The Garden of Words (Kotonoha no Niwa) Review

I was pretty free with 2 months of holidays in front of me when I happened to stumble upon this anime movie on one of my usual download websites. For those who’re looking for a change of taste from your usual shounen anime, this anime might interest you, for it has left me with tears.

Kotonoha no Niwa

15-years-old Takao Akizuki, who yearns to become a shoemaker, skips school and sketches shoes in a Japanese-style garden on rainy days. He meets a mysterious 27-year-old woman, Yukari Yukino, who spends her time drinking beer and eating chocolate. Then, without arranging the time, the two start to see each other again and again, but only on rainy days. They deepen their relationship and open up to each other, although they never exchange their names. But the end of the rainy season soon approaches, the days go by without them meeting in the garden. Days go by with them being alone, and missing each other. One day, Takao realizes that Yukino is actually a teacher at his high-school as she walks by.

Later, Takao meets Yukino again in the garden and ends up spending time at her apartment during a heavy rain fall. While the two happily bond, Takao confesses that he loves Yukino, but she reminds him that she is his teacher, causing him to leave. Remembering the time they spent together, Yukino chases after Takao and tells him that she had lost her path in life and that he saved her. Afterwards, Yukino moves to another town to start a new teaching job and Takao continues to attend high school while sending each other letters. Takao reflects how he was able to find his path in life and vows to go to Yukino one day and gives her the shoes he made for her.

The movie is touching, very much the style of Miyazaki Hayao’s animes. Tagged as “a story of lonely sadness set in a time where love was yet to be introduced”, the movie has a lot of feels and meaning in it. As you can see, it’s not all about getting the girl you wanted, it’s about finding your path in life and follow the path to where it takes you. There’s something rather romantic and poetic about the anime which strikes a chord in your heart and leaves you in tears. The producers have successful blended classic Japanese literature into the movie, which makes it more beautiful than ever.

“A faint clap of thunder;
Clouded skies;
Perhaps rain comes – if so, will you stay here with me?”

“A faint clap of thunder;
Even if rain comes not;
I’ll stay here, together with you…”

The verse, called a “tanka” in Japanese is simply beautiful, even more if you listen to it in Japanese. In fact, it got me real interested in classic Japanese literature.

Another thing I like about the movie was the art and animation. The graphics were too beautiful for words, in fact I spent several minutes rewinding the epic scenes in the movie. =P Given the amazing art, animation, characters and well-developed storyline, I can easily rate Kotonoha no Niwa as one of the best anime movies I’ve ever watched.

And if you don’t mind, the story did do a good job telling school kids: “You’re a kid, you’ve got no money and won’t get your girl unless you earn your own dough.” Quite true lol.

The novelty may not suit everyone, but why don’t you give it a try? You can download it here. Enjoy.

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The Japanese-style garden where Takao and Yukino first met.

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The scene where they first met.

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Beautiful art.

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90% of the budget must have went to this lol.

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Confession scene. Lotsa feels here, you’re gonna cry.

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