Title: Kotonoha no Niwa (The Garden of Words) (言の葉の庭)
Aired: May 31, 2013
Producers: CoMix Wave, Sentai Filmworks
Director: Shinkai Makoto
Theme Song Performance: Hata Motohiro
Animation/Design: Tsuchiya Kenichi
Duration: 46 minutes
We have met, for each of us to walk forward.
Takao, who is training to become a shoemaker, skipped school and is sketching shoes in a Japanese-style garden. He meets a mysterious woman, Yukino, who is older than him. Then, without arranging the times, the two start to see each other again and again, but only on rainy days. They deepen their relationship and open up to each other. But the end of the rainy season soon approaches...
Irino Miyu as Akizuki Takao
Hanazawa Kana as Yukino Yukari
Why were you disappointed vio?
I just watched the movie today. I was a bit worried after your words but I really enjoyed the movie. It had everything I expect from a work done by Shinkai, stunning art and animation (among the best I've seen) and a bittersweet, good story. There definitely was room for more, the ending was a bit abrupt. He could have explored the characters and their relationship more, I felt like the movie could have been an awesome piece if he gave it another 30 minutes or so.
The way it is now, it's a good but short movie. Shinkai seems to like leaving a lot of things in our imagination, his works usually lack a definite conclusion. I like that style, it's something different to a lot of other works. That being said, I'm absolutely not disappointed. Yes, it could have been better with more time to explore but it had everything I was looking for. It managed to suck me in and the ending, as abrupt as it was, really touched me.
Next time I really hope for a longer work though, I feel like I could watch another Shinkai work right now.
Hm~ I was expecting more from the plot. Hands down when it comes to animation and music - I absolutely love it! - but as you said, the plot could have more to be explored. Perhaps I was expecting something stronger, or at least as strong as Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo, but this one is only half the length of Hoshi so I can understand. Still I couldn't give full score because of that, haha~ Maybe I was looking for something a bit deeper than usual. The development of their relationship was too sudden and unclear for me to enjoy that ending. Sweet indeed, but to jump to that sweet moment then drifted apart is... meh. I've learned to accept the plot, though, so not as disappointed anymore, lol.
I just love Hanazawa Kana's voice even more through this movie. *_*
I love it. The animation and dialogues are poignant as usual, and probably the plot itself more or less very Shinkai-ish; It's what make Shinkai's work distinguishable. I'm extremely biased when it comes to giving criticism to any movie made by Shinkai, but if I have to assess this objectively, I still wouldn't rate it below 8 out of 10. One could argue that it's less delicate compared to his previous movies, but this time Shinkai still delivers. Probably the only thing that I'm not really fond of is that the ending is somewhat abrupt, nevertheless I still consider the ending is appropriate and not a weak point in this movie.
Good and re-watchable movie.
All of Shinkai's anime end abruptly, I'm not going to hold that against Kotonoha. 5CM per Second ended even more abruptly, despite being longer. Shinkai left less to audience imagination this time around. Not a bad thing, in this case. I was glad that he provided an additional narrative, providing Yukari's perspective as well as Takao's. Hanazawa Kana was magnificent as Yukari. I always have liked her, but this may have been her best ever role.
I loved Kotonoha, it reminded me a little of Hoshi no Koe. Both are about people who care for one another, separated by an impossible to bridge gap, but still need each other, and lend the other moral support. In Hoshi no Koe that gap was time and space, in Kotonoha it was age and occupation. I'm still trying to decipher some of his symbolism. Cobbling shoes was easy easy enough, she was "learning to walk", he was supporting her as she tried to get "back on her feet" after the incident with her students. He was learning to walk too, only he didn't realize it until the end. I'm still trying to decipher what the rain symbolized. The taka she says when they first met seems to be the key:
I feel like their friendship provided solace from their troubles, just like the gazebo they shared provided shelter from the rain. They could come together and gather the strength to grow as people. At first they only met when it rained, when they need support. His answer meant that they needed to learn how to be friends when times were better, when the sun was shining. To him, as a high school boy, that meant falling in love. To her, as an adult, she knew love was not possible, but friendship still was. He seemed to be learning, but since he had not yet visited her, it seems he had not quite learned how to be there for her "even if rain comes not".Quote:
What I still do not feel I have fully deciphered is his monologue at the beginning, when he claims the rain helps him feel closer to the sky. They both look forward to rainy days. That is when he skips school, and when they meet in the park. Maybe they both understand, in their own way, that the measure of a person is not success, but how they handle life's struggles. Adversity is what makes us human. I'm not sure, I'll probably have to watch again before I grasp everything. Even watching again, to find the above quotes, I noticed things I had not seen the first time through. I missed the way she glanced at the school insignia on his uniform the first time I watched. Combined with how he recognized her, but couldn't remember from where, that was a nice little clue that she was from his school.
One thing I do not understand is why Yukari failed to recognize that Takao is a student from her school after she looked at his insignia and look surprised when she met Takao again in school. If she was intentionally keeping her identity a secret from him, in the later half of the movie it seems that she hopes that she could meet him during the summer and I think she could seek him in school if she really wants to, but maybe her problem prevents her from doing so.