Makoto Shinkai

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What the heck is ‘United Nation Spacy’?

The first entry for this month is the review Makoto Shinkai’s third work, Hoshi no Koe. At 30 minutes, it is considerably shorter than his first two movies reviewed here, plus it will also be judged with the usual higher standard I use for romance genre titles.

The usual beautiful sceneries in Makoto Shinkai’s movies is also present here.

Two middle-school friends were separated when one of them (the female protagonist) was selected to fight aliens in outer space. They keep in touch via e-mail (or is that SMS?) but as the space fleet travel further towards Sirius, the time for the messages to go back and forth become longer and longer. The girl then gets to battle space monsters with awesome mobile suits while her male friend has to worry whether he will get the next message or not.

The story is excellent, better than The Place Promised in Our Early Days but inferior to 5 Centimetres Per Second. The presentation and pacing are done very well, but character development is minimal at best (it’s just 30 minutes). The part that really stands out the most is the ending, which is simply magnificent. This short movie’s ending is vastly superior to the endings of the first two Makoto Shinkai’s movies I have reviewed here before, or the huge majority of the anime I have reviewed here too.

That Sir, is how you wrote an ending. Note to Japan anime writers, WATCH THIS SHORT MOVIE FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!

Well, there are not many things I can say about this short movie anyway, except for good things only.

You were chased by a hungry horde of space monsters. What will you choose? A. Retreating like hell to the safety of your mothership that is about to enter hyperspace. B. Looking around frantically for your mobile phone so that you can send a message to your boyfriend.
From the screenshot above, you would have guessed what she has chosen. Women, just like man, minus the reason and accountability.

Character Design:-
Makoto Shinkai’s influence can be easily seen here, thus the character design is of the realistic type. As usual, brown is the new black, but then again the setting of this anime is somewhere in the future. A positive point for this anime.

Mecha/monster designs in this anime are very well done too.

Voice Acting:-
The voice acting in this anime is pretty good, but not on the same level as the previous 2 movies reviewed here though. There are no outstanding characters too (as if you can choose between only 2 of them).

The mecha design is surprisingly very well done.

The OST is good, but the ED theme is something else. The ED really complement the awesome ending perfectly. Definitely a positive point of this anime.

The animation in this anime is excellent, just like you expect from Makoto Shinkai’s brainchild. There are no problems with fast-paced scenes either, and the choreography for the mecha battles is decent and intense. Speaking of that, I think Makoto Shinkai watched too much of The Legend of Galactic Heroes when doing some of the armada battles. The directing, as you may suspect, is the best from all three of his movies reviewed here to date. You will have no complaints for sure.

9 out of 10.
With the higher standard I use for romance genre titles, this is as good as 10 out of 10 already. The next review will be special, and you should tune in to see what is in store next.

Even if this is not high-definition, the rain effect is still good to watch.

The promotion picture that you can also see at the ANN page for this movie.

5 Centimeters Per Second makes up the 6th anime reviewed in this wave of 2007 anime reviews. Done by Makoto Shinkai who also done The Place Promised in Our Early Days, this high-definition rip is a romance (although an unorthodox one) thus will be judged with the same standard as Clannad.

Spectacular scenery, the hallmarks of Makoto Shinkai is sure to be found here.

Two childhood friends were separated from each other as their parents relocated to different places due to their jobs. They wrote letters to each other at first, but as time goes on, the frequency of their exchange faded, and the focus then switched to the male protagonist as he lived the coming years through high-school until he reached adulthood.

Compared to The Place Promised in Our Early Days, which is actually the first Makoto Shinkai’s work I have seen, the story in this movie is so much better. This movie excels in every department; an interesting storyline, more visible character developments (no outstanding characters though), faster and more linear presentation and a good ending too. There does not seem to be any weakness I can write about for this movie, so everything is fine and dandy. This movie is a must watch if you are a romantic bunch, and validates the hype I have heard about Makoto Shinkai.

High details even in mundane places like convenience stores.

Character Design:-
Just like The Place Promised in Our Early Days, the character design is the one of the realistic type and non-stereotypical ones. Yet again, brown is the new black. Oh well, there is nothing more I can say in this matter.

All hairs are brown in this version of Japan. I’m pretty damn sure than real-life Japan has black hairs.

Voice acting:-
This is where this movie loses out to The Place Promised in Our Early Days, because voice acting in this movie is just about decent. It wasn’t bad, but certainly inferior.

Another one of those detailed and beautiful sceneries.

This anime has good OST, although the ending is a little bit meh.

The rain effects in this movie is inferior to what you can see in The Place Promised in Our Early Days.

The animation in this movie is spectacular as ever, and the overuse of beautiful sceneries the way The Place Promised in Our Early Days did has been eliminated. But then again, I felt that the quality of the artworks and special effects in this movie is probably not as good as the one in The Place Promised in Our Early Days. See the screenshot’s caption to see what I mean.

Meanwhile, the directing (by Makoto Shinkai himself) is a vast improvement than his gig in The Place Promised in Our Early Days. The plot flows freely, better usage of camera angles and choices/presentations of scenes, especially the one at the end shows more maturity in the part of the director. Probably still not in the class of the one who directed Steamboy though.

The snowing effect is comparable though.

9 out of 10. A great improvement compared to The Place Promised in Our Early Days. The next anime should be H2O – footprints in the sand, as this wave of 2007 anime review is nearing its end.

I want to get my hand on this Windows Vasta OS. If I can’t, Windows KP will also suffice.

The element of weather such as rain is really beautiful in this movie. There are a few others like snow that you should see at this blog photo album for this movie here.

Two reviews in two consecutive days, I am really on fire! For this entry, I will do a mini-review of The Place Promised in Our Early Days movie, with lots of 1080p screenshots, some of them featured in this entry.

That mysterious tower with a Predator drone looking on.

In a version of Japan where they got to vote for the president in White House, two middle-schoolers dreams of flying an aircraft towards a mysterious tower at Hokkaido. But a girl who uttered the word ‘sugoi’ a lot falls into a coma and their plans shattered just like that (no spine whatsoever). The two middle-schoolers went their separate ways but the comatose girl reunite both of them to save the world from the tower that the girl’s grandpa built.

The synopsis maybe a little out of whack, but the story is actually decent. The main feature of the movie seems to be the awesome sceneries that this movie seems to have a lot than necessary. The story started slowly and only gets better towards the end.

The movie uses plenty of time-shifting to help do character development and also advance the story. And there is not much character development in here anyway, I guess that’s the advantage of being a movie. The movie does not have any weaknesses that I can comment, but I do not think that this movie is a masterpiece storywise either.

A tree in different seasons 1.

Character Design:-
The character design in this movie is of the realistic type, the way Ghibli movies are. I think this movie is also one of those that thinks brown is the new black, but then again Japan here is part of United States so who am I to complain?

A tree in different seasons 2.

Voice acting:-
A positive aspect of this movie, the voice acting here is excellent, but no one really stands out.

A tree in different seasons 3.

This is where the movie fails. As a whole, the music (OST or ED theme) is wholly uninteresting. Hehehehe.

Even as one of the states under United States of America, English is failing in Japan…

Despite having great arts, the animation did not really match them. This movie really suffers in some fast-paced scenes where the animation is not fluid enough. At first I thought Media Player Classic is dropping frames (after all, this is a 1080p h.264 movie), but with CoreAVC and quad-core CPU utilizations that never exceeds 25% I do suspect that the animation fluidity in those scenes is simply not good enough.

The directing meanwhile is pretty decent, with no obvious weaknesses and is able to juggle all those time-shifts to create a coherent storyline.

…but a much better attempt can be seen here.

7 out of 10.
If you want to see pretty arts and scenery you should consider watching this one.

One of the protagonist and the sugoi girl.