We were all expecting Makoto Shinkai’s your name. to reach the heights of the world’s top grossing anime movie, and it finally got there earlier this month, moving ahead of Spirited Away‘s record $275 million. But we’ve also been anticipating Hayao Miyazaki’s opinion on the film, and how he feels about it challenging his most universally beloved movie. Until now he’s been holding his peace, which is quite unlike him as fans who follow his harsh critiques will realise. But recently, Studio Ghibli co-founder and former producer Toshio Suzuki acted as mouthpiece for Miyazaki’s thoughts.
On Thursday, Suzuki was interviewed by Bungeishunju’s Weekly Bunshun magazine. Certain similarities to Spirited Away were mentioned, including the trope of “a girl losing her way in a different world”. Suzuki said, “I had a prediction that someone would make that sometime”. Miyazaki had agreed with him, saying “Yeah, that’s right. I won’t do it, but [the film] goes just like I thought”.
So it seems the director is trying to be kind to a fellow filmmaker who’s so obviously influenced by his work. At least, that’s all Suzuki was prepared to say in Miyazaki’s stead, noting that “The term ‘another world’ is used successfully time and again, and I had a hunch that Makoto Shinkai is a fan of Hayao Miyazaki”. Besides that, all the producer had was praise for the storytelling and visuals, saying “It’s made so that all the characters in the drama, lines, and music make the background stand out”. Picking up on the skies that have become Shinkai’s artistic signature, Suzuki added “The high fall sky that seems like it could be breathed in was especially impressive”.
As of the January 21st-22nd weekend, your name. made it back to the top of the weekly Japanese box office. According to Box Office Mojo, the film had earned over US$306 million on January 17th. Eager anime fans in North America will finally get the chance to see the spectacle for themselves this year, as FUNimation will be screening the film subbed and dubbed from April 7th.