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on 9 June 2007
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.
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on 2 April 2017
Great movie. I wish it was longer. Great delivery service. :)
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VINE VOICEon 21 February 2006
A really stunning 30 minutes worth of anime, even if it did end unconcluded.
The music is incredibly beautiful throughout, the animation looks great (the CG flows wonderfully, but the character designs seem a little choppy at times), the story is a bittersweet tale of young love, and will really leave you with something to think about.
Oh, and the mini movie "She and Her Cat" included in the extras is also lovely, if only 5 minutes long. This one brings a little smile to your face after the deep philosophical context of the main feature.
Definitely worth a look at if you like anime that will stay with you for a long time...because this one will.
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At only half an hour long, this short film manages to be more poignant and emotional than many films three times this length.

The film explores a (very, and increasingly) long distance relationship between two childhood sweethearts. Communicating only through text message whilst the girl (Mikako) begins a career in the military fighting an alien race called the Tarsians, the length it takes for her messages to reach her boyfriend Noboru increases exponentially as the distance between them becomes greater.

Before long the messages are taking over 8 years to reach their target, and our Romeo and Juliet are trying to deal with moving on with their lives but simply can't. Their attention lays focussed with their mobile phones, never knowing when another message might arrive - that after years it could throw them into emotional disarray. The angst at waiting for the next message, never knowing if there will ever be any more is painful to watch. You can't help but feel for the pair. Mikako longs for simple moments - to eat ice-cream with Noboru in the bus shelter whilst it rains, and Noboru tortures himself with desperate anticipation of another message.

In a nutshell: Sci-Fi has never been so lovelorn. I mentioned Romeo and Juliet just a moment ago, and if Shakespeare were with us today then this is the sort of stuff he'd be producing. Brilliantly unbearable and beautiful. Although this is a short film, you feel totally immersed. And though the sci-fi may seem distanced from real life, the scenes back home are realistic. After this film finished I still thought about the pair and hoped that they would be reunited. A masterpiece.

A disappointing lack of any additional features, but that doesn't take away from a fantastic piece of work.
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on 6 February 2006
From the moment you reach the menu, you are captivated by it's beautiful music. It then goes straight into story.
During the film some bits feel fasted paced. The action is good. The graphics superb. But the thing that really captivated me was the music and storyline.
Parted for so long, knowing you could get a message to someone only it would take 8 and a 1/2 years to reach the other person.
It was worth buying but it is short, It ended to quickly. A bit of a downer but don't let it stop you from buying it.
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on 12 July 2006
...this will touch you deeply.

I've never really watched much anime before, but this is a fantastic piece, beautifully directed and animated and brimming with emotions without being sickening. Definitely recommend it.
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`Voices of A Distant Star' is a short animation produced entirely on the directors home computer. For this reason alone the animation and artwork seems especially rich and impressive. Light music flows almost constantly underneath the story and the English dubbing is pretty good. The story follows a female pilot who goes into space and who communicates via text messages which take longer and longer to reach her boyfriend as she goes deeper into space. Essentially it is a love story with a futuristic setting. It is very short, but well thought out and executed and is good if you fancy some anime but don't want a full length feature. The extras are pretty good as well. Worth a look if you're a fan of japanimation.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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on 14 March 2007
Considaring Makoto Shinkai was somewhat of a one-man band in the production and directing of this anime short, the end product is very professional and well made. ADV have since gained the distribution rights and present voices of a distant star (originally named voices of a star), with a new professional voice cast in both Japanese and English that adds depth to the thoughful dialogue. A quite nice selection of special features are also included on the DVD that makes the purchase better value; for most people spending aproximatly £10 for a 25 minute animation seems ineffecient, but there is solus with the philosophy of quality not quantity in this case.

The story is based around two teenagers that fall in love through school and are then separated as the female Mikako Nagamine joins the UN space army and leaves Earth to fight an alien race known as Tarsians. The only means of communication they have from then onwards is via increasingly delayed mobile phone e.mails.

The amination itself is modern in look with much use of computer imagery particularly in the space battle scenes, while the city scapes remain comtempary and reminisant of the characterful stills used in Neon Genesis Evangelion.

The story is fractured slightly playing on time dilation of the e.mails, one of the main plot-tools, which makes it quite hard to completely understand first time round yet not detracting from the overall feel. The touching music is well written and adds to this overall sense of loneliness and longing.

Overall this anime short is a very well concieved but sad tale that would make anyone who has been in a similar situation empathise and enyone who has not still enjoy, but perhaps for its asthetics only.
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on 6 April 2014
This was a great idea for a film, the story of two high school students in love put under incredible strain when one of them (15 year old girl Mikako) is sent into space to fight in a war while the other one (15 year old boy Noboru) is left behind on Earth. There only way of communicating are the emails Mikako sends from her phone. As Mikako is sent deeper and deeper into space the messages take longer and longer to reach Noboru, starting as weeks going on to years.

Sadly 30mins is not long enough to show to story in enough depth and explain what is going on in the world, and answer questions like why was a bright but ordinary 15 year old school girl sent into outer space as a fighter pilot, who and what are the Tarsians, and what is Noboru doing with his life (You get a few hints but not enough and no real insight into his life).

I will say it is impressive it this was made and produced almost entirely but one man. The characters and landscapes are very well drawn and the CGI was very good for the time, but i still say its a waste of a great story and concept to put in 30mins. If your watching the English dub you will still need the subtitles to read the all the message and newspapers. There is another 5min short called She and Her Cat in the extras witch i won't go into to but is very good to!

Voices of a Distant Star is well worth a watch!
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on 18 June 2007
I was a little put-off by the fact the actual film is 25 mintutes long, but I'm glad I took the time to watch it: it actually seemed a lot longer than it was, and the story is very sweet and simple, and didn't really need to be a long film. The only problem I had with the plot was the ending: everything seemed to get a little too emotional and left a lot of questions un-answered (eg. why the alien morph into her?). The CG sequences are very slick and looked great, but some of the character animation at the beginning was a little bit basic, but that's the only thing I can critise about it. The soundtrack was very good. But the best thing about the disc was the animated short 'She and her cat', which I found better than the main feature. I was just seemed much more

'complete'. A single interview, trailers, originally voiced cut and THREE versions of 'She and her cat' justifys the price of the disc, and I would recommend this title for any anime collection.
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