The Garden of Words Review

By Nopy

The Garden of Words is the latest film by Makoto Shinkai (Voices of a Distant Star, 5 Centimeters per Second). Produced by CoMix Wave, this 45 minute film tells the story of love between 15-year-old boy named Takao Akizuki and 27-year-old woman named Yukari Yukino. In order to find some escape from their mundane lives, they independently decide to spend one rainy morning in a garden within a park in Shibuya, which is how they meet. After that, they begin meeting in the garden every time it rains. Takao is transfixed by the mystery of an older woman that he knows nothing about while Yukari is reminded of simpler and happier times when she was a teenager. Unfortunately, the encounters between Takao and Yukari soon end with the end of the rainy season and when Takao discovers that Yukari is a teacher at his school it plunges their relationship into doubt.

Shinkai is well-known for creating bitter-sweet romances and The Garden of Words is another example of this. From the beginning there was doubt that the relationship between Takao and Yukari could ever work, but what Shinkai focuses on is the fact that the two do fall in love despite their age difference and positions. The main point of the film isn’t to find out whether Takao and Yukari are able to stay together, but to experience the love, support, and affection that they have for each other.

Despite being titled “The Garden of Words”, there was actually not much dialogue in the film. Don’t let that put you off though as every line carries with it a deeper meaning that reveals each character’s fears and uncertainties as well as their feelings for each other. Even more subtle was the way different events seemingly parallel Takao and Yukari’s relationship, such as the coming, disappearance and sudden reappearance of the rain. Metaphors are used throughout the film, which may make it difficult for some to follow, but when you start to see them it’s hard not to appreciate what they mean. The story is beautifully intricate with deeper meanings found in almost every line and action; truly a work of art in itself.

Speaking of art, the animation in The Garden of Words was simply stunning. When the lush greenery of the garden is contrasted with the dull city in the background, it almost seems as if it were alive. The constant rain makes every scene seem almost magical with the way light is affected by it. The music composed by Daisuke Kashiwa for the film also played into the magic of the rain. A single piano takes the lead in terms of music, with a soft melody that sounds much like the falling of rain. You can check out the animation and music for yourself in the trailer below.

The Garden of Words is a beautiful film in terms of story and production. I honestly do not think there is much to complain about unless you dislike sad romances. There may be different interpretations of the film depending on how you perceive the metaphors and symbolism packed into it, but I think that just shows how masterfully crafted it is. I definitely recommend The Garden of Words to anyone looking for something beautiful.

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Nopy is an engineer and a rabid fan of anime. He also enjoys collecting anime figures, reading manga, and viewing artwork from anime/manga artists. Nopy began blogging about anime in 2008 and joined the Forever Geek team in 2009. Besides anime and manga, he also enjoys the occasional video game and catching the latest internet memes.

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