I usually consider myself to be fairly impervious to the effect of film on my emotions. From the ending of Titanic to the gore of Elfen Lied, nothing has ever really moved me. Until, that is, I watched this.
Voices of a Distant Star was a film I picked up on a whim. I had read good things about it but it had never been at the top of my list of things to watch. If that is you, go buy it now!
In case you need a little more explaining, this is one of the best films ever. Yes, it's only half an hour long, but it'll stick with you forever. The story is about Mikako, a girl who joins the UN army to fight a race of aliens known as Tarsians which have attacked Earth, and the boy Noboru who she leaves behind. As they move further apart, so the time it takes to send messages to one another increases. The scripting is flawless, and the scene moves from intimate and emotional to epic battles effortlessly.
A lot of CG is used in the battle scenes, but don't let that put you off if you're an anime purist. The hand drawn sections are also beautiful, with the skies being a real focus point. This was in effect made by just one man, so the roughness of the characters in places is forgivable.
Music-wise the film is sound (no pun intended), with a great ending theme. Even the DVD menu has a great song on it. However, the English dub sounds a little too unemotional in places- watch the Japanese first.
One of the things that confused me at first was that Noboru seems to get older while Mikako doesn't. The box even says "while she barely grows older in the timelessness of space, Noboru ages". In fact I don't think this is a) correct or b) possible- in fact, the film flips between different time periods, so the scenes with Mikako are taken from the "present" whilst some scenes with Noboru are from the "future". You'll see my reasoning for this in the ending speech too.
The extras on this are also worth mentioning. There are loads- in fact, altogether they are twice as long as the main feature! Okay, so one is the same film with an altered script, and some are just bog-standard trailers, but you also get an interview with the director, and his first film, She and Her Cat, in three versions. This is also a brilliant film, which isn't worth it's own DVD (it's 5 minutes long), but is as inspiring and thought-provoking as Voices.
I would also like to point out that the original title translates literally as "Voices of a Star", which in my opinion makes more sense. But whatever it's called, this is one of the best films in years, and an essential purchase for any fan of anime or film in general.