Anime Expo: The Garden of Words


The English dubbed version of the film premiered at this year’s Anime Expo. This is the film’s director, Makoto Shinkai’s third feature film. His other works include 5 Centimeters per Second, Voice of a Distant Star, and The Place Promised in Our Early Days. He is known for his bittersweet stories, and this one is no exception.

The story takes mostly takes place at a park inspired by Shinjuku Gyoen park in Tokyo, Japan. Takao Akizuki is a 15 year old student who dreams of becoming a shoe designer, even though all the people who are around him think it’s a silly dream, and will never happen. Yukari Yukino is a 27 year old well-dressed woman he meets at the park on a rainy day. He skips his morning classes whenever it rains and heads to the park.

They develop a friendship, and Akizuki knows next to nothing. All he knows is that she must be sad to just be drinking beer and eating chocolate. The rainy season stops, and they no longer see each other.

When Akizuki goes back to school after working non-stop over the summer, he sees her. She’s surrounded by a gaggle of girls saying goodbye to her. He realizes she’s a teacher at his school.

Yukino was suffering from anxiety and depression following an incident with a number of students, and decided to leave the school.

They met up at the park later on, when it suddenly starts raining. They head back to her apartment, and spend the afternoon talking. Akizuki confesses his love to her. She tells him, he has to refer to her as a teacher.

He runs out of her apartment, and she ponders, and realizes she’s never been happier. I will not ruin the rest of the ending.

The movie is gorgeous. The animation is top-notch. The first scene with the rain falling on the sidewalk looks realistic, for a second I forgot, I was watching an animated film. The colors are bright and vibrant, even when the film itself is not the happiest.

For a movie that’s only 46 minutes long, it does a great job of setting up the place, people, and conflict. It provides a sort of resolution, more so, than in his other films.

It was a wonderful, beautiful film. Even if you’re not an anime fan, it’s still a film to recommend. Or if the theme makes you uncomfortable, don’t worry it’s handled well, and does not for one moment feel creepy. It’s a topic most people can relate to, because teacher crushes are unavoidable.