Review of 'The Garden of Words (Koto no ha no niwa)'

garden_of_words.jpg Takao is a student who hopes to become a shoe-maker meets a mysterious woman one rainy day sitting in a park gazebo. He is skipping school and she is skipping work. Over the course of the rainy season he strikes up a relationship with Yukino who offers shows an interest in Takao's designs. After the season ends Takao returns to school and finds more information about his rainy-day companion.

This amazing film looks stunning - The re-occurring images from the park (particularly one of a tree dipping into a pond) are absolutely amazing. Hyper realistic and packed with intricate detail in an incredibly vivid colour palette.

This is quite a mature film differing from Shinkai's other films with the very real emotion between Takao and Yukino as they fall in love. Despite only 46 minutes, the pace seems relaxed and very comfortable in telling the story over a period of time though, admittedly, it seems occasionally to be a bit too slow as if Shinkai was trying to pad the running time (it was billed as “feature length”).

This is certainly one of Shinkai's best and fantastic to see him finding his voice.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2014-09-02

Directed by: Makoto Shinkai

Studio: CoMix Wave

Year: 2013

Length: 46 minutes

Genre: Japanese Animation

Other reviewed films by Makoto Shinkai: