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Voices of a Distant Star
Shinkai Collection
Shinkai Collection
Anime DVD Review

Makoto Shinkai is being hailed in Japan as "The Next Miyazaki". Those are some pretty big shoes to fill, but be aware this man is a super-talent, taking the anime world by storm by creating his first film BY HIMSELF. That's right, there was no unseen staff of anonymous animators toiling away in the night to create Voices of a Distant Star, it was just this one guy doing all the work (amazing how much you can get away with computers these days), and yet, the results were as high-quality as anything coming out of even the best studios of Japan.

This twin DVD set includes the 30-minute short "Voices of a Distant Star" (reviewed earlier here) as well as the feature length film "The Place Promised in our Early Days" (The DVD set is also *loaded* with extras).

To recap, Voices of a Distant Star is a wonderful, visually stunning film that tells the tale of two lovers separated by time and space as one is stuck on Earth while the other is rocketing through the cosmos.

The Place Promised in our Early Days is a much more ambitious work, made with a real budget and staff, but clearly shows it's his film as Shinkai's hand appears to be in every frame (he even wrote the lyrics to the closing theme) with the same obsessive attention to detail seen in Voices.

In an alternate-reality Japan that has the country divided into a American-Controlled-South/Communist North cold war situation (think: Korea), three children make a promise to each other to discover the secret of a mysterious tower that can be seen on the north side. They start to build a plane, but time and circumstances separate the trio before they can complete their project. Only years later do they get another chance, and by that time, one has fallen victim to a coma, and that it is somehow linked to the tower itself...

Fans have been clamoring to see what this enormously talented individual can do with the proper resources to make a film, and he does not disappoint. Remarkably introspective and impressively, beautifully crafted, this is an astounding achievement that may give Miyazaki some big shoes to fill.

Below: Makoto Shinkai

Makoto Shinkai

Below: Scenes from Voices from a Distant Star.

Voices of a Distant Star

Voices of a Distant Star

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, April 2006

Voices of a Distant Star
Voices of a Distant Star
Anime DVD Review

Ever wanted to make your own anime? Well, here's a film by someone who did! Although it looks like a professional studio production, Voices of a Distant Star is a personal film, made almost entirely by a single artist, Makoto Shinkai. Considering the arduous task of doing most of the work singlehandedly, the results are astounding.

The art is beautiful and the storyline is both simple and touching — an interstellar romance, (talk about a long-distance relationship!) with Einsteinian space/time forces working against them.

This is the start of something new in anime — films made as personal statements, without traditional studios, and, thanks to computer technology, a single artist can express his or her vision with no limitations or compromises.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, March 2004

Voices of a Distant Star

Voices of a Distant Star Website Links:

Voices of a Distant Star Official Website (Japanese)

Makoto Shinkai Fan Web (Voices of a Distant Star fan wbesite)

Anime Secrets - Voices of a Distant Star (fan website)

Voices of a Distant Star entry at Internet Movie Database

Voices of a Distant Star entry at Wikipedia

Voices of a Distant Star (OVA) entry at Anime News Network

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