Director Makoto Shinkai Opens Up About How Your Name's Success Affects Him

Makoto Shinkai has been catapulted into the limelight again as his newest film, Weathering With You, has opened in Japanese theaters. There have been a lot more eyes on his works than ever before thanks to the impressive critical and commercial success of his previous film, Your Name. But it's a level of success the director has never quite experienced before. His works have been a huge hit with anime fans in the past, but this opened up eyes of tons of other demographics.

So how does Shinkai feel about Your Name's success and moving forward as a creator after it? Speaking with the Japan Times, Shinkai opened up about how that success has had an effect on his life and how it's become a bit of a struggle.

Shinkai revealed how the recognition of Your Name's success has increased two types of interactions with the public, “It’s made life feel a bit constricted...I feel like I’m constantly being watched. People greet me on the street and, while some say how much they like Your Name., others tell me how much they hate it.”

The increased scrutiny and following backlash from the film was overwhelming to him at the time, “I’d be out at a bar or something and someone next to me would be criticizing the film...Or I’d be at home eating with my family, we’d turn on the TV and some famous person would be insulting it. I started to feel like I was really hated.”

This success and subsequent criticism from both peers and fans fueled his work on Weathering With You as Shinkai decided to make a film that would draw more ire from those critics of his works, “I asked myself, ‘Should I make a film my critics will like, or should I make one they’ll hate even more?'...I felt like I needed to make a movie that would make my critics feel even more strongly about me," Shinkai stated.

Elaborating further, “The hate surrounding Your Name. actually helped me realize what I wanted to do as a creator.” But Shinkai stressed how Weathering With You is a much different film than before, “Since it’s the same person making it, naturally some elements will feel the same...But I did want to make a completely different story. I had to create some distance between myself and what I had already achieved with Your Name."

With the public's reaction to Your Name being so intense, it sounds like Shinkai is approaching each of his newer works with a wider lens, “How will Japan react to the film? Will it be accepted, rejected or ignored? The reaction will help me see the form of our society, to figure out how people are really thinking right now.”

Now released into theaters in Japan, Makoto Shinkai directs and writes Tenki no Ko: Weathering With You for CoMix Wave Films. For fans in the United States looking forward to the film too, GKIDS has confirmed that they have licensed the film for an English language release with the current release window of 2020. They describe Weathering With You as such:

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"The summer of his high school freshman year, Hokoda runs away from his remote island home to Tokyo, and quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits. The weather is unusually gloomy and rainy every day, as if to suggest his future. He lives his days in isolation, but finally finds work as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine. Then one day, Hokoda meets Hina on a busy street corner. This bright and strong­willed girl possesses a strange and wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky..."

via The Japan Times