Naoko Yamada’s Garden of Remembrance Takes Center Stage at Annecy Film Festival

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Naoko Yamada
Naoko Yamada, Silent Voice and Garden of Remembrance (Credits: Speil Times)

Garden of Remembrance, directed by Naoko Yamada, will be screened at the Annecy Film Festival this year. There are high chances you’ve heard of Naoko Yamada if you’re an avid anime watcher. Best known for K-On! and Silent Voice, Yamada is no stranger to anime. Her Garden of Remembrance was announced at the 2022 Annecy Film Festival, and a snippet of it was played to tease the fans. 

Her style usually involves creating characters with immense human emotions, making them very relatable. Yamada’s works typically explore friendship, love, and self-discovery themes, and her story arcs feel so warm and emphatic. The Silent Voice director infuses her films with subtle and gentle emotions, with the animation speaking louder than words. 

The anime was initially categorized in the Work in Progress section at the Annecy Film Festival, which included, well, work that is still in production. Then in the following October, Yamada premiered the short film at the Scotland Loves Anime event. Let’s take a closer look at this 18-minute anime. 

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Garden of Remembrance

Naoko Yamada is a talented animator and director best known for her work on K-On!, A Silent Voice, Liz and the Blue Bird, and more. Born in 1984 in Kyoto, Yamada began her career at Kyoto Animation, making her the youngest director at the famous studio. She started four years after her graduation and has now established herself as an icon in the industry. Her style includes involving deep relatable emotions and intricate, thoughtful storytelling. Naoko has won several awards, proving that work is always a hit!

Naoko Yamada, Science Saru's Garden of Remembrance Anime Short Film Gets Special Screening at Annecy
Poster for Naoko Yamada, Science Saru’s Garden of Remembrance Anime (Credits: Anime Trending)

Science SARU’s Twitter account announced that Garden of Remembrance, Yamada’s original anime short film, will be specially screened at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival this year. This year’s Annecy festival will be held from June 11th to 17th. The release date is set for sometime this year, but we’re still unsure when. 

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The scene is set in a messy room with empty beer cans, wine bottles, and unfinished glasses of whiskey. The laid-back atmosphere features an “absent-minded” girl staring around, getting ready for the day. The Annecy film festival describes this story with people referred to as “ME,” “YOU,” and “THE CHILDHOOD FRIEND” which we won’t be sure about until we watch the film. 

The person described as “Me” watches over “You” as they laze around, drinking and playing the guitar. One day “You” sees “The Childhood Friend” buying an Anemone flower “Me” once liked. Remembering this, “You” rushes to buy a flower. Years after “Me” has passed, “You” hears a noise from his closet and opens it to find a garden of memories of “Me” and “You.” A painting of the Anemone by “You” is kept in their room. 

More About Garden of Remembrance 

The character designs were handled by Etsuko Mizusawa (known for Moshimoshi, Terumi desu, and Hana no Zubora Meshi). Naoko asked if the characters could be drawn in a “chubby” form. She praised Mizusawa’s sketches saying they felt so real, “You feel like you can smell the drool from them napping and sink into their cuteness.”

character designs for garden of remembrance
Character designs for Garden of Remembrance (Credits: Spiel Times)

The fact Yamada created the anime’s plot based on a poem is so fascinating. According to sources, the film was a collaboration between Naoko and SARU’s co-producer, Tekeshi Choi. The two used certain words to write a poem and then based the storyline on it. Lovely Summer-Chan, “The invincible girl,” as referred to by Yamada, was brought on board to create the music based on the poem as well. 

Naoko Yamada described the theme of the short film as “Someone is thinking of someone, where is the heart’s destination.” We’re more than excited to watch the heartfelt film, are you? 

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By Britney

Britney is a passionate writer with a keen interest in anime, gaming and manga. Currently living in Bangalore, you can find Britney spending her free time gaming or graphic designing. Get in touch with her at

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