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Hoshi no koe
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Reviews & Ratings for
Voices of a Distant Star More at IMDbPro »Hoshi no koe (original title)

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28 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Beauty in simplicity

10/10
Author: baseballfanjm from Massachusetts
15 November 2004

What a simple concept for a film, executed so wonderfully. A teenage girl travels in space, and the only way for her to contact the boy she loves back on earth in through her cell-phone's text messaging. But as she drifts further from earth, the messages begin to take a much longer to reach him. He begins to give up on hearing from her again, and she grieves over what she is unable to tell him from this distance. However, the ending is extremely moving and uplifting, more so than I thought this 25-minute film would be.

I need not mention how this film was made, by one man on his computer. While the visuals are surprisingly good for a film made with such sparse resources, Makoto Shinkai clearly understands that storytelling is the most important part of animation, and he made a film that is more beautiful and touching than almost anything you'd see in Hollywood, and he did it on his computer, and with a run time of under a half hour. This guy is talented, and I hope to see him directing more animes in the future.

Voices of a Distant Star is a superb film by any standards, certainly a must see for anime fans.

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38 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

One of the Greatest Stories Ever Told

10/10
Author: dbborroughs from Glen Cove, New York
6 February 2004

Voices of a Distant Star- its not anime, its something else...

The plot is basically the story of two friends, one on earth, the other in space sending cellphone text messages to each other across widening distances during a war.

I've told you everything and nothing.

This is...

WOW.

Its a flawed masterpieces of short science fiction literature. I have never run across a piece of scifi that does what this does. Its a melding of image, word and music into a 25 minute tone poem or short story of what our futures hold.

WOW.

This is far from perfect technically, but considering this was done basically by one guy at home the odd visuals are understandable.

This isn't anime

This isn't anything that I've ever seen before.

It is, but its not. You've seen this before but something about it is different.

Its a self contained tale that makes you want to know more but at the same time more isn't needed. Its a short story.

Its flawed. There are bits that... I can't describe this delicate piece of art. Forgive me I could tell you everything about it and you wouldn't discover it for yourself, well you would but it wouldn't have the same experience as just seeing it.

Its not perfect but its flawed beauty is simply one of the best things I've seen, experienced in the realm of science fiction. Yes I've only seen it once but my initial reaction is OH MY GOD.

This is a feeling, how do you quantify a feeling? And its a feeling of quiet lyric beauty. This is a ephemeral object, a melting snow flake, a day of perfect sunshine (of cold rain). It is something that exists in the moment and is about distance and absence and the passage of time and...

This is something that just is.

Its a flawed work of art

(Warning, there is a novel that extends the story, I've read the ending and it should be avoided since it changes things)

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19 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

A visual 'haiku' on love, separation, and war.

8/10
Author: GreyinBeard from North Carolina, USA
5 November 2003

Not the typical 'smash and blast' mech-warrior tale. And those looking for one will probably be disappointed, even though there are a few battle scenes.

A written haiku can give the fullness of something in a few words. The evocative images, minimalist dialogue, and soundtrack of this short file capture the full essence of two people in love, separated by war, in the same way. I don't believe a longer film could have done this.

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18 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful little film!!

10/10
Author: javajoe96 from Saint Louis
28 February 2005

Makoto Shinkai could direct traffic and I would watch. This was an amazing anime. You could feel the distance and loneliness of the two main characters. Shinkai wrote, directed and made this all on one computer and you can feel the very personal feel that it gave this animation.

I heard a lot of good things about this anime movie long before I watched it and did not think too much about actually picking it up. But I have to tell the truth when I saw it on sale that pushed me over the line to get it and I am very glad I did. It is was wonderful addition to my collection.

Even the bonus that comes on the DVD version about a cat is great, it is only 5 minutes long but he makes it great. I look forward to his works, I am sure it will be tugging at the heart-strings as he weaves his tale into our hearts.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Poignant and beautiful

9/10
Author: piex from Redmond, WA
18 January 2004

This is a great amateur feature which captures emotions and imagination better than many full length studio flicks. I first watched it as a fan-subtitled release via the internet, and I think that translation stands as the most emotionally true to this point.

Though the American voices are well done, some things have been added and some taken away as in any translation. I suggest watching a subtitled version instead of the American translation. None of the emotional intensity is lost... I don't know many folks who have watched it and not cried.

The story of junior high sweethearts separated by war and then time is as uplifting as it is poignant. Communicating via email which becomes more and more intermittent as the combatant moves first years and then light years away, one half of the partnership grows to adulthood on earth as the other fights battles 8.6 light years away... and remains 15. It's agonizing to see one choose to move on and one still feel the immediacy of a love that just months ago shared lunch at the bus stop. It's just as powerfully lovely to see the bond remain through space and time.

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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Inspirational

9/10
Author: Tyler Ricardo from Cambridge, England
13 November 2003

Simply put, this is the reason why anime is so superior to any other art form out there. The stunning visuals and freedom of the storyline make something like 'Voices of a Distant Star' a pleasure to watch. Unhindered by the traditional commercial constraints on any 'big-budget' title, Voices succeeds at the highest level, making you deeply care about the characters. And to say this is all done in a mere 30 minutes is such an achievement.

Movingly beautiful and very interesting. Voices of a Distant Star is the type of entertainment that doesn't come around too often.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Very touching, different and well done.

9/10
Author: proxops-pete from Houston, TX
1 July 2003

Well, this one caught me off guard! I was very surprised of it... Art is done fantastically... still can't believe that it's done by one person! Can't wait for the second! Just go ahead and see if you can find one! Its translated title is "Voices of a Distant Star".

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Shinkai's warm-up

9/10
Author: Onderhond from http://www.onderhond.com/archive/onderhond/category/movies
17 October 2008

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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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Sensationally beautiful work from an independent filmmaker

9/10
Author: Patrick (pgraydon1) from Windsor, CA, USA
21 June 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Warning: mild spoilers within.

Hoshi no koe is a short (25 min) but sensationally beautiful work. Set against backgrounds of modern Japan, space, and alien worlds, it is a story of love and separation and hope played out between young mecha pilot Mikako Nagamine and her boyfriend Noboru Terau.

The art is spellbinding. Rainy sunsets on earth, mecha battles in space, and the sun breaking through the clouds after a rainstorm on another planet are all rendered so exquisitely that they capture your imagination. While much of the animation consists of slow pans over stills, the effect only serves to emphasize the quiet beauty of the world that surrounds the lovers. The mech designs are fantastic, but the mecha combat is kept in the background lest it interfere with the main love story.

The dialog is minimal, but well-chosen and effective. As the separation between Mikako and Noboru increases, every line delivers heart-wrenching emotional impact.

What makes all of this even more impressive, though, is that Makoto Shinkai animated all of it on his personal computer without the help of an animation studio. The DVD version of this film even carries an original version where Mr. Shinkai and his fiancée voice acted Noboru and Mikako.

This film stands alone as a great example of an independent short. After seeing this, I'll be waiting on tenterhooks for Mr. Shinkai's Kumo no mukou, yakusoko no basho.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

really well done, just as all Shinkai's work.

8/10
Author: Samuel Orozco (orozcosamuel1@hotmail.com)
26 May 2008

First of all, it is really really good.

What amazed me the most is how in such a short period of time Makoto Shinkai is able to create such a wonderful, clear, interesting and beautiful story.

This 25 minute ova tells the story of two friends who are separated because of military reasons. as the distance between them grows, it is harder for them to communicate. Just as Makoto Shinkai's other movies the story basically tries to explain how time and distance make people grow apart even when they love each other. This movie however is still in every aspect bellow 5 minutes per second. The reason I didn't like it as much as other Shinkai's movies is because animation was not very good, or maybe I just didn't like it. Never the less, its still a great movie which I recommend to everyone, (anime fan or not). Its easy to follow, very well built, and as I already said, is by far the best work I've ever seen in such a short period of time. Very very good. p.s: watch 5 minutes per second (also by the same director) is the best!!

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