The Garden of Words: A Love Story for the Rainy Season

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).

As the rainy season gives way to sunnier days, the high school boy no longer has an excuse to cut classes to go to the park and his friendship with the young woman is cut short.  Despite not visiting the park anymore, he nonetheless meets the young woman again, in a very unexpected place.
The boy learns about the woman’s troubles, past and current situation from unlikely sources and decides to confront her, as well as to confess the feelings he developed towards her in the short time they had known each other.

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 CentimetersKotonoha no Niwa is more of an open-ended slice of life type of movie that is only slightly bittersweet.

The only redeeming quality of this anime is its beautiful animation, especially the combination of its background landscape, scenery and rain, which creates a sort of melancholy mood.
Kotonoha no Niwa (The Garden of Words) (2013)
Anime Movie – Directed by:  Makoto Shinkai
Personal Rating:  3.5/5
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2 thoughts on “The Garden of Words: A Love Story for the Rainy Season

  1. I think this movie is sad but it’s not because the main characters, it’s some people who didn’t aware what they done. Talk about sad movie, I don’t feel it has gloomy feeling only, but the starting point of change.

    If anyone want to know the whole story, you need to read novel/manga. Manga lets you know how Yukino changed. I think this film has so emotions in one story, that’s why although I never hope to write a review for anime film, I opened a space for Kotonoha no Niwa, to have my gratitude for let me watch the masterpiece of animation.

    Liked by 1 person

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