A Japanese anime film produced by Makoto Shinkai, Kotonoha no Niwa centers on two main characters: a high school student named Takao Akizuki who aspires to be a shoemaker, and a young adult woman named Yukari Yukino whose name is unknown until the second half of the film. Strangers at first encounter in a park during the rainy season, Takao remains puzzled at the Tanka that Yukari has mentioned. As days pass, they slowly start to be more closer to one another and most of the days, meet at the same place.
The film focuses on the character development of Takao and Yukino with their calm and light hearted conversation while sharing their philosophies in life, however, while Yukino seems to have an idea that Takao is a high school student, Takao in return doesn’t have any clue who she really is until the second half of the film which at the near end, arises a conflict between the two, but is ultimately resolved.
The film is filled with extensive melodramatic events and is surely one of the best heartwarming anime films by Makoto Shinkai. Takao and Yukino’s encounter might be far from a typical scenario of how couple meet each other, because their development slowly progresses in a calm and mysterious manner which makes their relationship quite unpredictable whether they will end up together sooner. While raindrops continuously pour on the ground, the film expresses emotional scenes with the conversation between Takao and Yukino in the same place until such time, their feelings to one another start to grow fonder.
Apart from that, the film unfolds the story of striving hard with perseverance without getting bumped onto the barriers in life. It does not only focus on the mysterious romance of the two main characters, but also, it enlightens the viewers that goals require determination as Takao defines a true hardworking character who is capable to balance his time between studying and working in a part-time job. He can decide on his own and can fight for what he believes in which makes him an interesting character.
The animation is outstanding enough to satisfy the eyes of the viewers. Settings are made realistic and the environment designs are really impressive not to mention the rainy season in the film which seems like actual raindrops in the real world. You will later on notice that the film also focuses on the natures and environment designs which are visually attractive and have good angles. As trademark of Makoto Shinkai goes, characters have simple art yet well-detailed from the expression on their face to the overall physical features which are made realistic and far from shoujo style of art. The emotion of the characters fits appropriately towards the different mood of the scenes.
Makoto Shinkai, the director of the film, does an excellent job in making this film possible. In case you are not aware, he is also the director of the popular anime film 5 Centimeters per Second which received grand awards. As many critics have mentioned, Shinkai might be the next “Miyazaki” due to his masterpiece works that are blended with realization, reflection and inspiring thoughts. Shinkai is just too good to make high quality and realistic film that is absolutely worth to watch, and viewers won’t regret watching the film.
Overall, Kotonoha no Niwa is an excellent film. If you have already watched a number of Shinkai’s works, then you’ll easily be attached to this wonderful anime.