Sketches hand-drawn by director Makoto Shinkai show initial vision for anime film’s opening sequence.
The artistic style of Makoto Shinkai, director of hit anime Your Name, is inarguably polished, and by multiple definitions of the word. Not only is his use of color characterized by a moist sheen, everything in his films is drawn in precise and exquisite detail, with strong, unwavering lines.
But like all animators, Shinkai starts with rough sketches as he works through the process of deciding layouts and camera perspectives. In celebration of the long-awaited release of Your Name on home video, the director has made public the animated storyboards for the film’s opening sequence.
There’s something almost surreal about seeing Your Name’s Taki and Mitsuha, as well as their world, rendered in abstract pencil strokes. Especially in the cuts that are recreated exactly in the final film. And yet, even without his trademark glistening colors, the aesthetic is still unmistakably Shinkai, with special attention given to the scenes’ lighting even with the muted color palette.
While he’s now the hottest director in the business, Shinkai wasn’t always a darling of the anime industry. His big break came when he made a name for himself creating animated shorts entirely by himself, and he still retains much of that start-to-finish creative process. In addition to directing Your Name, Shinkai also wrote its script and drew its storyboards, including the illustrations seen in the video, which explains why so much of it is retained in the theatrical release.
The video will only be available online for a limited, and unannounced, period of time. However, the complete animated storyboards for Your Name are included as bonus features in the Blu-ray Collector’s and Special Editions, so if you’re looking for justification for shelling out the extra cash versus the standard version, there it is.