A pop-up installation featuring materials from the complete works of Japanese animation filmmaker Makoto Shinkai drew fans to Los Angeles on Sunday.
The event "Makoto Shinkai: A Journey from Voices of a Distant Star through Suzume" was the first exhibition featuring his films in the United States, according to Japanese anime company CoMix Wave Films Inc., one of the organizers.
Over 300 pieces of artwork and materials from eight of Shinkai's films, spanning film proposal documents to storyboarding, were on display. Included was a panel with an illustration from the film Suzume, which visitors were permitted to photograph.
"Los Angeles is the center of the film industry, so for a Japanese independent animation artist like me to have a special exhibition there is like a dream in itself," Shinkai told Kyodo News.
Many of Shinkai's film stills were on display, which for one visitor was one of the many aspects that drew her to his work. "It's his use of imagery, especially the animation style and the way the environment is reflected into the story is what drew me to it," said Keisha Tara, 27.
Shinkai also said, "The younger generation (in Japan) is still having fun doing what they can to engage with their everyday life" even though the country is shrinking in terms of population and economy.
"So, I want to depict young people who live their lives in a positive and resolute manner even in such a shrinking country."
Since making his commercial debut in 2002 with "Voices of a Distant Star," Shinkai's films have all been well received.
Both "your name." and "Weathering With You" made Shinkai an international sensation, with the former claiming several awards at the 2017 Japan Academy Film Prize and the latter representing Japan in the Best International Feature Film category at the 2020 U.S. Academy Awards.
"Anime doesn't sometimes get the credit it deserves as an art form globally, especially when it comes to winning awards, perhaps. So we wanted to make sure that we showcase his work here and also elevate the art of anime," said Brian Eley, vice president of communications for Crunchyroll LLC, another organizer of Sunday's exhibition.