I first heard the name Mokoto Shinkai the other day when my wife mentioned that his latest film, the animated Your Name (reviewed here by The Japan Times), had scored a huge box office opening since its release last week in Japan (grossing close to $40 million during its first 10 days). Not really knowing anything about him and his films, I did some digging, and decided to watch some of his work last night. I started with the film 5 Centimeters Per Second, which is made up of 3 slightly-interlocking chapters. The story of young love didn’t really grab me, but what did grab me was the stunningly beautiful animated world we’re presented with, both in terms of its hyper-real portrayal (it’s a Japan you recognize as true) and its inspired use of color. Add to this an intriguing structure and edits, and it resulted in a film I loved taking in. I then followed this up with a 6-minute short film he also directed, called Dareka no Manazashi, which I loved as well. I can’t wait to watch the rest of what he’s produced so far.