Tom (Webmaster)

Based on:  Full Anime

UK Distributor:  ADV Films (DVD)

Made in a bedroom?  Surely not I hear you say.  But Voices Of A Distant Star (VOADS) was and you will have to keep pinching yourself whilst watching it just to remind yourself of that fact, because the animation in VOADS is quite impressive.

Set in the year 2046 during an interstellar war, the storyline of VOADS focuses on the relationship between the young Mikako and Noboru, which is just starting to get serious when Mikako is drafted as a pilot for the war.  She must travel to the far reaches of space to fight the alien enemy and her only way of communicating with Noboru is via text messaging.  The further apart they are though, the longer it takes for each message to reach the recipient and, due to the laws of physics, Noboru ages faster then Mikako whilst she is in the depths of space.  The two strive to remain in contact as the gap between them grows ever larger.

As I mentioned in opening the animation in VOADS is impressive and is certainly it’s strongest point.  I found the lush backdrops jaw-dropping throughout and although the character design was not particularly stylised, it was well above what I expected from this homemade effort.  Unfortunately the mech design is where VOADS falls down as the movement is jerky and does not gel well with the backdrops, but I could have forgiven VOADS for this if it were not for the most important aspect of all – the story.

Although the story of VOADS seems promising enough from my above overview you have probably noticed that the characters communicate with mobile phones, which would be ok if VOADS wasn’t set in 2046 and all other technology has moved on except for mobile phones.  It is laughable that in the world of VOADS it is possible to travel vast distances in space but no-one seemed to equip these machines with a decent communication device to Earth and they instead decided to rely on mobile phones older then even the one I own myself!  Ok, I know you are probably thinking: that this is a fickle point to make and that VOADS is really a tale of love between two people across a vast distance and that their story is all that matters, and you would be right.  However, VOADS fails to convince the viewer of this as we do not see any other characters other then Mikako and Noburu, therefore not witnessing any other aspects of their life and instead left to assume.  Due to this Mikako and Noburu are mind-numbingly shallow as the viewer simply sees them pining for each other, rather then seeing other aspects of their life which would have given them both just a little more depth.  All the viewer would have needed is for one of them to have a quick conversation with a work colleague to show if their working life gave them more reason to pine.  We never even hear the characters say anything happy to each other, its just all ‘I miss you’ followed by the reply ‘I miss you too’ time after time.  A little more creativity would not have gone amiss!

Before watching VOADS it is obvious that the whole film is a metaphor for the current technology of the world which allows you to communicate across vast distances even though you may never see that person and that actual human contact will never be bettered by any technology.  By the end of VOADS it is painfully obvious as it is all the film chooses to focus on in its dialogue, as it just chooses to shows the characters depression of not having face-to-face contact.  This point is repeated throughout, with the exception of a short action sequence and the end which is unfortunately not enough to rescue this boring and depressing film.

I was full of expectation for VOADS but no matter how hard I tried to like it I just couldn’t.  I won’t deny that it is an impressive short for someone to make single-handedly and it would be interesting to see what Makoto Shinaki produces in future as the great animation of VOADS does show promise.  VOADS itself though is an overrated film that sadly does not deserve the classic status some have labelled it with. 


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