Makoto Shinkai, director of Your Name: “Emotion is Entertainment”

This Japanese animated jewel arrives on Netflix.

Update on 06/01/2020: We had met the director Makoto Shinkai during the theatrical release Your name, end of 2016. We are recommending this interview to you when the feature has just arrived on Netflix.

Article of 12/27/2016: “An entertainment film”. Therefore Makoto Shinkai qualifies his latest film, Your name. A film that is much, much more: “absolute wonder” according to our review and biggest cardboard of the cinema year in Japan. A moving animated film with tears which recounts the meeting between two teenagers whom everything separates, Mitsuha and Taki … Let us say no more and leave the word to Shinkai-san, already author of the superb Travel to Agartha or The Tower beyond the clouds.

Your Name is an absolute wonder (critical)

How do you explain the success of Your name ?
Many young people, middle school and high school students, tell me that this is one of their favorite films. I tell myself that they are young, they have not yet seen interesting films … The starting point was to relate the meeting between a boy and a girl, who live in different places, who do not not know. This type of story is universal. We don’t know who we’re going to meet tomorrow. But this story was not enough to make it a good entertainment film. I added this comet story and opted for an alternate montage so that the spectators do not get bored.

A pencil sketch is a pivot of the film. How did you create it?
We used several animation techniques. Animation director Masashi Ando, ​​who held the same position on The Voyage of Chihiro from Miyazaki, comes from traditional animation, in 2D. He and his team worked in pencil, on paper. They are craftsmen, they do an extraordinary job. Another team was responsible for scanning all the handmade drawings so that they could be animated on the computer. The passage of the film in pastel, with what looks like colored pencils, was not done “by hand”. The color effect was created on the computer, but the original pencil drawings are reused. We are getting closer to the primary drawing.

Seeing Your name, I thought of Spielberg, of live action cinema more than animation cinema …
I did not think of directors in particular. I saw ET extraterrestrial very young, it still had to mark me a minimum (laughs). I gave the animators a rule: think of the film as if it were shot by a real camera, with regard to its movements and the scale of the shots. With what objective to film? How far are the characters standing? I thought a lot about the staging of breaking Bad for Your name. Not the script, of course, but the use of time, music, cutting out … breaking Bad masterfully manages to direct the emotion of the audience. I did not lose sight of my goal: I wanted Your name an entertainment film for young people.

You talk a lot about Your name as an “entertainment film”. Is emotion entertainment?
It all depends on the definition of entertainment. I take it in a global way, the film must use a whole range of emotions. Laughter, joy, tears … Emotion is entertainment. My only goal is to keep the audience’s attention throughout the film. At no time should you be bored. The intensity must remain high.

How do you see the state of Japanese animation today?
I don’t see many animation films made by others, but from a distance I feel that the quality remains very high. Takahata and Miyazaki are the most gifted at describing everyday life. If they no longer make films, there will be a shortage.

Thanks to Shoko Takahashi for her translation.

Trailer of Your name, in theaters on December 28:

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