She and Her Cat
She and Her Cat is an award winning independent production by the man dubbed as the next Miyazaki. She and Her Cat is a story told by the viewpoint of a young woman’s cat and its relationship with her.Produced in 1999 over a 5 month period, this short has beautiful animation that slips straight into your heart.
The grainy black and white are an artistic choice that works well with the almost poetic/narrative nature of the shots paired with the narration of the cat. Stills are complimented by artistic pans and it is very easy to see how much the work of Makoto inspired the lot over at Wong Fu Productions, a good example of this would be their film When Five Fell.
Though the animation is limited it is timed suitably and the artwork is heavily detailed to make up for it. The simplicity of the design of the cat is still pleasing to look at despite at first feeling like it was probably in the wrong type of film at first. But from the effects, to the layout of shots to the landscape design everything comes with such precision and attention to detail, It is really remarkable and Shinkai only continues to shine and amaze his viewers from this point onwards.
If you are wondering how does he make his hyper realistic backgrounds, Shinkai has noted that he takes real pictures of places and edits them with computer graphics, but when it came to the characters they are drawn to contrast their environment in design.
My only criticism would be the fast bursts between text. At times I felt it was much to fast to get a good read off and required pausing, which really messes with the flow of the whole viewing experience.
It is nice to hear that an animated series of the film is scheduled to start for March, however it won’t be in the hands of Shinkai.
The film really reminded me of a French art film and very easily fit the tropes of one, while never leaving its Japanese roots and the haiku nature of the short. The music was very simple and I didn’t notice it so much, but from what I have read it was the only thing that Shinkai didn’t do. It is from this point on that Shinkai establishes his unique style as an animator and might I add to that as a film maker.