Monday, 30 September 2013

Just watched: Kotonoha no Niwa/Garden of Words

It’s a sign of the times that downloading stuff for free now happens without a second thought. I saw some good comments about this anime film and decided to watch it. I found a link and within an hour it was on my computer. Simple as that.

However, halfway through watching, I started to feel very guilty about not having paid for it. The detail on the artwork is nothing short of stunning. The amount of patient and diligent work that must have gone into this is almost humbling. I found myself suddenly uncomfortable that I’d just taken it.

The film itself is a forty-five minute piece about growing up. For both of the main characters: a 15 year-old schoolboy and an office lady in her late twenties. With artwork as good as this, it must have been tempting to hold each shot for twice as long and release it as a feature film. I’m glad they didn’t, since the story itself is pretty slim, but at least it doesn’t out stay its welcome.

With the almost constant rain and the park setting, there are plenty of occasions for the artists and animators to show off their techniques but, equally, there are delightful touches to every scene: the familiar jostle of a moving train, or the flow of a pencil across a sheet of paper. Things that are so commonplace, but so difficult to recreate.

It’s a charming mood piece. Perhaps lacking a certain something to be a classic but in terms of visuals, there’s very little out there to beat it. I shall have to look out for more of Shinkai Makoto’s work and patiently wait for a PAL release of this film.


  1. Byosoku Go Senchimetoru is the one to watch if you wanna see what a Shinkai movie plus je ne sais quoi, Though I can't say this one is lacking. It has "Japanese sensibilities" that reminds me of other similar good movies such as Aruitemo Aruitemo.

  2. It's not quite on a par with "Still Walking" but the pacing and atmosphere are similar. I think the coincidence halfway through the film is a little too convenient. But, after a little research, "5 Centimetres a Second" is definitely next on my list.