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November 14, 2012

Anime Review: Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo

Another wonderful film by Makoto Shinkai and this time it is about a fantasy adventure into an unknown world. How it puts the story together in 2 hours is simply engaging and enjoyable to watch.

Hoshi wo Ou KodomoSynopsis:

Strange sounds in the darkness... Unearthly music from an old crystal radio... These are all the warning Asuna Watase has before a simple walk to her clubhouse catapults her into a nightmarish adventure that will take her beneath the Earth to a lost land beyond the realm of legend! Attacked by a strange monstrous creature, rescued by a mysterious stranger and pursued by a relentless enemy, Asuna finds herself enmeshed in a centuries old mystery that will bind her to a strange young defender and lead her inevitably, towards a secret that may hold the key to life itself!

Review:

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!
There have been plenty of anime about a fantasy adventure into an unknown world and most of them are pretty similar in plot style. However, Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo takes a different direction and incorporates mystery and unexplainable phenomenon into the mix which results in quite a good story to watch. I felt the anime felt really similar to those Disney "Lost Worlds" films such as Atlantis. There is plenty of "magic" and mystery and if you are quite acquainted with Disney films, you will instantly love this anime. The story of course, is pretty much all mysterious and there really is no point in asking "why" to this and that throughout the film. It starts off with an old crystal radio owned by a girl named Asuna Watase. A mysterious melody is heard and she wonders where it came from. The next day she meets a boy named Shun and she discovers that he is from the underworld, Agartha. She then follows him down below and discovers a mysterious place that is full of monsters and mystery. What she discovers down there is a secret that may hold the key to life itself. Already hooked into the plot? Yes, it is quite engaging and for those for have vivid imagination and just love a quick fantasy story, Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo is perfect for you.

The art was simply stunning and beautifully illustrated from start to finish. As expect from a anime film, the quality is immeasurable compared to your average anime. The particle effects, background movements, sceneries and characters well all highly detailed. The characters were quite memorable and were unique in their own way; but the background art is what really takes your breath away. You get a sense of vastness in the landscape of Agartha in the anime and the locations were all unique.

The voice acting was really good for all of the characters. You really felt the character's personalities through their vocal expressions and facial expressions. I particularly liked the ending song. It was simply wonderful, emotional, and just invoked plenty of feelings at the end. It was a wonderfully composed piece of music. Sound effects were well used and appropriate for the anime.

Asuna Watase is the main protagonist in the film. I would say that she is rather generic in personality. She isn't too lively or quiet; I would say that she is portrayed as an ordinary girl that gets thrown into an unknown world. Of course though, she becomes determined to try and save the boy she liked and slowly becomes courageous and ventures into the unknown world. Along with her on the journey is Ryuuji Morisaki, a substitute teacher at Asuna's school and researcher of Agartha. His goal was to venture to the Gate of Life and Death to seek his dead wife. You come to understand his emotions and actions through his thoughts and life-story. I felt that all the characters played an important role in the anime and I felt they were memorable.

Overall, I really enjoyed this anime and its thrilling mystery. In my opinion, the message I took from this anime was to really let go off your past, no matter how painful (Ryuuji Morisaki) as well as discovering who you truly are (Asuna Watase). In the end, it is best to say that if you had the power (the one chance) to have any wish granted, would you wish for someone whom you truly loved to be brought back to life. Would you go the ends of the Earth to have that wish granted? In the end, the ending song summed up the anime perfectly, the adventure to the ends of the Earth to say goodbye to someone in which you did not get a chance to.

STORY: 8

ART: 9

SOUND: 9

CHARACTER: 8

ENJOYMENT: 9

OVERALL: 9