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I just want to see him again...

  • Mar 18, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+4

     Voices Of A Distant Star
was the first work of up-and-coming director Makoto Shinkai, who has since been declared "the next Miyazaki". While I don't agree with this statement, I do believe that Shinkai is, so far, a great director in his own right. 

     Voices Of A Distant Star follows two close friends, Mikako Nagamine and Noboru Terao, who become separated after Mikako joins a research team and leaves the Earth's atmosphere to aid in a war against an alien race known as the "Tarsians". As Mikako's travels take her further from home, her text messages take progressively longer to reach Noboru back on Earth, therefore testing the bonds of their friendship.

     This OVA was one of the first anime titles that I watched when I first became interested in the medium, and I have to say that had I not been introduced to such great titles as this, my interest in the medium may very well have waned long ago. Since then, I have seen several other titles and can say with confidence that while this title isn't perfect, it's still above and beyond the norm. 


(Doesn't it almost look like a real-life scene?)

     Voices Of A Distant Star has some of the best animation that I have ever seen, in anime or otherwise. The fact that Shinkai created this OVA mainly on his own computer makes the animation seem even more incredible, because it surpasses much of what even most large-scale animation companies ever release. The character designs in this OVA are a little awkward, but the backgrounds are so visually stunning that it's easy to ignore the strangely-pointy faces of the characters, which are improved much more in the manga-adaptation. 

     I think that my favorite thing about this OVA is the soundtrack. This is one of those titles that has background music that you'll actually remember after the final credits come to an end, and for some, the instrumental piece played during the DVD menu may even bring back tears. However, I sometimes feel that without the music in this OVA, it would not have had the same emotional impact. The "main theme", Through The Years And Far Away, that was played during a climactic battle between Mikako and a Tarsian was especially powerful, with a female vocalist singing the song flawlessly. Her English, in the English version, wasn't perfect, but the unique sound of her voice distracted from that. I just can't help thinking that without the amazing soundtrack, this OVA would not be the same.

     While the artistic aspects of this OVA are virtually unriveled, in my opinion, the characters are where I feel the only real flaws rest. I believe that the manga does a much better job in terms of developing the characters. The OVA mainly focuses on the present time, with Mikako and Noboru being shown alternately lamenting their separation. Because this OVA is only twenty-five minutes in length, it never becomes too angst-ridden or over-the-top, but had it been longer, there would have to have been more characters introduced, or a more in-depth look of the specific memories that Mikako and Noboru had of their time on Earth together would have to be taken to keep this OVA from just wallowing in misery. I think that the manga does a far superior job of developing the characters' personalities; while the OVA seems to portray Mikako as "the girl Noboru misses" and Noboru as "the boy that Mikako never knew she loved", the manga portrays them more as separate entities, as separate people with distinct personalities. The OVA also has almost no dialogue, aside from a few sentences near the beginning. Without dialogue, it is hard to determine just what kind of people the two characters are. (In the OVA, Mikako and Noboru are the only characters.) However, while I feel that the development of the individual characters is a bit weak, the relationship that the two shared was developed and explored very well, in that from the OVA, it was clear just how much Mikako and Noboru cared about each other. In fact, my favorite part of the entire OVA was a moment when Mikako realizes that she had loved Noboru all along, and begins to cry while saying that she wants nothing more than to see him again. This scene broke my heart, mainly because I found it so unbelievably sad that Mikako didn't realize how she felt about Noboru until it was too late, because at this point, she is not sure when she is going to be returning to Earth. It just goes to show that you don't know what you have until it's gone.

     So, while this OVA isn't perfect, I felt that it accomplished a lot in the way of emotional catharsis for a twenty-five minute animated short. It is truly one of the most beautiful pieces that I have ever seen, and I believe that Shinkai put a lot of himself into this, and the care that he put in absolutely came out in the end. It's a wonderful love story that is devoid of any teen angst, over-the-top drama, or fan-service, and I highly recommend it. Even the trailer is capable of conjuring up emotions...



If interested, please also see:

Voices Of A Distant Star (manga)
I just want to see him again... I just want to see him again...

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March 18, 2010
One of my all-time favorite animes...ever! excellent review and I agree completely, that trailer is just so full of senses-popping emotions!
March 18, 2010
Ah, so you've seen this one? I agree. It's one of my favorites as well. Have you seen Shinkai's second major work The Place Promised In Our Early Days?
 
March 18, 2010
Nice review! I'm glad I checked out both the manga and anime reviews. They really have different feels to them, especially since this one has the trailer. I can tell what you mean about the music. It is very emotionally, even in just the little bit in the trailer. I'm going to have to watch this one in the near future!
March 18, 2010
I hope you do. I don't know if nostalgia plays a part, but this one is very special to me. I hope you enjoy them!
March 19, 2010
I'll write up a review when I do watch it. It'll probably be some time, though, because I am so back-logged on writing, lol, and not just reviews!
March 20, 2010
I know what you mean. I look forward to that review.
 
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More Voices of a Distant Star (Hosh... reviews
review by . February 20, 2010
Up to Miyazaki's Standerd? No. Good on its Own? Definetly.
  Okay, first I would like to put to rest the lie that this movie is of the same standard as Miyazaki's films. It is not. It's a start for an upcoming director, but still not up to Miyazaki's greatness. This is not Miyazaki, so don't expect a Miyazaki type film.       The film itself is great. A young female joins the UN army to help fight off an alien race that has attacked a colony on mars, leaving behind her childhood friend and love. As her fleet moves farther and farther …
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My user-name was derived from the title of a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. I came to Lunch with the hopes of publishing reviews that would be appreciated by others and reading the reviews of others that hope … more
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Voices of a Distant Star is a Japanese anime OVA by Makoto Shinkai. It chronicles a long-distance relationship between two close friends who communicate by sending emails via their mobile phones across interstellar space. It was originally released to DVD on February 2, 2002, and has since been broadcast across Japan on the anime satellite television network, Animax.
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Details

Genre: Drama, Mecha, Romance
Release Date: February 2, 2002
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Runtime: Twenty-five minutes
Studio: CoMix Wave Inc.
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