Have you ever wandered that someday in the future, some teens will be sent to outer space for investigating creatures–other than humans? If you have, have you ever wandered too that you become one of them? What will you react? If things are going like this, then you have to say goodbyes to your family and friends, and go into outer space to carry out in this mission–which will probably make you die in vain there. Or, you’re like Mikako Nagamine who always carries her own old cell phone (which can only send/receive messages) into outer space just to give words for her one and only close friend (since junior high period), Noboru Terao.
Their ages are the same, so their junior high school. They first met at the kendo club in school (on their first year) and in Noboru’s eyes, Mikako appearance is not as pretty as the other girl students. However, what intrigued him is her burning spirits during kendo practice–and makes her kendo skill thriving. From that time, they began their relationship.
Actually, they have already made a deal to go to Jouhoku High School, a favourite high school in their area. But, fate says otherwise. She has been selected as a recruitment member of the UN Forces and already left Earth on the day before her graduation ceremony starts. And because of that, she cannot properly say goodbye to Noboru.
Although they’re separated between space time, they still communicate each other with their own old cell phone that can only send/receive messages. But, for how long the message will be received by either Mikako/Noboru is up to how far the distance between Earth and somewhere in outer space. The farther the distance, the longer the message will be received.
Written beautifully by Makoto Shinkai–who also creates Byousoku 5 Centimeter (5 Centimeters per Second), Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo (Children who Chase Lost Voices), Kotonoha no Niwa (The Garden of Words), Kimi no Na wa. (Your Name.), etc.–Hoshi no Koe (Voices of a Distant Star) tells about Mikako and Noboru who run their (Very) Long Distance Relationship–or (V)LDR for short–for years. Setting in year 2046-2056, Makoto wants to show the readers that the presence of an alien group (called Tarsian) had made humans’ life agitated. Because of this, Earth sends some people (mostly women) into outer space to investigate the existence of them. And because of this too, Mikako and Noboru have to start their (V)LDR–between Earth and somewhere in outer space.
Mikako who cannot let go her times in junior high chooses to battle in outer space with her junior high uniform and because of that, her friend–who appears to be two years older than her–Satomi questioned her. She thinks that Mikako has a special person (in Earth) in her heart, but she keeps hiding it becuase she’s a shy person. On the other side, Mikako has her ‘hero’ side. She’s the first time who sees a Tarsian group and called all units of Lysithea (her mother spacecraft) to have a battle with them. On the second time meeting with Tarsian in a planet called Agartha, she drives away the gigantic one and saves a few Lysithea member’s lives.
And, Noboru who patiently waits for Mikako’s messages while running on his boring activities since high school period started. He joins the kendo club again, where the girls are the majority members. And in this club, he’s suddenly being loved by a his junior–who is prettier than Mikako–and they start dating. But, as Noboru has his date, his thoughts about Mikako grows stronger. “What is she doing now? Is she still alive?” he thinks. Therefore, Noboru decides to stop his date with his junior.
Nine years later, he starts his mission as a communication operator–which appears to be a part of UN Forces. Thanks to his choice while he was in second year high school, he finally has a chance to meet Mikako again for the last time. But that means, Mikako won’t be the same age as him–she is five years younger than him now.
For the story itself has two POVs (Point of Views), Mikako’s POV and Noboru’s POV, so readers must be able to adjust whose POV is this. Even though the ending itself can be guessed by readers, still Makoto (evilly) didn’t reveal the continuation of their relationship–which makes readers upset and questioned about it. And unfortunately, some of the languages he used are SF (science fiction). There are some terms and sentences that we can’t understand (since Makoto loves SF so much).
Overall, the story is very good. Not only containing SF content, but also containing romance content that will make readers (including me) touched. Highly recommended for teenagers, especially those who love this light romance genre so much. Before the novel was wrote, the short anime film adaption had already been released in 2002 with 25-minute duration only.
Book Title: Hoshi no Koe (Voices of a Distant Star) | Genre: Sci-Fi, Space, Drama, Romance, Mecha | Author: Makoto Shinkai (original creator), Waku Ōba | Illustration: Miho Takeoka | Publisher: Media Factory, Kadokawa Corporation | ISBN: 978-602-8750-90-5 | Date Publish: July 25 2002 | Rating: 9/10