A teaser trailer for Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below has been posted. The film is the latest creation of Makoto Shinkai, perhaps best known for his other creations 5 Centimeters per Second and The Place Promised in Our Early Days. Having seen the trailer and his previous work I am very much looking forward to this, the visuals are absolutely stunning, see for yourself;
Unfortunately, Children who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below isn't being released in Japanese cinemas until May 2011, so add on a few years before we can expect to see a Western release 🙁
5 Centimeters per Second tells the story of the relationship between two elementary school students, Tohno and Akari. Both met while at school and quickly established a strong bond due to their similar interests. However, on graduation Akari ends up going to a different school which is some distance away but they still stay in touch by writing letters. Later, when Tohno informs Akari that he's moving to(a very long way away!) they decide to meet one final time at Akari's town, Iwafune. Due to heavy snows Tohno's train journey is delayed by several hours but they eventually manage to meet and share their first kiss out in the snow.
From here, the film follows Tohno to his new school. Even after several years he still longs for Akari, ignoring the advances of another girl, Kanae, at his school and seeing her just as a friend.
I'm not going to write any more about the plot as while there is nothing to spoil as such, this is truly something that you need to watch - just reading about it isn't enough. The art and animation within this film is absolutely stunning, it is without a doubt the best I have ever seen. The snowy scenes during Tohno's journey are almost dreamlike and the scenery oflooks amazing. The music used in each scene fits very well and really adds to the emotion of each scene. The only thing I slightly dislike with the music is the song used for the ending, the lyrics are very good but the song itself didn't seem to be quite right to me. I'm sure others will disagree and say that it was a perfect accompaniment though.
Admittedly, the end did leave me slightly confused. Due to the lack of narration it's difficult to grasp what is going on, but after re-watching the end segment I think I fully understand. Without a doubt, this is the saddest ending to an anime i've seen, but any other way would be a huge anticlimax. Of course you may interpret the ending in a different way due to the lack of narration but it seems that the happiest possible ending - [spoiler]Tohno and Akari getting together again[/spoiler] is also the most unlikely. I personally think that [spoiler]because she didn't wait for him at the barriers[/spoiler], Tohno is able to move on, hence his smile.
DVD and BluRay editions of the film are scheduled for release on the 28th of March 2011 in the UK. After watching this film I immediately went to pre-order it, it is truly an outstanding film that I suspect I will watch many times. Update: Unfortunately, Manga UK have said that a BluRay release is now looking very unlikely due to licensing restrictions which is a real shame, this film looks truly amazing in HD. However, I still plan to buy the DVD if only to give back in some form for this amazing film.