Beyond the Clouds

“Beyond the Clouds” is Shinkai Makoto’s new work, after Voices of a Distant Star. In contrast to “Voices” (which was about 25 min), “Clouds” is a full featured movie running for about 90 minutes. And as expected when one works with such a small staff, the project took a lot longer than originally estimated, but then it was only supposed to run for about 50mins.
In any case, the artwork is still highly recognisable (e.g. the “blush lines” across the characters’ cheeks) with its lush colours and an excellent use of contrast / bloom. The backgrounds are jawdropping and the CG is integrated much better than before (i.e. you hardly notice it). Similarly, the story also deals with the same (romanticised and melodramatic) themes as its predecessor — seperation and love, but it also adds a third person to the mix.
I quite like the idea of the story; it has some interesting “hard” science fiction ideas in it as well as reflecting more or less current political events — all set in a parallel universe that diverges from our own somewhere in the 1970s.
All in all, it has obvious similarities to “Hoshi no Koe”, but that cannot be a bad thing. It is very easy to forget that this project was undertaken by comparatively few people led by Makoto, which makes it all the more impressive. Very much looking forward to the R1 DVD.
As an aside, how does one play the violin with the bowstring upside down? 😉

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