Hayao Miyazaki is the foremost name that comes to people's minds whenever the question is about the best director of the Japanese anime industry. With his marvellous storytelling and breathtaking animation in his films, he has acquired a dynamic reputation in world cinema. He's easily classified as one of the most accomplished and competent movie directors in world animation history.
Hayao Miyazaki, who is also a co-founder of Studio Ghibli, a film animation studio, has attained international recognition as a masterly writer and director.
Even though Miyazaki stands undisputed in the anime film industry, there have always been other remarkable filmmakers who have tried to claim the top spot as the best directors by presenting their never-seen-before work to the audience. And one of most prominent of those in recent past is now-renowned director Makoto Shinkai.
Makoto Shinkai is a multi-skilled protean when it comes to anime films. He's a well-known director, writer, producer, voice actor, animator, videographer and former graphic designer. Shinkai accessed familiarity to most of his audience by his recent release Your Name. Which, along with being a critically acclaimed film, became the highest-grossing animated movie of all time. The movie gained him various accolades from the film fraternity and massive love from the audience and not just from Japan...but from all around the globe.
But, despite how well Makoto has serviced the anime industry so far with his filmmaking, is it too early to be drawing parallels between modern-day Makoto and all-time legend Miyazaki? Let's find out
While Miyazaki has worked majorly on the themes of surrealism, feminism and environmentalism over the span of his illustrious career, Shinkai has had his career notably identified by his stress upon the matters of lost love and naturalism. However, this may give the impression of both being polar opposites of each other in their respective styles of movie-making, it also suggests how two directors specialising in two different ideologies can leave a strong mark with their own contents. Miyazaki has numerous acclaimed films under his belt where Shinkai has only a handful of them but the way Shinkai has progressed since his first released video She and Her Cat till his latest release Your Name is nothing but extraordinary.
Miyazaki focuses upon matters of feminism with often strong women and girls as the protagonists in his movies fighting the adversities of life and supernatural elements with a pinch of speculative fiction. He has marked himself separate from others mainly for his practice of not putting heroes against insensitive antagonists of his narratives. On the other hand, Makoto always presents his work with a ‘slice of life’ material and hard-hitting narration often about the tragic romanticism among young couples and spectacular scenery with meticulously detailed animation of the backgrounds.
What sets apart the two geniuses of animation art is the distinction of Hayao Miyazaki's attachment to feminine characters in the fictitious realms and Makoto Shinkai's truthfulness to the real world by avoiding speculative fiction.
Conclusively, Miyazaki's retirement from work is inevitable and could be expected soon for his old yet gratified age, Shinkai is just 44 years old and has a lot of years ahead for working on many more pieces of art. Overall, what will be worth a watch is if Shinkai is going to keep working on the similar relatable, elemental adulthood drama with its modernised narration or will he step out of his box and take risks to diversify his skills and do justice with his fans by providing them new cinema.
Either way, Shinkai has undoubtedly set his bars very high to become the next modern-day cinematic genius like Hayao Miyazaki in the animation industry.
Notable works from —
Hayao Miyazaki - Spirited Away which is considered as the best-animated film globally, My Neighbor Totoro, another masterpiece from him.
Makoto Shankai - 5 Centimetres per second, a beautiful collective of 3 short films reflecting the love in different stages and, of course, Your Name - the biggest animated global hit.