Review: This 9 minutes long anime has garnered quite significant attention from anime fans and I wasn’t surprise. Mizu no Kotoba, despite its ultra short runtime, is a work with surprising depth and imagination. The story takes place in a restaurant in which the customers bring their stories inside. Through their conversations, the anime manages to insert many interesting ideas including the significance of language for the viewers and an effective sci-fi ending.
The animation is generally subtle but upon closer inspection, it is done with great care on details. I like how the anime portrays the restaurant with brown-gray color and smoky atmosphere giving somewhat surreal and mysterious feeling to the place. The CGI looks for the machinery looks natural and compatible with the 2D part. Camera angle and scene transition are deliberately done to imitate android’s view. Another notable feature is how the conversations of the customers in the restaurant overlap with nice depiction of the talking occurring nearer to the camera.
[SPOILER ALERT!]The twist at the end is surprisingly effective because I didn’t expect that the bartender girl could hide her large mechanical body behind that small counter, not because I didn’t know the girl was an android.
During the first few minutes, the anime made direct reference to Isaac Asimov’s first of the three laws of robotics which states that a robot will not harm human. But what the bartender does in the anime is helping a human, not just do no harm. Well, I am no expert in sci-fi literature. Maybe I missed something. Nevertheless, this was only a trivial thing that came up in my mind.
Mizu no Kotoba is definitely worth a try for anyone looking for different flavor in anime. It is really short so you don’t need much attention span to grasp it. I think the best part about this anime is that it gives away enough answers to satisfy most viewers and at the same time still pleases hardcore anime fans by keeping a few things obscure for further interpretation.
Title: Mizu no Kotoba (Aquatic Language)
Released date: 26 October 2002
Running Time: 9 minutes
Director: Yasuhiro Yoshiura
Animated by: Studio Rikka