When watching The Garden of Words I was overcome with a feeling similar to that which I had when I visited the National Gallery of Melbourne earlier this year and immersed myself in a panoramic film of Monet’s Garden. It’s a sense of calmness, of peace and tranquillity. ‘Immersive’ is indeed the correct word to describe the experience, as Makoto Shinkai (5 Centimeters Per Second, Children Who Chase Lost Voices) has created a startlingly beautiful short film that’s less about its narrative and more about the mood it leaves you in.
Takao is a student aspiring to be a shoe designer who always skips class in the morning on rainy days. On one such day he encounters beer-drinking, chocolate-eating Yukino in a park, and the two begin a surreal relationship that sees them both wishing for rain so they can continue to meet each other. Naturally, the rainy season doesn’t last forever and so the story becomes about those words and feelings that are left unsaid when two people have to part ways. Enchanting and entrancing, The Garden of Words captivates by drawing on Shinjuku Garden for its imagery – click here for an example of the incredible art in the film as compared to the real deal.