Synopsis: Mikako and Noboru are a young couple who are separated when Mikako is chosen for a pilot training program which eventually sends her out into space. Mikako becomes a mecha pilot, exploring various parts of the galaxy and fighting aliens that threaten mankind's existence. While Mikako ventures further and further into space, Noboru waits on earth... communicating with Mikako through e-mails transmitted via their cellular phones. But as the distance between them becomes greater, the time with which their messages reach other becomes longer... until the waiting time turns into years.
Review: Despite having come across mostly positive reactions about Voices of a Distant Star, I was not very impressed with it as a whole. It is as I described in the synopsis. Girl goes away while boy waits endlessly for her. Being the realistic and cynical person that I am, I found the whole idea of waiting for like eight years for a single e-mail just plain ludicrous. Had this whole scenario happened in the real world, Noboru would probably have moved on with his life and found a new girlfriend while Mikako would either be dead from all the alien skirmishes or she would have found another guy who's also in the same position as her... since it is mentioned that about a thousand other people were dispatched along with Mikako.
I did however, find it quite refreshing that there was some sort of a role reversal in this feature. Usually the male characters get drafted somewhere, leaving behind weepy little ladies in wait. I was surprised that Noboru wasn't driven to suicide given the number of years he had been waiting patiently for Mikako, who was all along doing what she had always wanted to do. There was nothing good going for Noboru at all. Waiting is what Voices of a Distant Star is all about, and this is reflected by slow-paced scenes comprised of cel phone stills, static skies, shots of Noboru / Mikako sitting somewhere alone and forlorn, etc. As if that weren't enough, the ending doesn't give us any closure and instead leaves us stuck in the middle of Noboru and Mikako's tiresome waiting game.
Visually speaking, Voices of a Distant Star is pretty good. I really liked how much detail went in to the portrayal of everyday objects, as well as the smooth merging of drawn and computer-generated animation. Character designs were satisfactory, albeit nothing really special. The few mecha battle scenes that were shown were all very nicely done.
Rather than tell a story outright, Voices of a Distant Star has a message to convey -- a message that is similar to what the ending of the series "The Vision of Escaflowne" imparts. Wherever two people who love each other are, their thoughts would always reach each other and in a sense they are always together. Now that may be true for anime, but in reality, I think absence can never make the heart grow fonder. It just makes the heart forget.
Voices of a Distant Star is admittedly done well but I find the points it tries to drive across all too idealistic and naive. If you're a romantic at heart though, Voices of a Distant Star is definitely for you.
Miscellanies: Voices of a Distant Star is about half-an-hour long.