By Ishika Banerjee
Digital Media Editor
Unlike other forms of art, animation has a unique form of displaying scenery and images. Over time, animation’s quality as well as technology has developed and improved.
Garden of Words is a 2013 romantic drama written and directed by Makoto Shinkai and tells the story of a 15-year-old boy and 27-year-old woman who find an unlikely friendship one rainy day in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Japan. Takao Akizuki is an aspiring shoe maker who decided to skip class and sketch his thoughts in a garden. This is where he meets a beautiful and mysterious woman named Yukari Yukino. As they spend more time together, they begin to discover one another’s dreams and insecurities. But the plot was not what earned this film recognition, but rather the beautifully illustrated animation, almost as if it was shot in real life. The refined use of environment and ambient effects such as sound, music, weather contributed greatly to the film as a whole. It was produced through CGI (computer-generated imagery) to complete its brilliant visuals. IMBD gave the movie a rating of 7.6/10 while the Anime News Network, Luke Carroll praised the film, calling it a “visual treat”.
“This film was spectacular and the animations blew my mind,” said Senior Meghna Banerjee.
Some of the film’s best qualities include the field effects or lens flare. Field effects were often used but never to the point of distracting the audience members from the main plot. Lens flare was frequently used to accentuate the scenery, and Shinkai’s careful planning and attention to detail were evident. Critic Jon Hayward was impressed by the “almost photo realistic” quality of the scenery, particularly in Shinjuku Gyoen.
There are times when animation looks and feels so authentic that it could very well be mistaken for live-action at a glance. “The Garden of Words” may be the best-looking animated 2D film to date. It is something that other animated films should aspire to, and nothing more could be asked from it visually,” said Junior Sandipan Pablo Bose.
Makoto Shinkai currently still works on many projects, one which landed in North American theatres known as “Your Name”. All reviews were positive and mentioned that it was one of the best films they had ever seen. All of Shinkai’s work remain a critically acclaimed form of art that is always able to depict dark themes in a beautiful and authentic matter with the dialogue, characters, setting and art style. Makoto Shinkai’s work will remain a legendary source for entertainment and wonder for years to come.