Hoshi no Koe

Title:Hoshi no Koe
Voices of a Distant Star
Keywords: , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - CoMix Wave
Donna Burke
Original Concept - SHINKAI Makoto
SUZUKI Chihiro
Completely made by one man, Makoto Shinkai, Hoshi no Koe is an impressive example of living one's dream. This stunning tale of love and war should be seen as an example of what anime can be.

[OVA, 2002, 1 episode, 25 min; there also exists a 54 minutes radio version and a Manga that continues past the end of the Anime.]

From the same animation team who worked on

2:50min OVA Trailer - YouTube Video
Episode Details 
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 9 9 6 8 7 Ggultra2764 [series:430#1552]
It's amazing what one person can do with animation and that's what Makoto Shinkai managed to wow me with for this 30-minute short. Sure it doesn't have the polish of professional animation studios. But, you have to be amazed at how one person managed to animate this. The CG-animated mechas look polished and the few scenes where there are mecha battles are a sight to behold. However, the character designs looked a bit generic as nothing really popped out for me, especially since the OAV format normally has more detail with character designs. But then again, Makoto was the one person who did the animation for Hoshi no Koe, so this is forgiveable.

Despite all the complex talk of mecha battles with an alien race, those are not the important plot elements of this OAV. It's the distant relationship that takes place over time between two teenagers as they are apart. While the concept for such a storyline does make for a decent watch, the backdrop of space and sci-fi didn't seem to fit the genre for me. I would have wanted a setting that seemed more believable for this kind of story, like down on Earth. By having a sci-fi environment, it would only make me want to know more of the conflict between humans and aliens in this OAV, as well as the technological advances that led to the creation of the mechas.

As it is, I can admire Hoshi no Koe as an anime that one man single-handedly made on his own with a solid foundation for a plotline. But, the sci-fi environment hampers some of my admiration for this anime title.

Last updated Saturday, April 19 2008. Created Saturday, April 19 2008.
Rent 9 10 6 8 8 5 Devil Doll [series:430#752]
[Score: 74% = Rent-]
  • Drama: Med/High (character relation as well as space war)
  • Comedy: None (almost a tragedy)
  • Action: Med (Mecha battles against aliens)
  • SciFi: High (fancy future technology, time dilatation and whatnot)
  • Ecchi: None (this isn't a normal schoolgirl's story)
I've long been shy of reviewing (and rating) this anime, mostly because of the huge amount of praise it earned everywhere. Now that I rewatched it I can at least understand this praise... but it still isn't my kind of show.

Marvelously drawn (even though I don't like Mikako's face), with outstanding Animation and wonderfully selected sounds, this one episode piece is indeed an experience of Art and Music. Then again it confronts the audience with excessive information overload, making me hit the pause key every couple of seconds to be able to read all those texts on the screen, be that newspaper headlines, mail subjects, or the lyrics of the song playing during the final scene... because you need all the bits and pieces to understand the story. Watching this anime is stressful at least.

The Story... well, it is surprisingly good for the short playing time (even though it's the same old story of each of Makoto Shinkai's works: "Long-distance relations suck, period") and presented with surprising twists and even suspense elements. Then again, there's almost nothing there in the Characters department except for two teenagers loving each other and facing the inevitable truth they won't be able to get together. Me being so dependent on character development, this show is about as interesting as Tenshi no Tamago... and it ends up getting about the same score from me.

Last updated Monday, December 05 2011. Created Friday, November 30 2007.
Rent Stretch [series:430#628]
I stumbled across this title (about which I knew nothing, not even the title) on a disc filled with a mixed bag of "Romance" animes of varying qualities. The artwork immediately caught my eye--brilliant sunsets and well-chosen colors to reflect bright sunlight (that doesn't happen often enough!). I wondered if this might be "The Place Promised In Our Early Days" (or whatever), which I'd seen some stills from. In comparison the character designs sometimes seemed a bit simplistic, as if not up to the standard set by the background artwork and animation. To my surprise, this became a sci-fi story. It reminded me of Gunbuster, with the teenage girl who winds up as a mecha pilot, and playing with the time distorting effects of travelling at or beyond the speed of light. The combat sequences were truly awesome, with fast moving, completely three-dimensional action. Yet somehow the vibrant colors (or something else) kept me from asking myself whether this might actually be live-action. If only I hadn't needed to read subtitles while this was going on! I assumed the increasingly difficult correspondences between Mikako and Noboru were a lengthy lead in to the main plot (which would surely reveal more about the "Tarsians")--but suddenly it was over! I'd thought this was a movie, which would run at least an hour-and-a-half. So, I'm not sure what to make of this. However, definitely worth at least a Rent, if only for the superb artwork and animation. Learning that this was created almost single-handedly by one person makes it all the more amazing.

Last updated Wednesday, April 19 2006. Created Wednesday, April 19 2006.
Buy 9 9 7 9 10 Anonymous #2172 [series:430#2172]
If there’s anything remarkable about Hoshi no Koe (well, aside from the animation and the fact that almost everything except the music and the female voice acting was done by a single person), it would probably be the movie’s simplicity. Unlike other anime which try to glorify themselves, Voices of a Distant Star presents the story “as it is”. No political factions at war (Gundam), no psychological mind rape (Evangelion), no philosophical conflicts (Rurouni Kenshin), no technical concepts to clutter the brain (Ghost in the Shell), no exaggerations whatsoever. The initial setting is oh-so-cliché (humanity using mechs to wage war against hostile extraterrestrials) but Makoto Shinkai uses the sci-fi situation only as a backdrop for a tale of two people separated by time and space. The dialogue is simple, colloquial, and straight to the point. Even the music is light; most of the soundtrack is made of basic melodies played repeatedly on the piano. Though it may seem repetitive, it serves the purpose of reinforcing the emotion of the film. Despite the short length (less than 25 minutes), the film delivers much more than what other anime series can do in 40+ episodes or 100+ chapters. Short and bittersweet, this is a movie that will keep playing on in your head.

Last updated Tuesday, January 24 2006. Created Tuesday, January 24 2006.
Buy 10 10 7 8 8 AstroNerdBoy [series:430#436]

At only 25-minutes, this OAV doesn't have a lot of time to tell its story, but Shinkai-san manages to do it. The plot is of an alien race who attacked a Martian colony forcing the U.N. to quickly raise a fleet and launch a counter-attack. This fleet also needs mecha pilots and 15-year old Mikako is one chosen. As such, she is forced to leave Earth and her best friend Noboru-kun, who is really more than a best friend to her. She carries with her a cell phone from which she can send text-messages and he does the same. As the U.N. mission goes further into space, the time lag grows until it reaches nearly 9-years after the fleet warps to another solar system.

Since Mikako and Noboru-kun are the only voiced characters (save for the U.N. ship Lysithea's operator, which Mikako is assigned to, voiced in English in both the Japanese and English dub by Donna Burke), the story is about their relationship and how being seperated affects both of them. For Mikako, warping out means she's not aging much, but her messages still take an increasing amount of time to return. So at one point she's 15 and knows Noboru-kun will be 24 by the time he gets it...assuming he gets it at all. As such, we get a sad tale of a girl fighting for her world and how she may never return to that world or the boy whom she loves. At the same time, we get the sad tale of a boy who's left behind and who must decide how to proceed with his life. It seems hard to believe, but it does work.

The art/animation of this OAV are just incredible. The battles shown are impressive (though obviously not very long), the planetary-scapes are jaw-dropping (or were for me), and this added to the niceness of the OAV as a whole.

As to ADV's DVD, shame on them for not using the "-kun" honorific in the subtitles. However, they get brownie points for an interview with Shinkai-san, having the original version of the OAV (where he and his fiancee play the roles), and having the black-and-white She and Her Cat anime(s) which were also done by Shinkai-san.

Bottom line: This is a short but fairly powerful OAV. While it may not have a high rewatchibilty rate for me, I still recognize it as buy-worthy.

Last updated Wednesday, August 10 2005. Created Wednesday, August 10 2005.

Buy Forbin [series:430#1573]
This is a great Anime.
Just as a side note the director created this ON HIS OWN. Just him (And maybe his wife), no studio, no big money...just a man and his Macintosh.
It becomes one of the BEST animes I've seen. Just a note..it's not upbeat. Bring a tissue.

Last updated Monday, October 04 2004. Created Monday, October 04 2004.
Buy 9 9 10 7 9 9 MasterYoshidino [series:430#598]
This anime is very touching. Forget it as a mecha anime or sci fi. When you think about how the female whom has to leave to outer space and how the only means of contact is email, which takes years to reach her friend. With time passing, each email takes longer as she leaves farther away to do her soldier work in space. Each email is touching as it shows their love and never breaking bond. One of the most emotional anime ever made. There is more character development in this one oav than I seen in whole anime series, and that is quite rare. Released by MangaZoo.
I watched the BakaMX fansub of it FYI.

Last updated Friday, October 03 2003. Created Tuesday, September 23 2003.
Rent 8 10 9 8 10 Allaryin [series:430#538]
Rip my heart out why don'cha? There is so much depth and thought put into this show that I find it physically painful that it is not any longer.
I come to this show in good faith and start watching... It just sort of goes on for 24 minutes, building up character depth and background until you can't stand it any more. Then it ends. I was certain that it was just the pilot episode for a 52 episode series... but no... I rewind and pause on the final screen, where I sit there and stare at the kanji for 'ending'.
My only real complaint is that the integration between CG and hand drawings is not very smooth. The mecha appear quite contrived when you're not expecting them, and in the three times I've watched the show now... I still can't quite get used to them.

Last updated Wednesday, February 12 2003. Created Wednesday, February 12 2003.
Buy 9 10 8 9 9 9 Sesen Kelader [series:430#471]
Hoshi no Koe is said to be a "Fan-Produced" animation, having only one 25 min episode. It combines 2D and 3D animation well and has some incredibly scenes.
THe entire story is based on the idea of "Heart" or "Spirit." Because the story is short, so the ideas are very compressed and strikes one's mind greatly. Although the background setting is not well-explained, yet it's only a futile defect. The story is warm, touching, and at the end happy---though many might not agree with me. Two lovers are separate with 8-light-year distance, yet their hearts connects acroos time and space. I'm surprised to see these kind of idea being shown clearly and being well-interpreted in an Anime. It's even more astonishing when seeing it in the 25-min Hoshi No Koe.
It's worth buying.

Last updated Thursday, January 02 2003. Created Thursday, January 02 2003.
Buy 10 6 9 7 10 Midnighter [series:430#94]
Impressive in its own right, Hoshi no Koe is even more amazing when one realizes it is the project of one man.
Makoto Shinkai wrote, digitally animated and voiced the 30 minute anime feature about love during a brutal war.(His wife provided additional voices)
Sure, it sounds repetitive, we've seen it before, Gundam, Macross, Escaflowne, but Hoshi no Koe manages to be unique, with its quiet and heart-wrenching introspection and discussions of love far out shining the space battles. The show even attempts to tackle the Twin Paradox (in which a person on faster than light/space warping ships ages much slower than a person in "real time.") Even if they didn't quite get it right, applause must be given for trying, as this aspect is so often ignored in Sci-Fi. It's amazing to watch these two fictional character's relationship get stronger with distance rather than be destroyed.
The two voice actors do an amazing job, quietly understating everything rather than over-emphasizing. The animation itself is, of course, fairly rough, and the CG Space battles tend to suffer, but it's OK, as they aren't really important to the show anyway. Definite Gundam and Eva inspiration is evident.
The character designs are typically anime, nothing special, but the personalities they have make us care for them so much. I damn near cried when Noboru recived Mikako's message after an eight year lag-time and he's become 24 while she reamins a soldier of only 15. This is a beautiful story told with haunting skill and exceptional heart.
Overall, see Hoshi no Koe any way you can. I can't recomend it highly enough, as it makes up for its technical limitations with more soul than almost any other anime out there.
NOTE: Hoshi no Koe is available as the creater's sole project and more recently as a professionally redone version. I have only seen the origional.

Last updated Friday, June 14 2002. Created Friday, June 14 2002.

Other Sites
Homepage of SHINKAI Makoto http://www2.odn.ne.jp/%7Eccs50140/

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