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The Shinkai Collection

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The Shinkai Collection

Got round to watching Makoto Shinkai's "The Place Promised in Our Early Days" after picking up ADV's "The Shinkai Collection" DVD set.

Before I watched 5 Centimetres per Second, I had decided to avoid his works after being disappointed with Voices of a Distant Star. Then after watching the movie out of curiosity and being impressed by it, I decided to try his other movies again.

The Shinkai Collection

Voices of a Distant Star

Today, I watched Voices for a second time and I'm still not too impressed by the story. As a piece of work produced by one man it's good but, I don't really like the way it was set out. The story seems too quickly paced. It's so fast that there's no time to digest what's happened and what the characters have said. There's so much detail he's tried to cram in that it's hard to get a grasp of.

Action scenes are good but, the mecha designs remind me too much of Evangelion with the cockpit design and the fact it was being piloted by a high school student. I just didn't feel the tension because I don't really have a clear idea of what they're fighting for.

Well, at least the romance element got through with SMS messages taking so long to reach our protagonists and testing their love for each other through the passage of time.

Tenmon's compositions remain a joy to listen to too.

The Place Promised in Our Early Days

This movie feels a lot more polished and understandably so because Shinkai established a team of artists to help him. The story is paced a lot better and there is time to digest what is happening.

Having read through the notes in Shinkai's recent artbook, I did notice a lot of the reused items he mentioned such as the LED displays at the stations in the opening scenes. There's actually quite a few other scenes that remind me of 5cm too such as the train platforms, the kettle inside the warmly lit station and I also notice that he likes to take a shot of the calendar a lot too...

Again, some of the scenes felt a bit Evangelion namely when Takuya was working in the laboratory monitoring the tower's energy. Even the music composition reminds me of Gainax's show.

Still, I'm kind of tempted to pick up the sound track!

The DVDs

One of the reviewers noted on Amazon that there's a slight sound delay in Voices of a Distant Star and I noticed it too. I'm also surprised the DVD only contains hard subtitles although it does contain the various versions of "She and Her Cat" and the Voices movie itself.

Watching the interviews and reading the booklet, I see his principals of creating a movie hasn't changed. They seem to be produced with the following in mind:

  • His story conveys a certain message to the audience.
  • The scenery of the world should help soothe one's mind.
  • Small existence of oneself in the world.
  • End of movie is open ended, audience can think of how it goes on.

The Booklet

A very thick 43 page booklet split into two halves detailing the movies and how they were made.


You can see from the 10 page glossary here just how much detail Shinkai had tried to cram into Voices. There's no glossary for Promised Place so it looks like I was right about the detail and pacing.

And looks like he had already told his viewer's the title of Voices came from one of Arthur C. Clarke's novels. That makes it three times I've heard him say it - here, in his blog entry and during the live interview in London.


Those of you who have been asking me to translate those making of pages from his artbook can just go with this instead. He writes pretty much exactly the same thing.

Interesting he had a 4GHz Power Mac G4 at the time of this movie. Machines in the GHz range were expensive during this period of time but, I guess he had sponsors now.

Or is it a typo and they just added an extra zero by mistake...? According to Wikipedia, those models only went up to 2GHz.

Making of

These images are almost as small as the ones in the artbook...

Theme song translation.

Here's the other half of the booklet concerning his second commercial movie Promised Place, talking about the difficulties he faced. I see the way he wanted to leave an open ending to the movie was carried on over to 5cm.

Funny how the aroma of the chocolate factory's made an impression on him!

Introduction to Place Promised in Our Early Days

It's odd they simply mention he worked for a "games company" and not "Falcom". I guess that would mean giving the company exposure.


The contents of the booklet hasn't changed much.


There's those abandoned cats he mentioned during the interview in London!



I think after watching all three movies, it's reasonable to say Shinkai is improving with every title. It will be interesting to see if this continues in his next movie and I think it just might after spending a year here in the UK. Perhaps he will talk about distance between home and being in a foreign country this time?

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Ahh, the set that introduced me to Shinkai; I owe these DVDs so much, haha.

I definately agree with you that he is improving with each feature length piece (though I think his two early shorts; Other Worlds, and She And Her Cat are absolutely brilliant).

As far as the DVD set is concerned I think the book is a great little extra. It's got some nice little insights in it and some great [tiny] pictures!



ADV’s Shinkai Makoto DVD Collection (pre-review teaser) « ディエゴの日々

[...] LINKS Amazon - product page (with customer reviews) Anime News Network - product page / review (third item from the top) Xcomp Randomness - review of the UK version [...]



Xcomp Author

His magic touch made the DVD lag? LOL.

I don't think that will happen. Judging on everything he's said so far that lead to these movies, I think the whole distance theme will continue for some time... Especially after he's been away from home for a year and still haven't grown accustomed to London yet.

Always knew you were a spam bot! J/K! D:

Hmmm, I could have imported that but... Nevermind.

I think it might just have been some error during manufacture. The lag isn't big enough to ruin the movie so not bothered too much.




Two comments in a row - I hope this doesn't count as spamming. ;)

I played parts of the Voices DVD (US version) and noted no perceptible sound delay.

The differences between the US and UK versions are beginning to look quite substantial. I'll rush out a review of the US version soon so that we'll be in a better position to compare.




I also have the Shinkai Collection from ADV, but I ordered mine from Amazon US and it looks very different: each disc is in a separate full-sized case and the two cases are bundled together in a decorative sleeve. They've also included a bonus CD containing the soundtrack of Voices (packed in the same case as the feature film's DVD).

The set includes separate booklets for Voices and Place Promised, but the contents appear to be identical to your combined booklet (albeit with slightly different formatting). I've managed to locate all of the pages in your pictures and the images, at least, are all present and correct.

I don't recall noticing a sound delay in Voices, but it's worth checking out. I'll drop a comment on this as soon as I can find the time to re-watch the DVD.




I've been thinking about getting the collection for the booklet (and if I import the US version, it also has one of the OSTs iirc...or not. I can't recall), despite having both separately already. Not that I'd ever part with them - he autographed my copy of of Place Promised so that's nigh-on irreplaceable for me.

I know that 5cm is the best of the bunch in terms of technical and storytelling polish, but for some reason I have a soft spot for Place Promised. Ideally of course, it would be great to have all three released together as a 'Distance Trilogy' box set or something, but right now I'm keeping my fingers crossed for 5cm to get a home video release. A Blu-ray edition would be enough to justify me upgrading to HD.




One of the reviewers noted on Amazon that there’s a slight sound delay in Voices of a Distant Star and I noticed it too.

I don't think it's just the box set, Ive got the standalone dvd of voices of a distant star and it has the same problem. Although i didn't notice the lag until after he signed it... may be it's his magic touch!



Xcomp Author

No, it doesn't come with an artbook... I just said the images inside the booklet are almost as small as the ones in the artbook.

The tune really does remind of when the alarm goes off in Evangelion. Even the colour schemes of the status screens and their layout reminded me of the show.




Holy crap, I didn't know it comes with the artbook.

Time to pick it up...

By the way, my personal favorite piece from Tenmon comes from Beyond the Clouds. I don't really see the Evangelion similarities (beyond the superficial, like, when you have a piano quintet for a whole soundtrack, it's going to sound at least a little bit alike), though.