Kotonoha no Niwa ( The Gaden of Words): ANIME MOVIE REVIEW

Emotional, moving and beautiful are three words that best describe the masterpieces of Makoto Shinikai, the producer and director of anime movies such as Five Centimeters per Second, Children Who Chase Lost Voices, Someone's Gaze, his undoubfully greatest work Kimi no Na wa and the movie that I am reviewing today: Kotonoha no Niwa (The Garden of Words). Kimo no Na wa, or Your Name, is without any doubt among the greatest anime movies ever made but when it comes to the beauty of a movie (its animation and scenery), I think that Kotonoha no Niwa is better. I talked about the beauty of the movie in my last post: My Top 5 Most Beautiful Anime Moments and thought that it definitely deserves a review. Enjoy!


STUDIO: CoMix Wave Films, The Answer Studio
GENRE: Slice of Life, Psychological, Drama, Romance
TYPE: Movie ( 46 min.)


PLOT AND STORY LINE


The story follows high school student Takao Akazuki who is aspiring to become a shoemaker. He usually skips the morning lessons on rainy days and spends the time in a beautiful garden in Tokyo to work on his shoe designs. It is there where he meets Yukari Yukino, a beautiful yet strange woman. Soon the two become very close without realizing how important they are to each other. Just by being there and talking while enjoying the rain, makes them able to alleviate their worries hidden in their hearts. But after the rainy season ends and the scorching, sunny days fill up the city, their relationship is put to a test. The thing that I didn't like that much about most of Shinikai's movies is how the story progresses rather slowly and without many excitement. But after watching this anime I fell in love with his works.
The story of Kotonoha no Niwa is just as the list of genres suggests, really dramatic. It might have a steady and slow story line in the beginning put it gets really exciting after some time. In time we found out about both of the main character's lives and go trough some really interesting moments and intriguing plot twists. 
When it comes to the psychological part of the story it mostly pictures the hardships of a young adult. Adult doesn't always mean mature and sometimes they need the healthy mind of a high-school-student to make it trough. The youngsters on the other hand are too naive and don't see life as serious as it actually is. I loved to see this clash of generations that are in age not far apart from each other but in mind certainly are. The point is in short: when adults spend some time with younger people they get some part of their youth and optimism back that definitely helps them overcome the obstacles in life later on. This might also be a good reminder to all of us students, high school or university, to not abandon our youthful mind, the fresh lifestyle, optimism and most importantly, our hope.
It is the Garden of words where the two characters and their lives meet during the rainy season. Shinikai, being the genius he is,  defined rain as a metaphor in a whole different way than it usually is. Rain being always a symbol of pain and hardship, is in Kotonoha no Niwa a symbol of hope and something our main characters are always looking for. 


"A faint clap of thunder, 
Clouded skies, 
Perhaps rain will come.
If so, will you stay here with me?"

"A faint clap of thunder, 
Even of rain comes or not, 
I will stay here, 
Together with you."

(Man'yoshu verses from the movie)

In short, Kotonoha no Niwa presents a really intriguing and emotional story with an amazing message for all generations. 


CHARACTERS


A brilliant story always needed amazing characters that would convey it and the characters of Kotonaha no Niwa were just outstanding. True, the story evolves around Yukino and Takao alone, so we actually don't learn much about the side characters. But the main characters were just enough for the story to evolve. As I explained in the Plot and Story Line section, the most intriguing part of the anime is the contrast between them. Tako being ambitious about his future as shoemaker and extremely mature for his young age (15), whereas, on the other we have Yukino, an adult that lost control of her life in some way and now spends her time eating chocolate and drinking beer.  On the whole, both characters undergo such a great character development and actually bring the whole story to life each in their own way. 


ANIMATION AND STYLE 



One thing is for sure, I'll soon be doing a post solely devoted to the mastermind behind this beauty, Makoto Shinikai. The thing that made me such a fan of his work was first of all the animation of his movies. Not only are the design, the colors and the fluid movements amazingly done and gorgeous, but it is also all so detailed. It is the detail in the animation that makes the movie so beautiful and magical. I cannot put it in words how stunning it all looks. I could and certainly will watch the movie some time soon again just because of the animation. 
Also, I don't usually talk about music in my reviews because I don't notice it that much while watching, but I have to mention the song that played as background in the end of the movie. The ending theme is a song from the 80's, now interpreted by Motohiro Hata. It is called "Rain" and I have it on repeat since I've heard it for the first time. 



CONCLUSION

I think it is clear what the conclusion is. I don't know how many times I'll repeat it in my posts but Makaoto Shinika's works are just magical and so is Kotonoha no Niwa. An extremely moving, emotional and interesting story carried by realistic characters and portrayed with THE BEST animation in the anime industry. It is an anime movie with a huge re-watch factor that clearly deserves to be called masterpiece and the only thing I don't like about it is the fact that it's only 45 minutes long. 


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