Voices of a Distant Star

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2.5 Stars
This is mostly interesting as a proof of concept: a demonstration that if you were sufficiently talented and fanatically dedicated you could create a professional-quality anime all by yourself, or perhaps with the help of a few friends.

In 2001 Makoto Shinkai quit his job as a video game developer and spent about seven months working head-down full-time to create this 25-minute anime on his computer. A friend handled the music and sound effects; Makoto and his fiancée did the voice acting. (It was later redubbed using professional seiyuu.)

  • Original Title
    Hoshi no Koe
  • Genres
    Science Fiction, Drama, Mecha
  • Demographic
  • Contents
    1 Episode (in several versions) on 1 DVD
  • Languages
    English, Japanese with subtitles
  • Director
    Makoto Shinkai
  • Music
  • Producer (OVA)
    Yoshihiro Hagiwara
  • Voice Direction (OVA)
    Toshiki Kameyama
  • Region 1 Publisher
    ADV Films

Considering how it was created this looks surprisingly good. It looks and feels like something that might have been created by one of the lower-end animation studios, perhaps as the first episode of a 3-episode OVA, or maybe a 12-episode TV series.

But that’s the problem. It doesn’t feel like a complete story to me. It’s more like the setup for a story. Now that’s just my impression. Based on the interview on the DVD, Makoto Shinkai seems to feel that it’s a complete and satisfactory story in itself. Your mileage may vary.

That being the case, I don’t want to go into detail about the plot. Anything more than the barest outline of the premise would pretty much give away the whole thing.

Basically there are two teenagers and they’re in love. Unfortunately one of them is stuck on Earth while the other is a mecha pilot fighting aliens in a distant star system. They can only commuicate by text messages which take years to reach their destination.

Here are a few screenshots.







Parental Advisory

Contains bloodless cartoon violence of the sort you would expect in any mecha show.


Wikipedia entry (spoilers.)

ANN Encyclopedia entry.