I recently rewatched The Garden of Words and I realized that I haven’t written a review on this beautiful visually stunning art piece.
So, here I am with and without wasting any more time let us get going with-
Table of Contents
The Garden of Words – The Narrative
“The Garden of Words” unfolds against the backdrop of Tokyo’s rainy season, where the paths of Takao Akizuki, a 15-year-old aspiring shoemaker, and Yukari Yukino, a 27-year-old literature teacher, cross in the picturesque setting of Shinjuku Gyoen.
Takao, opting to skip his first class, sketches shoe designs in the park and encounters Yukari, who is skipping work. Their initial meetings are marked by the exchange of enigmatic tanka poetry, creating a mysterious connection.
Despite never formally introducing themselves, Takao decides to craft a pair of shoes for Yukari, leading to a series of encounters on rainy mornings. As the rainy season concludes, Takao temporarily stops visiting the park to focus on his work.
After the summer break, Takao discovers Yukari’s identity as a literature teacher who has been a victim of gossip and bullying. Seeking refuge in the park, she eventually quits her job and leaves the school. Takao’s dedication to their connection prompts him to recite the 2,514th poem from the Man’yōshū, the correct response to Yukari’s tanka.
The two spend a poignant afternoon together, but the revelation of Yukari’s impending move and Takao’s love confession creates a bittersweet moment. After a heated exchange, Yukari realizes her mistake, and they share a heartfelt embrace.
The narrative follows Takao’s journey as he barely passes his final exams but remains committed to his goals. Yukari moves back to her hometown on Shikoku, resuming her teaching career. In a post-credits scene, Takao revisits the park in winter, reads a letter from Yukari, places her finished shoes on a bench, and vows to find her after achieving progress in his career.
“The Garden of Words” is a tale of serendipity, unspoken connections, and the transformative power of brief encounters during the ephemeral beauty of the rainy season. The story beautifully captures the essence of love, redemption, and personal growth against the poetic backdrop of Shinjuku Gyoen.
Things Which I Liked From “The Garden of Words”
The Rainy Park Meetings: The initial meetings between Takao and Yukari in Shinjuku Gyoen during the rainy season create a serene and magical atmosphere. Their encounters in the park, amidst raindrops and lush greenery, set the stage for a unique and mysterious connection.
The Tanka Poetry Exchange: The poetic exchange between Takao and Yukari, marked by tanka verses, adds a layer of elegance to their relationship. The use of traditional Japanese poetry becomes a symbol of their unspoken connection and shared emotions.
Takao’s Shoemaking Gesture: Takao’s decision to craft a pair of shoes for Yukari showcases his dedication and love for her, expressed through his chosen craft. This gesture adds a heartfelt and creative dimension to their budding connection.
Yukari’s Revelation and Retreat: Learning about Yukari’s struggles as a literature teacher facing gossip and bullying brings empathy to the story. Her decision to retreat to the park to overcome her fears demonstrates strength and resilience, making her character relatable and likable.
The Poetic Response: Takao’s poetic response to Yukari’s tanka by reciting the 2,514th poem from the Man’yōshū reflects his effort to understand and connect with her on a deeper level. This moment showcases his sincerity and thoughtfulness.
The Thunderstorm and Apartment Scene: The sudden thunderstorm and the subsequent afternoon spent in Yukari’s apartment create a beautifully intimate and emotional moment. The characters’ vulnerability and openness during this time contribute to the depth of their connection.
Yukari’s Emotional Revelation: Yukari’s realization of the impact of their time together in the park on her life adds a touching and redemptive quality to the story. Her emotional revelation and the shared tears with Takao evoke a sense of catharsis and healing.
Post-Credits Scene and Vow: The post-credits scene, where Takao revisits the park in winter, reads Yukari’s letter, and places her finished shoes on the bench, symbolizes continuity and hope. Takao’s vow to find her after making progress in his career leaves the audience with a sense of anticipation and optimism.
TOTT’s Take On The Garden of Words
Makoto Shinkai’s “The Garden of Words” is a masterful exploration of love, redemption, and self-discovery against the backdrop of Tokyo’s rainy season. The poetic narrative and breathtaking animation make it a timeless tale that lingers in the hearts of viewers, much like the delicate fragrance of rain-soaked flowers in a tranquil garden.
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