Kotonoha no Niwa or The Garden of Words is a 45-minute anime movie released in Japan last May 31, 2013.
The story is about a high school boy aspiring to be a shoemaker someday, who loves the rain. During rainy days, he cuts classes to go to the nearby park to sit under a pavilion and sketch shoe designs. During one of his rainy day trips to the park, he meets a young woman under the pavilion drinking beer and eating chocolates. After a few meetings under the pavilion, always on rainy days, the boy surmises that the woman is also playing hookie from work – much like himself.
After about a week of seeing each other under the pavilion, they finally strike up a conversation, starting a month-long friendship under the pavilion, during the rainy season. As they get to know each other more, the boy tells the young woman about his dream of becoming a shoemaker, and though she doesn’t say much about herself (where she works, how old she is, or why she goes to the park on rainy days), he enjoys her company and discovers a few things about her (like her being a bad cook).
Before watching this anime, I read several reviews which said that it was a sad and emotional movie. Unfortunately, it failed in making me sad and/or emotional. The story is rather short and simple, with no real depth or resolution in the end. It is slightly reminiscent of another short anime movie, Byousoku 5 Centimeters (5 Centimeters per Second), and no wonder, because it is by the same creator, Makoto Shinkai. More recently, Makoto Shinkai has become a household name in Japan, thanks to his phenomenal hit, Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name). Like 5 Centimeters, Kotonoha no Niwa is more of an open-ended slice of life type of movie that is only slightly bittersweet.
Anime Movie – Directed by: Makoto Shinkai
Personal Rating: 3.5/5