Makoto Shinkai is a force to be reckoned with. The buzz surrounding his 2002 film Hoshi No Koe, (available on domestic DVD as Voices of a Distant Star) catapulted him to fame in his native Japan, eliciting hyperbolic claims of him being the “next Miyazaki” That film, a 30min mix of 2-D and 3-D animation was as celebrated for its novelty as much as anything else—it was created by Shinkai entirely at home on his Macintosh—but his followup, the beautiful feature film The Place We Were Promised In Our Early Days, demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt the skills of an animator with a beautiful visual sense.
This short, Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko (She and Her Cat ) is an early work by Shinkai, done in 1999. A charming monochrome piece, the story relates the relationship between a young Japanese woman and her cat, told from the perspective of the cat.
Pretty and endearing, the film is also an excellent primer on a number of common anime stylistic techniques—mundane objects slowly panned and artistically framed, ellipses of black, and on-screen text, serve to balance the whimsicality of a woman and cat love story with an almost nostalgic sadness.