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The 11 Best Makoto Shinkai Movies, Ranked

Updated September 9, 2020 247 votes 55 voters11 items

List RulesVote up your favorite Makoto Shinkai movies, regardless if they're short films or feature lengths.

For the past 40 years, Hayao Miyazaki has long been considered one the greatest anime directors of all time. And even though he still finds ways to keep churning out films, it's inevitable that his retirement is fast approaching. But the worldwide phenomenon of Your Name, which even surpassed Spirited Away as the highest-grossing anime to date, proves that Makoto Shinkai is a director deserving of that title. Whether you're awestruck by the gorgeous animation, bopping to the awesome Radwimps OST, or crying your eyes out (the most common side-effect of watching a Shinkai film), his movies make an emotional impact on audiences everywhere. 

From his short films, like Someone's Gaze, to his new features, Weathering with You, this list ranks all of Shinkai's movies. Which are your favorites? 

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  • Children Who Chase Lost Voices
    Photo: CoMix Wave Films

    Asuna Watase is a young girl who finds herself whisked away on an adventure to the magical world of Agartha, the land of the dead. While walking to her clubhouse, she is attacked by a strange creature, only to be saved by a mysterious boy named Shun. He sets her off on a journey of self-discovery that leads her to unlocking the secrets behind the strange music coming out of the radio her father left behind. With its forray into adventure and magical realms, Children Who Chase Lost Voices feels a lot like a Ghibli film, which makes sense since Shinkai's favorite film is Miyazaki's Castle In The Sky.  

    • Actors: Kazuhiko Inoue, Fumiko Orikasa, Junko Takeuchi, Sumi Shimamoto, Miyu Irino
    • Released: 2011
    • Directed by: Makoto Shinkai
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  • The Place Promised in Our Early Days
    Photo: CoMix Wave Films

    This movie marks Shinkai's first work with CoMix Wave Films, who have been his studio partner ever since. The Place Promised in Our Early Days is a dystopian love story set in an alternate history where Japan is divided between the South, occupied by America, and the Soviet Union-controlled North. Hiroki Fujisawa and Takuya Shirakawa are best friends who both love to build aircrafts - they are also in love with their classmate Sayuri Sawatari. In middle school, the three friends promise to fly together to reach the mysterious tower that looms over their hometown, but Sayuri suddenly disappears, resulting in the two boys gradually falling apart after time. But three years later, an event leads them to cross paths again, unraveling the secrets of the tower and reigniting the promises they made to each other. 

    • Actors: Kazuhiko Inoue, Unshō Ishizuka, Masato Hagiwara, Eiji Takemoto, Hidetaka Yoshioka
    • Released: 2004
    • Directed by: Makoto Shinkai
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  • 7

    Crossroad

    Crossroad
    Photo: CoMix Wave Films

    Made as a commercial for the education service, Z-Kai, this short film follows the busy lives of two students studying for their college entrance exams. If you need something short and sweet (2 minutes, to be exact), then you should definitely check out Crossroads. It might just be the most beautiful commercial you ever see. 

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    • 8

      She and Her Cat: Their Standing Points

      She and Her Cat: Their Standing Points
      Photo: ADV Films

      After Shinkai completed this 5-minute short film, he copied the film onto a CD-R disc and sold copies of it at anime conventions, marking the beginning of an illustrious career. It tells the story of a cat living with his new owner, and his attempt to understand the complex emotions of humans. 

      • Actors: Makoto Shinkai, Mika Shinohara
      • Released: 1999
      • Directed by: Makoto Shinkai
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