Sadness and Distance – Voices of a Distant Star ほしのこえ – Anime Review


The predecessor of 5 Centimeters Per Second, if you’re a fan of the movie, or of Makoto Shinkai, please read on for the review of Voices of A Distant Star! Hoshi no Koe, ほしのこえ!

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Can mobile phones work in space?

Duh…of course not! There won’t be any signal to begin with, so how can someone in space send messages from Earth to space and vice versa? I mean, how is it even possible when there are no telecommunication towers??

That aside, we are now entering the:

Feel Zone…

Voices

Like its successor, 5 Centimeters Per Second and Voices of a Distant Star is directed by the same director, Makoto Shinkai. As you should know by now, he is known for his realistic artstyle and slow-paced plot. Of course, it has a minimal plot, but unlike its successor, Voices of a Distant Star is less relatable, has a less engaging atmosphere and ultimately, less sad in a way.

Voices of a Distant Star revolves around Noboru Terao and his friend/classmate, Mikako Nagamine. It is evident in the beginning of the OVA that the both of them have feelings towards each other but for some reason, they never got together. Maybe it’s because of the fact that they weren’t exactly special acquaintances with each other, they merely happened to know each other in school. But when Mikako was enlisted into the UN Space Army and about to embark on a very, very long journey into space, for some reason, the feelings within the two of them grew and as days go by, their hearts become fonder.

UN Space Army? Fighting what? This is where it starts getting a little weird. Apparently, during space colonisation, humans encountered and fought against a group of aliens in a region in Mars named Tharsis, thus the aliens are named Tharsians. Here comes the questions…

Voices 1

Why was a school girl from Japan enlisted to join a top-secret space army at such a young age to fight aliens? Why was there a war with the aliens in the first place? What are they? And the most important question of all, how on Earth can you send an email in space?

Pretty surreal, but that’s what this OVA is centered around: the emails between Noboru and Mikako. Apparently, the farther the distance between the two of them, the longer the time-lag between as the time taken for the email to reach them is getting longer to the point when sending one email takes year to arrive.

For people who is in a long-distance relationship, this anime will ring very much true and will touch their hearts. As for the rest of us, we may have more questions than answers when we finish this OVA. Instead of feeling sad, we may experience confusion and take more time trying to comprehend this story rather than enjoying the story in its fullest.

Like many sad anime out there, shortness helps bring out the atmosphere and the despair of the anime but this OVA is way too short to be able to bring out the despair and tragicness of the story to its fullest, especially when it’s plot is so surreal.

Even though the OVA has many flaws in its presentation, I’d like to applaud the writers for presenting the story through not just one viewpoint like 5 Centimeters Per Second, but giving us the perspective of both Noboru and Makiko, doubling the sadness factor. And of course, Shinkai’s style of art is spectacular as always but the 3D animation feels a little out-of-place though I guess that can’t be helped they were on a tight budget.

All in all, this OVA should be taken as it is: an OVA. Nothing more. Because unlike in a movie, OVAs are too short to give an impact big enough to affect its viewers for a long time. Despite its many flaws, Voices of a Distant Star is a decent effort from Shinkai, and if you can overlook its flaws or you’re a fan of Shinkai’s art or story telling, then this is a great anime OVA that is a must watch. But I must warn you, if you’re not a fan of sad anime, or Shinkai, then I advise you against watching this. It may enrage you further and push away from watching sad anime altogether. You should watch 5 Centimeters Per Second first.

Now, if your perception of sad anime is something like Clannad Afterstory, well, here is a refreshing take on the sad anime genre. Despite its many flaws, it is a watch worthy of your time. Please do watch it.

Voices 2

If you’ve watched this OVA, here’s something about the OVA for you to think about. What do you think the Tarsians are? Why was it when Mikako was obviously overwhelmed by the Tarsian, the Tarsian did nothing to harm Mikako? And towards the end of the OVA, that mystical doppelganger that appeared to counsel Makiko, why did it take the form of a Tarsian? Does the Tarsians even mean any harm to the Earthlings or was it out of strategical convinience that the UN Space Army attack the Tarsians? Could this OVA end up being something like the ending from Ender’s Game?

Who knows, right? So, with mixed feelings, I shall go on to the next pile of feels.

Till the next pile of feels, sayonara.

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