What do you get when you mix an airtime of thirty minutes, a title with part of its name as "star," a lone boy and girl as main characters, science fiction, and long distance space communication? Hoshi no Koe, right?
Well, yes, but somehow you also get Hoshizora Kiseki. Thematically, the OVA attempts to clone Hoshi no Koe's presentation at every possible juncture, even down to the physical appearance of the main girl; without Shinkai's poignant touch, however, it never truly gets off the ground. At its core, it tries to work Hoshi no Koe's story in reverse with two desolate people at the start being romantically united at the end, but ends up falling short of any form of natural human vibrancy. Perhaps the fact that it ends on a lighthearted note instead of a solemn plays into this lack of success, but ultimately the premise just doesn't pull through and leaves the OVA to its own menial whims. Though certainly fanciful and entertaining in its own right, the OVA simply lacks the emotional impact to make a lasting mark, and works its way into the lump of "good, not great" class of short films.
While certainly nothing outstanding, the animation does the trick. All the fancy lights and flashy colors in the ending sequence inspire, if nothing else, a jovial smirk, and as a whole the visual presentation is solid. While simple, it attempts to play into Shinkai's mold, and for that I can't really fault the graphics in any substantial way.
The soundtrack, while obviously brief, really makes the OVA worth watching of its own merits. The music harmonizes quite well with the overall atmosphere, and the title track's catchy feel rounds out all the key scenes with a certain grace. Though the voice acting is rather standard, as a whole the audible quirks - from the music to the twinkling sounds of stars in an observatory - deliver when needed, and generally compensate for the otherwise standard feel of the OVA.
What characters? At only twenty-two minutes run-time, there exists little time for actual development, and as such the two leads are left rather generic - and rightfully so. Like Hoshi no Koe, Hoshizora Kiseki refrains from trying to push its characters to a level beyond what the thirty-minute timeframe would allow. As such, it maintains a certain sense of dignity and tact by choosing to have its characters adhere to symbols rather than superficial personalities.
Despite what the score might suggest, Hoshizora Kiseki is not a particularly bad or even mediocre title. It certainly could have been better by a fair margin, sure, but as a title that simply aims to emulate the staple production in Shinkai's world, it certainly is commendable. While laden with a handful of shortcomings, the OVA happens to be fun and charming regardless, and easily earns a seat among my table of recommended shorts.
Kozue is a member of the astronomy club at school. During her summer break, she left for the countryside to try to catch a glimpse of meteorites, but found a boy wearing a spacesuit instead! His name is Ginga, he somehow knows detailed information about faraway stars, and his powers caused him to be held hostage by scientists in order to use him as a tool. Can Kozue's affections help Ginga finally live the life he desires?
Though I'm a big fan of slice of life and romance, I'll watch just about anything that catches my interest. My opinions tend to be pretty level-headed, but I have been known to be controversial from time to time! Feel free to lay into me if you so desire, as I always appreciate feedback - positive or negative. I hope you enjoy reading!
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