The World of Shinkai Makoto: Spirits in Your Name and Weathering With You

Conference: The Kyoto Conference on Arts, Media & Culture (KAMC2021)
Title: The World of Shinkai Makoto: Spirits in Your Name and Weathering With You
Stream: Film Studies
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Raditya Nuradi, Kyushu University, Japan


Spirits, deities and other forms of supernatural entities are a staple element in many anime. From Totoro, the protector deity of the forest in My Neighbour Totoro to Yubaba the witch in Spirited Away, the representations of such entities are vast and diverse. Works by director Shinkai Makoto such as Your Name and Weathering with You, are some of the more recent hits that have shaken the world of animation. At a simple glance, these works, mostly set in contemporary Tokyo, have little to do with the supernatural and yet a closer look at the narrative elements reveal the presence of numerous spirits. What is the role of these spirits in the movies? What do these movies tell us about spirituality in anime? J’annine Jobling has suggested how the concept of the fantastic can be applied to examine the spiritual in reading fantasy text. By analysing Shinkai’s two latest movies: Your Name and Weathering with You, this paper will examine how the spiritual collapses with the secular, how the supernatural switches with reality and how spirits play a part in these exchanges. A peek into the spiritualities of the fantastic offers a venue to examine the relationship between religious ideas and popular culture in the twenty first century.

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