Director Makoto Shinkai Reflects on His Inspiration Behind Suzume

By now, we all are aware of how popular Makoto Shinkai’s third magnum opus Suzume has become. As overwhelming as it can get, you must admit that this does not occur every time. This also means that the film is sure to stand among the most recommended films by anime fans.

The director-writer made an appearance at the BFI Southbank on March 1 for a Q&A session after the premiere. While he expressed his slight nervousness about coming to the West again, he also shared some of his perspectives on the film.

Shinkai begins by mentioning how stranger he is to the West, which has already set a standard for films. Taking advantage of this, he dug deep into his Japanese roots to find something that could connect with everybody.

Movie “Suzume no Tobari” Special Report 3

The first question asked was about how the story begins as a love story but shifts to a more social and psychological plot. When asked if the ‘girl meets boy’ was a device used to lead to the latter, Shinkai admits to that.

Makoto Shinkai: “Yes, you’re right, it’s not a love story in the same way that your name. was; it’s about how a victim of this disaster that really happened, the Great East Japan Earthquake, rediscovers her past self and moves on. And so these “boy meets girl” scenes are a way into that and a way of making [the film] fun.”

Shinkai added that Suzume’s aunt was the character he felt closest to. It reflected his feelings for his 12-year-old daughter. Since he was communicating with the staff at home, his daughter used to ask all the time if the film was ready. On the day she watched the film, she wished to watch it again.


On the question about using runaway characters as a subject of reference being reflected in the film as well as in Weathering With You, the director said that it is partly because of where he grew up.

Shinkai: “I grew up in Nagano, surrounded by high mountains that seemed like walls, like the big wall in Attack on Titan. I used to look out at those mountains through the classroom window and think, “There must be something more fun beyond; there must be a more exciting future on the other side of the mountains.”

This curiosity led to him moving to Tokyo after he left school. According to Shinkai, he wanted to move out and see what was beyond as quickly as possible, which could have also been reflected in his films.


When asked if he would like to create a film for older viewers depicting more ‘adult’ relationships, the director admitted that he thinks about that a lot because he always uses teenage protagonists.

Shinkai: “I’ve always thought that animation was for young people, which is why I have these teen protagonists. But I feel like my role is changing, and there are more and more young directors coming up now, and maybe I can leave the teen protagonists to them.”

He adds that on thinking about his next project, it would be possible to show love in your fifties, sixties, and seventies. This subject has been used in many manga and anime, which people of all ages read and watch in Japan.

Furthermore, he adds that he initially made films catering to the audience in Japan, but lately, he has been creating for audiences of all age groups, which he never considered when he was younger.

Director Makoto Shinkai Reflects on His Inspiration Behind Suzume
Sōta Munakata in Suzume | Source: Comic Natalie

About the moniker ‘The Next Miyazaki’, the director admits his annoyance over it and says that he did try to make his films different from those of Miyazaki. However, Miyazaki is still his favorite, and Suzume includes a musical reference to him.

Lastly, referring to Tohoku, the location of the film’s ending, Shinkai was asked about the reaction of the viewers from that region. He replied that while many people thanked him for the film, there were still several people who were apparently offended.

Shinkai: “And what many of them said was “Thank you” – they thanked me for making this film. And they said there were things in [the film] that they’d needed to hear. I actually found that they were encouraging me, which was a lovely experience.”

Director Makoto Shinkai Reflects on His Inspiration Behind Suzume
The Three-Legged Chair in Suzume | Source: Comic Natalie

“But at the same time, I think some people didn’t come to those events, to the Q&As. I am sure there are people who didn’t want to see the film, hated the film, or didn’t know why I’d made the film. I saw on NHK, the state broadcaster, that they’d interviewed a man who’d lost his wife in the tsunami, and he was saying that he couldn’t believe that I would make a film like this.”

Shinkai’s words have surely given us deeper insights into the film, which makes it more connecting and relatable to the world audience. In case you have watched the movie, do you agree with his vision? What are your views about it?

About Suzume no Tojimari

Suzume no Tojimari is an anime film by Makoto Shinkai. It premiered on November 11, 2022. A novel adaptation was released in August 2022, also written by Shinkai.

The film focuses on Suzume, a 17-year-old girl who meets a young man looking for a door. Suzume finds a strange door among the ruins and opens it, but due to it many doors start opening around Japan, causing disasters. Now, Suzume has to close all of them to save Japan.

Source: Crunchyroll, Premier Comms, ANN

Epic Dope Staff

Epic Dope Staff

Our talented team of Freelance writers - Always on the lookout - pour their energies into a wide range of topics bringing to our audience what they crave - fun up-to-date news, reviews, fan theories and much much more.


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