It is so easy to get an isolated view of anime based on what you have experienced. I have enjoyed anime for years but was almost exclusively watching the Shonen genre which is targeted at teenage boys like Dragon Ball Z, Black Clover, and My Hero Academia.
But dig a little below the surface and there is a true array of genres that will cater to anyone with an open mind, and dig a little deeper and you will find the genius that is Makoto Shinkai.
Makoto Shinkai started off his unique creations with a 30 minute OVA Voices of a Distant Star which tells a short story of friends who are messaging each other. The kicker is one of those friends is in a mech suit travelling further away over the years throughout the galaxy as she takes part in fights which means it takes even longer for the messages to reach her friend on earth. It is a cracking short story that is light on anime tropes, and full of heart.
This is what you should come to expect from Makoto Shinkai. His movies over the years have dabbled with the classic tropes, but that is not what you should be here for. The stories told here are fascinating takes on relationships, usually framed in an interesting and unique world that only anime would produce.
If you haven’t seen much of Makoto Shinkai’s work then this collection is well worth having a look at. I had personally heard about a few of the movies but hadn’t actually seen one as they are not always the easiest to track down. This collection bundles seven of them in one box.
The movies included are The Place Promised in Our Early Days, Voices of a Distant Star, 5 Centimeters per Second, Children Who Chase Lost Voices, The Garden of Words, Your Name, and the 2020 release Weathering with You.
I won’t go into every movie because this will wind up being a 4000 word review, and you should be using the time to watch Makoto Shinkai’s movies, not reading an essay about why they are excellent. Instead I will touch on his two most recent releases to help explain why the series of movies are great.
Take Your Name, which tells the story of two people from different backgrounds who suddenly start swapping bodies. One is a girl who lives in a farming village near Tokyo who follows older traditions, and the other is a young man living in Tokyo with a more modern lifestyle. They then try to meet each other but have the issue of forgetting each other’s names. Some other stuff comes into play like time and a disaster which I don’t want to spoil, but it’s damn good.
Then there is the most recent release, Weathering With You. Here we meet a young man and woman in almost eternally raining Tokyo. It turns out Hina is a sunshine girl who can control the weather but only in a confined space. This delves deeper and we find out that Hina is supposed to sacrifice herself to stop the rain. All kinds of weirdness ensues and they find themselves trying to decide the best thing to do all the while being chased by the cops as they are too young to be out on their own.
The two examples above show how Makoto Shinkai can craft a movie that is a totally unique world, and yet spends the bulk of its time giving you a fantastic character story that is more about relationships than anything else.
If this has intrigued you, and it should, then I can’t recommend this collection of movies enough. Going in intrigued and blind is the best way to tackle them and they don’t disappoint. Each movie has a selection of special features as well so you aren’t getting a budget version of the movies to cram them into a collection.
Fantastic stories, set in fantastic worlds, with excellent animation makes the Makoto Shinkai Collection a worthy addition to any blu-ray shelves.