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Voices of a Distant Star (2003)
"Hoshi no koe" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Animation, Short, Drama  |  2 February 2003 (Japan)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 4,945 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 13 critic

The love of Japanese high school students Mikako Nagamine and Noboru Tera is tested when Mikako is sent to fight aliens in a distant universe and voice mails to and from Earth become months to years in transmission.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Mika Shinohara ...
Mikako Nagamine (voice)
Makoto Shinkai ...
Noboru Terao (original version) (voice)
Sumi Mutoh ...
Chihiro Suzuki ...
Noboru Terao ('seiyuu' version) (voice)
...
Operator ('seiyuu' version) (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Adam Conlon ...
Noboru Terao (voice)
Cynthia Martinez ...
Mikako Nagamine (voice)
Edit

Storyline

The story of the high school students Mikako Nagamine and Noboru Terao. When the alien Tarsians attack, Mikako volunteers to be a pilot in the space force that will protect mankind. The lovers try to remain in contact using cellular telephone text messages, but as each battle takes Mikako further from the Earth, each message takes longer to arrive. Will their love stand the tests of time and distance? Written by Patrick Graydon <imdb@pgraydon.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A love story that transcends time and space


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

2 February 2003 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Voces de una Estrella Distante  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was written, directed and produced entirely by Makoto Shinkai on his Power Mac G4. Makoto and his wife, Miko provided the voice acting for the working dub (A second Japanese dub was later created for the DVD release with professional voice actors). See more »

Quotes

Noboru Terao: It's stopped raining, hasn't it? Hey, look The sky It's a Tracer. It's pretty, isn't it?
Mikako Nagamine: Yeah... Say, Noboru... You know, I... I am going to be onboard that.
See more »

Soundtracks

Through the Years and Far Away (Hello Little Star)
Music by Tenmon
Lyrics by K. Juno
Performance by Ai Miyoko
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Shinkai's warm-up
17 October 2008 | by (http://www.onderhond.com/archive/onderhond/category/movies) – See all my reviews

The anime industry is a pretty rigid one. It takes time for talent to surface, people never start off by directing a movie of their own. Even major talents like Mamoru Oshii started their careers inbetweening children's cartoons. It's the way the industry works, and there's very little room for change. Yet there are some people who are talented enough to break right through these traditions.

Makoto Shinkai is one of those people. When Hoshi no Koe was released, many heads turned. Being only his second short film (and his first lengthy one), Shinkai directed a movie that not only had a unique visual style and was technically impressive, he did it all by himself. Without the help of any major studio or other animators, without prior experience in the industry, he created a 30 minute animated short film that equaled and surpassed many other professional efforts. No matter how rigid an industry is, this gets you noticed.

With Hoshi no Koe, Shinkai put his name out there. While not all the work was done by himself (his wife and a couple of friends did the original dubbing), the bulk of the work was all his doing. Though he directed a short film before, with Hoshi no Koe he defined his personal style and developed an atmosphere he could call his own, crafting it to further perfection in his later films.

The film is now 4 years old, yet it still looks lush. It's not the prettiest anime out there, not by far. The cgi looks pretty standard and the characters designs aren't really that good, but Shinkai knew perfectly well how to mask his shortcomings. By using strong, vibrant yet dreamy colors, applying a smart mix of 2d and 3d artwork and getting some good camera action he was able to fill each frame with a lavish setting that easily overshadowed the lesser points of his work.

This visual identity has always defined Shinkai in a way. While his movies always radiate a certain grandeur, it's always in function of small, romantic elements. He has always focused on the smaller things in life, voicing his admiration of them through his characters. The setting of Hoshi no Koe also reflects this. While in the background there's space travel and mecha fighting, the film is really about two people being separated by time and space, pondering about their time together. Thinking back of walks in the rain and spring mornings, seeing the cherry blossoms fall. That's Shinkai.

These conflicting elements never get into the way of each other, although a better focus might have improved the film a bit. Something Shinkai himself picked up along the way of his further career. The storyline functions as a mere setup, leaving all details and further explanations to a bare minimum. This makes the short a tad hard to follow, but in the end the atmosphere really benefits from this choice. The focus is kept on the theme of the film, instead of delving into a cliché setting not really worth exploring anyway.

Hoshi no Koe really is a landmark movie. Not only because it was the first good example of how increased processor power combined with a creative and persistent mind could penetrate a rigid industry, but also because it set the bar for Shinkai's individual style, which would only improve along the way. Not many people followed in his footsteps (although there are some examples, ranking them immediately among the best anime directors out there), indicating his rare talent.

With all circumstantial arguments out of the way, Hoshi no Koe remains above all a sweet, touching little short set to a rather violent and typical anime background. His later efforts would put both elements in better balance, but the effect is already here, and the short still stands proud 4 years later.

4.5*/5*


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This was a disappointing anime, there's much better titles out there! notaharrypotterfan
Quite amazing... AceholeO182
Texting and Einstein NickBBK
OK, A little confused about the ending... 20gauge
Worst Subtitles Ever! RJCraig
WAIT A MINUTE!!!! Delpheno
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