Young Asuna spends much of her time outdoors accompanied by Mimi, her cat. An encounter with a large, sharp-toothed bear-creature also brings her into contact with a brave young man who appears to have superhuman powers. He introduces himself as Shun, a warrior from Agartha, an underground land where the beasts (or Quetzalcoatl) guard the entrance to prevent ‘topsiders’ like Asuna from entering. There are people who believe that this world has properties that will bring people back from the dead, and this puts Shun and his people in danger from a ruthless group of soldiers intent on gaining access to Agartha at any cost. This thought-provoking and beautifully made animated picture tenderly deals with the part in all of us that wishes we could have had that last opportunity to say goodbye to someone we’ve lost. Although breathtakingly original, the film has elements of the best of both Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. Existing fans of Makoto Shinkai’s work are going to be delighted, and its universal appeal is going to win him a whole new audience in the process. –BFI
Makoto Shinkai (新海 誠 Shinkai Makoto?), born as Makoto Niitsu (新津 誠 Niitsu Makoto?, born February 9, 1973) is a Japanese director of anime and former graphic designer. A native of the Nagano Prefecture. Shinkai studied Japanese literature at Chuo University where he was a member of juvenile literature club where he drew picture books. He traces his passion for creation to the manga, anime, and novels he was exposed to while in middle school. His favorite anime is Castle in the Sky by Hayao Miyazaki. Shinkai has been called “The New Miyazaki” in several reviews including Anime Advocates and ActiveAnime, comparisons which he calls an “overestimation”.
After graduating from Chuo in 1994 he got a job at Falcom, a video game company and where he worked for 5 years by making video clips for games and graphic design including web content. During this time he met musician Tenmon who would later collaborate in all of his movies by providing the music score.
In 1999, Shinkai released… read more
I found it to be one of the most beautiful animations I've seen in recent time. The beginning starts off slow and is quite repetitive as the MC goes through day by day activities, but once the movie reaches Agartha, I completely forget that and experience all of the artwork of the landscapes and creatures as if I were Asuna exploring the world for the first time.