Garden of Words / Kotonoha no Niwa
Review By: John Fragglepuss Evans
Genre: Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Psychological, Rainy Days
First Released: May 2013, 46 minute film
Summary: Takao is a seemingly normal high school boy that is training to become a shoemaker. One day Takao skips school and is sketching shoes under an awning in a public garden. It is there he meets Yukino, a mysterious well-dressed women. From that day forward the two always seem to be at the same location at the same time, but only on rainy days. They quickly get to know each other and their relationship quickly develops on these rainy days at the garden. It is unfortunate that the rainy season cannot last forever.
Garden of Words has some of the most beautiful animation I have ever seen in an anime. It is amazing the way the rainy sequences are animated to look life-like, almost as if the scene is coming right off the screen. If nothing else, you should watch this film to see the breathtaking animation. The soundtrack of the film is fitting, with a piano providing most of the sound that provides a proper feel for the romantic tone of the story. There are a handful of characters introduced in the film, but the story focuses on the two main characters and their relationship. Besides the main two, the others are minor characters that are mainly present for filler. I did not find a problem with this because the film is shorter than an hour, so there is not time for side stories. The brevity of the film was the only major drawback I found. The film could have been twice as long, allowing for increased character development, especially with the relationship between Takao and Yukino. It is difficult to tell an entire story in 45 minutes that feels like it should be told over the normal time frame of a movie.
You might enjoy this if: You want a non-traditional romance with beautiful artwork.
You might not like it if: You want a more standard version of anime romance, with characters liking each other in secret but never telling one another that they like each other, then having weird love triangles develop, resulting in jealousy, but still hiding true feelings because the character is too embarrassed to confess their love, even though both characters truly love each other.
Note to the Viewer: Pay attention to how well the water is illustrated, like when the raindrops hit the ground and the way the trees reflect in the pools of water.
The Garden of Words Trailer