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GKIDS Licence Makoto Shinkai Films For Home Release

There aren't very many directors of Japanese animation that have reached anywhere near the level of success of Hayao Miyazaki. One name that has managed to reach that level in recent years is Makoto Shinkai. Best known for the smash hits Your Name and Weathering With You, the former of which became Japan's second highest-grossing films of all time on release. Shinkai had made several films and short films before Your Name saw him really land on the international stage. US distributor GKIDS Films has announced that it has licensed four of his early works for home entertainment releases.

They include Voices Of A Distant Star, the sci-fi short that established him in the anime world. Shinkai essentially made the film single-handedly, with the only other people involved originally the composer of the music and his girlfriend who voiced the female lead (although it was later redubbed by professional VAs).  The Place Promised In Our Early Days marked his debut feature, while Children Who Chase Loice Voices is described as an 'epic fantasy'. 5 Centimetres Per Second is an anthology feature told in three separate vignettes.


The feature film debut from Makoto Shinkai, the acclaimed director of Weathering With You and Your Name., is a haunting and beautiful story of friendship and loss, with stunning visuals and the emotional approach to science-fiction that would become the director’s trademark. In an alternate post-war Japan, three teenagers become obsessed with a mysterious tower across the Union border, which reaches far into the sky. Hiroki and Takuya work on a makeshift airplane, which they promise their friend Sayuri they will use to visit the tower together someday, but she disappears before it is completed. Several years later, the tower suddenly activates, starting a phenomenon that threatens the world. And the young men now discover their long-lost friend Sayuri may hold the key to it all...


Young love, missed connections, and unrequited feelings collide in a romance from Makoto Shinkai, the visionary director of Weathering With You and Your Name. Told in three vignettes, 5 Centimeters per Second: A Chin of Short Stories About Their Distance, explores the joys and heartache of falling in love set against the backdrop of the breathtaking visuals that define Shinkai’s work. Takaki yearns to spill his heart out for childhood crush Akari, but their families move away before any feelings can fully blossom. They stay in touch, but eventually drift apart with school and new friends to distract them. As the seasons pass, Takaki navigates his relationships while haunted by all the things he left unsaid with Akari, his first love. 


From Makoto Shinkai, the visionary director of Weathering With You and Your Name. Children who Chase Lost Voices is an epic fantasy adventure in a world of ancient gods. Asuna is an introvert who prefers spending her time listening to a radio left by her deceased father. One day, she hears an odd song that resonates in her heart unlike anything else. It leads to a chance encounter with a mysterious boy, who transports Asuna to Agarthaa land of legend where the dead can be brought back to life. Compelled by the song and the boy, Asuna journeys through the mythical lands, but hostile warriors and ghastly creatures will stop at nothing to prevent Asuna from uncovering the secrets of their world. 


Several years into the future, alien invaders threaten the safety of Earth. Mikako joins the global forces to defend the planet, but leaves behind her middle school crush, Noboru. They stay connected through emails even while their lives diverge. The galactic war soon sends Mikako further out into space where the time it takes to send and receive messages grows longer. As years start to pass between emails, Mikako and Noboru each grapple with unspoken feelings while hoping for the next message. Voices of a Distant Star is an emotionally-gripping sci-fi tale from Makoto Shinkai that offers an early look into his directorial vision before global blockbusters Weathering With You and Your Name

All titles will be released later this year on home entertainment platforms, including both original language and English dubbed versions. The titles have already been previously released by other distributors in the US, but it's not clear if it will include the original dubs or whether GKIDS will commission brand new dubs for the new releases. More news when we've got it!