Garden of Words (Kotonoha no Niwa) is the latest animated movie by Makoto Shinkai and brought to us here in the UK by Anime Limited. It follows Takao Akizuki a fifteen-year-old student, who aspires to become a shoemaker likes to skip the first period of school whenever it rains, always finding himself in a beautiful Japanese garden where he meets a mysterious office lady Yukari Yukino.
Makoto Shinkai is well known for directing some of the most visually stunning and thought-provoking stories over the years including Voices of a Distant Star (2002), The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004)and 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007). But how does the latest addition to this mighty list fair? Amazingly well to be honest and who could expect any less with a director whose calibre could only be rivalled by the likes of Hayao Miyazaki.
Although following a fifteen-year-old student the whole movie feels a lot more mature than our main character, this is enhanced by the rich animation quality on display. Special attention has been put into how the rain and water react with its surrounding scenery, waters ability to reflect in great detail has also been used with great effect giving us some of the best scenes in the movie. What makes this movie and the majority of Shinkai’s works so amazing is that the production team is generally very small, only handful of people with Shinkai taking on most of the job roles himself, in some cases actually creating a movie solely by himself.
Anime Limited have outdone themselves with this release, full of the quality that we have come to expect of them. Eagerly awaiting further information on the talked about Shinkai Collection and if this release is anything to go by expecting great things to come.
Interviews (52 minutes with the Japanese cast and director)
The film in storyboard format, narrated (45 minutes)
English production stills
The Works of Makoto Shinkai
English commentary track with cast
Japanese commentary with English subtitles