Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo – A Flurry of Sceneries

Before I start, I must admit that I’m a little bit excited to get back to writing and reviewing anime again after such an extended period of hiatus. I immediately took advantage of the intense traffic jam that I got stuck in last week by finally watching Makoto Shinkai’s Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo/Children Who Chase Lost Voices.

For beginners, Makoto Shinkai is known in the anime movie world by producing absolutely stunning visuals and heart-wrenching stories. In this production, Makoto Shinkai instead focused on “acceptance” and created a Ghibli-like movie with the presence of multiple monster-like creatures (known in-movie as the Quetzal Coatl).

The story starts with a girl named Asuna meeting a young boy named Shin on the mountains, where she always spends her free time. With a kiss, Asuna had developed a yearning for Shin after finding out that he ‘died’ on the mountains later on. So, her adventure begins in search for the truth behind some mysterious events surrounding him.

The movie has a nice pace at the start but it got even more interesting as the story progresses. To be honest – I was expecting the story along the lines of his previous three major productions, and although this one is a bit different, it is nothing short of a masterpiece.

The theme of the movie is “traveling to know the meaning of goodbye’ and the path Shinkai-san took on this one is very imaginative and superb. Though I personally haven’t had such experience, the emotions of every scene can be clearly felt (what more if you’ve actually had trouble of accepting goodbyes). It’s very hard to provide more information on the story without giving anything away, so I suggest you watch the movie instead.

Visuals. Needless to say, it was another perfect 10/10. I hope the following screenshots from my phone give it justice:

I still can’t comment on the seiyuu after all these years because to me, they’re all perfect, really! ^_^ The characters though are very believable they blend seamlessly to the plot.

And finally, the icing on the cake, the almost obligatory music portion where he chose “Hello, Goodbye & Hello” by Anri Kumaki. Just like “One More Time, One More Chance” on Byousoku 5 centimeters, it seems that the movie is an animated visual of the song! Is Shinkai-san using songs as an inspiration? No one knows, but this is another great pairing!

In my books, this is a solid 8.7/10. I just felt it to be a little dragging at times but Shinkai-san is on the right path. Not constricting himself to the same ‘genre’ over and over again, this is a great, fresh movie from him. Now, please excuse me while I flip the internet over and under for Kotonoha no Niwa HD. 🙂


Kotonoha no Niwa (The Garden of Words) Extended Trailer

Well, not really a trailer but sort of like a short music video of the OST showing short clips of the movie.

Also, I just have to get this out of the way – those trains and station are so Byousoku-like! Really looking forward to this one.

In case you’ve been under a rock for quite some time now, Makoto Shinkai will be releasing (well, it has already been released in other countries like Australia) Kotonoha no Niwa – a short film about a shoemaker who meets a girl only during rainy seasons. It also feels like Shinkai-san is going back to that theme of ‘distance’.

Until further news then. 🙂 Enjoy the clip.

The Garden of Words – Official Trailer

FINALLY! The Garden of Words’ official trailer has been released:

If you’re not familiar with the title yet, but are an avid anime fan, you would’ve guessed that it was Makoto Shinkai’s project. Well – you’re right! Right after Hoshi no Ou Kodomo (Children Who Chase Lost Voices), Shinkai-san gets right back to work with a new production – partnering with Comix Wave Films again.

Ok – I’m gonna say it now: IT IS GOING TO BE EPIC!

It’s no secret I’m one of the biggest fans of his works. Though Children is ok, and even though it must have been said a million times now – that it’s Ghibli-esque, I really liked Byousoku much, much better due to the heart-wrenching story line. From the looks of this one, looks like Shinkai-sama is going back to where the fans have absolutely adored – great music, ahead of its time animation (I mean, just look at the quality of that trailer!), and un-paralleled love story.

I must admit I did not understand a single thing in the trailer – so hopefully, I can update this one with English subs in the near future. What we do know is that it’s slated for an end of May release. You can visit the official site here.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to it. And for the record, I watched Byousoku thrice on the first day I learned of it and have had sleepless nights over it. It’s just… a masterpiece. Judging by the trailer itself, I might just reach that epiphany again.

Global Shinkai Day 2012

So it’s that time of the year again – the annual Global Shinkai Day which has now been technically extended to three days (March 9 – 11). However, it should also be noted that this event coincides with the first anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake.

The Global Shinkai Day was initiated by these guys from the Cherry Blossoms Falling forum (a Shinkai fan site) some 3 years ago. I have been following this event ever since and it’s a nice way to remember Makoto Shinkai‘s works from the very beginning – shorts, commercials, and full-time movies/OVAs. They managed to team up with Crunchyroll to roll out the film showing events worldwide. For more details on the Crunchyroll announcement, please visit this link.

To those who are new to his works, Crunchyroll streams Shinkai’s masterpieces English subbed (there were even dubbed versions before, but I didn’t like it as much as Japanese dubs do). The guys from Cherry Blossoms Falling also holds some contests and giveaways to the participants, as well as live discussions about the movie (I think this time around, they are giving away a signed 5 centimeters per second DVD). If you are a long time fan, maybe you can discuss what new realizations you have after watching the movies, since as we all know, we see a new dimension of the movie everytime we watch his works. 🙂

So see you there and I hope you enjoy his works as much as I do. With that, I will leave you with this snippet from his stellar masterpiece, 5 centimeters per second:

Akari Shinohara: Hey… They say it’s five centimeters per second.
Takaki Toono: What do you mean?
Akari Shinohara: The speed at which the sakura blossom petals fall… five centimeters per second.

Finding my True Self: A Dream + A Short Review on Byousoku 5 cm + In Relation to My Life

I overslept a while ago. As I woke up, I noticed that the small hand of the clock was about to reach 12. It was already noon when I regained my consciousness from a very deep slumber – a slumber so happy that I can almost touch it – like a reality.

I had a dream. A dream about her. Again. We finally met. She was smiling – a smile I’ve never seen for more than 3 years now. The smile that I was searching for all this time. The smile that filled my life once. I approached her as she approach me. We had a nice time together while walking and sharing some stories. But I never noticed how it ended. It’s like one day you’re here and wham! You’re gone again.

Despite that, I feel like I’ve seen her in reality again. It was like she was so close to me that it was that very moment I was looking for all this time – even though it’s a dream. And so, I finally decided to watch 5 cm/sec. And wow! I MEAN WOW! To my surprise, it was like patterned to my real life. Almost as exact as it can get. Not only that, the future it held could be my future too (Comparisons to be discussed later on). And so, here’s Byousoku 5 cm:


18 Aug 08

Byousoku 5 cm

5 centimeters per second – this is the estimated speed that a sakura petal falls to the ground. In this three-episode movie, the separation of the petal from the tree is greatly explored. Why did the petal have to leave the tree and where will the petal drop off? Will the distance between the tree and the sakura petal have any significance at all? This is a chain of short stories about love, people, time, space, distance, longing, memories, and pain. These are the everyday struggles that we, human beings, don’t seem to notice until one day, the most important things in our lives will be gone.

The arts and the animation of the series is really visually stunning. The staff really made a wonderful job to make it look as real as possible. The voice acting weren’t bad also, as the emotions can also be felt in the tone and how the speech was delivered. Although the movie is quite short (only three episodes), it is self-sufficient in a sense that it conveyed everything it holds. All the possibilities and the amazing potentials it brought out were realized in the end in a good manner. The conclusion, half expected-half not (although it favors me that the conclusion be the one I expected), was really good.

The three episodes were all connected to each other as it brings about the main theme of the story – moving on. The past is the past and what is important now is living on with the present.

Takaki Tono never really realized this until the final seconds of the movie when he though he saw Akari again across the railroads (where he never really did confirmed it because of the trains passing by). Their relationship started at a good pace and a good foundation – friendship. But as time goes, this relationship grows further, eventually surpassing friendship itself and moving on towards love.

The first deeply emotional scene was when Takaki and Akari met again after nearly 1 year being separated since the end of middle school. Takaki arrived at the station they were supposed to meet more than 4 hours later because of the delays in the train stations due to a strong  blizzard. As soon as Akari saw Takaki, Akari teared – of joy, surprise, and probably the disappearance of disappointment, fear, doubt, and worries. They shared stories of immeasurable amount as they went to sleep together.

But before they slept, Takaki and Akari kissed – and this changed the view of Takaki, and as well as Akari. They knew that it was because of that moment, they would never see each other again. Everything would be different from now on. Now why is that? One, because friendship ends and probably, love starts. Second, it would be very hard for love to survive in such a scenario lacking time for each other. Their true enemies are time and distance. Takaki said that he would call and he would write, but that may never be enough. Love needs nurturing and this could not be done in its full form without the presence of the other.

So the next morning, as they woke up, Takaki left the station. Akari never gave the letter she was suppose to give Takaki while Takaki’s letter for Akari also never reached her (because he accidentally dropped the letter in one of the stations, causing the letter to fly into emptiness).

The story continues in the second episode where Takaki is now in high school where he met Kanae Sumida, a friend of his. Takaki doesn’t know that Kanae had fallen for him – but this is a fact that will never reach Takaki. Although at one point in the story, Kanae was centimeters away from confessing to Takaki about her love for him, she hesitated. And in the end, she never got to tell him the truth that she had been keeping to herself (and to some of her friends). Why?

Because she knew that she was not the one Takaki is looking at. Everytime Kanae would look at Takaki, he seems to be looking at a far away distance where he seems to be waiting for someone. This alone let Kanae feel that maybe, just maybe, she was not the one for him – aside from the fact that Kanae always sees Takaki sending a message through his phone (although Takaki never really sends any of those messages to anyone – he just types then and then deletes it afterwards).

So in the end of that day, Kanae just rested in her bed, crying of pain, because she knew, that even though she will not tell Takaki the truth and that Takaki will be with someone else, she will still continue to love Takaki as much as yesterday or even greater tomorrow than any of the previous days.

The story concluded in the final episode that is self-entitled. Kanae, Akari, and Takaki lived their own lives according to the path they have chosen. Takaki became a computer programmer while Akari was engaged to another man. Takaki had a girlfriend but the movie never really explored on this much. The last episode was shown with just a set of clips – of the past and the present – together with a very beautiful and masterful song One More Time, One More Chance. THIS IS THE BEST EPISODE IN ANIME EVER, together with the song. IT IS ADVISED THAT YOU WATCH THIS SCENCE AT LEAST TWICE. One for the lyrics of the song, and the other at least once for the clips shown, as it gives a ton of info in the story.

In the end, Takaki was shown wandering around that same area where he and Akari last met at the end of middle school. As he crossed the railroads, he also crossed a woman and after crossing the railroad he thought to himself, “I know deep inside and I can feel that this woman would also look back at me as I will look back at her”. And as Takaki looks back at the woman, two trains pass by the railroads and as soon as the view clears up, the woman was not there anymore. This is the highlight of the story. How? Because as soon as she sees that the woman was never there anymore, he knew that he had moved on, because he smiled. The woman was strongly hinted as Akari, though there was no confirmation. But then, he smiled, turned around, and walked his way as the present would continue on its path. The way cleared up for him and it was just up for him to run and follow that woman to confirm and to see for himself. But, and a very big but, he did not. He had the choice. And he chose the better one.

Living on the present and then not regretting what was over. This is what I like about the story. A lesson which I wish I had learned eons ago. Now, I’m confined in this entity called time and now I’m trapped. From the movie, I can clearly see my life and myself as Takaki.

In a sense, let’s just recall my memories. I have also been in love with someone in high school. Though she knew what I felt, I never really got the chance of what I really felt, say the intensity or whatever. But the point is that, I never told her. Then, we got separated. Their family moved to a farther place, so we only exchanged thoughts through text messaging. Back in the later parts of high school, I also had a girlfriend (and still is up to now) where she also fell in love with me as I fall in love with her too. But at times, she always talks to me about how she was inappropriate for me and that how I would be happy with someone else. Why? Because I’m also looking at a distant, far away place. I’m also waiting for someone to return.

And now, it’s been more than 3 years since we haven’t met face to face. It is only in dreams that I can talk to her and see her. But that’s ok. At least there’s a chance.

This truly contradicts my perspectives – the fact that Takaki lived with the present. I can’t even think about that. I’m still trapped by the past. A moment that has passed and I was carried away with it. Takaki had no regrets while I had mine – because he has something which I don’t have, or have not found yet – and that is courage. The courage to move and live in the present and be satisfied. Unlike in ef ~A Tale of Memories~, there are memories which we don’t want to forget. Yes, I do not want to forget those memories with her, but heck, those memories will never come to life again, nor will there be a conclusion to it, unless everything gets cleared up in the near future. And I need the courage to do that. In Fate/stay night, Shiro could eventually forget Saber’s tangible everythings, but not the fact that someday, she loved Saber. And now, here in Byousoku 5 cm, Takaki lived with it, and continued on the path that he has chosen. Akari also lived the life she chose.

The excellent metaphor of the petals and us human beings gave Byousoku 5 cm something to think about. As the petals drop 5 cm per second, we human beings are also unaware that we drift apart from each other at a slow rate. But in fact, this is not that important. What’s important is the time it takes for this drifting to take place. It doesn’t matter if a petal drops for 5 cm per second, or a space shuttle to travel at 5 kilometers per hour – the time it takes to travel makes the distance wider. The longer time it takes, the farther you distance from the other. This will leave you with a lot of pain to deal with. And although other people are ready to help, support, and love you, you will be covered with the pain. It will be like a barrier that will prevent you from waking up to reality and be constantly trapped in the time where now, you regret the most.

As for me, I hope I find the way to live the life I chose, or the life that was here, destined for me. It’s like, something is so unclear.

Oh wait, now I get it. It just passed my head just now. I NOW KNOW why I am feeling like this right now. In ef ~A Tale of Memories~, I can strongly relate to Kei Shindou. Why Kei? Because she is in so much pain. A pain caused by the unclear feelings of Hirono for her. Hirono never told Kei what he really felt, until Kei finally understood that it was just sisterly and brotherly love and that the feelings she had for him is at wrong place. After that, Kei was contented with what the situation is, and Hirono then chose to love Miyako.

Like Kei, I really don’t know on what ground I am currently standing at. Because, she never told me. I know she knew what I felt, but she in fact, come to think of it, never ever told me what her feelings are or were all these time. Now I know – because I don’t know.

So overall, I gave this movie a rating of 9.7 and relational rating of 10. If you haven’t watched this movie yet, then you are definitely missing something. This movie is one of the best anime movie ever made.

One More Time, One More Chance
Lyrics and Vocals: Masayoshi Yamazaki
Arrangement: Toshiyuki Mori

Koreijou nani wo ushinaeba kokoro wa yurusareru no
Dore hodo no itami naraba mou ichido kimi ni aeru
One more time kisetsu yo utsurowanaide
One more time fuzake atta jikan yo

Kuichigau toki wa itsumo boku ga saki ni oreta ne
Wagamama na seikaku ga naosara itoshiku saseta
One more chance kioku ni ashi wo torarete
One more chance tsugi no basho wo erabenai

Itsudemo sagashite iru yo dokka ni kimi no sugata wo
Mukai no HOOMU rojiura no mado
Konna toko ni iru hazu mo nai no ni
Negai ga moshimo kanau nara ima sugu kimi no moto e
Dekinai koto wa mou nanimo nai
Subete kakete dakishimete miseru yo

Sabishisa magirasu dake nara
Dare demo ii hazu na no ni
Hoshi ga ochisou na yoru dakara
Jibun wo itsuwarenai
One more time kisetsu yo utsurowanaide
One more time fuzake atta jikan yo

Itsudemo sagashite iru yo dokka ni kimi no sugata wo
Kousaten demo yume no naka demo
Konna toko ni iru hazu mo nai no ni
Kiseki ga moshimo okoru nara ima sugu kimi ni misetai
Atarashii asa korekara no boku
Ienakatta suki to iu kotoba mo

Natsu no omoide ga mawaru fui ni kieta kodou

Itsudemo sagashite iru yo dokka ni kimi no sugata wo
Akegata no machi sakuragichou de
Konna toko ni kuru hazu mo nai no ni
Negai ga moshimo kanau nara ima sugu kimi no moto e
Dekinai koto wa mou nanimo nai
Subete kakete dakishimete miseru yo

Itsudemo sagashite iru yo dokka ni kimi no kakera wo
Tabisaki no mise shinbun no sumi
Konna toko ni aru hazu mo nai no ni
Kiseki ga moshimo okoru nara ima sugu kimi ni misetai
Atarashii asa kore kara no boku
Ienakatta suki to iu kotoba mo

Itsu demo sagashite shimau dokka ni kimi no egao wo
Kyuukou machi no fumikiri atari
Konna toko ni iru hazu mo nai no ni
Inochi ga kurikaesu naraba nandomo kimi no moto e
Hoshii mono nado mou nanimo nai
Kimi no hoka ni taisetsu na mono nado

One More Time, One More Chance
Transliteration and translation: daike
Translation support: Emma
Translation edit: icie:

How much more do I have to lose, before my heart is forgiven?
How many more pains do I have to suffer, to meet you once again?
One more time, oh seasons, fade not
One more time, when we were messing around

Whenever we disagreed, I would always give in first
Your selfish nature made me love you even more
One more chance, the memories restrain my steps
One more chance, I cannot choose my next destination

I’m always searching, for your figure to appear somewhere
On the opposite platform, in the windows along the lane
Even though I know you couldn’t be at such a place
If my wish were to come true, I would be at your side right away
There would be nothing I couldn’t do
I would put everything on the line and hold you tight
If I just wanted to avoid loneliness, anybody would have been enough.
Because the night looks like the stars will fall, I cannot lie to myself.
One more time, oh seasons, fade not.
One more time, when we were messing around

I’m always searching, for your figure to appear somewhere
At a street crossing, in the midst of dreams
Even though I know you couldn’t be at such a place
If a miracle were to happen here, I would show you right away
The new morning, who I’ll be from now on
And the words I never said: “I love you.”
The memories of summer are revolving
The throbbing which suddenly disappeared

I’m always searching, for your figure to appear somewhere
At dawn on the streets, at Sakuragi-cho
Even though I know you couldn’t be at such a place
If my wish were to come true, I would be at your side right away
There would be nothing I couldn’t do
I would put everything on the line and hold you tight

I’m always searching, for fragments of you to appear somewhere
At a traveller’s store, in the corner of newspaper,
Even though I know you couldn’t be at such a place
If a miracle were to happen here, I would show you right away
The new morning, who I’ll be from now on
And the words I never said: “I love you.”

I always end up looking for your smile, to appear somewhere
At the railroad crossing, waiting for the express to pass
Even though I know you couldn’t be at such a place
If our lives could be repeated, I would be at your side every time
I would want nothing else
Besides you, nothing else matters

Yeah, the lyrics of the song pierced my heart and tore it to pieces. The lyrics are absolutely beautiful. I can say the same for HER. Though you could never really be there…

P.S. Makoto Shinkai, you’re a genius!