Kotonoha no Niwa(720p and 1080p)

Anime Type : Movie
Total Episodes : 1
Rating : 8.4
Aired : May 31, 2013
Producer : CoMix Wave Films, TOHO animation
Genres : Romance
Duration : 46 min. per episode

We have met, for each of us to walk forward.

Takao, who is training to become a shoemaker, skipped school and is sketching shoes in a Japanese-style garden. He meets a mysterious woman, Yukino, who is older than him. Then, without arranging the times, the two start to see each other again and again, but only on rainy days. They deepen their relationship and open up to each other. But the end of the rainy season soon approaches…
(Source: Comix Wave)

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“The saying “age is but a number” seems to apply to almost anything, but it can be a bittersweet feeling when speaking about certain topics. A boy waking up to explore a surreal world through the power of language with a stranger who talks about anything, but herself. The world seemingly begins with the entrance of rain caressing nature, exposing the inconceivable beauty of Earth, while ending with the sun tainting the sacred place to free oneself from reality. Two individuals from different circumstances coming together by a connection of rain to make a relationship that can only be described as “sweet and sour”.

The theme of the short 46 minute film can be interchanged between mind-sets by the individual, but Makato Shinkai has always been one to keep an open-mind in his films. The topic of love is nothing new in society today, but the idea of older relationships are viewed as a wrong, especially when the age gap is more than ten years. Though this film does a head dive into just that thought and creates a story about two people who would have never met unless life didn’t take a turn for the worse. Both face hardships, both are unsure about their abilities, and are seemingly riding the flow to wherever life takes them, not taking control to steer their own path, but their roads intertwine to produce a story of love that was never meant to be. A 15 year old boy, ambitious to pursue a career in shoe making meeting a beautiful, kind, but mysterious 27 year old female. A tantalizing tale depicting the social abnormalities of how society can affect a story between two.

Romance in this case is set to create a tone of light-heartedness throughout the film, but it isn’t as romantic as one may think. Rain is the entrance to the beautiful garden of freedom, but it’s a theme to represent peace and the ability to break away from what life is throwing at a person. Takao skips school, and has the maturity of people far from his age. His family circumstances leaves him to be the responsible one, even if he just recently entered his first year of high school. Meanwhile Yukino skips work to immerse herself with chocolate in one hand, and a beer in the other. Feeling invisible in society not knowing where to go next, afraid to make a wrong move. When the rainy season comes, the two meet daily to have a companion to outweigh the negatives and break off from the hardships in the world, even if only for a few hours. When the sun comes out, the two go back to what seems like a mundane, routine based life that creates emptiness in the soul. Though romance is more of a facade in the story, the dialogue is where the most of the messages are conveyed.

One of the few measly set backs this film has is the character development due to the limited time they have to work with. In this film the two characters enter a garden during monsoon season, while one sketches, the other is staring into the pond and they exchange words over time, but little is known about the two. The challenge of a slice of life type of film is the heavy reliance upon events taking place to create an environment for the characters to thrive in and establish themselves to be fleshed out and understood, but there were only a few moments where that occurred in the film. Though the pace picks up in the second quarter of the film and the characters do make themselves to be more sought out than others, the issue was the time constraints that limited the development to be spread out and subtle. Without a doubt, if the film was the length of a regular movie, it would have been enough to create a relationship with the audience to help enhance the plethora of emotions shown throughout the film, but the movie, regardless, had enough time to still guide the characters in the right direction.

Imagine a location to feel at home; a location like no other to let one thrive and become the person who they wish to be. A garden in the middle of bustling city life to simulate time stopping to savor the moments spent between the two. Aesthetically the film did a superb job creating the backdrop of the garden showing the transition between the fast paced life, to a frozen oasis hidden by a invisible cloth made of rain. Throughout the entirety of the film the art, and especially the rain, is peaking at the audience like moonlight beams breaching the sky against clouds to create an aura of calmness and an ambient feeling of comfort. Like an elegant flower alluring solely by its ethereal beauty showcasing everything it has to offer.

Surprisingly enough, the ending theme is titled “Rain” and it perfectly sums up the feeling of the film. The soundtrack of this movie is more subtle rather than blatantly proclaiming that it’s there to provide music for the scene, but it’s done in a way for the music to feel natural and seamless throughout the film. It’s a warm, soothing track to keep your mind open while interlacing with the characters and their endeavors. The sound of rain, the piano solos, the calm voices; they all add up to become an equation with the answer being tranquility.

While Kotonoha no Niwa is only a mere 46 minutes, don’t let the time fool you. Along side the plethora of emotions comes morals and themes, which can be different for every person. The dialogue makes up the majority of the film while the story is more of a lead and guide to follow the characters during their short season with each other. The art throughout the film is much like a bud blossoming to become a flower that blooms only once every thousand years, and it very much seems so. Though it seems as if monsoon season is approaching earlier this year, I hear a faint clap of thunder, perhaps of thunder, will you stay here with me?”
Agnedea (MAL)

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