Released in Japan around May 7th, 2011, Otakon had the honor of being the place and event to debut Makoto Shinkai’s latest film in North America. A trailer for Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below (星を追う子ども) can be viewed here. Prior to this film, I have never fully watched any of Shinkai’s other films and in watching this film, I was quite pleased. The movie runs for an hour and 56 minutes making this the longest project that Makoto Shinkai has worked on.
This movie centers on Asuna, a rather ordinary girl who enjoys heading to a nearby rock outcrop and listening to her homemade radio. One day she happens to meet Shun from the mystical Agartha, and from there she begins a journey with her teacher to discover how to say goodbye. There that is the extent of how much I would talk about for the plot of this visually sweeping film.
People would definitely compare this film to watching something similar to a Hayao Miyazaki film in superior backgrounds, mood ambience, and characteristics. However I felt the themes elaborated in this film was quite similar to Final Fantasy X, and with death of loved ones and afterlife.
Now it is always neat to watch a movie, and be in the presence of the director. Meeting Shinkai in person, one of the best reactions I read was what Ink tweets:
After meeting Makoto Shinkai this weekend, I’m gonna go right ahead and call him a poet. His work and manner both reflect it. #crushing
Following the movie, and an hour before his fan q&a panel, there was enough time to take thirteen questions. Each fan who got to asked a question, came away with a movie poster.
Prior to the convention, Mike mentioned a curiosity to see how much fan noticing/adulation or coverage there was going to be, and I am safe to say that there were plenty of fans. Originally I was planning to write up my experiences on the autograph line, but seeing as I wasn’t at that event as a press capacity, and because an image I took there ultimately is for the viewing pleasure of my friend, I decided to forgo that article. An autograph session is ultimately for the pleasures of fans meeting a person they admire, and have a very short time with them. I saw many people I met on that autograph line at this screening. The screening was 10AM on Saturday, so definitely after breakfast, I made it over to HD Video 5, and saw this line.
Inside the venue was pretty big, but if you ever have the experience to view a foreign movie with lots of other fans. Some advice, be sure you take an take an aisle seat toward the middle. This event was not lucky as FMA did in getting an encore screening on Sunday. The film would definitely be making another screening at the New York Anime Festival, so if you get the chance to attend NYAF, please take the time to check this movie out. I definitely would recommend this movie to be viewed, by not just the majority of male fanboys I saw at this event. Shinkai was quite happy with how much fan love there is, yet this movie is his attempt to appeal to a more broader audience.