By this point I'm pretty sure Disney can make a thought-provoking and inspiring film in their sleep; yet I was still surprised that this bright and colourful animation still gave us adults and kids, a lot to think about our society. Early April, even with my busy schedule at the time
By this point I’m pretty sure Disney can make a thought-provoking and inspiring film in their sleep; yet I was still surprised that this bright and colourful animation still gave us adults and kids, a lot to think about our society.
Early April, even with my busy schedule at the time I managed to squeeze in time for two big films: The hyped Batman vs Superman and the hare-hopping detective tale called Zootropolis (aka Zootopia). I went in not really knowing what to expect. Despite going for the talk at the Apple Store and even after watching several trailers; I don’t think I ever anticipated the direction or the general premise of the film. I was a bit taken back with the light nods to tumblr-esque political correctness then the heavier commentary on racism and the current racial tensions in the states, due to racial profiling and the corruption within the police force; while still being packaged as a very family friendly and “Disney”. My final thoughts as I left the cinema were: “Wow! What a very clever film!”
Life’s a little bit messy. We all make mistakes. No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you.- Judy Hopps
Zootropolis (released as Zootopia in America) is a buddy cop 3D animated feature-length film by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Zootropolis follows the story of a young bunny, Judy Hopps from the rural town of Bunnybrow; who finally fulfils her childhood dream of becoming a cop. Graduating at the top of her class and as the first bunny ever to become an officer; She is selected to start her career in the infamous Zootropolis, under a programme that encourages change and integration between prey and predators. When her potential as a cop is doubted by her boss Chief Bogo- she is very early on assigned to parking meter duties, but Judy’s heart for justice and quest for adventure, entangles her in a missing persons case with a hustling fox by the name of Nick Wilde. Together the two must find a missing otter, and uncover the truth behind the disappearances of so many predators.
Zootropolis is a clever little film that is both poignant, thought-provoking and hilarious. It is timely in its commentary of prejudice and exclusion and encourages acceptance, faith over fear and the inclusion of others. With the current events in America, in regards to police brutality, Zootropolis does a swell job in getting the little bunny from the backwaters of Bunnybrow to become a cop and a cheating and conniving fox to help her on her mission.
There are so many things that the story of Zootropolis does well, and it deserves every bit of praise from critics. You walk in expecting a very simple buddy cop animated comedy, but leave having learnt something significant. Zootropolis is definitely a tale that subvert stereotypes, brings attention to them and later flips them on their head. If you have already seen the film you can tell this by a certain assistant mayor who plays a rather large role in the film. Zootropolis is quite an uplifting and enjoyable film that brings the message of change and acceptance to the forefront.
There are so many fantastic nuggets of wisdom laced in this film, such as a scene after a mistake Judy makes, Judy’s boss Chief Bogo reassures her.
Judy Hopps: I came here to make the world a better place, but I think I broke it.
Chief Bogo: The world has always been broken. That’s why we need good cops.
The film is insightful and for the hour or so of viewing gives you time to actually think on these matters, if you hadn’t done so before. This quote in and of itself I personally feel is a grand message to those who are in the police force, to choose doing good over doing wrong, to remind them why they are police officers.
Judy Hopps is not your typical Disney character, because of who she is you’d think all the odds should be stacked against her, but she overcomes this and you can’t help but continually root for her. She is a loveable character who doesn’t end up needing a prince charming, she is not damsel in distress and she doesn’t do what she does for the sake of family. She loves her job, she believes in it and she loves Zootropolis and the animals of Zootropolis and sincerely wants to protect it.
Nick Wilde, Judy’s partner in justice is incredibly loveable. He is witty and has quite a charm to him. it was nice to see his character type take a bit of a back seat in this tale, because often it is the Nick Wilde’s who are the main characters. But the two share the right amount of screen time, that presents them as equals while still letting the audience know that it is in fact Judy who is our main protagonist.
Also does it make sense to ship a Bunny and a Fox? Zootropolis is not a romance and has not even a single hint of it, but there was just something really touching and sweet about the relationship between Judy and Nick. Outside of the fact, that they were both used as characters to help the other out of their prejudgment and bad experiences with predators and prey. Man, they make such a great team! I am normally against Disney making sequels, I just don’t believe in Disney making sequels but this is the first Disney feature-length animation in 10-15 years, that if they ever were to make a sequel for, I will gladly watch. I am interested in Nick and Judy, I am invested in them enough to want to know more of their crime busting tales. A sequel for Zootropolis can actually work, there is enough material for it to make it work.
Every time, I comment on the animation for a Disney or Pixar film I find myself having less to say because I am always saying the same thing. So from now on I want to make more use with the animation section of my reviews and look at 3 key features that were done especially well. Some films have fantastic facial animation, with others there are some great physics that will come into play while some are more playful in their body language and movements. As Zootropolis is a film set in an anthropomorphic society, you see some really interesting movements, a greater emphasis on acting with emotion and their relationship to their environment. There are two or three scenes which I believe to have been done really well; The first scene is when our newbie police officer Judy Hopps is arriving to Zootropolis and we get glimpses into the different environments and habitats of the city. The second is the scene above, for some reason the ambience, the body language between Judy and Nick is really something else and the third scene is when Judy and Nick manage to find the driver who was a key witness to their missing persons case.
What I adore about Judy’s character animation is that there is always a little hop to her step and a bit of bounce to her movement. When she is alert, excited, startled or frightened her ears raise up and when she is calm, relaxed even sad her ears will flop down Nick is quite shifty in the way he moves, which is right for the “sly fox”. When the two first meet, they tend to feel quite tense around one another, the distance that they keep, whether they are facing one another when speaking, their movements and facial expressions are so thought out and natural
The next topic I would like to look at would be the physics in the animation, things that are supposed to jiggle, jiggle, an elephant walking has this weight and heaviness to their walk that indicates the largest of the character. Mice scurry in their walk, and tigers and lions wag their tails or have it sway. Everything is always moving. When it rains, it pours and when it is sunny, you get some really lovely lighting effects that make sense and let you know clearly what time of day it is. In the scene I posted above, the shuttle things like the mist in the limo is wonderfully done, as in something so subtle really sets the mood of the scene and adds to the tension.
I don’t know what it was this time about the design that was a lot more captivating. All the animals are anthropomorphic and they never cross a line of feeling too human or too animal. Everything is just right and I quite like that. They aren’t animals who act like humans taking up a human world, where they will turn back to being just animals once the humans aren’t around. but it takes their concept of what if humans didn’t exist and animals evolved so faithfully.
In regards to the palette of the film, colours are bright and very vibrant. It is a nice film to look at. And there is something about the use of texture in the film that really makes it stand out. Just looking at the animals, you just want to grab and touch them and they are true to what animals should look like. The character designs still feel human enough that we can relate to. There are plenty of films that have animals as the leads that just never make a connection with the audience. It was nice seeing them take certain features and really pushing them in the character design to really emphasise their species and their personality.
But I really have to tip my hat off to whoever was in charge of the colours in the film. They really draw you in and represent the diversity and the message of Zootropolis.
The score for the film can feel very jungle themed at first and there are a lot of drums! We also get a nice little song from Shakira called, “Try Everything”.When I first heard the song, prior to watching the film, I really was not so much a huge fan, it has grown on me enough that I can say it is an alright song that suits the theme of the film. There are also blends of action music that suit the film noir genre particularly if you have a listen to “Hopps Goes (After) The Weasel”, an instrumental during Judy’s chase scene of a thief. As the film progresses, so does the music evolve and shift to more music that fit in with the emotion or setting of a scene. I also wish they had done a bit more with the music and experimented and fused together different genres, as they did with Shakira’s “Try Everything”.
I really enjoyed Zootropolis and I had so much respect for Disney after viewing. Racism matters to me and it looks very different to what it looked like 100, 200 and definitely 300 years ago, and they took something so complicated and very touchy, and packaged it in a way that even the most simple of people can understand and sympathise with.
A simple film noir themed animation did what a lot of films and articles fail to do and it was done with such skill and handled with a lot of love and care. Judy, Nick and the animals of Zootropolis weren’t just another set of mouthpieces blaring out the social catchphrases and chants of today, but I genuinely cared for them, their stories and relationships with one another.
Shipping Judy and Nick aside, I mean their on-screen relationship really was a goldmine. While Zootropolis doesn’t make it on my top 5 list of best Disney films ever, it is a credible film I would highly recommend to anyone reading this. There’s so much humour and cultural relevance that speak volumes of just how much we have progressed as a society and just how much we haven’t. Whether it was Disney’s intention or not, I am still very grateful that this film was also a conversation and an acknowledgement of our reality.
Known in Japanese as 雲のむこう、約束の場所 (Kumo no Muko, Yakusoku no Basho) transliterated in english “beyond the clouds, the promised place". The Place Promised in Our Early Days is Shinkai’s first feature length. Watching it what were my thoughts? Story and Characters The dramatic sci-fi with a blend of romance takes place in an
Known in Japanese as 雲のむこう、約束の場所 (Kumo no Muko, Yakusoku no Basho) transliterated in english “beyond the clouds, the promised place”. The Place Promised in Our Early Days is Shinkai’s first feature length. Watching it what were my thoughts?
Story and Characters
The dramatic sci-fi with a blend of romance takes place in an alternate timeline and revolves around the lives of 3 friends Hiroki, Takuya and Sayuri and a promise they make to one another to one day fly their self built plane called the bella ciela to the Hokkaido Tower, a prominent monument built by the soviet union that separates the Soviet Union owned North of Japan from the US occupied South of Japan.
Three years pass and along with it the disappearance of Sayuri. Hiromi and Takuya go their separate ways and discontinue building their plane the Bella Ciela. Takuya lands a job as a physicist at a scientific facility supported by the United States, and on a daily basis he is exposed to researching about parallel universes and the Hokkaido’s towers involvement to them. Hiroki attends high school like normal but overwhelmingly depressed ever since the disappearance of Sayuri. But it isn’t long that the two friends discover a secret about their friend Sayuri that connects her to the Hokkaido Tower.
When I look back over the ending of The Place Promised in our Early Days, I can’t help but feel like it had so much untapped potential. I felt like the film wasn’t too sure on what it wanted to be. While a sci-fi military romance isn’t something that has never been done before, The Place Promised in our Early Days in my eyes didn’t do it well. When I think of The Last of Us -a hit third person shooter set in a zombie apocalypse, it is a game that didn’t do anything new but did what has already been done really good, and I mean ridiculously good. Unfortunately, lens flares, and shallow depths of field just didn’t cut it for The Place Promised in Our Early Days, and it couldn’t get away from its many many holes.
40 minutes in I clocked out of the story completely, and the story seemed to almost remove itself from our 3 protagonists for a good 10-15 minutes, with a lot of filler that stretches out the UN’s intentions for the giant pillar that separates the north and south of Japan. As soon as the story went back to our 3 protagonists so did my attention, and believe it out not i still understood the story without having to pay attention to the filler.
Far too many stills and text saying giving details on location and time skips. Why is a 4 months later even necessary? Just skip
All the character interactions felt dry and limp, with no real conflict or personality that shines. I just couldn’t really care for Hiroki, he was the dullest stick out of the bunch and I found Takuya and Sayuri much more interesting characters than him and the story probably would have had some justice if he was scrapped completely. The only time the characters feel fun to watch would be as kids.
I was really frustrated with watching this because characters in a film are the key ingredient to a film/story. Everything is there to highlight their personalities and lives and when you pay more attention to the setting than your characters, you have a rushed scene no matter how pretty it is and it is a massive let down especially when you have a minute of silence for no reason and for some reason it doesn’t feel as beautifully executed as Miyazaki where the scene with Chihiro on the train felt like it came at the right time and even served the plot of the story, but for the place promised in our early days, the scene felt frustrating and felt like a scene added just to fill time rather than a provoking or intentional moment.
It is common knowledge amongst fans that the ending to the place promised in our early days is very ambiguous especially when you have a prologue that seems to serve no connection to the film outside of being an opportunity for the main character to mourn his youth and middle school crush as though this was a sequel to voices of a distant star. While it plays an interesting set up it completely falls away, at first I forgot all about it and it wasn’t until I read another review they brought the fact that there was even a prologue.
I understood the ending and I don’t think it was hard to understand either, especially when you ignore the good-for-nothing prologue. Sayuri loses her memories and her feelings for Hiroki but it was an opportunity for them to start over now that they are adults. I can understand that if you were one of the few who remembered the prologue it would be baffling to try and tie the two together, maybe it was an alternate reality, maybe Sayuri goes her own separate way, there were just too much maybe’s that loosen the plot.
I wish this next section would be in praise of the animation, but unfortunately this won’t be the place for it. Something, that I found absolutely unacceptable was in a scene with Sayuri and Hiroki talking on the train and they were both motionless figures with dots for eyes and the only thing that moved were their mouths. It was a really frustrating scene where they spoke for 10 minutes and only their surroundings were highly detailed but stuck in an animated loop.
The animation and character designs were significantly better in this compared to his previous short Voices of a Distant Star and I have to say the cinematography really wasn’t something to be ignored, the choice of shots and close ups were really lovely to look at and really if you are none the wiser to film studies and animation you’d probably pass it off as amazing, but really trust me when I tell you, Shinkai offered us a lot of eye candy, there was no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.
The ending song was composed by Tenma and if I am honest it did go unnoticed for most of the time, scenes that could have used a bit of background music were left bare and made the scenes boring, and this film really was a testament that music makes a wealth of difference to how a scene may be received. However in the end nothing was really memorable for me musically especially when the violin holds a bit of significance to the story or did it?
Our early days did well to look at topics such as loneliness and depression, and the challenges faced advancing into adulthood. However at times the flow of the film felt scattered and wasn’t much of a interesting viewing. While the attention to detail on the settings, objects and cinematography was better than anything hand drawn Disney can produce, it was let down by flat characters and a half baked plot that saw its characters as touts for the authors thoughts rather than just as characters with well formed lives and personalities.
The Place Promised in Our Early Days for me has to be my least favourite and with it being Shinkai’s first feature length, the thematic structure that he heavily relies on just didn’t translate all too well in this animated feature.
My disappointments with this film isn’t so much that I am disappointed with the storyline but in its characters, even a dull story can be brightened by a lively and dynamic cast of characters. I had remembered at some point actually watching the film but somehow someway I erased it from my memory completely and I now know why.
This light heart warming drama is something I never thought I would stick with for 6 months. But after 53 episodes, several tears, grunts of annoyance and hearty laughs, here is my review of All About My Mum. When you spend every weekend for 6 months with a drama you expect it
This light heart warming drama is something I never thought I would stick with for 6 months. But after 53 episodes, several tears, grunts of annoyance and hearty laughs, here is my review of All About My Mum.
When you spend every weekend for 6 months with a drama you expect it to go on forever.
[KGVID width=”1080″ height=”720″]http://teoblogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ALL-ABOUT-MY-MUM.mp4[/KGVID]
Story and Cast
All about my mum is a 2015 korean drama about San Ok, her husband Dong Chul and her three children Jin Ae, Hyung Soon, and Hyung Kyu. The drama touches on motherhood, love and the stages of life in comedic and touching ways.
As much as the drama first delves into the antagonism between Jin Ae the daughter and her mother San Ok, it really does well to give attention to all three children, their love interests and many aspects of Korean family life.
The first 20 episodes I came from not really understanding the mother to deeply symphatize with her character and adjusting to her temperamental nature.
It frustrated me that she always took the side of her eldest son despite the numerous times he was in the wrong. I was annoyed at their good for nothing father for putting the family constantly in difficult situations especially financially and the youngest son Hyung Soon, while I sympathised with his struggle of being a graduate unable to find a good job, his love arc with Chae Ri drove me mad.
So my heart was no doubt with Jin Ae, who was no doubt the rock of the family, sacrificing a lot of her own wants and needs to bail her family out.
But as the story progressed I found that I was really warming up to this dysfunctional nuclear household, while they bothered me to no end, I especially found it incredible how much I began to understand Ok, and realised just how epic of an actress Doo Shim Go actually is and just how well written her character San Ok was. I couldn’t help but really admire her.
Jin Ae played by Eugene, is the middle child of Dong Chul and San Ok. A hard-working career driven young woman who can’t wait to be separated from her overbearing mother. Jin Ae’s progress and development throughout the series is really something, as a viewer you immediately sympthasize with her and at once only regard her as probably the only sane one in the family.
Her love story with “Mr.fix-it” Hoon Jae Kang, was really warm and sweet. There is something about seeing them go from strangers to parents.
I really connected well with Jin Ae’s ambitions and values and despite her hard headed nature, she was very similar to her mother. While there were some annoying tidbits to Jin Ae’s choices during her courtship arc, such as allowing her mother-in-law get in the way of her romance with Hoon Jae.
I was glad to see Jin Ae soften up to her own mother and have her eyes opened to how much her mother actually loves her.
Hyun Soon the youngest child played by Tae-Joon Choi is the heart-throb womaniser. Straight out of college and jobless, he isn’t too confident in himself and abilities, but his development as a character really is when he meets Chae Ri Jang and begins his fling with her.
Hyun Soon compared to his elder brothers pretty decent and treats his parents far more better than his siblings, but he really lacks in having confidence in himself and possibly connecting himself to the unfiltered daughter of a major corporation was the best thing for him. What started off as a lie became genuine feelings.
While for 2 25 year olds they were annoyingly immature about their relationship running around for the first half of the series as two 16 year olds- I grew a liking to them as a couple.
The eldest, Hyung Guy played by Min-Seek Oh is an accomplished lawyer who wants to excel in his field. However he has a selfish worldview and takes advantage of his mother’s preference towards him as a means to benefit himself.
He possibly is the meanest towards h9is parents, and a lot of his activity at the start of the series is questionable. Hyung Gyu if you haven’t already guessed is not my favourite character and he is the slowest to change. He doesn’t really have an “awakening” till the last couple of episodes due to a family tragedy that really wakes him up.
Even with his relationship with single mom Hye-Joo Sun. Hyung Gyu learns to communicate his feelings a bit better, you see his selfishness and ingratitude for his mother sprout in new ways.
As frustrating as Hyung Gyu was he was really interesting to watch once you place all your frustrations aside. And while there aren’t any obvious signs of change it happens subtly.
The combination of all 3 siblings makes for entertaining viewing, and there
Back to the story, episodes 40-53 the mood of the drama really takes a dramatic shift, from it’s upbeat and friendly tone to a more serious one. I have never cried so much for a drama in awhile, it could be that I am more sensitive now as an adult or that I have too much of an empathetic nature but there is something about sticking with a series for 50 episodes that makes you feel like part of the family and their struggles.
I have to admit there were even times watching this drama that made me say that it’s worth being a mother even with its aches and pains, the sound of laughter and the joy that is shared is worth it.
I don’t think there is a song to be hated at all in this drama. With two of my favourite songs being “I will” by Kim Hyun Joong and Beige, a powerful duet with sweet notes that I like to dub as Jin Ae and Jae Kang’s song. There’s also “I Like You” by SunnyHill, this upbeat pop song that is always fun to listen to.
All About My Mum is a fun series, that is fun for all ages. While it is pretty long it makes for a great Sunday watch, especially is you pace through two episodes per week. The characters are fun and the story isn’t one dimensional, by even giving our side characters story arcs and dimensions to their characters that leaves you feeling very involved. I thoroughly enjoyed the series and I give it my highest recommendations. While this doesn’t hit 5 out of 5, a very generous rating, it gets the next best thing.
This week’s review is on Shinkai’s second short film, 星の声 Hoshi No Koe known in english as Voices of a Distant Star. This 25 minute short was actually one of the first films I had watched by Shinkai before I knew about Shinkai. Released in 2002, I don't think it is an exaggeration that
This week’s review is on Shinkai’s second short film, 星の声 Hoshi No Koe known in english as Voices of a Distant Star.
This 25 minute short was actually one of the first films I had watched by Shinkai before I knew about Shinkai. Released in 2002, I don’t think it is an exaggeration that it is one of the most recognised films of Shinkai by anime fans in the west.
Voices of a Distant Star is a short story about two middle school friends who are separated by time and space. Mikako the female protagonist of this tale is selected by the United Nations army to fight intergalactic threats to Earth and to go on an expedition across their solar system. Noboru, our male protagonist is left back on earth to live a normal life but has difficulty in moving on.
Voices of a Distant Star had quite solid themes such as loneliness, distance, longing and time. It all played out well especially in Noboru becoming an adult longing for his childhood with his middle school crush. When things were much more simple. Becoming an adult myself I could easily connect to the growing delay of messages he was receiving from Mikako. One minute you are constantly around someone, the next you are simply messaging them everyday, everyday turns into every other day and before you know it 5 years down the line you are messaging them “Long time no speak”. So much has changed about them and in their lives while for you it feels like you haven’t and nothing has changed.
The idea of being able to communicate by the heart through a common item was a great tool in this story and using the mobile phone as a method for communication has greater importance in 2016 than over a decade ago, because at least 90% of our communication is done through our mobile phones, even though we have advanced in other ways such as video messaging, social media etc. Noboru hangs delay onto his old cellphone in order to receive messages from Mikako and Mikako hangs onto hers because it is the only things that connects her to earth.
While the story has its sweet moments there are plenty and I mean plenty of nonsensical parts to it. Such as why would Noboru be stubborn and choose to not love someone else because of a crush he had on a 15 year old girl whose relationship he had with her lasted as long as his time in middle school? This is probably the most infuriating part of the storyline as it is human nature to change your mind and/or display impatience. Also, I am glad that the film could poke a bit of fun at itself at the ridiculousness of a 15 year old girl being chosen by the UN to go on a planetary expedition all of a sudden because she got good grades and was good at sports. Noboru’s comment, “ It seems, somehow, kind of like a stupid story.” hit the nail on the head and it was nice enough for Shinkai to acknowledge this through one of his characters.
I can’t get rid of the feeling that maybe the story would have been more believable if it had taken place just as they were finishing high school or college. Then you would have had this history between the Noboru and Mikako that would have lasted years and in turn would have been more meaningful. But at the age of 15, you’ve barely started your life. But lets ignore the story long enough to appreciate the design.
I wasn’t too crazy about the character designs, at times it looked awkward and unrefined, something that didn’t happen with She and Her Cat. Because of this you can very easily notice that this film has AGED. However, the strengths lied within the set design and the wondrous settings the movie took place in. While the locations on earth were limited and that 30%-40% of the film took place within the vacuum of space; When the film did venture to new terrain, it really was a sight for the eyes.
This time Shinkai didn’t perform a one man juggle but he did work on it as director, writer and co-producer. Shinkai’s landscapes are wonderfully fantasy like and it only becomes more stunning as you go through his body of work. Trust me it only gets more amazing from this point onwards.
The animation was a mixture of 2D and 3D. With the mecha and planets being made via 3D software called lightwave and everything else using after effects and photoshop on a power Mac G4- A POWER MAC G4. Unfortunately this is one throwback I would have been too young to remember. The character animation can feel stunted and awkward at times so it does make the 3D feel even more out of place despite how cool it is, but it is forgivable as an earlier work.
I complained about it in the review for She and Her Cat and I will complain about it again… can the text messages disappear anymore faster?! These huge long winding pieces of text hardly get a couple of seconds of screen time and so much of the story is in their messages . There is nothing spectacular about the character animation that I can talk in depth about and there’s nothing too bad about it that distracted me from the story being told, so it makes a pass.
The score is touching and was composed by Tenma, who is a well known collaborator of Shinkai’s and composes gorgeous pieces of music for other works and anime I am familiar with. The aforementioned composer has composed music that really bring out the feelings of longing and it really suits Shinkai’s stories really well.
To conclude I actually much prefer She and Her Cat as a gateway to Shinkai, just because it really is impressive that he worked on that all on his own and proved that independent animation can make those all important breakthroughs. But saying that I still need to give credit where credit is due, as Voices of a Distant Star is the perfect set up to familiarise yourself with the themes and style of Shinkai that has trademarked him as the next Miyazaki. It will be here that his work only becomes more and more captivating as he plays around more with fantasy and space in his beautifully rendered films that not only captivate the eyes but also the heart and truly inspire just not a generation of animators but filmmakers as well.
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
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.