I just finished watching Makoto Shinkai's Voices of a Distant Star (this was released in 2002). I was amazed and I felt frustrated while watching it. I could feel the FRUSTRATION and LONGING of the characters. Makoto Shinkai's works sure are effective in connecting emotionally with audiences. Voices of a Distant Star has the same themes as Makoto's latest work, Oukashou. (He is truly the anime poet of longing.) Watching this earlier work of his has shown me just how much his art and storytelling is getting better and better.

I've also finally watched She and Her Cat. It's a subtle story - that requires an intelligent, observant, and appreciative audience - told through Makoto's impressive anime techniques (for example, he does not once show "her" face).

Now I am going to watch interviews of Makoto. Even if they are in Japanese, hee hee hee. I think Japanese is a beautiful and musical language. And Makoto Shinkai is cute. =)