“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)