English: The Garden of Words
Synonyms: Koto no Ha no Niwa, The Garden of Kotonoha
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: May 31, 2013
46 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.381 (scored by 29043 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisWe have met, for each of us to walk forward.
Takao, who is training to become a shoemaker, skipped school and is sketching shoes in a Japanese-style garden. He meets a mysterious woman, Yukino, who is older than him. Then, without arranging the times, the two start to see each other again and again, but only on rainy days. They deepen their relationship and open up to each other. But the end of the rainy season soon approaches...
(Source: Comix Wave)
Related AnimeAdaptation: Kotonoha no Niwa
Characters & Voice Actors
Makoto Shinkai is a name that has become increasingly prevalent over the years. And for good reason, too. After hitting the anime industry in 2007 with his opus magnum "5 Centimeters Per Second", he quickly established himself as a director with the ability to combine masterful artistic talent with emotional, bittersweet storytelling.
Does his latest animation achieve that same ideal? In some ways, it does. But if you are awaiting another great story, this is not what you are looking for.
"The Garden of Words" is a short film depicting the romance and relationship between a 15-year-old boy and 27-year-old woman. Takao, the boy, feels lost and alienated by his uncertain future and passion for shoemaking. Concurrently, Yukino feels lost in an adult society where she feels she does not belong.
It's a premise that holds potential for a compelling story. How many films deal with such an age gap, especially with an older female? Very few. Sadly, this film doesn't realize its inherent potential. Rarely are their feelings for each other actually explored. It simply is. They meet, they talk, they fall in love. And why? The relationship seems platonic until a sudden confession at the very end. While the romance is at least passable, one can't shake off the feeling that more could have been done with the two. It all just feels a bit contrived.
Then again, one could always ask: with only 46 minutes of film, isn't it too much to expect developed characters and relationships? Maybe. But Shinkai was not constrained. He could have simply increased the length and have made the story exponentially better as a result.
Where "The Garden of Words" makes up for its romance, perhaps, is in its dialogue. What makes the dialogue so intriguing is not what it does, but what it doesn't do. It is simple, restrained; often limited to ordinary conversations between the characters. It shows more than tells. When Takao's dreams of being a shoemaker are revealed, it is through watching him sketch feet outside and craft shoes in his room. When it must tell, it relies on introspective monologues and poetic conversation. It gives us the time to think and the time for the atmosphere to establish itself. The modesty of the dialogue captures the monotony of their lives-- the change that they experience together.
Or at least that is what the majority of the film accomplishes. What builds as a subtle, heartwarming story regrettably ends as conventional melodrama. Any maturity in the characters is thrown aside in favor of screaming and crying. And, yet again, it relies on Shinkai's exhausted theme of unrequited love. For once, just once-- could he bother to convey the romance differently? It would be a sad thing if a director with so much talent was reduced to being a one-trick-pony. He is capable of more than this. I would like to believe that, anyway.
From a visual perspective, Shinkai's latest is nothing short of a masterpiece. If you have watched any of his previous works (notably 5 Centimeters Per Second), you will be very much familiar with the gorgeous scenery and eyecandy that accompany them. And is eyecandy ever plentiful here. It is a visual spectacle in every regard, meant to have us immersed in the world. Perhaps too much so, as you might find yourself so stunned by the scenery that any dialogue will sound like little more than background noise.
Numerous animation techniques are employed in the film. The most prominent of which is a depth of field effect, often used but never to the point of being distracting. Lens flare and careful panning are also frequently used to accentuate the scenery. Not a single error (at least noticeably) exists within the animation or artwork, thanks to Shinkai's meticulous attention to detail. There are times when the artwork looks and feels so authentic that it could very well be mistaken for live-action at a glance. "The Garden of Words" may be the best-looking anime to date. It is something that other animated films will (and should) aspire to, and nothing more could be asked from it visually.
Rain is the primary theme of "The Garden of Words", both in narrative and aesthetics. In storytelling, rain is often used to represent loneliness. Here instead the rain symbolizes happiness and peace. It succeeds in creating the appropriate atmosphere for the film, ensuring that there is more here to experience than the visuals. It is just as much an experience to feel as it is to gawk at.
The score comprises mostly of piano pieces and ambient noise which serve to further immerse the viewer. It's deliberately simple-- anything thrilling would only serve to undermine the experience. Notably, there is one vocal piece that plays during the climax and credits. I didn't think too much of it other than "Hey, this reminds me of 5cm/s!"
So what is "The Garden of Words" in the end, beyond a visual and aural treat? I would tell you that it is not a very good story. What brilliance it holds at the start is obstructed by lackluster characterization and cloying drama. With more focus given to the writing process and with a story at least partly equal to its production quality, this may have been a film to remember for years to come. As it stands, it is a captivating but ultimately disappointing experience. It could have been much more without the melodrama and with more room given for the characters to live and breathe. After all, beauty is best achieved in simplicity.
If only Shinkai held to this for the entire film. read more
"In the evenings, before I went to sleep, and in the mornings, in the moment I woke up, I realized I was praying for rain." — Takao Akizuki
Makoto Shinkai is a fairly big name in the anime industry, and is known for movies like 5 Centimeters per Second, Voices of a Distant Star and the Place Promised in Our Early Days. And if there would be one thing that most of Shinkai's work keep in common, it would be the impossible love between two persons. He is the master of the bittersweet love stories, and his movies often successfully manage to break the viewer's heart. And once again, he proved his skill with his latest work: The Garden of Words.
His reputation for creating beautiful, atmospheric and touching movies holds. But not only for that, he also holds his repuation for the most beautiful and best artwork I've ever seen in all anime. I thought after watching 5 Centimeters per Second that the animation could never be improved. But I was wrong... This was just friggin' scenery porn. The Garden of Words, is probably the best looking anime ever.
A young student, Takao Akizuki, is training to become the shoemaker. He always skips school, to make sketches of shoes in a Japanese style-garden. And on one day, he meets a women at the garden. She is much older than him, and also comes regularly to the Garden. As soon as the two meet each other very often at the same place, they start to deepen their relationship.
A very simple, yet touching story about the relationship between a young boy and an adult. But it's such a shame this anime is only 45 minutes long, there wasn't much depth in the main characters. So if you're a fan of very deep and complex character development, this might not be the anime for you. But even though this movie is so short, it managed to keep the pacing very fluent and not to rush itself. Too bad it got very melodramatic as the movie continued.
The very best part of the Garden of Words, the art. Like I said, I was really impressed by the artwork in 5 Centimeters per Second. I think, it wouldn't ever improve since the animation looked so incredibly detailed and extremely beautiful. But this anime improved it. The goddamn background art... I just can't describe it in words how amazing it looked. The rain, the buildings, the plants, etc. It looked so beautiful and full of detail. Especially the water is what I loved about the animation the most. It moved extremely fluent. Falling water drops never made me say WTF before.
The character designs are also very well made. The characters looked really cute, and the eyes were a little oversized. But that's a good thing, since it fits the atmosphere in the anime better than smaller eyes. They also kept it a little realistic, since eyes and hair colors were true Japanese-brown. Also, emotion is very important in this anime and so they did a good job showing face expressions. Especially when it comes to emotional scenes, it was really noticable how the characters were feeling.
Also one of the better parts of this show, is the sound. Especially when it comes too background music, this anime really stands out from most romance anime when it comes to beautiful background songs that fit the story perfectly. Especially the ending theme "Rain" which is performed by Motohiro Hata, is a amazing song that perfectly suits this anime.
Voice acting was done properly too. The voice acters did a decent job portraying the character's personalities. From the voices, you can here how somebody is feeling.
The characters are probably the weakest part of the anime. In my opinion we can easily owe the lack of character development to the length of the anime. Since it was a very short movie, the characters didn't get enough time to develop themselves properly, so it was hard for me to feel something and sympathize with any of the main characters. Still, they were pretty likeable and managed to keep me engaged how the relationship between the two main characters would end up.
There wasn't that much of a supporting cast in this anime. Maybe the family of Takao, but you'll see them barely. So I won't be able to tell much about them, only that they reacted kinda realistic to the situations that occured in their vicinity.
Well, about enjoyment, I enjoyed watching this show a lot. It kept me intrugued, and interested how this movie would end. Also, the calm and heartbreaking atmosphere, is something I truly adore in anime. I would recommend this show to people who like Slice of Life, romance anime.
A simple, yet gripping story about the relationship about a boy and an adult. The visuals are stunning and probably the best I've ever seen in an anime. Background songs are good, and voice acting is done properly as well. A likeable cast of two main characters, who lack some development.
Besides it flaws, this anime was definitely worth my time and I would suggest everyone to watch it immediatly. Especially to the slice of life/romance fans out there. It's only 45 minutes long, so you've got nothing to lose, even if it's not the best story ever. Makoto Shinkai definitely proved his reputation once again, with this visual masterpiece. read more
Both movies are made by Makoto Shinkai. The stories are about Love that never became something more. The movies have amazing art ( NOT KIDDING) and beautiful soundtracks. In the movies there is not much talking.
Mikoto Shinaki is involved in both works so expect similar themes and style of writing. (he is director and writer of both films)
In both films, there features a young main male protagonist who seemingly forms a romantic relationship with the female protagonist. The mood is calm with a lighthearted atmosphere. At the same time, they bond through connections.
The visuals/artwork in both series is also absolutely stunning.
both were created by the same director
both are absolutely amazing in the animation are style wise, there is absolutely no flaw or any faults at all of the beautifully drawn animation which is spectacular
both focus on particular relationship that is in our society today and break it down with absolute accuracy and awareness from which both feelings are understood from both counterparts
both relationships have the meaning 'distance' in a sense and always congregates that distance isnt an issue.
both are a beautifully stunning must watch, yet from my opinion the pace for each of the movies are completely different in a sense, i couldnt grasp/engage/attach myself to the characters from the Garden of Words like i could in 5cmps, so my judgment is cloudy, or i expected too much from the director for the movie to be better than 5cmps.
they are both very similar with the animation/soundtracks/romance, just a sight for sore eyes, you will like one if you watched the other.
Two fantastic movies by the same author, extraordinary art and a story the revolves around love .
Bittersweet love stories accompanied by beautiful music and a visual feast.
Both are visual beauties with bittersweet but enjoyable stories and deal with the theme of "distance".
An emotional love story by the same writer/director!
Love portrayed in beautiful manners through fantastic dialogue complimented by the best visuals today's anime has to offer.
I highly recommend both.
Both same director, both about a love who canno't be lived by the two lovers.
Beautiful art, beautiful soundtrack, all the emotions pass by these and some few words.
In others words, both are wonderful and similar
Both have "HOLY SHIT/10" art. They're both about distance. (like other Shinkai movies)
Opening ThemeNo opening themes found, add themes.
Ending Theme"Rain" by Motohiro Hata
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Related ClubsStand-Alone Movies/OVAs, Kotonoha no Niwa, Recommendation Club, Anime Fun Club, Hanazawa Kana's Fans!, Age Gap RnD Department, Romance+, ♥ Ecchi & Hentai ~♥~ Lovers ♥, Miyu Irino Fans!!
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