In the past I’ve stated that Kotonoha no Niwa, aka Garden of Words, is not my favourite film by Makoto Shinkai, the reason being how the story unfolds and eventually culminates. And I still hold on to that opinion, that it ends too suddenly, that the buildup doesn’t feel meaningful enough. That said, it’s been a long time since I last saw it, and I’ve seen a lot of other anime since then, so maybe I should give it another shot(a third shot, actually).
Because maybe the story and the characters aren’t the most important thing when it comes to this movie. Maybe the real achievement is the atmosphere, which the movie has a lot of, both figuratively and literally(there’s a lot of rain in the movie). I must admit that I cringe whenever I draw the mental connection between rain and crying, but maybe that’s a justified connection to make when it comes to Garden of Words. Maybe I would have better luck if I didn’t try to separate the story from the aesthetic of the movie.
That might actually work, because if there’s anything about the movie that I love, it’s definitely the aesthetic. Visually, it’s a masterpiece, but I also love the music. I like Daisuke Kashiwa’s music in general, but I think that the soundtrack of Garden of Words is a particularly good example of music that matches the visuals. It also fits with how the dialogue is kind of “soft” instead of loud and dramatic, which are properties that usually overpower the music or force the music to compensate with equal drama. But that’s not the case here. There’s just the piano, and the mostly calm conversations between Yukari and Takao. I think that’s my favourite aspect of the movie.