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Interview

Makoto Shinkai p2

Makoto Shinkai talks about making The Garden of Words and mentions a favorite book...

The Garden of Words has some beautiful imagery. The backgrounds, movement and visual details are stunning. “As animators, obviously, we feel motivated by wanting to draw more beautiful and picturesque scenery,” Mr Shinkai said. They wanted to show what they could do.
Rain drops spatter beautifully on tiles. A green branch arches over a large pond in a city park. People walk down crowded traffic-filled streets. Commuters board trains, which rush past buildings and electric wires. And the director uses a variety of camera angles or views : We follow a bird as it soars around a high rise building. There are close-ups of train wheels roaring along tracks. We watch from a cloud as raindrops fall to a lush green park far below. Some of these shots can be viewed online in the preview of The Garden of Words.
But the movie doesn’t rely on the beautiful imagery to keep the audience interested. The story is good, with nothing unnecessary. Also, it’s a shorter movie than his previous movie Children Who Chase Lost Voices. Mr Shinkai said 43 minutes was enough time to portray human emotions and have a strong theme.
Mr Shinkai gave a lot of interesting details about The Garden of Words. He said they had finished production on the CoMix Wave movie only three weeks before the premiere.
Also he said he came up with certain lines of dialogue before there was a script. “For this particular movie there were lines I wanted the characters to say, so the script came from those lines.” eg. the line where Takao says Yukino is the mystery or secret of life itself. And when Yukino says that as a 27-year-old she is no smarter than she was when she was 15: and that she was still in the same place.
Also he changed some artistic techniques.
“I used a different approach in coloring for this particular animation,” he said.
He simplified skin coloring: He said he used one color for where the sun hits the skin, and another shade for the rest of the skin: sometimes a greenish color for reflected light on the skin.
As far as favorite books went, Mr Shinkai liked Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. A rain-related quote from the novel appears in one shot of the movie, he said. The two main characters are drenched from the rain in the park, and the boy says they looked like they’d swum across a river to get there.
The Garden of Words would be a great movie to watch on a rainy afternoon.

– copyright Simon Sandall

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