The Garden of Words, is another anime movie I just knew I had to watch. Are all anime movie titles really this dreamy? Probably my fourth anime movie so far and I have to say, they’re all one better than the other. I absolutely loved how beautiful the visuals are, the attention to detail and how real they feel in their own way. If you’re a bit like me, a sucker for visuals and a story that’s not your typical love story, then watch this one already!
The Garden of Words is about this teenage boy, Takao Akizuki who deeply loves and cherishes the rains. On every rainy day, he takes the liberty to skip school and sits in a park nearby. That’s where he meets this young woman, Yukari Yukino. She sits there sipping beer and munching on chocolates in daylight, while he sketches all kinds of shoes in his drawing pad.
How it begins..
The story in itself has various sides to it. A lot like life, where there are so many little dots, waiting to be connected. It so beautifully brings forth these two characters, who clearly do not seem to fit in in their own worlds but find a safe space within each other.
The rainy season brings them together, for each day that it rains, he skips school and she misses her work. And together, they sit and allow each other a space to open up and share things. It’s an innocent bond that develops over time through simple talks and shared lunches. He tells her his dream to be a shoemaker and she tells him in her mysterious way about how she has trouble finding her way in her job and in life.
What’s truly beautiful is a bit where you see days, even seasons passing and it's like a silent movie. But the absence of words doesn’t make it any less beautiful but enhances its greatness of it.
Over time, the rainy season comes to an end and the two of them stop meeting at their shared shed spot in the park. He begins practicing designing the shoes and she continues with her plan to quit her job. One day, he sees her in the school and gets to know that she’s a teacher there, but also that she will be quitting soon.
Knowing that he won’t be able to see her again, he knows he must do something. He fights for her and then goes to see her. The two of them spend some lovely time together, which is the happiest they have ever been. Being around her he realizes he’s in love with her. When he tells her that though, she pulls back and puts up all her guards in place. She tells him that she’s his teacher and will soon be leaving town. Broken-hearted he leaves her house and thanks to her for everything.
While he’s on his way out she realizes she feels grateful for everything and wouldn’t want to end things that way with him. She runs after him and finds him at the stairs. Just when she thinks she’s ready to embrace him he loses his temper. Frustrated, he yells at her, for he’s confused and doesn’t understand his feelings. She hugs him through it all and tells him how his presence all these days, truly healed her.
The Arrival of Winter…
Soon, winter comes, and Takao with each extra layer of clothing that he puts on himself, wonders, how she is.
The movie ends with that. No, there’s no happy ending. They don’t fall in love in a way where they begin living together. This would be disappointing if you’re looking for a mainstream love story. But The Garden of Words, oh it shows us love in a whole new way. It shows us healing, it shows us acceptance. How the two souls, who do not fit in in their own worlds, lurk in the shadow of melancholy. And while they do that, they find each other. Allowing one another to be how they are, accepting them for their quirks, they find healing and peace.