Interview with Director Makoto Shinkai on His New Work “The Garden of Words” (Vol. 2)

Interview with Director Makoto Shinkai on His New Work “The Garden of Words” (Vol. 2)

Makoto Shinkai is a representative member of the Japanese anime world. His new work The Garden of Words was released in Japan on May 31. Last time, we talked about what could be called the biggest charm of director Shinkai’s works, the beauty of his movies. His new work is his first in the subject of “love,” where he weaves a love story between a 15-year-old boy and a 27-year-old women that is so pure, it’s almost transparent.

Interview with Director Makoto Shinkai on His New Work “The Garden of Words” (Vol. 2)

TOM: Takao wants to become a shoemaker. What was your intention by making the protagonist a craftsman?
Shinkai: It is a part of puberty that we just want to go somewhere far away. We only have a vague image, like behind that mountain or a place more beautiful... In my opinion, what symbolizes this the best is a “craftsman.” It could be said that the feelings that wanting other people to understand him more through his work is the starting point of a craftsman. I myself also started because I wanted to get in contact with someone. I wanted to draw a boy who desperately reaches his hand out to other people. The reason I made him a shoemaker, at first, was simply because the visuals were good. Then, when I tried inserting it into the script, it blended in very well, and it also matched the portrayal of Yukino, who, tired of society, loses her direction in life.

Interview with Director Makoto Shinkai on His New Work “The Garden of Words” (Vol. 2)

TOM: It seems that in the background of the theme of “love,” there is also the theme of “a woman in her twenties who is tired of society.”
Shinkai: Since I can’t help putting in things I like, there might be parts that make people associate to some past work, and that’s why this movie, just like those before it, depicts “loss” in some way. However, as this work is the story of a 15-year-old boy who wants to know other people, it goes in the exact opposite direction.

Interview with Director Makoto Shinkai on His New Work “The Garden of Words” (Vol. 2)

TOM: Compared to your past works, which greatly focus on the two protagonists, in this movie, there is an expansion that the surrounding people, such as family, are also depicted. Why is that?
Shinkai: Firstly, during puberty, our world is limited to the few meters around us. We tend to skip such things as society, and we are interested in space that is way beyond. Adolescence is such a thing, and until now, that’s how I depicted it. And that’s how it’s established to fans of anime and my work. However, recently the audience of my work suddenly expanded, and such nuances became hard to transmit. In this latest work, I drew social parts like their surroundings and environment out of necessity, so that people who usually don’t watch anime or people abroad would understand it more easily.

Interview with Director Makoto Shinkai on His New Work “The Garden of Words” (Vol. 2)

The nostalgia we feel when watching director Shinkai’s new anime might be because the main character, who is clumsy with his surroundings, reminds us of how we once were. As director Shinkai put it, The Garden of Words is “the story of Takao, who wants to know other people” and shows a pubescent protagonist who reaches out his hand to the new outer world. It splendidly depicts the irritation that comes from impatience. Are there plans for screening The Garden of Words overseas as well? Next time, we are going to approach director Shinkai on his enthusiasm for expanding overseas.

This is a Tokyo Otaku Mode original article.

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