With Spring looming and the first signs of love starting to make themselves felt in the air, Crunchyroll will once again celebrate the incredible joy and sorrow that love brings in all its forms by holding the fourth annual Global Shinkai Day weekend of celebration, whereby three of the films created and directed by Makoto Shinkai will be streamed for free all weekend to Crunchyroll members worldwide beginning on March 9th and lasting all the way until the 11th, unless you're in Japan.
Now, I love Makoto Shinkai's work, being a lovelorn, hopeless fool that falls hard for pretty girls, be they 2D or 3D, but beyond the themes of love and loss common to Shinkai's works are the incredible examples of attention to detail in the animation that are as striking as the stories themselves. Not only are 5 Centimeters Per Second, Place Promised in our Early Days and Voices of a Distant Star true masterpieces in terms of storytelling, their animation quality is something to behold, both in scope and in sheer beauty.
No matter how many times I watch them, they always make an indelible impact on me, which few films can manage. I've listed the synopses below for each film for those of you that haven't seen them yet and I can only hope that Crunchyroll manages to grab the next film in Shinkai's body of work for the next Global Shinkai Day.
5 Centimeters Per Second begins with the lyrical image of cherry blossoms falling at five centimeters a second, painting a breathtaking vivid tableau of young love, desire, loss, and hope. Told in three heartbreaking chapters, we follow the young dreamer Takaki through his life as cruel winters, cold technology, silence, and, finally, adult obligations and responsibility converge to crush the delicate petals of true love.
Voices of a Distant Star follows Mikako who joins the interstellar battle as a pilot leaving behind her love Noboru, only maintaining her connection to him through text messages sent from her mobile phone. And while she barely grows older in the timelessness of space Noboru ages creating this scenario with two lovers, worlds apart, desperately strive to remain connected as the gap between them widens at a frightening pace.
Place Promised in our Early Days traces two friends and two passions: the plane they built together, christened Bela Cielo, and a girl: Sayuri. Oblivious to environment around them, the three create an indelible bond and nothing can ever come between them. However as time passes, war escalates, friends become enemies, and alliances change, Sayuri becomes the key to a new world peace...or a frightening and bitter end to life as we know it.