Makoto Shinkai announced his newest film, Suzume no Tojimari, in December 2021, and fans have been waiting impatiently for more updates. The release of the film’s first official trailer, featuring Shinkai’s distinct animation and RADWIMPS’ music, has fans in a frenzy.
But the film is scheduled to be released in Japan on November 11, 2022, and with almost seven months till its release, now is the perfect time to revisit some of Shinkai’s earlier works.
A list of movies by Makoto Shinkai that anime lovers should definitely watch
1) Your Name (2016)
The most popular and well-known of Makoto Shinkai films, Your Name or Kimi no Na Wa, became an instant box-office hit and grew to become the highest-grossing anime film of all time. The film has won various awards for its stunning animation, moving plot and captivating soundtrack.
Your Name is a romantic fantasy drama that follows Mitsuha and Taki, whose lives get mysteriously tangled, causing them to wake up stuck in each other’s body randomly. The film kicks off as they become more and more tangled in each other's lives.
2) Weathering With You (2019)
Weathering With You, or Tenki no Ko in Japanese, was the second major film Makoto Shinkai created after Your Name. Weathering With You shares a similarly fantastical tale as its predecessor, and follows Hodaka, who runs away from his rural hometown to Tokyo and meets a girl called Hina.
Hina has a strange ability to influence the weather and the two use her power to start a flourishing business in the ever-rainy Tokyo, unaware of the consequences. the film also features some beautiful music, with RADWIMPS composing the soundtrack.
3) Garden of Words (2013)
Garden of Words, or Kotonoha no Niwa, is a short film that brought Makoto Shinkai’s work into the limelight for the first time. The film is much more introspective than his latest oeuvres, focusing more on emotional value rather than a dynamic plot.
The story revolves around fifteen-year-old Takao Akizuki, who wants to be a shoemaker, and Yukari Yukino, a girl he keeps meeting in a park on rainy mornings. As both keep returning to their haven to escape the problems of their lives, emotions unravel and the story develops, exploring themes of love, loneliness and maturity.
4) 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)
5 Centimeters Per Second, also known as Byosoku Go Senchimetoru in Japanese, was a romantic drama that Makoto Shinkai created in the form of montages. The film divides the story into three parts, called “Cherry Blossom,” “Cosmonaut,” and “5 Centimeters per Second.”
Each segment follows the protagonist Takaki Tono as he maneuvers around love in various forms and stages.
5) Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011)
Children who Chase Lost Voices, also known as Journey to Agartha, is a Makoto Shinkai film that might be described as “Ghibli-esque.” The film follows Asuna, a lonely girl who often spends her time in the hills around her home and runs into a mysterious boy called Shun.
Shun saves her from a vicious creature by killing it, but gets injured. Asuna promises to come back to meet him, but he dies. However, she meets his brother Shin, whom she follows into the mythical land of the Dead, Agartha.
6) The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004)
The Place Promised in Our Early Days or Kumo no Mukō, Yakusoku no Basho is probably the least-known of Makoto Shinkai’s films. Set against a fictional historical setting where the Soviet Union occupies half of Japan, the story follows childhood friends Hiroki, Takuya and Sayuri, with the two boys growing older and drifting apart after the lattermost mysteriously disappears.
The anime film clubs together sci-fi action, a dystopian future and a romantic drama, making for an entertaining watch.
Makoto Shinkai has also written and directed short films like She and Her Cat, Someone’s Gaze and Voices of a Distant Star, all of which have received critical acclaim. Shinkai’s films show the development of his signature style and are proof of his talent as a storyteller and love for animation and films.