The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Voices of a Distant Star

Title: Voices of a Distant Star aka Hoshi no Koe
Genre: Drama/Romance
Company: CoMix Wave Inc.
Format: 1 OVA
Dates: 2 Feb 2002

Synopsis: Mikako Nagamine and Noboru Terao are two young lovers about to enter high school together. One day, a UN space carrier appears above their small city, and Nagamine is drafted to become a pilot of a giant mecha in a war with aliens known as Tarsians. She attempts to contact Noboru through SMS, but as she travels light years away from Earth, this gap widens and widens, and communication with her beloved becomes painfully difficult.

The Highlights
Soundtrack: Absolutely amazing.
Voices: Pleasing and filled with emotions.
Art: Astonishingly good for a one-man project.
Characters: Fully developed in thirty minutes.
Plot: Simple, yet completely captivating.

What Hoshi no Koe does in 30 minutes, most anime can’t do in 26 episodes: tell a coherent story with characters that the viewer genuinely cares for. That being said, watching Hoshi no Koe may be the one of the best ways an anime fan can spend half an hour. Shinkai Makoto is a true genius. As the writer, artist, director and the voice of Noboru, he shows just what one man is capable of.

Hoshi no Koe has a definite artistic side to it. Makoto does a great job of utilizing colors to set moods. From the lush green grass of an alien world, to the drab gray of winter, to the red of an otherworldly realm of existence, the viewer sees his mastery of light, shade and color almost everywhere. The character designs are nothing special, rather generic, but that only reinforces the plot, and makes the viewer know that these truly are just two normal children living in Japan, who become separated by forces way beyond their control.

Which brings me to point two: the plot. It’s deceivingly simple. Two lovers, Noboru and Mikako, are forced apart when Mikako is drafted into the military, making communication increasingly difficult. Being a 30-minute OVA, Hoshi no Koe can’t really afford any deep, complicated plot. But behind this simple premise lies a heartwarming and tragic tale of love and loss. As communication gets harder and harder, Mikako becomes more and more worried that Noboru will forget her. Noboru decides to live in his own time frame, and decides to not let this distance hamper or obstruct his relationship with her. We see, in the short 24 minutes of this OVA, the devastating effects of distance and time, which man can never outrun. As much as both of them would wish that time stood still, time truly stops for no man, and they learn, slowly, to cope with this realization.

And finally, the two characters, Noboru and Mikako, are people that the viewer can genuinely love and care about. Their character designs make them look rather generic, as previously stated, but they are supposed to be simple, average high-school kids living in Japan. We see the frustrations, fears, and hopes of a couple who become separated across space and time. They are characterized in a way that makes it easier for the viewer to identify with them. The themes contained within Hoshi no Koe are universal: love and the fear of losing that love. Because of this simple theme, coupled with simple, easy-to-identify with characters, Shinkai manages to captivate and move all viewers within a matter of minutes.

Hoshi no Koe is a masterpiece of modern animation. From the beautiful colors of the world the artist creates, to the characters, deceiving in their simplicity, to the story, simple yet effective, every anime fan owes it to himself to put aside 20 minutes and watch this. Anyone who has ever loved will surely identify with the predicament of Noboru and Mikako, and feel their pain and joy. If it’s a quality anime you’re looking for, look no further.

The Rating: 9

Reviewed by: Akira

Top of page