Hoshi no Koe (Voices of a Distant Star) (OVA)
Hoshi no Koe, a 24-minute OVA, tells a beautiful, yet sad story. It really shows how small humans are compared to everything else in this universe. Even as specks of dust, though, we have our own feelings, and are ready to protect them with all we’ve got.
Two main characters: Nagamine Mikako and Terao Noboru. At first, they seems just like two normal friends, going to the same school. More likely, they even like each other, but nothing serious has taken place between them yet. They hang out together, talk about different things, and just enjoy their time together.
One day, however, Mikako tells her friend an important thing – she has been recruited to become a space-pilot, aiming to destroy the enemies of humankind – the Tarsians. For this goal, United Nations send an expedition into space. As the two teens are separated, they agree to constantly exchange email messages from their phones. However, as time goes on and the spaceships travel farther away, the time it takes for the message to arrive keeps extending.
Originally, it was supposed to be a maximum of 6 months. Near Pluto, though, the ships from Earth are attacked by Tarsians and are forced to wrap 1 lightyear away from their home. This step made Mikako sad, and despite her attempts, she fails to send a message in time – thus leaving Noboru without knowledge about the sudden delay. Meanwhile, the boy understands how much he loved Mikako, and never stops checking his phone. Once he doesn’t get the email after 6 months, he decides to forget everything and toughen up.
One year passes, and Noboru receives the message, reminding him of the past. The conents of it are far from what he would like to hear – the girl writes that the spaceships would make another wrap, but this time it would extend the distance up to 8 years and 7 months. They were travelling towards the 4th planet from Sirius – the place where Tarsians were living. There, even Mikako understands her feelings, and sends the final message from her 15-year-old self to the 24-year-old Noboru.
Several years pass. Noboru has studied a lot, and is almost ready to take off with another space expedition. News have reached Earth, that 8 years ago a critical battle against Tarsians was won, but the suffered damage was too great to make another wrap – thus making the return of the UN Space Army almost impossible. At the same time, the adult Noboru receives a mysterious email – it appears to be the final message sent by Mikako, and in it she tells about her feelings. Not just towards the boy, but towards her home – the planet Earth. She hopes to reunite with the one she had always loved, and for that reason she does her best in protecting the main ships of the UN in the battle with Tarsians.
What can I say. It was a beautiful story. I really got the vibe of 5 Centimeters per Second from this OVA. On the other hand, the way that Tarsians’ planet was portrayed, reminded me of Mars of Destruction… Never mind the latte – it was still much more enjoyable, and actually had a plot to revolve around.
The animations and visual quality isn’t something to really comment on. Afterall, Hoshi no Koe (Voices of a Distant Star) was created back in 2002, and it’s inappropriate to compare it today’s graphic technology. Yet, I have a feeling that for its own time, the quality of these animation sequences was top of the line.
The voice acting didn’t impress me that much – Mikako’s voice seemed too weak in my opinion. Interesting thing to note was the English voice on the UN Ship – it had no accent, but didn’t feel compter-generated either. Not a special thing, but still worth bringing out. As for everything else – the sound effects were nice, and added to the overall atmosphere, together with the music.
I liked the story. Thankfully, it had no plot twists. Otherwise, it would really be another Mars of Destruction. The story of lovers separated by the unforgiving space, without any hope to meet again – original for anime, and good at the same time. The ending was a bit confusing, since I didn’t understand whether Mikako survived, or if she ever met up with Noboru. That could’ve been explained in more detail, but perhaps everything went as planned, and it’s up for the viewers to decided how everything ended.