Kotonoha no Niwa | Movie Review

The story is told in a narrative perspective by a young man named Takao Akizuki during the mid year of June. He has hopes to become a shoemaker. On a rainy day in June, he meets a mysterious woman named Yukari Yukino. They seem to be striking up a conversation that begins with an unfamiliar mood. The rain dark clouds covers the skies with claps of thunder strikes their first unusual encounter in the garden.

For the setting of the movie, it takes place in modern Tokyo seemingly in a normal environment. There’s nothing too unusual going around the place with the sunny mornings, the cloudy sky, and passing days of riding the subway station. However, what becomes unusual is Takao and his admiration of shoes as well as Yukari’s feet. His artwork expresses his desire to become a shoemaker more than ever. As mentioned in the film, it is in Takao’s mind on what will get him out of his current living standards.

Throughout the film, it’s observed that Takao and Yukino’s bonds become stronger through their first unusual meeting in the garden to food sharing and later on with more of emotional attachment. Despite this, their relationship is lighthearted but again unusual. Takao dreams to become a shoemaker and here we have Yukino and her feet. The two doesn’t know anything about each other but their connection somehow bonds them together. Takao is charmed by her presence and with the pouring rain symbolizes a picture worth a thousand words.

Takao and Yukino’s relationship throughout the movie seems to be based on a strange connection. It’s hard to make out exactly what it is because of their unusual encounter in the garden in the first place. But still, there’s definitely a connection between them. It’s just that the connection here seems to be rather blend due to Takao’s lack of knowledge regarding Yukino. However, it’s clear that he cares for her. In fact, his rage builds up whenever Yukino’s name is heard from Takao’s ears when something negatively is spoken behind her back. Most of the time though, Takao seems to be in his own little world.

The series also adopts the ‘romance’ genre so naturally, their budding relationship steers from strangers, to platonic, and romantic. To be honest, I find this rather bit bizarre and out of place. They’ve only met for less than a few months with little knowledge of each other. Furthermore, their relationship seems to be more of a fantasy from my perspective rather than realistic. It’s definitely something not many of us see in every day life where people gets connected by shoes and feet, right?

Like most of Mikoto Shinkai’s films, the movie moves with feelings from a calm mood to more of a dramatic. This is expressed through secrets that are revealed later on. Under the rainy clouds, their tears pour and expresses emotions from the bottom of their hearts. Did I find this appealing? Yes. Did I feel the emotions of the characters? No. To me, this was just rushed in terms of relationship. In just that summer, bonds are established but once the dog days are over, it just becomes blend again. That’s how I felt for the story anyways.

The artwork of this series is spectacular. Have you ever seen a bright rainbow right after a long shower? Perhaps this is how I viewed the visuals throughout this film. It is majestic and has a strong radiance that shines more than the cloudy skies that fills the settings. As expected of Makoto Shinaki, a former graphic designer, he puts his skills at work and obviously makes it dazzling for viewers to enjoy those scenery. It is no doubt in my mind the visuals of this series deserves a standing ovation
On another note, the soundtrack of this movie combines a piano like tone with a song of melody to top things off. The ED song, “Rain” by Motohiro Hata shows emotions flowing through the backgrounds of our two main characters. Needless to say, it puts you in the shoes of their emotions. Along the way, the calm and lighthearted OST gives off a balanced natural vibe.

One Comment

  1. This was such a beautiful anime! Student teacher romance done right. Serious plot and honest characterizations without gratuitous titillation. And what a celebration of rain!

    Not that I have anything against titillation but it is usually poorly done and detracts from plot. Sometimes you want more than the common tropes.

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