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「Book Review」Shinkai Makoto's The Garden of Words (Kotonoha no Niwa) Artbook

Garden of Words is another popular title by Shinkai Makoto, though admittedly much less popular than Kimi no Na wa. However, there is something so peaceful and relaxing in Garden of Words that isn't fully replicated in Kimi no Na wa. One part of this is due to the background, colors, choice of words, and the intervals between dialogue.

From this artbook, I'd like to replicate the feelings I got from watching Garden of Words. However, as usual, I will not be showcasing every image in the book clearly but solely enough to give a feel of what the artbook contains!
The cover uses pastel colors and a very serene color palette. The highlights on the figures make them seem very faraway and clearly sets the image that they aren't in front of the reader, but in something like a faraway land in a book. This atmosphere is contrasted against the fact that they are in Japan, and rather modern Japan if high-rise buildings are anything to judge by.
The back of the cover is mainly white, with small screencaps to give a preview of what the inside of the book would look like.
This is how the book is slid out and the actual book is pleasing to look at! I'll show the front and back of it to show the illustration of the book. The landscape looks amazing, with the gradient of the sky and the clouds arranged as such. The lighted up parts of the sky easily make a stark contrast against the darker shadows embellishing the buildings.

Finally we get to open up the book. Illustrations fill almost every other page and we get to see this very familiar branch. Those of you who watched the movie probably remembered this scene and the same branch was later used to show how time has passed, through the change of seasons.
Another feast to the eyes would be the train station and rain falling. Not only does the rain set the mood, it also creates kind of loneliness and additional aspects which accentuate the color scheme chosen here.
This is another location fans would recall. It is here that the main characters met on rainy days in summer and shared a memorable and meaningful time together, egging each other on to forget the past and move on to a better future. As such, rain is once again used here, alongside with the forest-y green to set the feel of a park. We can also feel that it is a serene place, and this is probably done by surrounding the hut with shrubs and cool colors such as green and blue.
Some pages have the right half with words and the left half with an illustration as seen below. As the book is read from right to left, you'll come across the words then the image, hence making looking at the image more meaningful after reading the words.

Some examples of more illustrations! It's rare to see pink instead of green, yet something about this is still so relaxing to look at.
We see that the facial features here isn't the most crisp we've ever seen but the color scheme and shading complements it so well that we can't nitpick even if we wanted to.

Similar to the movie, we proceed through the months. We get to see more intimate moments between the main characters, but at the same time we know that their impending separation would happen soon.

As usual, the beauty of the rain drawn hurts just to look at it. When would I ever reach half of this skill.

Here's Takao's room if anyone needs it. It's like he's a minimalist and yet it is so messy around the table area... I'm conflicted.

And lastly, the very final scene!!! Such a beautiful landscape view. I'm literally shaking.
And if you remember that branch I showed an image of in the first part of the book, here's how it looks like in winter.
Would I buy this book again?
Yes definitely. It's a steal at its current price and even without watching the source material you can still appreciate the illustrations for their beauty. Having the majority being landscape artwork also further emphasizes that you don't have to know the characters!

~ Reina-rin

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