‘Your Name’ and ‘Weathering With You’ director Makoto Shinkai announces next film

At a press conference this morning, Makoto Shinkai announced his next film titled Suzume no Tojimari is in production.

Written and directed by Shinkai, the film is being produced by STORY (Weathering With You, Her Blue Sky) and animated by CoMix Wave Films, where Shinkai has written and directed his original films since 1999’s She and Her Cat. Longtime collaborator Takumi Tanjo is heading art direction while character design is under the direction of Your Name and Weathering With You alumni Masayoshi Tanaka. Another Your Name vet, Kenichi Tsuchiya, will serve as the director of animation. ToHo is handling Japanese Distribution

RADWIMPS, the Japanese pop trio that worked closely on the soundtrack and even story elements of Shinkai’s previous two films, were not mentioned during the conference that also revealed the film’s poster.

Pre-production began in January of 2020 and animation began in April. The project now has a website and a new Twitter account that already has over 15,000 followers after sharing updates from the conference. 

Shinkai’s announcement, in which he calls the film a “modern adventure story and an action movie” went viral on Twitter.

It’s hard to overstate the success of Shinkai’s most recent pair of films. Your Name is the third highest-grossing anime film in the world (behind Spirited Away and Demon Slayer: Mugen Train), while Weatherigh With You follows Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo as the sixth highest-grossing film. In the US, Weathering With You surpassed Your Name’s box office success and is currently the 13th highest-grossing anime film in the United States.

While there’s no official English title yet, Suzume no Tojimari has been variously been translated as “Suzume’s Door-Locking,” “Suzume’s Locking-Up,” and curiously on Twitter as “Sparrow’s Door Closure.” 

The film did get an official English synopsis:

Suzume, a 17-year-old girl who lives in a quiet town in Kyushu, encounters a traveling young man who tells her “I’m looking for a door.” She follows after him and discovers a weathered door in the ruins in the mountains, as if it were the only thing left standing from a collapse. As if drawn by something, Suzume reaches for the door…

Before long, doors begin to open one after another in various parts of Japan. As disasters come from the far side of the doors, the open doors must be closed.

The stars, the setting sun, and the morning sky—in that place she wandered into, there was a sky that seemingly blended all of time together. Guided by the mysterious doors, Suzume’s “door-locking journey” begins.

Suzume no Tojimari is expected to release in Japanese theaters in Fall 2022. Both Your Name and Weathering With You saw limited theatrical release in North America roughly half a year after their Japanese release, so the film may not be widely available in English until 2023.