There’s a lot we love about animator Makoto Shinkai, whether it’s his pertinence for slow narratives or his obsession with melancholic atmospheres. But Shinkai is as much a master of creating stunning backgrounds as he is a storyteller. The Garden of Words, a short film about a lonely teenage boy and his relationship with a 27-year-old woman, is one of Shinkai’s better known films, and one of the best things about the film are all the gorgeous background shots of rainy Shinjuku. Rain is a major theme of the whole film, and Shinkai manages to turn slick streets and drenched gardens into scenes that have a life of their own.
The Garden of Words: Memories of Cinema is an art book that compiles all of Shinkai’s stunning background art for the film. At $75 a pop, it’s only recommended for hardcore fans, but we included a few images above for you to gawk at from afar. If you haven’t seen the film yet, watch the trailer.
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Japanese animator Makoto Shinkai is often called “the new Miyazaki.” Such overly ambitious praise might scare off the average person, but for over a decade Shinkai has maintained his unique style without caving to pressure. While 5 Centimeters Per Second and The Garden of Words might be some of his better known feature length work, like most animators, Shinkai got his start in short films. She and Her Cat is one of his first and most notable shorts. The black and white film tells the story of a cat and his owner from the cat’s point of view. As the cat makes poignant observations about his owner, the stripped down, slice-of-life portrayal of everyday life takes an unsuspected optimistic turn. But probably the best thing about the short is how Shinkai avoids the cutesy path in favor of bitter realism.
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