Early this autumn, my friend from Japan brought me back several items, the one presented in this entry is Sora no Kioku ~The sky of the longing for memories~, (新海誠美術作品集 空の記憶) featuring digital backgrounds by the studio CoMix Wave. The book is a 175 page softcover, the majority of which are images, which I find uncommon for most fanbooks. The pages are smaller than your standard letter/A4 meaning the images are a small, and knowing the level of detail in Makoto Shinkai’s work I think these images could be spectacularly crisp even if enlarged 4× the size. Inside you will find hundreds of backgrounds from Byousoku 5 Centimeter (5 Centimetres per Second), Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho (The Place Promised in Our Early Days), Hoshi no Koe (Voices of a Distant Star), and a TV advertisement for the newspaper “Shinano Mainichi Shumbun”.
In addition to the backgrounds, there is a section about the software and technique behind CoMix Wave’s animation, which based on my very limited Japanese seems to talk about the key features of the software they use at various stages of production. There is also a lengthy (Japanese) interview with Makoto and other key members of his studio.
Aside from the special sections, all the work presented are direct cutscenes from the animation or the background renderings, minimizing the presence of any characters. Unlike my Clannad or Spirited Away artbooks, there are no sketches, hand paintings, storyboards or other evidence of development. Nevertheless, it is still a beautiful resource for fans of animation and digital artwork, it is simply amazing how much vividness and emotion Makoto can put in a drawing of a pencil and eraser or a high-rise construction crane.
Again, I don’t want to damage the book’s spine nor do I have a worthy scanner, so I have uploaded another photo-gallery. Apologies for the inconsistent images, I was struggling to find a good method of holding the book open. For your convenience, a batch download is available (just the images below, not the entire book):