Mizu no Kotoba is a nine minute anime from Studio Rikka. That’s right, the Eve no Jikan & Harmonie studio. It was released in 2002, making it the oldest Rikka anime I’ve looked at by over half a decade. It’s also the shortest by a pretty wide margin. Let’s see how it holds up.
Our narrative is set in a quaint cafe where a group of patrons are all holding their own conversations. Our main focus is on the young man at the counter and the barista who’s trying to cheer him up after he broke up with his girlfriend.
One thing to note about the story-telling is that the conversations from the people besides our main character all, in some form, foreshadow what he’s going to experience towards the end of the short. Which, I don’t really think is necessary. You could honestly have the cafe be basically barren and show some quick, visual hints and get the same effect.
I will credit the short with capturing a very interesting moment. It does keep your attention from start to finish. Which doesn’t seem like a great feat for something that’s only nine minutes, but I’ve seen other short anime/ anime with very short episodes where there was just nothing compelling. Hi, Chokotan. In some ways, this feels like a very short story that Ibis could tell. It also does a good job of giving you enough of the world to get you interested. This could make an effective lead in to a longer series if it wasn’t just a stand alone thing.
The characterisation in this isn’t anything special. Our main protagonist has a basic level of verisimilitude and about as much depth as you could reasonably manage with nine minutes. The waitress comes across as almost a trickster type with her eagerness to help and her guiding our protagonist to a strange area. Until you learn the truth about her, any way.
The rest of the patrons aren’t really worth mentioning. They’re all kind of boring if I’m being honest.
I’m not completely sold on the art style. This is one of those anime where all the characters have dead looking eyes and the facial expressions are a bit awkward. It doesn’t really look bad. It’s serviceable enough. It’s just a bit of a blah style. And they do get lazy at points and just show text.
The only point where I genuinely like the art is towards the end when things get a bit surreal. Partially because they aren’t showing the people as much and partially because there are some interesting visuals.
The acting is fine. It’s not particularly good or memorable, but it’s better than mediocre. The music is quite nice. It’s not the best out there, but it’s solid enough.
There really isn’t any. Not that I would expect a nine minute short to have hugely developed character dynamics that would allow for strong romance period.
Areas of Improvement:
- Lose all the side patrons. Honestly, their chatter doesn’t really contribute anything except for some foreshadowing. Which you could get purely from visuals, assuming you think you even need foreshadowing in a nine minute work.
- Better character art. While I mean no disrespect towards the animators who worked hard on this, the characters really don’t look good.
- A longer surreal sequence. That twenty seconds or so is the most stand out moment of the short and just looks the best.
Mizu no Kotoba is a solid short. It’s well put together and compelling throughout. Honestly, if you have nine minutes where you’re just waiting for something, give it a quick watch. I’m giving it a 7/10.