Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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Calling Occupants Of Interstellar Craft

Makoto Shinkai's short anime "Voices of a Distant Star" ("Hoshi no Koe") is a bitter-sweet tale of love and separation, enfolded in the trappings of hard SF.

Only 30 minutes long, the story of a couple separated by light years and linked only by occasional text messages is a powerful tale of loneliness. After aliens attack the Solar System, Mikako Nagamine volunteers for the fleet that will take the war to the invaders. It's a story we've seen many times before - the very stuff of military SF. But like Joe Haldeman's Forever War, this story takes another direction. It isn't the boy who goes to the stars, instead it's the girl who leaves the boy behind - and it's her words that echo across the light years.

As the story slowly develops we realise that we're hearing her last words, that she will never come home. The loneliness that pervades the art and the story is the final emptiness of a girl trapped in a space suit, spinning in the void, watching her compatriots die, and knowing that she will never see the boy she left behind. And it's also the loneliness of the abandoned lover, who receives messages, years after they were sent, even though he must know that they are the echoes of a voice long gone.

Wonderful stuff. Highly recommended.

This is excellent visual SF that packs more emotional impact into 30 minutes than sneaks into an entire Hollywood blockbuster.

The short "She And Her Cat" on the DVD is surprisingly evocative. If film were poetry this would be a string of haiku.
Tags: anime, reviews
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