Anime isn’t restricted to shows about magical pre-teens with pink hair and cutesy sidekicks. It deals with a wide range of subject matter and uses a variety of animation styles. And yes, there are dreck shows as there are gems out there.
Since I burned out on shows featuring giant robots and spaceships as a child, I seldom watch mecha anime or anything that remotely looks mecha. But sometimes I make exceptions especially if the mecha elements do not overwhelm the entire story.
One of my favorite anime guys is Makoto Shinkai who created “Voices of a Distant Star” which every anime fan should see at least once.
It is the story of two young lovers separated literally by time and space. Shinkai used his Macintosh to create the anime. The character designs aren’t so hot but the story and the background are wonderful.
Cell phone messages sent between the main characters, Mikako Nagamine and Noboru Terao, play a big role in the story. Yeah, it’s a stretch to believe that a cell phone company would have such a coverage plan but let’s just go with the flow, shall we?
The two last saw each other in middle school. War breaks out between Earth and a group of aliens called Tarsians. Mikako joins the UN forces and learns to fight the Tarsians using a giant robot. Somehow she still wears the same uniform from school. Whatever. She misses Noboru and experiences these moments where you know she’s either dreaming or hallucinating.
Because Mikako is traveling light years away, she ages slower than Noboru and her messages takes years to reach him. He tries to hang on then gives in to the inevitable. He meets a girl called Wakana and it’s hinted that he goes out with her in high school. The manga version further elaborates on this relationship.
Then like a bucket of cold water, he receives a message from Mikako who we last see is in a firefight with the enemy. Lysithea, the spaceship that carries her and the others, is damaged. Her last message ends in static.
Noboru drops out of high school and joins the space armada in the hopes of reuniting with Mikako.
The manga’s ending is more satisfying since it has Mikako scanning a list of people who joined the armada and seeing Noboru’s name.
This is a tear jerker of a show and could be too much of a chick flick for some guys. But give it a try. You might like it. Then give Shinkai’s other works a look. The man knows how to tell a story.