2006: Last week, I had the chance to view a fantastic short anime film that absolutely blew me away. To think, I almost passed on the opportunity because the hour was late and my eyes were droopy.
Why should I further deprive myself of precious rest, simply to view what would most likely be a generic, cliché heavy plot, with questionable, if any, character development?
Oh how wrong could one man be? Voices of a Distant Star (VoaDS for short) was nothing short of fantastic.
A sympathetic reader could surely excuse my initial hesitation. After all, how many teenage school girl become interstellar Mech pilot anime stories do we need?
Yet, VoaDS manages to overcome a fairly generic backdrop by focusing on a heart wrenching tale of two young lovers separated by the vast distance of space.
To summarize the plot is simple. After all, the running time is a brisk 25 minutes. The two protagonists are young teenagers in love, aspiring to join the UN Space force. Unfortunately, the young woman excels and is quickly excepted as a pilot of a mechanized humanoid space craft, while the young boy fails to make the cut.
The young girl spends the movie warping around space, while the young man is left to pick up the pieces of his Earthbound life.
The only way the two young lovers can communicate is by text messages sent through some sort of cellular network. As the young girl moves further away from Earth in order to do battle with an alien menace, the time each message takes to be delivered becomes longer. Watching the two lovers trying to stay hopeful for reunion while dealing with the laws of time and space is truly heart wrenching.
Overall, the tone is very heavy with emotional conflict. There is a definite arc to the story, where intense love transforms into sorrow and depression as the very power which binds the two young lovers is what keeps them so very isolated. Helping the story provide such impact is a deft balance of beautiful animation (it seems to be a mixture of traditional and computer generated) and a sparse, effective score. In particular, the lighting is very nicely done.
VoaDS is heavy on mood while light on developing the what and why behind the interstellar war and the mysterious alien force menacing the Earth. Simply put, the backdrop is a mechanism to provide a means for cruel reality to separate the two lovers, forcing them to work through the curse of unfulfilled love.
By now I realize many readers are wondering, “Nice story, but what does it have to do with Embracing Obsolescence.” Well, I must confess that my primary motivation is to spur interest in this little gem. I hope my enthusiasm is able to portray itself accurately when transcribed from thought to written word. If not, how about this – go rent Voices of a Distant Star now.
However, there is a big Mac tie-in, which has heretofore gone without mention. Voices of a Distant Star is a labor of love from the multitalented Makoto Shinkai, who wrote, directed, and animated this fabulous film. How was this task accomplished? On a 400 MHz Power Mac G4! Back in 2002 (when the VoaDS was made), the 400 MHz Power Mac was only 3 years old, but it still proves what a low-end Mac is capable of accomplishing.
Even now, this six-year-old model could create such a work of love. While I would be hard pressed to say my 68k Macs, or even my new G3-powered Performa 6400, would be up to this task, older Macs continue to be a catalyst for creative output in other areas.
Don’t worry, my next article will be back to our regularly scheduled programming. Until then, continue to put those obsolete Macs to good use.
keywords: #voicesofadistantstar #makotoshinkai
short link: https://goo.gl/M8p873