Anime culture in India has developed tremendously in the past few years. Every other kid knows about Naruto. Or at least to the most basic anime exposure, we’ve all had: Pokemon and Dragon Ball.
Anime has opened a wide range of genre explorations, and it is more than impressive how a single nation has been able to shake pop culture with its more innovative stories.
You have a wide range of options, to begin with. Are you looking for something intriguing? Say a cat-and-mouse thriller that goes beyond the likes of genre cliches to maintain curiosity throughout its runtime. You have Death Note. Are you looking for a mind-blowing sci-fi novel? Say hello to Neon Genesis: Evangelion and Stein’s Gate. Are you looking for a post-apocalyptic saga where humanity is in grave danger of unprecedented magnitude? Go for Attack on Titan! All this is just scratching the surface of the beautiful culture the Japanese have created.
But watching anime can sometimes be tiresome, especially for people with busy schedules. It’s challenging to follow a 1000-episode saga like One Piece, one week after another, when your schedule demands you be productive.
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On the contrary, not being familiar with the wonderful world of animation, more specifically Japanese animation, only means one thing: you are truly missing out on something big.
But it doesn’t necessarily mean you must dig deep into anime to appreciate the animation style. Studio Ghibli, for instance, has been a mammoth in the animation industry. The emotional impact of Japanese animation is much more significant than what the West provides. It’s safe to say the above-mentioned statement is a fact.
To a large extent, animators and directors such as Hayao Miyazaki, Satoshi Kon, Hideaki Anno, Katsuhiro Otomo, and Isao Takahata have played a key role in shaping the animation industry in Japan.
And then there are modern-day animator-directors like Masaaki Yuasa, Mamoru Hosoda, and Makoto Shinkai, each vocalising the emotion and passion behind their animation school.
Of the three stated earlier, Makoto Shinkai has gained quite a bit of popularity in recent years, specifically for his hyperrealist animations. Shinkai plays along in small bits, subtly catching your attention and blurring the line between reality and animation – “A 2D world thriving in realism “. It is no surprise how well the animation works when Shinkai is at his best.
Your Name (original title: Kimi no Na wa) is among the finest animated films of the past decade, if not among the finest films. Furthermore, it is among the British Film Institute’s list of films to watch by age 15.
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Many have deemed Shinkai the modern-day Miyazaki due to his impeccable skills in using realism as a tool.
Now the creator has blessed us with another film, Suzume, which thankfully has a broader release. Thanks to multiplexes and their policies, we can now enjoy some of the finest works from Japan on the big screen.
Like his previous works, Suzume blends the elements of fantasy and realism effortlessly, enhancing a visual experience that is perhaps mostly appreciated by Shinkai fans but nevertheless great.
Apart from the animation and storyline, one of the most significant plus points of Makoto Shinkai’s films is the effective use of music. Almost all Shinkai’s movies focus on teenagers experiencing something larger than life or unusual. Within these arcs, he clearly distinguishes how affectionate and compassionate protagonists can be presented with the utmost care. Shinkai movies are essentially dramas that are rich in themes, sometimes overshadowed by fantasy. Nevertheless, Shinkai somehow manages to present amicable subtexts that can be as relevant as they are.
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The music perfectly complements the mood of these films. The Japanese band RADWIMPS and their often collaboration with Shinkai, is a match made in heaven like Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer, like Denis Villeneuve and Jóhann Jóhannsson, like Martin Scorcese and Thelma Schumacher …..
If possible, catch Suzume at your nearest multiplex; it’s worth a watch! If not, wait for a digital release.
In the meantime, please familiarise yourself with animated movies from Japan before we conclude. Here are a few to start with:
Spirited Away: Hayao Miyazaki
Grave of the Fireflies: Isao Takahata
Akira: Katsuhiro Otomo
Paprika: Satoshi Kon
Your name:Makoto Shinkai.
Night is Short, Walk on Girl: Masaki Yuasa
Perfect Blue : Satoshi Kon
Princess Mononoke : Hayao Miyazaki
My Neighbour Totoro: Hayao Miyazaki
Belle : Mamoru Hosoda
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