Garden Of Words – Makoto Shinkai Art Book Review

Posted By yonghow on January 18th, 2014

Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book

“Garden Of Words – Memories Of Cinema” is the official picture book for Makoto Shinkai’s animated film Garden Of Words (Kotonoha No Niwa). It’s not an art book per say, but features background art plates used in the film, presented together with quotes from the movie’s screenplay. (background plates are shown on the left pages; quotes on the right.)

The backdrop of the film is set primarily in locations around Shinjuku (in particular Shinjuku Gyoen), one of the busiest areas in central Tokyo.

Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book
Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book
Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book
Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book

(above) One of the recurring structures appearing in the film’s background is the NTT Docomo building, a prominent landmark in Shinjuku. I used to cycle past the building every time on my way to Kinokuniya when I was still staying in Meguro.  (below) The building in real life.

Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book
Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book
Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book
Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book
Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book

I watched this film together with some Japanese friends and they all agree that one of Makoto’s greatest strengths is his immaculate attention to detail in his background plates, immersing the viewer into a world that is immediately familiar and relatable. In many ways, his background art make better storytellers than the human protagonists in his films.

Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book
Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book
Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book
Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book
Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book
Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book

One of Makoto Shinkai’s works that I actually enjoyed more (possibly because of my affinity for the Shinjuku area), but the artist’s prowess for creating beautiful backgrounds cannot be trivialized. This book comes with plenty of those and is an easy recommendation.

“Garden Of Words – Memories Of Cinema” Makoto Shinkai book details :

Dimensions – 10.2 x 7.2 x 0.4 inches
Softcover, 79 pages. Comes with slipcase.
Full color, In Japanese

Garden Of Words - Makoto Shinkai Art Book Amazon Japan Buy Link
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7 Responses to “Garden Of Words – Makoto Shinkai Art Book Review”

Christopher

Would you recommend the film at all for it’s storytelling, or just because of the beautiful background plates used in it?

yonghow

Both, I think. I definitely like this one much more than his previous films, but again I’m partial to this one because I have very good memories of Shinjuku.

It’s definitely worth checking out. :]

Lei

Got a copy of this book from a local book fair. I am just wondering if you can translate the text in the book, or know someone who has done a translation job on this. Thanks!

yonghow

Lei – As the Japanese text in the book are quotes from the film, the English subtitles from the blu-ray will be the closest to a translation, I think. :]

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