Director Makoto Shinkai, Japan’s ‘new Miyazaki,’ asks moviegoers to not see his animated blockbuster ‘Your Name’

Source:AFP Published: 2016/12/27 17:48:39

Makoto Shinkai has a problem, a big problem. His mystical teenage body-swap movie Your Name has become such a massive hit it's beginning to worry him.

"It's not healthy," the boyish director told AFP. "I don't think any more people should see it."

Every week it gets closer to being the biggest Japanese animated film of all time.

And now there's talk of Oscars. "I really hope it doesn't win," he added.

It would be funny if Shinkai wasn't so in earnest about getting off the promotional circuit and back to work.

But the little animated film has become a runaway cultural juggernaut in Asia, and now it's winning awards in the US and Europe.

One in seven Japanese have already paid to see its brilliantly plotted supernatural love story about a boy and a girl who exchange bodies as a comet is about to hit the Earth.

Inevitably it has led to 43-year-old Shinkai being called the "new Miyazaki" - the natural successor to the now retired master animator Hayao Miyazaki, whose 2001 Spirited Away is still the most successful Japanese film ever.

But the comparison makes the diminutive Shinkai even more uncomfortable.

"Of course I'm happy when people mention his name and mine in the same breath. It's like a dream. But I know they are overpraising Your Name because I am absolutely not at Miyazaki's level.

"Honestly, I really don't want Miyazaki to see it because he will see all its flaws," he noted.

But Shinkai knew he had a hit on his hands when he showed it in Los Angeles before its Tokyo premiere. "The audience laughed then they sobbed... I had drawn a graph when I was making it about how the audience might react, and it was just like that.

"Obviously I was happy to see it worked but at the same time I was afraid that it had worked too well. I said to myself, 'Damn, maybe I overdid it.'"


Posted in: FILM

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