Review: Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below (Hoshi o ou kodomo)
Makoto Shinkai has stepped into a new world with his latest film Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below (Hoshi o ou kodomo). Best known for his works about human communication (Voices of a Distant Star, 5cm Per Second) , Shinkai dips into fantasy/sci-fi with Children.
His worlds are usually beautiful and feature some of the best animation. At Otakon 2011, I had the opportunity to see the first stateside showing. How does the experiment fair?
Asuna covets a small stone given to her by her late father. The stone, along with a radio, allow Asuna to hear sounds not known to this world. In her town, there have been stance sightings of a beast unlike any other. The first reports of it being a bear are far from accurate. Asuna comes face to face with this other worldly creature and is luckily saved by an unknown boy.
The boy, whose name is Shin, is from another realm named Agartha. He has traveled here to see Earth before he passes away. Asuna is suspect of Shin at first, but quickly becomes friends with the boy. Asuna fails to believe her new friend is dead, so when she meets another boy for Agartha that looks exactly like Shin she left with many questions. Shin has unfortunately, brought the attention of enemy task forces whose goal is find Agartha at whatever cost.
One man in particular wants to get into the Agartha because it is said there is a way to resurrect the one you love. Ryuji Morisaki lost his wife to sickness while he was in combat. He can’t live without her and has spent the last ten years of his life searching for this mystical land. Asuna follows her teacher. Mr. Ryuji Morisaki into the Agartha to answer questions she has about her life, while he is bent on resurrecting his wife.
Once Asuna and Morisaki enter Agartha the true beauty of the movie beings to show through. This maybe Shinkai’s first attempt at creating a fantasy land, but I hope he continues to paint these epic landscapes. It is really amazing what Shinkai and his team managed to accomplish this new feature. The film is literally candy for your eyes.
Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below is a greatly satisfying full-length picture from Mikoto Shinkai. While there was a point or two where I thought a scene was missing, I don’t really think that’s a deal breaker. This a departure from his typical work and it could be argued that it is equally impressive. Shinkai has always been capable of creating captivating stories about communication and now he can add the mystique of death to his résumé. When the opportunity shows itself give Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below a try. It is well worth the time.
RESPOSTED DUE TO JP BD/DVD RELEASE