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Voices of a Distant Star

Hoshi no Koe, using full 2D and 3D digital animation, is a story of a long distance love and mail messages between a boy and girl. Set in 2046 after the discovery of the ruins of an alien civilization on Mars, man has been able to make leaps in technology and is planning to send an expedition into space in the next year. Nagamine Mikako and Terao Noboru are junior high school students. However, while Noboru will be entering senior high next winter, Mikako is selected to join the space expedition. (Source: AniDB)
User Count12819
Favorites Count64
Start Date2nd Feb 2002
Next ReleaseInvalid date
Popularity Rank923
Rating Rank4241
Age RatingPG
Age Rating GuideTeens 13 or older


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Story - 10/10A long distance relationship - literally. The only means for 2 lovers to communicate are through cellphone text messages. Love transcends space and time in this tearjerking OVA. It truly sent me into a tizzy.Art - 10/10The traditional and lush 3D animation is absolutely award-worthy. It's more beautiful than some GONZO pieces I've seen recently. The landscapes, sea, planets, stars and all that, are just breathtaking and stunning.Sound - 8/10The music was alright. I can't really say anything beyond that to be brutally honest. It just didn't work for me. It might work for you, I don't know. It just didn't for me.Character - 8/10Only 2 prominent characters - Noboru, the male lead and Mikako, the female lead. You'll like one, hate the other. You'll like both or hate both. By the end though, you'll like them anyways I'm sure. I know I did. Enjoyment - 10/10I have to say, given its only 30 minutes long -- it felt longer. I enjoyed it down to the last drop. It was truly awe-inspiring. Makoto Shinkai Overall, I'd give Voices of a Distant Star a very well-worth it - 9/10!

Originally published on Anime Viking: http://animeviking.wordpress.com/----------The first time I saw Voices of a Distant Star was in the middle of the night back in 2007 when I was merely 14 years old. One of the biggest television channels in Sweden was holding an anime marathon from 12:00A.M. to 06:00A.M. and naturally, since I was an anime fan and this was a rare occurrence, I simply had to stay up and watch it all.Out of every short, OVA and movie that aired, the single piece that stood out was Voices of a Distant Star. This is not surprising, considering how unique Shinkai’s works really are. The often substantial and realistically portrayed stories (either in the real world or the fictitious one) accompanied by wonderful music and visuals are honestly one-of-a-kind in the anime industry as far as I can tell. There is a clear vision of what Shinkai wants to tell and he does so without compromising his own goal, or at least that is how it comes across.But Shinkai has always had trouble with making me feel connected to any of the characters, which is extremely notable due to all his works focusing on the characters rather than the stories themselves.Voices of a Distant Star tells a story about two lovers literally being separated by space and time, as one of them is stuck on Earth while the other is travelling through space. Their only mean of communication is sending mail messages via cellphones, but as their distance grows, so does their lack of contact. It is a simple and perfect idea for a story, yet Shinkai misses the chance to make a heart-wrenching tale.The problem mainly lies in the aforementioned lack of connection to the characters. We are never really shown how much they mean to each other and have to solely rely on the emails if we want to understand them. But because the emails are rather sparse and nonsensical, this does not work. In theory it should, particularly since we viewers are experiencing the same thing as the characters, but in practice is comes off as slightly hollow. I see that the characters care for each other, I understand the message, but why… why should I care, unless I have been through the same?Another thing hampering Voices of a Distant Star is the overall production, which, especially today, is very simple and on the verge of outdated. While it is possible to ignore ugly heads and static images, it is harder to accept the poorly made CGI-scenes in space and a directing lacking a finishing touch (scenes dragging, odd scene expositions etc.). All of this is understandable since Shinkai essentially did everything by himself, but it does take away a little from the experience.While not perfect in any way, Voices of a Distant Star manages to tell a fascinating tale in only thirty minutes. But sadly it never manages to reach any of the heights it could have had. This, however, does not mean it is bad. It is merely a missed opportunity.

I'd heard some really good things about "Hoshi no Koe". Considering the amount of praise there's been for this seemingly insignificant half hour long OVA, I felt that it was something I simply HAD to check out.Having watched it, I feel a bit... disappointed. The main problem is that it's just too short. Due to all the hype, I was expecting a lot more. Though in some places "Hoshi no Koe" does succeed in generating a certain special atmosphere, the amount of stuff you can pack into a half an hour show is simply not enough for it to solidify into something more substantial. The dialogue/monologue heavy format reminds me a little of "Seikai no Danshou", as that is also a short OVA that relies more on words than flashiness, But "Seikai no Danshou" has an extremely strong background already provided for it by its parent franchise whereas this did not, and as a result this feels a bit more empty. Set in the future, the main story of "Hoshi no Koe" revolves around two friends texting each other across increasingly long distances as one of them goes off to fight a long military campaign in a distant part of the galaxy. Even though this may sound like the gimmicky outline for a cheesey mobile phone advert, the idea is used remarkably well. As the distance between the two main characters increase, the text messages takes longer and longer to get to the other person. There's a profound sadness as we see the seconds and minutes turning into hours, the hours turning into days, and the days eventually turning into months and years - can you imagine sending a message to a close friend, knowing they won't get it for several years, or receiving a message that's several years out of date, and this is the only way you are able to communicate? Admittedly, it seems rather strange to me that texting still works when they're fighting a war light years away from civilization (again, it's the kind of exaggeration of the power of mobile phones you'd expect from a mobile phone ad :P), but the feelings generated as a result is so heart wrenching that I can almost forgive the contrived scenario. What's remarkable about "Hoshi no Koe" is that it's all made by one man... I kid you not! It's a colossal effort considering how well it turned out. Still, the fact that it's made by one man means that though the production values are surprisingly good, you're not gonna be getting shiny, adrenaline pumping mecha battles scenes the caliber of "Gundam Seed", in fact the battle scenes of "Hoshi no Koe" are confusing to the extent that I am reminded of those from "Vandread", which is not a good thing. Speaking of mechas, they feel like a tack on because I find it a bit seeing them in this kind of anime which really doesn't have much to do with flashy battles. I also thought the character designs are pretty bad.But despite its flaws, the emotions it is able to invoke means that it's still a good anime. Considering all the stella praise I've been hearing though, I was expecting a lot more from this, and in the end it simply feels too short for me to become totally engrossed in it.

**Makoto Shinkai**, a name well known for films filled with a great atmosphere, excellent artwork and animation and a realistic story. Unfortunately **Voices of a Distant Star** lacked in most cases that the name, Shinkai, is famous for. The concept of love separated by distance is nothing new in the romance-drama genre. It is quite cliched to be honest. This cliched concept worked really well in 5 centimeters per second and I though it might do so for this particular ova too. Unfortunately, it didn't. The whole concept of text message lag was contrived, keeping in mind that the setting is the future where one would expect communication to improve rather than deteriorate or degrade. Above that it is not a dystopian future either. It's filled with futuristic mechas that can travel through space, and in the same universe there are phones that lack any futuristic detail to them. They are rather bland in design to be honest. As the story progresses the story fails to move forward. Nothing is really resolved by the end. Above that no attempt was made to make the audience believe the pain of the characters for the fact that they were separated from each other while yet in love. The story tells us the fact that the two characters love each other and that's the the amount of exposition we get on the romance.The years fly by without any coherent sense of meaning and the progression of time ends up not feeling natural. Things don't change enough for **Noboru** or<strong> Nagamine,</strong> for one to really even care for them. Art and animation was fairly good in the ova and was probably the strongest point. The characters designs were nice, the mech battle were the highlights of it all. There were a few confusing camera angles though which had me replaying a certain scene as sometimes motion and progression didn't make much sense to the eye. A nitpick but a mentionable flaw I guess. Well, I guess all this is forgiven given the fact that Shinkai himself, made this all on a mac on his own with no help. And above that it's his debut movie, considering that the animation and general artwork is great. The music in this OVA was done by **Tenmon**, who is also known for his beautiful music in the **Ef~ series** and also my personal favourite<strong> 5 centimeters per second.</strong> Now, Shinkai is known for having music that doesn't stand out but rather blends in with the whole atmosphere of his film. This is well done in all his films namely "Garden of words", "5 centimeters per second" and "The place we promised to meet" EXCEPT Hoshi no Koe. It is simply for the fact that the ova failed to create an atmosphere itself. The ost's are rather forgettable and nothing is really worth a special mention in this case. The voice actors failed to convey the emotions of the characters in anyway. Voice acting should be such that if I were a blind man and were only listening to the Voice Actors I should be able to sense the genuine feelings of the characters they play. The voice acting was flat, emotionless and very poorly done for the most in Hoshi no Koe. The characters are probably the weakest part of the whole OVA. They lack any personality or development. One might argue about the lack of development due to the short run time of the OVA but Shinkai himself has shown us great character development (for their runtime) in short films like Garden of words and 5 centimetres per second, hence I don't think that's a valid counter argument. Above that the characters are lacking in any relatable emotion since the OVA didn't spend enough time establishing the nature of Nagamine and Noboru's relationship to make the audience care for the fact that they are separated from each other. All in all, the characters just result in distinguishable personalities by the end of the ova and this is not great character writing in any form or way. The character section is probably the cause that drudged down my overall enjoyment of the show. **Overall, Hoshi no Koe has some really weak romance and characters, an illogical setting-premise duo, and the flat characters are accompanied by emotionless VA's. The good visuals don't say much about the film with so many flaws that it has and does not complement to the show much, but it should be remembered that Shinkai did all this on his own, from animation, to directorial works and also script writing. And he made all this on a god damn MAC. These conditions themselves make Hoshi no Koe at least average and worth a watch by any anime fan and specially by any Shinkai fan, like myself.** Any Feedback whether "positive" or "negative" is highly appreciated. This is just my opinion, please don't take me too seriously.

Voices of a Distant Star is a poorly-animated, ill-devised, uncreative film. But you should watch it anyways. Why? Because Makoto Shinkai is amazing, and this was his first full OVA. And because it will give you feels. The animation is really poor and honestly reminds me of what I doodled in middle school. Amazingly, two years later, he produced the absolutely beautiful work that was Place Promised In Our Early Days, which suggests this was mostly limited by budget and technology. The world-building is shaky and full of holes. This isn't something I can write off as a budgetary problem so much as an indicator of Shinkai's inexperience. But it's hard to suspend disbelief when her emails are taking longer to transmit than it takes to move that same distance. If you want your emails to get there faster, load them into a barrel and send them on flash drives! And they're using Nokia feature phones, but it was 2002, smartphones were barely an idea at that time. The robots are incredibly unoriginal: I'm pretty sure the elevator launch sequence is directly stolen from Evangelion, who also did schoolgirl-in-fetal-position-floating-in-space many years earlier. Also, Earth is at war with fangorious globs of fractal semen. Don't ask. But despite all of this, you should absolutely watch it. It really is fascinating as a contrast to Place Promised In Our Early Days. And it will make you cry, mere minutes after you laughed your ass off at the ridiculousness.

You know I had never heard of this anime before, I didn't even know who Makoto Shinkai was either? I just pulled this one out of a recommendation list i made a while back and watched it. And i can say it was beautiful little thing. This is a love story, a tragic one, of two kids Mikako and Noboru. They were friends for a while back on earth but the call to arms took Mikako deep into space, leaving Noboru behind to wait for her. The only way they can communicate is through text message and even then it could half a year or more for it to reach back to earth. Each battle making her yearn for home, while every year tests his patience. Also its the future or something, there's an alien race that may or may not be evil, and there space battles with giant robots but that's not important. Really the whole setting of the future is really just a good excuse to have a long distance love story, while i can't say for sure if this is legitimate it works for the story and drama I won't fault it for that. What I can fault it for is the animation. You see this anime tries the old form of mixing 2D and 3D animation, something that can work but often does not. This would be where doesn't really work for the majority. The backgrounds are nice and the designs of the aliens are interesting if not a little plain with there simple platinum colored blob look. There designs of the characters are where its falters, namely there were more then a few times that Mikako's eyes were not aligned and I really have to wonder why she is still wearing her school uniform 8 Lightyears from home? But despite all that, its a touching story. You do have to go in not thinking about certain elements but even for something that only lasts 25 minutes it definitely uses it well and I would recommend to other and makes me curious to see what else *Makoto Shinkai* has done since then.

There's been many timeswhere I've been sat outside, waiting at a bus stop in the rain,glaring idly at my phone screen for a message to appear. Pressinghuman contact down into bitesize messages is normal for our day today life, but Voices of a Distant Star takes the ball and runs withit. Voices of a DistantStar is the brain child of Makoto Shinkai, who is responsible for Sheand Her Cat, and The Place Promised in Our Early Days, a Director andWriter who would be worthy of exploration inside of himself. Thestory of Voices of a Distant Star is a simple one, at it's core it isa long distance relationship between our two main characters. Looking inside of thistwenty five minute OVA shows the relationship between of ourcharacters in the wide strokes as they become separated across thegalaxy, with the only form of communication between the young duobeing text messages, who's length of delivery becomes longer witheach passing moment. Behind the veneer ofinterstellar travel, aliens and humongous mechas, lies a very real,and human concept. Mikako, our female lead is drafted into a militaryforce that takes her further and further away from her friend andeventual long distance love interest Noboru. Mikako desperately triesto hold onto Noboru from afar, through the few messages she can passalong to him. As the two growfurther, the difference in time grows, with the two becomingcontrasting halves. Mikako becoming that part of a person, who putstheir time into faith, into longing, and the child like innocencethat comes with a relationship. While as Noboru grows older, havingto wait constantly on the messages from Mikako becomes jaded, tryingto pull himself away but, struggling to slowly break himself awayfrom the one he cares so deeply about. Through these two viewpoints,despite it's sci-fi setting, Voices of a Distant Star presents thevery down to earth story of strains of being away from the one youreally love, and the challenges that come with such a relationship. On the technical front.Voices of a Distant Star offers an interesting visual parallel.Combining computer graphics with animation. It offers fantastic viewsof backgrounds, along with solid design on elements such as it'slandscapes and mechanical design. It is at this point worthmentioning, that Voices of a Distant Star was originally released in2002, as such, the age of some of it's visual effects may beoff-putting to certain audiences. In comparison to thebackgrounds and mechanical design. The design of the characters, is astranger one. Mikako and Noboru are hand-drawn, with a strange sortof quality to them, at times to the eye, it may appear sloppy.However, being juxtaposed next to the computer generated machines,and occasional grounds, it creates a similar parallel. The hand drawncharacters offering a sense of innocence, and further enforcing thehumanistic qualities of them, this is most on display when Mikako isforced to confront and Alien in the OVA's latter half. Over all, thisvisual design, while it may be unappealing to some, certainly ismemorable. Sound in Voices of aDistant Star is, to put it simply, great. The use of sound effectsand music help punctuate action scenes and give a good sense ofatmosphere, however the most impressive use of sound in Voices of aDistant Star, is the lack of it in places. The occasional silence, oronly the sounds of rain, or the pushing of buttons of a cellphone,helps ground you, bringing you into the emotions of the scene. Thevoice acting also leaves little to be desired, the performances aresolid, especially those of the director and his then girlfriend,Makoto Shinkai and Mika Shinohara respectively. Overall. Voices of aDistant Star is an OVA that can both please and disappoint, It'sromantic tale is touching, though may be off-putting to some. It'solder art style and dated CGI effects may also be to be thedispleasure of some, and to the enjoyment of others. But at it'score, lies an excellent story, one that cannot be dated, and one thatis more than able to draw you in, despite the OVAs, 25 minute runtime. Story: 10/10 The story of Voices ofa Distant Star is touching, down to earth, and elegantly simple. Animation: 6/10 While visuallyinteresting, it can be off-putting at times, but is still uniquedespite it's flaws. Sound: 8/10 This OVA makesexcellent use of silence, SFX and music to help punctuate it'satmosphere Characters: 10/10 As a heavily characterdriven story, the characters must be a strong element, and Voices ofa Distant Star nails it with relatable, honest and memorablecharacters. Enjoyment: 8/10 While there are manythings that may detract from the experience, Voices from a DistantStar offers a beautiful story at it's core, that can more than makeup for other faults, and offers much to enjoy for it's short runtime.

Voices of a Distant Star is a short film about a long-distance relationship, albeit with mechs and a starship fleet. The visuals are not stunning, but the story is good and does evoke an emotional response. There are only two characters, and this is a short film, so even these two are not given enough time for introductions and developments. Voices of a Distant Star still uses the majority of the screen time for portraying the characters, though, with a couple action scenes intermixed. Mikako and Noboru were friends in middle school, before Mikako joined the UN Space Fleet. When she did, they communicated between cell phone text messages over inconsistent time lines as Mikako’s ship made warps. The story is certainly intriguing, focusing on the characters difficulty in their separation as they look forward to text messages from each other, though it appears that only Noboru receives messages. Mikako is also effectively a child soldier at fourteen years old, so we see her emotional reactions in the battles. With a short film, it’s hard to go deeper than this, and the project doesn’t, but it manages to make some real feels towards the ending as you can feel the weight of their separation, having seen both characters miss each other. The most mature moment is when Noboru makes his decision to do something at the end. The short film is simple and focused on its themes, primarily as a method for making an emotional response and highlighting long-distance, romantic love. For this, it does a fantastic job and has a great science fiction setting to boot. Also, pretty much all of it was created by one person, Makoto Shinkai, which is flat-out awesome.





Producer, Director, Script, Executive Producer, Character Design, Animation Director

Theme Song Arrangement, Theme Song Composition, Music

ADR Director

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