In the realm of anime, Makoto Shinkai’s name resonates with an artistic brilliance that captivates audiences globally. His directorial masterpiece, Suzume, has not only performed phenomenally at the global box office but also raised a curious question among the anime and manga aficionados: What should one watch before delving into the world of Suzume? Interestingly, the answer is as straightforward as it is intriguing – nothing. Suzume stands as a standalone gem in Shinkai’s oeuvre, yet exploring his previous works can offer a deeper appreciation of his artistic vision.
The Essence of Shinkai’s Storytelling
While Suzume requires no prequels for comprehension, immersing oneself in Shinkai’s earlier films can enrich the viewing experience. A common thread weaving through his films is the enchanting blend of folklore and supernatural elements with modern Japanese settings. Suzume delves into the mythical concept of earthquakes, linked to creatures known as Namazu in Japanese mythology. These underworld dwellers, controlled by Gods using Kaname-ishi stones, form a pivotal element in the narrative.
The Timeless Appeal of “Your Name”
Among Shinkai’s works, Your Name stands out as an essential watch. This cinematic marvel intertwines Japanese myths with a time-traveling love story, presenting a surreal yet beautiful narrative tapestry. It’s a film that every anime enthusiast must experience, transcending the boundaries of time and space with its mythological elegance.
SUZUME WAS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL MOVIE I LOVE IT !!!! pic.twitter.com/Yqfk00TXPs
— hols ☆ (@Yonaluvss) November 16, 2023
Natural Calamities as a Narrative Device
Another motif Shinkai frequently employs is natural calamities. In Suzume, it’s earthquakes; in Your Name, a meteor crash; and in Weathering With You, storms play a central role. These calamities are not mere plot devices but catalysts that forge deeper connections between characters, often highlighting romantic undercurrents. This recurring theme not only drives the narrative forward but also evokes a profound emotional response from the audience.
The Emotional Resonance of Shinkai’s Films
The mastery of Shinkai lies in his ability to draw out intense emotions through these thematic elements. Whether it’s the breathtaking visuals, the seamless fusion of the supernatural with the mundane, or the poignant exploration of human connections amidst chaos, his films resonate deeply with viewers. As we anticipate the streaming release of Suzume, revisiting Shinkai’s previous works might just be the perfect prelude to this cinematic journey.
In conclusion, while Suzume can be enjoyed as a standalone experience, delving into Makoto Shinkai’s filmography offers a richer understanding of his storytelling craft. His films, including Your Name and Weathering With You, are not just visually stunning but also thematically profound, making them must-watches for any anime fan eager to explore the depths of modern Japanese storytelling.