Hoshi no Koe
Hoshi no Koe (The Voices of a Distant Star) would be an impressive OVA if it had been done by a large established company, but, the fact it was created mostly by one man, Makoto Shinkai, is in one word: incredible. Apparently, just writing, drawing the characters and digitally animating it on his Macintosh wasn't enough for him. He then did the voices as well with the help of his fiancee. The hard work he put into this touching and heart-wrenching love story was noticed and it was picked up for distribution. Some redubbing and improved visuals were then added and a polished version has now been released.
This sci-fi OVA is the story of Noboru and Nagamine who are introduced as two inseparable 15 year old junior high school students. They are sharing the experience of growing up with each other and when they are apart swap text messages back and forth on their cellphones. It is touching and sweet friendship they share which leaves no doubt that, together, they will become lovers.
Their idyllic world is shattered when a mysterious alien race attacks Earth's martian colonies. Nagamine is chosen by the UN to pilot a tracer, a jet-like mecha, on Earth's mission against the Tarisians. Noboru is left to find his own way through high school without her and Nagamine slowly drifts away from Earth on her giant battle cruiser. As there relative distances grow into the light years the round trip time of their text messages increase from a day to months and even to years. Day by day their loneliness grows deeper and more painful. Nagamine hardly ages as the time goes by (due to the fact she's traveling near light speed) while Noboru grows up and leaves school.
It seems inconceivable to continue loving somebody that far away and unreachable. But, it is not a simply solution the pair reaches. The conclusion of this short and memorable story is worth shedding a few tears over.
Some people may complain that Noboru and Nagamine don't really have to wait to receive the others message to send or ask why she remains in her junior high uniform even while piloting her Tracer. My reply to that is that Hoshi no Koe is a dreamlike experience and those "problems" simply add to the feeling and emotions that the story invokes.
Hoshi no Koe is highly absorbing and its utilization of images and story to transfer the characters' torn emotions to those watching it makes it well worth watching. It points out just how dependent we have become on the immediacy of contact that technology has brought us. Quite simply the most refreshingly honest anime I've seen in a while.