Makoto Shinkai is a Japanese anime director, animator, and principal voice actor. A native of the Nagano prefecture in Japan, he studied Japanese literature in university. He traces his passion for creation to the manga, anime, and novels he was exposed to while in middle school. His favorite anime is Castle in the Sky by Hayao Miyazaki. Shinkai has been called "The New Miyazaki" in several reviews including Anime Advocates and ActiveAnime, comparisons which he calls an "overestimation".