Jul 3, 2016
Builder_K (All reviews)
An absolutely stunning masterpiece by Makoto Shinkai.
Story: 10
Art: 10
Sound: 9
Character: 8
Enjoyment: 10
Overall: 10

Edit: I watched this at the World Premier in Los Angeles on July 3rd. It was released in Japanese theaters on August 26th. It is set to be streamed online (for north america) via funimation, hopefully within the next month or so.

The good:

Spectacular animation. There is one particular scene near the beginning which has a sort of "3D camera rotation" that looks so real that I thought it was rendered; but at the last second, the character turned their head, and I was able to tell that it had been entirely hand-drawn. There are scenes where basic physics are completely altered, yet they managed to make it 100% smooth, dragging me along through the character's experience.

Characters. Due to the movie format, most of the characters had very simple personalities. The depth of the characters was sacrificed for the overarching story, ultimately leading to the main characters having deeper personalities, with the side characters left behind. Don't be confused though. For the format, the character depth that they managed to convey was incredible. Small hints were blended into many scenes, discretely conveying the characters' backgrounds and personalities.

Sound. The depth of the musical score was incredible, though I will need to re-watch it with my usual headphones before committing fully. There was not a single sound that felt out of place. All the characters' voices suited their appearances, leading to a very immersive experience.

Story. The story is conceptually very simple, but a lot of depth is added as the story goes on. The show drives several important points, which can be very philosophical, without being too complicated for the average viewer to understand. Additionally, none of the story is sacrificed in order to drive these ideas, they are inseparably blended together.

Impact. During the show, I laughed, and I cried. Now don't get me wrong, that's a big deal. At the time of writing, only two other anime have made me cry. Also, I was at the premier, and thus out in public; I certainly wasn't the only one. Please don't approach this anime lightly. It's truly an experience that you can never forget.

The bad:

Timing. During the movie, there is a sequence where two characters get to know each other, which felt slightly rushed. It could have been better to have the full experience played out, or at least pieces of it, lengthening the movie as required.

World building. The depth of the story and characters took a toll on the world's completeness, leaving some unanswered questions. Most characters didn't have worldviews or ideas of right vs wrong, there simply wasn't time to develop them. Also, where the world came from, and what the ending implies for the world itself, is left unanswered.

-- I wrote this review immediately after leaving the premier. I will continue and edit it after I have had time to process the movie's depth.