Book Review: Voices of a Distant Star by Makoto Shinkai

Title: Voices of a Distant Star

Author: Makoto Shinkai

Page Count: 225

Publish Date: February 20, 2018

Publisher: Vertical Comics

Buy Voices of A Distant Star at Amazon.


Mikako Nagamine is recruited as a pilot to fight in the interstellar war against a force of alien invaders, leaving behind her one true love. Mikako’s only connection to Noboru Terao, who continues living the life of an ordinary student, is through cell phone text messages. As Mikako travels light years away, it takes longer and longer for Noboru to receive her messages, until finally one arrives eight years and seven months after she sent it…

Voices of a Distant Star

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My Review:

The art style is good but sometimes it feels simplistic. However, I believe this works best for the story as it doesn’t detract from the emotions of the characters and focuses on the messages being sent and not what is happening on the page. And yet, there are parts where that art speaks for itself and tells us everything we need to know, with no dialogue or words needed.

The sci-fi aspect is this story is on the lighter side. Despite Mikako spending the entire story in space – outside of flashbacks.

We don’t get to see much of the Tracers or ships being used to fight the Tharsians. In fact, we only get to see a glimpse of the Tharsians, the enemy alien race, in this story. In a way, this is disappointing, as it doesn’t make them feel like much of a threat.

However, I feel like this was done on purpose. After all, the story isn’t really about them but about the friendship and love of Mikako and Noboru, and the growing distance between them.

Even so, getting to see more than that glimpse would have made Mikako’s entire time in space feel much more real. Otherwise, she’s just a teenager traveling through space chasing something that doesn’t seem to have much effect on the world.

It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to have such huge gaps in messages. First a few hours, then days, and then years. Knowing that when you send a message at 16 years old it won’t arrive to the sender until they are 25. It truly puts the extreme distance into perspective.

Though there are a number of characters found throughout this story, it is Mikako and Noboru who are the main focus. The character building of these two is decent, especially since this story spans numerous years in a short amount of time.

Seeing these two struggle with separation from each other, while attempting to live some semblance of a normal life, especially Noboru, was interesting. His initial desperation to receive her messages and then feeling lost as they become less frequent the further away she gets highlights their closeness and how her absence has a profound effect on him.

Even when he tries to move on, accepting that she is no longer a part of his life due to the extreme time between their messages, he can’t help but think of her. She is part of his life and despite everything he is desperate to hear from her again, to see her again.

Yet through it all, despite the delays and sometimes feeling of their friendship falling apart, Mikako and Noboru never forget each other. Even if they try to move on it shows the utter strength of their friendship and love.

One part that does seem strange is why middle school kids would be recruited to fight in this war. It seems like a heavy burden to put on someone so young and yet Mikako isn’t the only young person among the ranks.

There isn’t a ton of action in this story, likely due to the lack of presence of the Tharsians. However, those few scenes that do include some fighting help to bring the entire world and the reason for Mikako’s absence to life.

I will say, I didn’t love the ending. It feels too open, and I want to know what happens with these two. Do they see each other again? It’s a question that’s never answered.

Overall, this is a good story. Where it lacks in action and showing the enemy, it makes up for it in its depiction of friendship, love, emotions, and determination.

I do love the way Makoto Shinkai weaves a story and knowing this was one of his first works, I know it will get better over time. I look forward to reading more of his books from my TBR.

I hope you enjoyed my review of Voices of a Distant Star. Have you read this manga?

Buy Voices of A Distant Star at Amazon.


  1. Such a great review. I appreciate how you included the length of the book as well as the details. I haven’t heard of this book, will have to put on my que.

    1. Author

      Thank you. I like knowing how long books are before going into them. It’s definitely worth checking out.

  2. Great review. You mentioned it in so detail. Thank you so much.

    1. Author

      Thank you.

  3. I have not read this manga. I belong to a monthly book club and we try to reach into other genres yet struggle with that. I will present the Voices of a Distant Star review that you have shared with them in hopes we can truly branch out to some different genres! Thanks for the great review!

    1. Author

      I hope you are able to convince your book club to read some manga. There are a ton of amazing manga out there to read and enjoy.

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