Anything Japanese · Movie

[Anime Film] The Anthem of the Heart (2015)

The Anthem of the Heart, subtitled Beautiful Word Beautiful World, is a 2015 Japanese animated youth drama film produced by A-1 Pictures, directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai and written by Mari Okada. The original title is Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda. (心が叫びたがってるんだ。, lit. The Heart Wants to Shout), and it is abbreviated as Kokosake (ここさけ). It was worked on by the staff who had previously worked on the anime series Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day and its film adaptation.  —Wikipedia

The story is about Jun Naruse who used to be a chatterbox cursed to stop talking so she can’t hurt other people with her words. A decade later, in junior high, Naruse is selected to be on an Outreach Committee, along with a typical assortment of teen archetypes – the pretty cheerleader, reclusive musician and injured baseball star. Discovering that Naruse can still sing, Takumi the musician agrees to write a musical – and love blossoms.

As an audience, we can draw from many of the experiences in our own life to relate to Naruse as she struggles to live the adolescent years of her life when faced with traumatic experiences in her past. It’s also about getting over a trauma that played a huge factor to move forward in the future. 

Though all four of the main cast are built on cliché anime archetypes, much like the movie itself, those archetypes are totally thrown out the window. Each character, including the side characters, are so well-developed and bring their own unique element to the story. The pacing is great and quick, but not so much that you get lost along the way. Every single time I thought I had accurately predicted what would happen next, the story would go exactly the opposite way leaving me, “Okay, I was so wrong.” This all culminates in a finale that I still play over and over in my mind even to this moment. The near end of the movie has so much feels that goes straight to the kokoro so please prepare your tissues.

The artwork that portrays this story brings the animation to life. The characters of the anime were drawn really well to the point where anime seems to be merging with reality. But, one of the main qualities that makes Kokosake such a beautiful film is through sound. Because the anime aims to encourage the freedom of expression, the voice acting and music are exaggerated. The music serves as a substitute for Naruse’s silence and embellishes the atmosphere of the film. Soundtrack enhances the anime’s beauty, making the movie enjoyable to watch.

A mixed cast of well-developed characters, a beautiful soundtrack, a story that flips cliche anime tropes on its head all come together to create a phenomenal movie that will have laughing one minute, crying the next, and mad at yourself after for forgetting your tissues. Haha It has the feel of Anohana and elements similar to Studio Ghibli’s Whisper of the Heart. The film does indeed beautifully conveys its theme. Thus, Kokosake’s coming-of-age story is one of many good anime film that people young and old can enjoy.  🙂

PS. A Live Action Movie was released last July 22, 2017. Directed by Naoto Kumzawa, it stars Kyoko YoshineKento Nakajima, Anna Ishii and Ichiro Kan.

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