Here’s an opinion-free, just-the-facts write-up on ADV’s two-volume Shinkai Collection (US version), which includes three animated films from noted Japanese director Shinkai Makoto. I will post a separate review for each of the collection’s two volumes on Wolf Hurricane within the next few weeks.
The three films included in this collection are – with R1 release titles in parentheses – Hoshi no Koe (Voices of a Distant Star), Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko (She and Her Cat), and Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho (The Place Promised in Our Early Days).
An extract from the blurb on the back of the first volume (Hoshi no Koe) follows:
It is 2046 when a mysterious alien force begins their annihilation of the human race. Leaving behind the one person she loves, Mikako joins the interstellar battle as a pilot. As Mikako flies further into space, her only connection with Noboru are text messages sent from her mobile phone.
And so – while Mikako risks her life to save mankind – Noboru waits. At first days, then months, then years for each new message that will let him know whether Mikako is still alive. And, while she barely grows older in the timelessness of space, Noboru ages. The two lovers, worlds apart, desperately strive to remain connected as the gap between them widens at a frightening pace.
An extract from the blurb on the back of the second volume (Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho) follows:
In school, they were best friends. And they shared two passions: the plane they built together, christened Bela Cielo, and a girl, Sayuri.
Oblivious to the tense international environment, the three form an indelible bond and it seems nothing can ever come between them and their dream. The boys believe that someday they will reach the distant tower – and touch Sayuri’s heart – however far away it may be.
But time passes. War escalates. Alliances are changed. Friends become enemies. And Sayuri falls into a dreamlike state that seems inexplicably linked to the mysterious tower of their youth. At the brink of a World War, Sayuri seems to be the key to a new world peace . . . or a frightening and bitter end to life as we know it.
The first volume has a reversible jacket (above) with the side featuring Hoshi no Koe shown by default. The other side of the jacket (visible in the first image under the “DVD Contents” section below) features Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko.
The second volume’s jacket features Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho (above).
The two volumes are bound together in a printed sleeve (shown in the header image above) which has the cover art for Hoshi no Koe on one side and Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho on the other. Note that this is a sleeve, not a slipcase; it’s open on two sides.
The first volume contains two films on a single DVD (above, left): Hoshi no Koe, the 25-minute feature presentation; and the shorter Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko, which is included as one of the disc’s extras.
The language set-up menu offers three options: English 5.1, Japanese 5.1 with English subtitles, and the “director’s cut” version with English subtitles.
An extra audio CD (above, right) contains the soundtrack of Hoshi no Koe.
The second volume (above) contains Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho.
There are just two options in the language set-up menu: English, and Japanese with English subtitles.
The collection includes two illustrated booklets (above) that contain additional information about the main films, including the director’s impressions, glossaries, sample art, and a brief look at the production process. A couple of spreads from the bonus booklets are shown below.