, feel free to post whatever comes to mind, even if its criticism.


I am a spanish speaker yes, but from south america XD, and I cant take the credit for the english. I asked a friend of mine to translate it, he is an british irish decendant, so except for the last 3 of 4 paragprahs, the rest was translated by him =P. I think he did a good job (I'm yet to buy him a thank you present.... XD I suck).


Anyone else who would like to venture in reading it and then comment on it, it'd be awesome, even if you hated it and just want to say so.

Thanks!
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IsUa
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ei...so sorry for that I thought you were spanish.... Very Happy

This is not a critic is only a repair, cause like I said this is (A+) Wink

One thing, that call my atention when I first saw Makoto work...was the use of the light...I never saw that quality in other Anime director. Very Happy

I remember very well...in 5CM, when the lights in the classroom are switch on...and in the sunset....or the train...and other...it's amazing

I think, this topic is missing in your work, or it was (ligeramente tocado) light touch (?) (sorry for my english)...and for me this is one characteristic that difference Makoto from the others Anime directors.


I don't know if others felt this...about Makoto and his use of light, that's why I say that would like to see this topic better explained Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hm...


I'm not sure his atmospherics are always cold given his use of light.  Also body warmth is a theme when Hiroki is alone in Tokyo; his feelings for Sayuri, he says, actually heat his skin as if she were close by.  Shinkai uses cold for contrast, no doubt.  But the point-of-view, you could say, in his aesthetics is hardly abstracted and indifferent.  It's a hot eye in a detached and icy world.  

I think calling him a realist requires some explanation, too, because he's in no way journalistic or naturalistic.  He is only treating "real" or commonplace subjects.  But his point of view is better called Romantic or lyrical, I think.  He is not just representing but is showing how it seems to certain human beings who are besotted with the physical appearance of the universe and things and people in it - the use of light being pure embellishment to show how these things *seem* subjectively to one who is bowled over by their beauty.  



Another interesting topic in Shinkai, most of all in Place Promised, is the use of unison dialogue and paralleling.  Every pair of the three main kids gets at least some point where they talk at the same time, like duets in an opera.

You've also go the he tower, the lens-glares, the train tracks.  Symmetry and parallels everywhere - the compositions are deliberately artificial and glorify everyday things.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Side note: I actaully wrote this response last week, but it seems that I forgot submit it XD


IsUa wrote:
Ei...so sorry for that I thought you were spanish.... Very Happy


lol, no worries, I am a spanish speaker none the less. No need to apologize.

IsUa wrote:
I think, this topic is missing in your work, or it was (ligeramente tocado) light touch (?) (sorry for my english)...and for me this is one characteristic that difference Makoto from the others Anime directors.


I agree completly, Shinkai's use of light is one of his main aesthetic resources, and I didnt work all that much. Seeing as I had a limit to how much I could actually write, I had to select what I wanted to say, so somethings didnt get the attention they deserve.

I will most definitely re-work that part and concentrate on it more, giving it the attention it deserves.

Thanks IsUa!!!


davus0 wrote:
I'm not sure his atmospherics are always cold given his use of light.  Also body warmth is a theme when Hiroki is alone in Tokyo; his feelings for Sayuri, he says, actually heat his skin as if she were close by.  Shinkai uses cold for contrast, no doubt.  But the point-of-view, you could say, in his aesthetics is hardly abstracted and indifferent.  It's a hot eye in a detached and icy world.


That is in fact what I meant, guess I didnt explain it correctly, sorry Confused

davus0 wrote:
I think calling him a realist requires some explanation, too, because he's in no way journalistic or naturalistic.  He is only treating "real" or commonplace subjects.  But his point of view is better called Romantic or lyrical, I think.  He is not just representing but is showing how it seems to certain human beings who are besotted with the physical appearance of the universe and things and people in it - the use of light being pure embellishment to show how these things *seem* subjectively to one who is bowled over by their beauty.


Hmm... I was confident that part was alright, guess I'll have to re-work it, and there are indeed many, many more things to say that what I've said. Your views are very interesting, and your inputs are quite inspiring. I've been meaning to expand of the subject of his "realism" from the very start.


davus0 wrote:
Another interesting topic in Shinkai, most of all in Place Promised, is the use of unison dialogue and paralleling.  Every pair of the three main kids gets at least some point where they talk at the same time, like duets in an opera.


Once again, I had an extention problem. I find those dialogues to be endlessly interesting, but even more so the soliloquies, which is why I chose to develop those in the essay. However, I want to add in the dialogues as well.

davus0 wrote:
You've also go the he tower, the lens-glares, the train tracks.  Symmetry and parallels everywhere - the compositions are deliberately artificial and glorify everyday things.


I'm not particualrily interested in that. I agree that its an interesting part of Shinkai's aesthetics - and I agree with you in that they are indeed deliberately constructed so - but even if its a piece on his aesthetics, its not possible to write about everything, even if there is no limit as to how much one could write. I think I'll mention the parallelisms, since I did thought them out, in the subject of realism, since I belive that's where it'll fill best.


Thanks davus0!! Your comments are very much appreciated!

Thank you both, really


Side note: I added a spoiler tag in the title. It didnt occur to me at the time, but there are quite a few spoilers in the essay XD.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well "realism" is always a tricky word.  Is it making claims for "this is how it is" or is it just to say that an artwork is not a pure fairytale, that it cleaves to reality and tries to develop a relationship vis a vis a world we recognize outside of the artwork.  

I feel that this relationship is at heart a romantic, naively subjectivizing one, and the "textures" (better phrase?--"amatory climate?") of summer sun and warmth in PPED stand for a lack of differentiation among emotion, perception, reality and so on.  In some way, it's all melted together.  But that's too gross and sweeping theory to use just to talk about Shinkai's film aesthetics.  Many other films, anime and non, and even stuff like landscape poetry could be said to appeal for such reasons....



All the same I was very glad to read your work.  One great thing with this forum is that one discovers that one is not alone in one's interest even if I prefer different kinds of analysis.
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Shinka
VelaCiela


Joined: 28 Oct 2008
Posts: 27


Location: ummm... I dont know....

PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nobody else has any thoughts? Not necesarily criticism, just thoughts, like: you agree or disagree with certain things that I said, or you would like to discuss why I said something, or where does it come from; anything that comes to mind after reading it really.
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Laz
Laz


Joined: 09 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll probably do this a section at a time since you've got a long post Smile

On Love ...

I think the one assumption you made is that Mikako dies at the end. She doesn't ... there is no resolution one way or the other and despite the manga (which clearly shows that she's alive) I never interpreted the end of the film meaning she was dead .. only that they both made a connection ... despite the distance.

For Voices of a Distant Star, I don't think fate renders their love impossible just difficult. There is love, despite distance ... is that impossible? Only if one of the parties gives up ... I would not say that this is anti-love, instead love "tested" by fate. Love causes Noboru to get his act together and make a decision to join the fleet and go to space, mainly to meet Mikako again. I don't see that as anti-love.

What's to say that as Noboru speeds to Mikako who is stranded around Agartha their ages won't catch up?

About 5 CM per second ... I alwasy felt that these two had the least amount of distance between them, physically ... that the distance was more based on personality or something less tangible. All Takaki had to do was pick up a phone and call ... that always annoyed me about him. But I can understand his inability.

Ayway .. more later Smile

Laz
_________________
You're a woman, I'm a calf ... you're a window, I'm a knife ... we come together making chance into starlight ... - Jeff Buckley

ここにいるよ. - Voices of a Distant Star
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gleowine
Ekusun Tsukinoe


Joined: 14 Apr 2008
Posts: 415


Location: Louisiana

PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess the main problem I have with the essay is its lack of focus. You make a lot of good points, but then you don't build upon any of them. I would recommend concentrating on the "love" theme, not aesthetics. Aesthetics is a very broad subject and can't really be covered well in an essay. Try to corral some of your main or best ideas around the central thesis, then trash the rest. I know, it's always hard to cut stuff from something you've created, but in the end it will make it a better piece. Also, save your conclusions for the end of the piece, or else try to be more specific about why you feel a certain way about something.

All of what I've said may sound very academic, but every great work by any great writer that I've ever read does just this, maintaining a tight focus around a central theme.

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