Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: A-
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: A-
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 2 - Europe
- Released By: ADV Films UK
- MSRP: �15.99
- Running time: 30
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Voices of a Distant Star
Voices of a Distant Star
By Paul Jacques
November 10, 2003
Release Date: November 17, 2003
Voices of a Distant Star
What They Say
© ADV Films UK
It is 2046 when a mysterious alien force begins their annihilation of the human race. Leaving behind the one person she loves, Mikako joins the interstellar battle as a pilot. As Mikako flies further into space, her only connection with Noboru are text messages sent from her mobile phone.
And so " while Mikako risks her life to save mankind " Noboru waits. At first days, then months, then years for each new message that will let him know whether Mikako is still alive. And, while she barely grows older in the timelessness of space, Noboru ages. The two lovers, worlds apart, desperately strive to remain connected as the gap between them widens at a frightening pace.The Review!
Finally, we get to see the short film that has been talked about so much since it's initial release.Audio:
I watched Voices in both languages, and it's nice to have both Japanese and English in 5.1, with excellent use of sound placement throughout. No audio problems detected, although I did note that the only the English version seemed to have a good sound sync.
Main theme is called "Through the years and far away (hello, little star)" may well have you reaching for the hanky when it finally gets played during the end battle scene.Video:
No quibbles from me about the visuals, it's beautiful and very well drawn, only wide screen could have made it better.Packaging:
The box cover is reversible (hoot), with the flip side as a cover for the Extra feature "She and Her cat". The front shows our two lovers, with a Tracer Mech in the background. On the rear we have stills from film, plus the usual supplemental information. The single page insert gives the song lyrics and some additional background thoughts from the creator. The disc itself has a really great graphic of Mikako texting home.Menu:
The menu backgrounds are static stills with the options presented in a simple form to choose from. All menu options worked and no dead ends were encountered.Extras:
Ah, where to start? We have another version of "Voices" (Directors version) with the creator and his fianc�e doing the voices of the lead characters. Although this version doesn't supply anything new by way of additional material, it's nice to know you're watching the "original version". Not to mention the Voices film played back in it's storyboard version (animatic). We also get the original Voices trailers and a good interview with the creator himself.
The other main extra is the short B&W film called "She and Her cat" (go with 5 minute version), and you can see all the original ideas the creator uses in Voices.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The story itself is very simple. An alien force wipes out the early Mars surveyors and disappears, leaving their city and technology behind. Earth decides to build an deploy a fleet of warships that can travel at warp speed. This gives the fleet the capacity to jump to distant stars and planets in hope of discovering the Alien Tarsians whereabouts and engaging them in battle.
We have two high school sweethearts, Mikako and Norboru, who love each other. Only the 15 year old Mikako joins the military as a "Select" Tracer pilot and is posted to the fleet. Meanwhile Norboru waits on earth and bides his time until he can also join up and be with her again.
Thus the main part of the story concerns the SMS text messages they send to each other over their mobiles during the separation. Only as Mikako gets further away - remember she's traveling FLT speed " the longer the messages take to arrive. This also has the added complication of increasing the age difference between the two of them due to time dilation.
How it all ends I'm not saying as the film is only 25 minutes long, but there is a final pitch battle between the Earth fleet and Tarsians to round things off. And with that scene in mind pay attention to what Mikako says at the start of the film, as it directly relates to the what Mikako and Norboru declare at the very end.
With stunning weather transformation and streaming light sources, beautiful scenes and landscapes, you can understand why Makoto Shinkai won so many awards when this was seen for the first time. What makes it all the more amazing is that he did it by himself.
In summary- Wow, the film may be very short, but every frame is both touching and impressive.
Japanese Language 5.1,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles ,Three versions of Shinkai's award-winning animated short "She and Her Cat" ,Interview with Makoto Shinkai ,"Voices of a Distant Star" Director's Cut with alternate vocals,Original production animatic,Four original Japanese trailers ,Reversible cover
JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment, 21" Sony Trinitron monitor, ATI 9700pro & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2 & headphones.