Rating: C- / D
Synopsis: In the future, Mikako and Noboru are middle-school sweethearts forced to separate when Mikako is accepted into the interstellar mecha program. Noboru, her boyfriend, is then left on earth to angstily await each message she can send him from space. The 30-minute anime follows their relationship primarily through text messages sent between them on their mobile phones from earth and space.
The impressive part of this OVA (original video animation, i.e. straight-to-DVD) is that the creator Makoto Shinkai wrote, directed, and produced the entire thing on his Macintosh (and did half of the original voice-over). The anime is only 30 minutes long, but I can't say I enjoyed that 30 minutes very much.
The background animation is beautiful and serene, full of open skies and empty rooms, which gives a bleak feeling to the film. The character design, on the other hand, seems a little half-hearted and sloppy. In its entirety, there are only three people shown at all.
The world is empty and sad Noboru, left on Earth, must wait the lengthening times it takes for Mikako to message him back from light years away (with the last messages taking eight years). And since the anime is mostly exposition, we hear every moping thought.
Yes, there are a few mech fights, but they are glossed over in favor of more internal dialogue about loneliness and longing. It seems strange that in the future, full of middle-school girls in interstellar mechs, the only way they can manage to communicate is via 20th century mobile phones (Mikako and Noboru even mention text messaging is "old tech").
If a friend has this, then I would suggest taking the 30 minutes to watch it (which is what I did) but I have no desire to watch it again, nor would I put it in my Netflix queue.
Or, here (and I apologize profusely)
My Horrible Pun Review: While the background imagery in Voices of a Distant Star is good, the rest of the anime is nothing to write home about.