I’ve seen Hoshi no Koe, aka Voices of a Distant Star, only once, and it was over 2 years ago, so my memories of it aren’t as clear as they could be, but I do remember what I think are the most important things about it. First of all, it’s impressively good-looking for a movie from 2002, and doubly so because Makoto Shinkai basically created it single-handedly. He and his wife even provided the voices for the characters, though the movie was later redubbed. If She and Her Cat is a good indicator of the atmosphere and emotion of Shinkai’s later films, Hoshi no Koe is definitely indicative of the visual look of Shinkai’s later films.
Not that Hoshi no Koe is emotionless, though. It tries to get the viewer emotionally invested in the story, and then provides some kind of catharsis near the end. The length of the movie was somewhat problematic for me, though. It’s longer than She and Her Cat as well as Dareka no Manazashi, and as such it’s not as easy to watch, but I also think it lacks any additional depth compared to those 5-minute short films. And compared to 5cm Per Second and Garden of Words, it’s too short(and obviously not as good-looking, considering the nature of the production). So it’s not the best movie ever, but it’s surprisingly good for an experimental one-man project.