Clocking in at 46 minutes, The Garden of Words briefly wraps up all Makoto Shinkai’s earmarks, with gorgeous Malickian pictures and heart-wrenching story told mostly in monologues. As a proof of his natural approach (shown in the visual elements and the lack of fantasy taste), this movie has been my second favorite features of Shinkai’s masterpiece (after 5 Centimeters per Second).
The story revolves around, Takao (voiced by Miyu Irino), a 15 year old boy, who dreams of being a shoemaker. On rainy days, he likes to skip classes and goes to a garden to practice making real shoes. There, he meets a much older woman, Yukino (Kana Hanazawa), who he finds very mysterious by a chance. Every rainy day, both of them meets in that garden as the relationship between them grows more intimately. Yet, rainy season won’t last forever.
In comparison to Shinkai’s previous works, The Garden of Words is a little too cheesy, but lite and still enjoyable. Shinkai’s vibrant and detailed visual style doesn’t change as he depicts the naturalness of the rain and the light with excessively warm tone. Visually, this film looks less different from its predecessors; yet, if you think it sounds different, it might be right. There’s no Tenmon, composing the score for this movie—as Shinkai has Daisuke Kashiwa on the pitch, who fortunately doesn’t forget to put a emotionally catchy song (this time, it’s “Rain” from Motohiro Hata) like 5 Centimeters per Second.
The duration and the pace of the movie is a little bit tricky–as the film goes forward very quick. Yet, I think it’s enough to wrap such kind of story (noticing that Shinkai’s not good at writing longer story), but not enough to cover what it might project—between leaving it a heart-breaking story or concluding it with a more risky ending? However, it’s already a good movie after all. So… let the rain speaks.
The Garden of Words (2013) —
Kotonoha no Niwa / 言の葉の庭
Drama, Animation Directed by: Makoto Shinkai Written by: Makoto Shinkai Cinematography: Makoto Shinkai Music by: Daisuke Kashiwa Voiced by: Miyu Irino, Kana Hanazawa