The anticipation for a new Makoto Shinkai film is palpable because of his meteoric rise from doing low-budget passion projects to making some of the most successful animated pictures in years. In case anyone wasn’t already interested, the newest film, Suzume no Tojimari, is one worth keeping a careful eye on because of its lofty goals and genuine sources of inspiration.
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Suzume’s Door-locking Speculation
Though the plot summary may be vague, the basic notion is not difficult to grasp. The emphasis on locks and keys is a simple allegory for preventing the escape of anything hazardous, and it also represents the dissolution of barriers between different locations.
Only the reason for the “door-locking” adventure and the danger the world faces if Suzume fails remain mysterious. This is an unusually restrained marketing campaign for a Shinkai picture, at least in terms of the dialogue used in trailers, but the film’s intriguing mystery is sure to pique audiences’ interest.
Up until this point, the trailers have mainly served as a visual feast of beautiful scenery, special effects, and character animation, with very little spoken word. The fanciful features include not only liminal scenery depicting the doors of the title but also a supposedly intelligent stool.
— MyAnimeList (@myanimelist) July 14, 2022
A broader supporting cast and the kinds of ancillary activities that tend to pad the midsection, establishing character and an attachment to the ensemble, are hinted at, as they have been in previous Shinkai works. The limited information provided by the music video-style trailers may actually work in favour of the picture.
Suzume’s Door-locking The Potential Themes
It’s worth noting that Shinkai has said the events of 2020 were a major inspiration for the script even before the film was formally announced. He told TV Asashi, “the mood of the era is indelibly carved into the script,” referring to the Japanese State of Emergency declared in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
It’s possible that by the time the newest trailers were the talk of the town, many people had forgotten Shinkai’s statements on the subject. There don’t appear to be many obvious comparisons to other works upon first seeing the picture. The film certainly seeks to capture the “feeling” of that dreadful year, as Shinkai put it.
Although this is a challenging tale obstacle to overcome, Shinkai is the person most capable of captivating an audience with something so multifaceted and really human. Many people’s feelings about the world are reflected in his statement that “What happens after the end (post-apocalypse)?” is the theme.
The film’s ability to capture that mood remains to be seen, but early indications are that it will be visually stunning, on par with Your Name and Weathering With You. Fans will be on the lookout for hidden elements or cameos from other protagonists in what is becoming Shinkai’s own melancholy cinematic world, especially since both of his previous films incorporated references to his other works.
When Shinkai releases another touching piece, CoMix Wave once again stands out as a charming outlier in the business. Even though his films have become something of a benchmark for melodramatic drama in anime, Shinkai has consistently strived to innovate with his films.
One such innovation this time around is the use of Nanoka Hara, a relatively new actress, in the role of Suzume. As a lover of Shinkai’s work, she is thrilled at the opportunity to make her anime debut in the lead role of such a massive production.
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