'Attack on Titan,' 'Garden of Words' take top honors at Kobe anime awards

December 21, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

KOBE--Animated TV series "Attack on Titan" and feature film "The Garden of Words" received awards in their categories for best animated work at the 18th annual Animation Kobe Awards.

Adapted from the manga of the same title, "Attack on Titan" is a dystopian fantasy about young people fighting a hopeless battle against giant human-devouring creatures.

"Production was demanding, but we made an exciting piece," director Tetsuro Araki said at the Dec. 8 awards ceremony at the Kobe International Conference Center. "The original manga series is not finished yet, so I'd love to make a sequel."

Created by Makoto Shinkai, "The Garden of Words" is the story of a high school boy who aspires to become a shoemaker. He develops a romantic interest in a young woman whom he meets only on rainy days in a park.

Shinkai won an Animation Kobe award in the packaged work category in 2002 in his commercial debut with "The Voice of a Distant Star," which was about two young lovers separated by distance because of a war against aliens.

"It's been 11 years since then, and now I can create a story that is a little more complicated," Shinkai said.

In an interview with The Asahi Shimbun, the artist revealed what he intended to capture in "The Garden of Words."

"Contour lines for characters are usually black, but this time, I used different colors to make the lines match with backgrounds," the director said.

The technique resulted in creating beautiful imagery, blending the background and the characters in the rain.

"I was developing ideas during the 'tsuyu' rainy season last year," Shunkai said. "I was wondering how I should draw the rain as I was taking cover from the rain in a park near my home."

Shinkai says he is an indie artist, and wants audience members other than anime fans to see his new work.

"I want to create works to show that we can gain something even if we fail to reach out to others, not to present an orthodox world of anime in which characters feel good after defeating their enemies," he said.

The Animation Kobe Awards recognizes excellence in animation, giving awards to commercial works of animation released in Japan from September of the previous year to August of the current year.

The awards were first held in 1996 to help build up the animation industry as part of recovery efforts from the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.

Other winners this year included director Tsutomu Mizushima for the individual award; mechanical designer Shoji Kawamori and the "Precure" production team for the special award; the theme song from "Attack on Titan" for the theme song award; and director Hayao Miyazaki for the lifetime achievement award.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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A scene from "Attack on Titan" ((c) Hajime Isayama, Kodansha/ "Attack on Titan" Production Committee)

A scene from "Attack on Titan" ((c) Hajime Isayama, Kodansha/ "Attack on Titan" Production Committee)

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  • A scene from "Attack on Titan" ((c) Hajime Isayama, Kodansha/ "Attack on Titan" Production Committee)
  • A scene from "The Garden of Words" ((c) Makoto Shinkai/ CoMix Wave Films)
  • "Attack on Titan" director Tetsuro Araki, left, and "The Garden of Words" creator Makoto Shinkai join a talk held at the Kobe International Conference Center. (The Asahi Shimbun)
  • Shinkai talks about his latest film, "The Garden of Words." (The Asahi Shimbun)

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