The Garden of Words 言の葉の庭 Review

The-Garden-of-Words-Takao-and-YukinoThe Garden of Words
Released: 2013
Directed by: Makoto Shinkai

Warning! Since this is a review, there will be spoilers so if you don’t want to find out too much about the story then what are you doing here? Go away!
First things first, as I’m sure you’ll notice, this film is stunning. And I mean stunning. It’s probably the best looking anime I’ve ever seen. The animation on the leaves and rain is the best I’ve seen and I’m not ashamed to say it brought a tear to my eye. The director/writer/cinematographer for the film was Makoto Shinkai who also made 5 Centimetres Per Second and Children Who Chase Lost Voices, which are both equally lovely so it’s not surprising the animation in this is so good. I could talk about how gorgeous it is all day but I’ll stop now before it gets horrendously dull.

The story centres on Takao Akizuki, a 15 year old boy with a habit of skipping school on rainy days. He longs to be a shoe-maker after seeing a pair of shiny purple shoes gifted to his mother on her birthday, but no-one else seems to think this is a realistic goal.
One morning when he skips school, he decides to visit the Shinjuku Gyoen National Park and sketch shoes under the cover of a gazebo. Here he meets Yukari Yukino, an odd woman who is well dressed but drinking beer fairly early in the day. The two continue to meet in the park, only on rainy mornings and their relationship blossoms. They both have problems that they eventually confide in each other and help each other to grow.
I’ll leave it there as I don’t want to spoil too much of the storyline for those of you who’d like to watch it.

Both Takao and Yukari are likeable, intriguing characters and you find yourself really caring about them and wanting to find out properly what happens to them. Unfortunately, the film is only 45 minutes long! Ridiculously short considering the depth of the story. This meant that I was unbelievably disappointed by the end of the film. The ending just seemed quite abrupt and seemed more of an afterthought. I’m imagining this wasn’t the case but just adding another 15-30 minutes would have easily allowed time to develop the characters and round off the story more nicely.

That being said, the idea of the film is so simple but beautifully executed, and every bit of it was wonderful to watch. One of the most lovely scenes fades images of Takao and Yukari sat on the benches in the park, gradually moving closer to each other and beginning to be more comfortable in the other’s company. I found the subtle repetition of their mornings a joy to watch and the development in their relationship was extremely natural.

Despite its flaws (mainly being the length of the film), I really enjoyed it and would thoroughly recommend it to any anime fans. Even if you aren’t already a fan, I can guarantee the artwork in this masterpiece will convert you.

‘A faint sound of thunder
Even if rain comes not
I will stay here
If you, too, stay.’


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