English: Children who Chase Lost Voices
Synonyms: Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below, Journey to Agartha
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: May 7, 2011
1 hr. 56 min.
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.901 (scored by 16818 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisStrange sounds in the darkness... Unearthly music from an old crystal radio... These are all the warning Asuna Watase has before a simple walk to her clubhouse catapults her into a nightmarish adventure that will take her beneath the Earth to a lost land beyond the realm of legend! Attacked by a strange monstrous creature, rescued by a mysterious stranger and pursued by a relentless enemy, Asuna finds herself enmeshed in a centuries old mystery that will bind her to a strange young defender and lead her inevitably, towards a secret that may hold the key to life itself!
(Source: Sentai Filmworks)
Related AnimeAdaptation: Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo, Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo: Agartha no Shounen
Characters & Voice Actors
Director, Color Design, Creator, Editing, Director of Photography, Screenplay
Theme Song Composition, Theme Song Lyrics, Theme Song Performance
Story: (8 / 10)
The movie follows Asuna Watase on her journey through a new world, and we get to see all the hardship she faces, as well as those precious happy moments. “Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo” tells a story about love, loneliness, and learning to let go of the past, among other things.
This story is supported by numerous mythical tales, which gives it a nice touch. It does take quite a while before things really kick off, and not as much time is spent in Agartha as could’ve been, but it’s a minor problem.
However, even with this the story moves at a rather fast pace, leaving little room for any form of additional backstory, whether it’s about Agartha or about the characters pasts. This was really too bad, as there are some pretty obvious questions left unanswered by the end of the movie.
(Several people have talked about this being a way too “Ghiblified” movie, but I don’t feel like I’ve seen enough of either director to really comment on this, though it does have sort of a Ghibli feel to it.)
Art: (9 / 10)
The art is absolutely stunning. The backgrounds, the characters and the various creatures all look simply amazing. From what I can tell, backgrounds like these are sort of a standard thing in Shinkai movies, and there are several moments where the camera will just pan over the landscape, allowing the viewer to really take in the beauty of the world that’s been created.
The characters all look good, and the variety and detail of the creatures is very well done.
The animation was very fluid and well done most of the time, however there were times when it just felt a bit off, or when there would be a bit too many/long scenery shots.
Sound: (8 / 10)
The voice actors did a pretty great job with their respective characters, and the music was very good as well. The music did a good job at “emphasising” the scenes, whether it be a sad scene or a more action-focused scene. The credits song, “Hello, Goodbye and Hello” by Kumaki Anri, is an amazing song, and really brought back all those feelings from the movie.
However, there is a minor problem here, as well. Some songs, including an orchestral version of the credits theme, will play often, and I mean really often. Of course, if you don’t mind these songs, then this won’t be a problem, but it could reduce the effect they have on scenes later on.
Characters: (7 / 10)
The characters were mostly fine. They weren’t however all too great, to be honest. There is some backstory and development to certain characters, while some characters are barely fleshed out at all, and are only there to serve a very specific purpose in the plot. This was obviously a bit unfortunate, since I feel like there was certainly time for more time to be spent with the characters, and yet we’re left with this.
Luckily, it’s not at the point where you can’t feel or sympathize with the characters; in fact, there are several times when this will happen throughout the movie.
Enjoyment: (9 / 10)
After all, I quite enjoyed this movie. It tells a good story, and combine that with the great musical score, and the stunning art, and you have yourself a great film. I can’t deny that there also weren’t a couple of times where I cried...
+ Tells a well-written and emotional story.
+ Absolutely stunning art.
+ Great soundtrack.
- Questions left unanswered at the end.
- Some odd animations.
- Characters not really all too fleshed out. read more
Stories about the dead coming back to life are a dime a dozen these days, mainly because of the current fascination with zombies and vampires, but rarely do we see a tale that's more akin to the legends of old, where mighty heroes brave the perils of the underworld to be reunited with their lost love.
Sorry, that should be a 12 year old girl. Let's try this again ...
Stories about children having adventures in other worlds are a dime a dozen these days, but rarely do we see a tale that's more akin to the stories of old, where brave youths traversed other realms on a journey that would teach them ... lots of stuff.
Nope, that's not going to work either. Let's try putting the two together ...
Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo, which apparently means "Children Who Chase Stars" but for some reason is called "Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below", is the latest work from acclaimed creator and director Shinkai Makoto. The story centres on a small town in the countryside, where a young girl called Asuna spends her time after school listening to the strange music that comes from the crystal radio that her father left to her before he passed away.
Everything is peaceful until one rather eventful day ...
At it's core, Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo is an adventure covered in a philosophical blanket that doesn't quite fit, and it shows in many ways. The plot tries to blend a variety of themes, but it never really manages to do this with the panache of Shinkai's previous works. In addition to this, there's a childishness to the narrative that some viewers may find a little annoying, and quite often events are resolved in a manner that is very "black and white". Because of this the story lacks a good measure of catharsis, especially in comparison to "5 cm Per Second" and "The Place Promised In Our Early Days", and the film concludes with a rather lukewarm resolution.
That said, the movie is interesting to a degree, but much of this comes from the way in which myths and legends regarding the underworld and resurrection are tied into the plot. Unfortunately, it's clear from the opening scenes that inspiration for the anime has come from a few very well known sources, and viewers may find that they spend more time playing spot-the-influence, and less time paying attention to the storyline.
One of the first things that people will notice about Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo is the very "Ghibli-esque" atmosphere it has, but while this perception can initially be ascribed to the rural setting and the young lead character, the similarities actually run a lot deeper. The scenery is a rather pleasant blend of Shinkai's trademark panoramas and the kind of countryside imagery that one might find in "Only Yesterday" or "Spirited Away". Once the action moves beyond the gate, the background art and the settings dramatically improve, and the audience is treated to the kind of vistas that one would expect in a Shinkai feature.
Unfortunately the same can't be said of the design, and viewers may be forgiven for thinking that the entirety of the movie is nothing more than an homage to a certain well known studio. The characters are so stereotypically Ghibli in fact, it's easy to imagine them searching for Laputa or farming in The Valley of the Wind. The similarities even extend to the animals, and while several of the more fantastic creatures wouldn't look out of place in the forests of "Mononoke-Hime", the strongest resemblance (in more ways than one), is between Asuna's cat Mimi and Nausicaä's pet Teto. Sadly, the comparison can only go so far as the characters lack visual refinement, which is further compounded by the lack of gradation in the colour palette used for them.
When it comes to the animation, Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo is a long way from the best work produced by the long-running Shinkai/CoMix Wave Inc. collaboration. The action sequences are pretty decent for the most part, but the characters can sometimes move in a stunted manner, almost as if there's a degree of uncertainty about how each person should act or react in a given situation. In addition to this there are several scenes where the characters seem to have irregularly proportioned bodies, and viewers may find themselves wondering why particular events leave them with the nagging feeling that something isn't right.
The theme song, "Hello, Goodbye and Hello" is a bittersweet ballad composed and performed by Anri Kumaki, and in all honesty it's a rather fitting song given the nature of the story. As for the background music, there's a rather nice mixture of placid or bittersweet orchestral tracks, light-hearted jingles and dramatic pieces, all produced by Tenmon - Shinkai's long-time compositional stalwart. Ironically, the movie excels when it comes to audio choreography, and with an array of high quality effects on offer it can sometimes feel as though more care has been given to making the feature sound good in a pretty setting, and not enough on developing the story.
The script lacks a degree of intuitive flow, and the characters can sometimes state the obvious or wax philosophical for no reason other than to add a veneer of intelligence to proceedings. It's a sad fact that the dialogue can sometimes be stunted, and lacks the nuance that many viewers might expect. While some people may believe that this is due Asuna's age and lack of knowledge, the simple fact is that it highlights more than anything else how inexperienced Shinkai is with this type of movie. That said, the more than experienced cast have rallied well, but even with their ability to project emotion and personality, there are moments when they're unable to compensate for the heavy handed script.
There's a strange dichotomy with the characters as on the one hand Asuna, Shun, Shin, and pretty much everyone else aren't really anything to write home about - especially if you've watched certain Ghibli movies. On the other hand Morisaki Ryuji is a very interesting person indeed, and is reminiscent in many ways of a more humane Ikari Gendou. Unfortunately he also suffers from the same problem in that he isn't given enough back-story to support his actions and decisions, but then, that's pretty much the tale of Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo in a nutshell. Although there is some development for the lead roles, it's often sporadic as the focus seems to be more on the journey itself.
Shinkai Makoto has made it no secret that the inspiration for this movie came from a story he read in elementary school, but it was during his sojourn in England in 2008 that the idea for the anime finally coalesced into something more concrete.
Which, strangely enough, explains rather a lot.
There's a childishness to the movie that doesn't quite fit with the major themes of the plot, and in many ways it feels more like Shinkai was testing the waters and his determination, which isn't actually surprising when one considers that Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo is also his attempt to prove that he isn't a one-trick pony. While there are some positives that can be taken away from the feature, there are far too many things that have been "borrowed" from other films, and these make it difficult to see the movie as little more than an homage. In all honesty it would have been nice if Shinkai had the courage of his convictions and relied more on his own style (like he did with "5 cm Per Second" and "The Place Promised In Our Early Days"), instead of trying to piggyback on that of another studio.
That said, Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo is a fairly easy movie to watch as long as the viewer doesn't delve too deeply, and it has a much lighter and more adventurous tone that Shinkai's previous offerings. In addition to this, if one considers it an experiment with a new type of story then it doesn't just become a reasonably entertaining feature, but also a glimpse into the mind of Makoto Shinkai, and that is a much more rewarding experience than the movie itself. read more
In both movies the protagonists undertake a journey to a faraway land similar to the underworld, in order to bring back a dead person whom they love very much.
In both anime children travel to an unknown world, where it's said you can make any wish imaginable come true. Both also try to bring a message across to the viewers.
Both are about loss and finding away to accept that loss. In both the main characters end up in a different fantastical world with different creatures. They make new friends and face challenges as they journey and find what their true feelings and desires are.
The plot is very similar. They're both about people who want to bring the dead back, but they have to go through many challenges to be able to get there. In both of the movies they meet other people and go through the challenges together. It's a great movie if you have time on your hands.
The under world for "Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo" is very similar to the world of "Princess Mononoke". The detailed payed to the art work is spectacular and the story line is a darker children's tale.
Similar atmosphere,similar character design,dealing with people who doesn't respect the rights of nature, protecting the acient world,however PM is more dramatic & cruel than HwOK
Both animes - a fantasy, with atmosphere of romanticism and adventures where people co-operate with gods. Well and of course plotting in this work of Makoto Shinkai is too similar to an anime of Hayao Miyazaki.
Both movies have incredibly similar atmospheres and basic plot lines about humans trying to be/control gods and not fully understanding what they're getting themselves into. Princess Mononoke delves much more heavily into a humanity vs nature theme, while Children Who Chase Lost Voices focuses more on how people cope with death. Both are gorgeous beyond belief and if you like one you will undoubtedly enjoy the other.
Opening ThemeNo opening themes found, add themes.
Ending Theme"Hello Goodbye & Hello" by Anri Kumaki (熊木杏里)
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