Hoshi no Koe, using full 2D and 3D digital animation, is a story of a long distance love and mail messages between a boy and girl. Set in 2046 after the discovery of the ruins of an alien civilization on Mars, man has been able to make leaps in technology and is planning to send an expedition into space in the next year. Nagamine Mikako and Terao Noboru are junior high school students. However, while Noboru will be entering senior high next winter, Mikako is selected to join the space expedition.
I randomly picked this DVD up at Blockbuster's Anime section and expected nothing much from it and 25 minutes later I was ...... !!!!!! The next day I told 10 people about this movie. That's how much it *got* to me.
Hoshi no Koe ~The Voices of a Distant Star~, is essentially a story of a long distance love and mail messages between a boy and girl. The movie is really short, but in that time you discover that the two of them are friends, the girl is sent out with space forces, but they "text" each other. As time passes (on
earth) the boy will age quicker than the girl who is millions of light years away.
If you've ever been separated from a loved one by time or distance, this movie will resonate very strongly with you. Prepare the Kleenex. You won't really cry because the movie is sad, you'll cry because of ... sheer longing and wishing and other emotions, please watch the movie and you'll understand what I mean. It's a Masterpiece.
The movie's sheer ability to pack that much emotional punch into a 25 minutes ~ now THAT is story-writing talent. It totally disproves the myth that movies have to be long to have good character development.
What is even more amazing is this entire anime was done by 1 man with 1 Apple Mac. He and his wife provided the voice acting for both characters. The man is Makoto Shinkai. I made a vow to follow his career. Since Hoshi No Koe his career has taken off, he is the talent behind "The Place Promised in Our Early Days" and "Byousoku 5 centimeter". This guy is so good that I'll buy every anime he makes because I know it will be good.
After watching the amazing 5 Centimeters Per Second, I figure I owed it to myself to watch Shinkai Makoto's first work Voices of a Distant Star. Reviews praised it and I assumed that it must be good. Well you know what they say about assuming.
Right off the bat I was unsure about the story. I liked the concept of love separated by distance as it worked quite well in 5cm Per Second, but the idea of lagging text messages is just ludicrous. You'd think that in the year 2046 we'd have invented a more effective form of communication, but I guess Shinkai Makoto didn't think
so. Also look at the phones! No effort was made to even design phones that even had a hint of futuristic technology. Oh yeah, they could invent gigantic, space traveling, mechas, but more advanced forms of mobile communication devices are out of the equation! Moving on, the story gets no better from beginning to end and nothing is resolved. Practically no attempt is made to even strengthen the audience's true understanding of the connection that Nagamine and Noboru share. They just sort of tell you that they like each other and expect that to mean something. The years fly by without any coherent sense of meaning and the progression of time ends up not feeling quite right. Things don't change drastically enough for Noboru or Nagamine for me to even care. The story is just a mess. A pretentious, self-indulgent, mess. 5/10
First impression was a mixture of confusion and disgust. The characters are HORRIBLY designed. From scene to scene, depending on the angle, they look so different that I sometimes couldn't realize if they were one of the leads or a new character. Proportions were also SO off at angles that I had to really try to resist the urge to punch the screen out of anger. Emotions don't quite come across as clearly as I would expect which just compounds with all the other flaws making this OVA nearly unwatchable. The space battle scenes actually stand out as the best art in the OVA, but the doesn't mean anything. The mecha designs and animation is average and uninspired. Yawn. 3/10
The sound in this also blows my mind at just how horrible it is. You know how bad the music is? So bad I can't even remember what it sounded like. I can't even remember what if there WAS music in this! And the seiyuu are as lacking in emotion as the Twilight movie actors. The sound effects in the space battle scenes are average, just what you'd expect for that kind of thing, so they leave no impression whatsoever. 3/10
There were characters? Really? I just thought there were talking slabs of painted wood. Not that they had much to say. The characters are just so lacking in any relatable emotion since the OVA didn't spend enough time establishing the nature of Nagamine and Noboru's relationship to make the audience give a car that they are separate. I'd like to see what exactly they love about each other. Noboru is a distant, blank, emotionless guy and Nagamine is a clingy, whiny, child. Neither are developed and both are just without any sort of distinguishing personality. And the whole lack of ANY other characters just blows my mind. Really. 2/10
5 Centimeters Per Second is, to this day, one of my favorite anime movie/OVAs of all time and I think, since it came after this abysmal pile of filth, that Shinkai Makoto is a very talented man. He knows how to establish atmosphere and characters, situations and emotions that you can relate to. He brought none of his skills in these areas to this OVA. Flat characters, a ridiculous premise, emotionless seiyuu and horrible art all make this one of the WORST anime ANYTHINGS I've ever seen. I will never understand how so many people could enjoy this trash, but they can if they want. I do not suggest watching this. Save your time for Shinkai Makoto's other works as they are worth the investment. 4/10
I first watched this movie in 2004 in university and remember being blown away by the sheer depth of emotions and feelings that this short film manages to convey in the time that the typical shounen anime may have managed to advance the plot by about 2 screams, a power-up and a fireball.
Coming back to this film over 10 years later, I was apprehensive at how my memories of the film would hold up to a rewatch by my older, cynical, 30-something self.
The art is pretty mediocre especially given the advances in animation in the past decade. The faces especially tend to be distorted and
out of shape though some of the landscape shots were pretty breathtaking. The plot is also pretty normal and if summarised is nothing special. In the short amount of time we spend with the 2 main characters, we don't really find out much about their history or motivations driving them.
With all these flaws then, why does this film deserve a 10/10, a PERFECT score??
Makoto Shinkai (the director) somehow takes these somewhat mediocre elements, mixes them together and then turns them into an amazing film which is greater than the sum of its parts. Somehow, despite the mediocre and simple art, you really get a sense of the vast emptiness of space, and the loneliness and isolation that Mikako feels as she is separated further and further from Noboru by both distance as well as time. Somehow, despite the limited characterisation, you really come to understand how strongly they feel - their despair, their love, their hope. And to top it all off, Makoto Shinkai somehow did all this on his own using a home computer in 2002, when most people were still discovering how to use a computer to surf for porn and such.
Hoshi no Koe is a movie about feelings, and how it conveys these feelings so forcefully in 20 minutes is truly impressive.
“There is no long distance about love, it always finds a way to bring hearts together no matter how many miles there are between them.”
Telling a good story in only 25 minutes can be a difficult task, but Shinkai Makoto (almost) single-handedly managed to do so with Hoshi no Koe. However, since it was in fact only made by one person, it does have its fair share of flaws (some more prominent than others).
Story: (8 / 10)
The story is simple. Two childhood friends are separated, but try to stay in contact with each other, even as the distance between them grows. This creates a rather
emotional love story, and it does it all in the short time period of 25 minutes.
Because it’s so short, there’s not too much to say about it, but Shinkai did a great job of delivering a story like this.
Art: (8 / 10)
The art is by far one of the biggest shortcomings of this OVA, and yet it’s so beautiful, all at the same time. Hoshi no Koe uses a mix of 2D and 3D-animation, mostly using the latter for the mecha and spaceships, while characters and backgrounds remain 2D. The backgrounds are fantastic, and looks so good, but this is where the problem comes in. With such beautiful backgrounds, it’s rather weird that the characters look so... bad. It really feels like there wasn’t nearly as much time put in for the character art, and it’s really noticeable.
It wasn’t too much of a problem though, as all the other aspects of the art (and OVA in general) will take your mind off the character designs before you know it.
Sound: (8 / 10)
There are (apparently) two versions of this OVA. One where Shinkai and his wife did all the voices, and one which had proper voice actors. I watched the former, which obviously means the voices weren’t as well done as they could have been. Some lines of dialog just felt stale, but this is also a (very small) problem which quickly fades in comparison to the rest of the OVA.
The OVA has a very emotional piano-centered soundtrack, which really helped bring out the emotions in every scene. The music in itself is fantastic, and the credits song, “Through the Years and Far Away”, is an absolutely beautiful song that really captures the tone the OVA set.
Characters: (7 / 10)
When you only have 25 minutes to tell a story, it’s quite obvious that there won’t be time for a lot of character development at all. Nonetheless, the characters felt real, and somewhat relatable (I’ve never been in a similar situation myself, so it’s hard to tell). What I did like, however, is how there are no supporting characters, really emphasising that this is the story of these two friends, separated in time and space, and introducing new characters which we’d have to develop emotions and care for would’ve probably taken away a lot of the feelings you get when watching this.
Enjoyment: (8 / 10)
I really enjoyed this OVA, and how it manages to do what it does in such a short time. It was rather emotional and sad at times, but not to the point where you’ll find yourself crying uncontrollably.
If you have 25-30 minutes on your hands, and/or you’re simply a fan of these types of movies (5CPS, Promised Place) then I’d highly recommend you watch this.
+ Tells a great love story in a very short amount of time.
+ Fantastic soundtrack.
+ Nice mix of 2D and 3D-animation.
+ Beautiful backgrounds.
- Character art really falls short.
- Voice acting can feel a bit “off” at times (due to not having real VA’s)
Makoto Shinkai has been called "The New Miyazaki" due to his amazing talent and stunning visual works. And his newest movie "Kimi no Na wa. (Your Name.)" recorded a historical hit in Japan. Let's take a look at a list of his best rated works on MAL!