Kotonoha no Niwa – A Subtle and Heartwarming Take on Love


A faint clap of thunder

clouded skies

perhaps rain comes

If so, will you stay here with me?


That word summarizes my impression regarding Makoto Shinkai’s latest film. Honestly, I’m not that familiar with his films except for 5 cm per second. Of course, made by one person, there’s a lot of similarities here and there but all I can say is I prefer this one. Unlike 5 cm per second which gave me a lot of headaches (not in a horrible way), this show is so relaxing.  I was not bored, which at first I thought I would.

they met

This show is all about a young guy who meets an older woman during one rainy day. Both are not able to move forward in life and they find peace with each other’s company. Takao, the guy, is always on his own little world. He dreams of becoming a shoemaker but is not confident with his skills. Yukino, the girl, is traumatized by her awful experience at work, which made those around her, even her boyfriend, turn their back on her.


The story is rather simple; what made it so beautiful is that it takes the love story of Takao and Yukino in a subtle and heartwarming way. I haven’t seen this kind of romance for a while now. I’ve been reading too much romance manga (and you know the drill) and watching shoujo and harem anime that it’s so refreshing to find this kind of love story. Their relationship and feelings for each other developed nicely and naturally. With its stunning visuals and well-written script, it makes use of the “show don’t tell” method very effectively.

It still has the chance to tackle and deal with the concept deeper but Shinkai chooses not to. I’m satisfied with the end result. The characters are developed, in a 46-minute film, and it deals with the main problem heads on.

yukino cry

I love drama. I love it when the characters are yelling to each other and crying until their eyes are swollen. I love it the most when a show can make me cry- or much better, sob. The last part of the movie, the stairs scene, makes me so sad and happy at the same time. Yeah, I admit, I cried for a bit. I love drama after all.

The highlight of this movie, aside from the story, is its stunning visuals. I’m a sucker for good art and animation so this film is so for me. With this alone, I could give this show a very high score in MAL. The animation is flawless and the background and sceneries are so detailed. It’s so refreshing and relaxing to eyes. Also, I’ve never seen so much rain in an anime before and A Garden of Words makes use of them a lot. It’s indeed a visual spectacle.

A garden of word - 01

A Garden of Words - 02

A Garden of Words - 03

A Garden of Words - 04

A Garden of Words - 05

The soundtrack is also very plausible. The piano piece that’s being played throughout the movie helps a lot in building up the atmosphere. The voice actors done a very good job that the emotions flowed so naturally through their voices. Anyway, I love the ending song – Rain.  After reading the translated version of the song, I discovered how perfect it is for our main characters. I’m LSS to that song right now.

I’m not going to say that this movie is a masterpiece or the best thing I’ve ever seen but it’s close. This film has definitely gained its right spot in my heart. It ends in a vague way, but I still consider it a happy ending. Both are able to move forward in life so I strongly believe that one day, they will be together again… in one rainy day.

Let me end this rather long review with Takao’s answer in Yukino’s tanka:

A faint clap of thunder

Even if rains comes not

I will stay here

Together with you

9 stars

21 thoughts on “Kotonoha no Niwa – A Subtle and Heartwarming Take on Love

  1. I cannot find an English-subbed version of the movie that has subs for the ending after the credits. I can tell what is going on but I really wish I knew what was said.

  2. I just finished watching it and came looking for the tanka in internet, and saw this review. It’s a really good review, of a really good movie >o< (although I kind of hate these kind of endings, will say no more or I would spoil ;u; )

    • Oh thanks! I’m glad you liked the movie as well as this review. I agree that this kind of ending is quite annoying because we want things to be resolved, but in this case, I don’t seem to mind 🙂

      Thanks for the comment.

  3. Loved your review! The gifs of the falling rain perfectly sum up the entire feel of the movie. Shinkai is a genius at creating believable characters and unbelievable sceneries. If only real life looked this good. Or maybe this is what real life looks like to Makoto Shinkai.

  4. I absolutely loved your review of Garden of Words! The gifs of the falling rain perfectly sum up the entire feel of the movie. Shinkai is a genius at creating believable stories and characters set against unbelievably gorgeous sceneries. If only real life looked that good. Or maybe that’s what real life looks like to Makoto Shinkai :).

  5. Reblogged this on Yuriy Johnson and commented:
    So, I was supposed to write something about the most recent Makoto Shinkai film, until I found this. I could not agree more with how he praised this masterpiece. Hmm, it’s good to know there is someone out here who shares the same interests as mine. I thought I was the only one, all along. 🙂

  6. I love drama as well. But not for the tearful moments of reconciliation when the truth is finally revealed. I love that dramatic distant feeling of what “could be” between two characters. Distant Everyday Memories. My favorite track from 5CPS will always be one of my favorite tunes.

    This movie was and is incredible. If you haven’t seen it. Watch it!

    It’s a great film which portrays hope, trust and many other wonderful emotions.

    Shinkai truly is brilliant. Thank you for this Makoto.

    • Heck Shinkai’s work has motivated me to write poetry about his characters.

      No other anime has done that. Incredible. Nice write-up by the way.


      • Wow, I wish I could also write poetry. If I know more about that I think I could appreciate this movie even better!

        Anyway, thanks for commenting 🙂

  7. For sure a masterpiece!
    Nice review as well, i agree in everything u wrote.
    Was my second time watching it…i was searching for the tanka…and ended up here. ^^

    Thank you.

  8. I love this movie. I found an English dub on Youtube and I’m not sure if that’s the official English dub because it sounds kinda “eehhhhh”. They didn’t seem to have as much emotion in the English one.

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