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Ohhh, look at this lovely (double) tweet from Shinkai Makoto just now:

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It’s like クリスマス come early! Yes, I get excited (super-excited) about things like this.

As we can see from the poster, Kotonoha no Niwa – which Shinkai himself literally translates as ‘Garden of Thousands [of] Pieces of Words’ – is going to be as pretty as ever (his films are always a feast for the eyes), but the question is, what is it about? The official website has quite a bit of information, but in Japanese only at the moment.

This is what I can decipher for now (thanks to Google Translate as well as the info on the French website): It’s a love story, something that Shinkai hasn’t tackled before. Though the film is set in modern times, it interprets love (恋 or koi) as it originally was understood in Japan, as something of solitary sadness – much unlike the modern concept of romantic love that was imported from the West.

The film is set to be released in Japan in the first half of 2013. Maybe we can get a European premiere at the next Terracotta Film Festival? Depending when exactly “the first half of 2013” is, this isn’t total wishful thinking, given that Studio Ghibli’s anime 「コクリコ坂から」 (Kokuriko-zaka Kara/From up on Poppy Hill, 2011) had its first European screening there this year. Frankly, I’m not sure if I can hold out till the BFI Film Festival in October, where Shinkai’s last film, 「星を追う子ども」 (Hoshi o Ou Kodomo/Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below aka Journey to Agartha, Japan, 2011), had its UK premiere in 2011.

More info to follow as soon as it becomes available!

Update: Some staff at animenewsnetwork.co.uk obviously speak more Japanese than I do (not hard, given I only officially started taking classes a few months ago) – you can find a wee bit more info there, particularly about the ‘love concept’.

Update 2: Official Facebook page for Kotonoha no Niwa (in Japanese) – includes production diary.

Bonus Bits: