Anthem of the Heart simulwatch [RS] (27- 31st August)

Lordhippos

Magical Girl
Anthem of the Heart
MAL Link
[Part of the Renegade Simulwatch]

This was the film that was voted for, with I want to eat your Pancreas being a close second place :)

Running date is basically from now until the end of the 31st of August, this means this will end prior to the new simulwatch of Barakamon starting.

I am probably going to watch this either tomorrow or Sunday personally, I don't really have much insight in to what it's about as a first time viewer.

I hope that people enjoy the film and we get some good discussion out of it!
 
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Lordhippos

Magical Girl
First time viewer

Spoiler warnings ahead as usual for a simulwatch thread, as it's after the start date when people post their thoughts.

MAL has the genre for this down as Drama, Romance, School. I'd say that succinctly describes it. The film doesn't cover a wide variety of topics, it's very much what you see is what you get, so in that sense it's a fairly straightforward film. Although I'll be buggered if I know why the film features egg as a running theme, it's Mardock Scramble all over again! :D

We begin the film with Jun Naruse getting scarred for life by being told that the parents getting divorced is her fault, I've rarely wanted to reach into the screen and shake sense into someone, but the father definitely deserved that (and more). The poor girl then of course can't come to terms with things, and believes the father, who we promptly never see or hear from again.

One thing that I can draw certain parallels with is the way that trauma and bad parenting just seem to be acceptable norms in Japan, I mentioned in my Higehiro review that the parents never seemed to apologise and the mental scarring wasn't left to professionals to try and help with, so here we have pretty much exactly the same thing. The father of course is a worthless piece of trash, and the mother is more pre-occupied with what the neighbours think than how her daughter Jun is doing.

I would mention here that I am not into musicals. In fact the musical angle was being orchestrated by the music teacher for some unknown reason that was never really explained. At least the film was self-aware enough to point out that it was weird that the teacher was the one who was pushing for the musical so badly whilst trying to appear not to be.

On the whole I think Jun was the most fleshed out character, and seeing her deal with the inability to speak was at times endearing. I liked Jun on the whole, and wanted her to get better. Her male counterpart was Takumi Sakagumi, who I would say was a fairly uninteresting character, he didn't seem to have any real note-worthy characteristics, I mean he was nice enough, but I didn't get the sense that he had any deep connection to Jun. I think it's hard to really portray loads in a two hour film though.

The other two main characters were the burly/misunderstood Daiki Tasaki, and the cheerleader Natsuki Nitou. For Daiki I liked that he had some character development, starting out as a tyrant and eventually changing after he realised that people really don't like tyrants. Natuski was the most out of place out of the 4 main characters to me, she didn't really seem to do much except for being the old childhood friend we are so familiar with. She was meant to have been dating Takumi before, but yet she knew very little about him, not his email address (it wasn't called out but I guess this was set before smart phones were common), not his actual address, or that he liked playing the piano or was into music.

Despite all of these shortcomings the film still shipped these two, throughout the film I felt they didn't really have any connection at all. Their were contrivances in a few places like when they were chatting and Jun overhead them, they didn't see her, but they somehow deduced that was the reason that Jun ran way. Jun and Takumi were probably the most obvious shipping, but I guess the writers thought that was a bit too obvious a conclusion, so decided not to. Daiki confessing to Jun was kind of out of the blue for me, and felt shoe-horned in.

I think the romance angle of this was kind of weak, and they may have been better off just focusing on the drama side of things. On the drama side, Jun being able to talk, then not being able to talk, but then she can sing, but then can't sing, and now she can talk normally were kind of all over the place, and people seemed to act like she could talk even though they knew she couldn't most of the time. Felt like I missed the memos where Jun gained +1 speech! :D

Despite not liking musicals I did enjoy Juns entrance and on the whole the musical itself seemed to have been well put together/animated.

In closing I would say that I will often rate these kinds of things on various levels based on how much I enjoyed them, as follows:
  • Didn't like/couldn't finish (1-5 / 10)
  • It was OK but nothing special (6 / 10)
  • I'd recommend watching it, was good (7-8 / 10)
  • Was really good stop what you're doing and watch it now (9-10 / 10)
For this movie I'd place it firmly as a 6/10 to me, I didn't love it or hate it, but I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it.

The art was pretty good throughout at least so visually it was good, I thought it looked kind of similar to Anohana at times (which I'm watching at the moment) but then I learnt afterwards that it was because it was made by the same people that did Anohana.
 

D1tchd1gger

Flame Haze
made by the same people
Yeah, same director and character designer and
Singular, Mari Okada who grew up in a single parent family and having read her autobiography Anthem sounds very semi-autobiographical. Fun fact both are also set in her home city of Chichibu in Saitama.
She also worked with the director, Tatsuyuki Nagai, on Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans.
And the character designer, Masayoshi Tanaka, worked on, among many things, FranXX, Your Name., Weathering With You and Toradora (which was adapted for anime by Okada).

I think I'm going to be a rebel in this renegade simulwatch and watch on the 1st as I have the day off and can react to all the newbies reactions.
 

Birdie Num Num

School Idol
First time viewer

I very much enjoyed watching this. I didn't know what to expect and thought it might go down the fantasy route when the egg started talking at the beginning, but that was avoided for a more grounded piece.

I'm never able to write much about a film, so I'll just write some thoughts I had:
  • Jun's dad is father of the year.
  • I liked the musical aspect and the laid back teacher.
  • SCRAMBLED EGG (I did laugh when this was said)
Mari Okada who grew up in a single parent family and having read her autobiography Anthem sounds very semi-autobiographical.
I did have this thought while watching it. I wondered if Jun's Mother was based on her own mother.

Overall I would give this film 7.5/10.. Next up, Barakamon.
 

Geriatric hedgehog

Vampire Ninja
As I watched this one not too long ago, and because I can't still tear myself away from ongoing Eva re-watches....(I just can't bring myself to say "bye bye all of Evangelion" yet * sob *) I'm unlikely to be able to re-watch Anthem as planned. So will just add a few thoughts from memory, on the back of other's comments here.

One thing that I can draw certain parallels with is the way that trauma and bad parenting just seem to be acceptable norms in Japan, I mentioned in my Higehiro review that the parents never seemed to apologise and the mental scarring wasn't left to professionals to try and help with, so here we have pretty much exactly the same thing.
Very apt and timely comparison here! Completely agree with your points on that. I always get the feeling that such parents are framed as such just to serve as plot devices to a certain extent, and therefore not sufficiently developed (as is unfortunately the case for a lot in anime, including the forever-at-work ones... Damned adults...poor kids can never catch a break!). But likely also a reflection of certain cultural variations. A lot of Asian and African cultures have significant emphasis on unquestioned submission and respect being afforded to elders (which in some cases could be anyone born even a second before you...). While I'm of the likely majority opinion that respect and etiquette be afforded to all as a baseline, especially elders, until they do something to lose that respect, such portrayals of gaslighting by elders in authority always break my heart to see the sad reality for those unable to stand up for themselves to those complete @r$eholes clearly not deserving of that respect.

I would mention here that I am not into musicals.
Likewise for me, though I did also quite enjoy the musical the class laid on in the end, particularly on my second watch. In general really liked the soundtrack, but not surprising as I am a fan of Masaru Yokoyama ever since his excellent work on Your Lie in April and Scum's Wish (actually the latter I think the latter may be also be agood one for a renegade simulwatch heh), and also more recently in Horimiya.

Also agree with your take on the individual characters and not a bad job considering it's always difficult to develop sufficiently in the limited runtime of a movie. Had a thought remembering the curveball that is Daiki's confession - we are effectively in Jun's shoes at not seeing that one coming. Perhaps in terms of character development, the writing is consciously or subconsciously from Jun's perspective all along (as @D1tchd1gger mentioned about the autobiographical aspects in Okada's works), ie her interest mainly being in Takumi therefore he is the other character with a focus on development, Natsuki of lesser interest to Jun therefore less development especially the first half when she not seen as a love rival threat, and Jun viewing Daiki as a disruptive jock hence development focus on that aspect and none at all as a romantic interest as she only has eyes for Takumi.
Mari Okada who grew up in a single parent family and having read her autobiography Anthem sounds very semi-autobiographical. Fun fact both are also set in her home city of Chichibu in Saitama.
That's what I like about Okada's works, they do generally draw from her experiences and have an honesty to them as a result. Her directorial debut of Maquia was an ode to motherhood, and an older work of hers on that topic I believe, which I'm yet to watch, is Hanasaku Iroha.
 

Lordhippos

Magical Girl
While I'm of the likely majority opinion that respect and etiquette be afforded to all as a baseline

Could not agree more!

I am a fan of Masaru Yokoyama ever since his excellent work on Your Lie in April and Scum's Wish (actually the latter I think the latter may be also be agood one for a renegade simulwatch heh)

Ah I enjoyed both of those shows, sadly already seen Scums Wish not that long ago, I could see it being quite a polarising watch though.

I very much enjoyed watching this. I didn't know what to expect and thought it might go down the fantasy route when the egg started talking at the beginning, but that was avoided for a more grounded piece.

I'm never able to write much about a film, so I'll just write some thoughts I had

I'm quite glad they didn't go too far down the fantasy route myself, it has it's place but I like a more grounded tale.

It's totally cool people can write as much or as little as they want, just watching the film and enjoying it are enough, writing deep thoughts after is a bonus! :)

Oh man Barakamon starts tomorrow doesn't it? Better get that one ready to go.

Still happy for people to post thoughts after today, or even as some renegades plan, to watch it after the 31st, I mainly wanted to set an end date before the Barakamon start date officially speaking.
 

Neil.T

Titan
The Anthem of the Heart is a film that crept up in my estimation with each initial watch. I even had it rated as a 10-out-of-10 at one point on MyAnimeList before deciding that that might've been just a little bit over the top. Now I'm not so sure, though.

Being released on Blu-ray only two months apart in the UK by Anime Limited, this film sometimes found itself pitted against A Silent Voice in fan discussion. My 10-out-of-10 score at the time was set to indicate which film was my favourite of the two, as controversial as @WMD may find that. 😛

I have no intention of attempting to write any kind of in-depth appraisal here, so instead I'll just throw in some miscellaneous thoughts that I had while watching this time.

  • Anthem of the Heart has its share of big moments. The first one for me is Takumi challenging Daiki over his insult towards Jun. His choice of phrasing in Japanese is a bit punchier than the English subtitles probably give him credit for. I would've translated it as "Who's the useless one here?"
  • Another memorable Takumi moment is his rusty-sounding laugh after he tells Jun that she's like an open book. Japanese voice actor Kōki Uchiyama — who I'm currently enjoying as the tall, bespectacled Tsukishima as I belatedly watch season 4 of Haikyuu! on Crunchyroll, and will very soon also be hearing in the AUKN simulwatch of Barakamon — was really able to make it sound like Takumi hadn't really laughed like that for a long time, and it really hits you in that moment and has you think "Wait, I haven't heard Takumi laugh before. Or seen him really smile, for that matter."
  • Jun gets a big moment, too, with her outburst at the diner, when she yells that words can never be taken back. That bit's gotten me every time I've watched it.
  • Overall, the Anime Limited release of the film has a nice and snappy translation, helping to breathing life into the characters' words.

She was meant to have been dating Takumi before, but yet she knew very little about him, not his email address (it wasn't called out but I guess this was set before smart phones were common), not his actual address, or that he liked playing the piano or was into music.
Actually, dude, she knew very well that Takumi could play the piano, and she also knew the whole traumatic story of why he stopped playing. Nito's obvious shock at Jun's revelation, though, was because she had no idea that he'd apparently started playing again at some point, and she was dismayed that she'd been left out of the loop.


As one last (pretty irrelevant) observation here in closing, my avatar pic, which was created for an entirely separate purpose, ended up being rather appropriate for this simulwatch.
 
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João Gomes

Straw Hat Pirate
OK, let me try to get a couple of these out of the way...

Having watched Dollar Store Silent Voice... (IMKIDDING)

Just got done watching Shiitty Parents The Motion Picture-

That's the Wonderegg Priority prequel over and...

😩 Sorry for these.

I didn't think much of this. I liked the initial setup and the way it was presented but the way it manifested is too anime for such a realistic setting. The premise turns into basura, if you will. It's the kind of thing Ryogo Narita could get away with because he embraces the madness and possibilities of anime and creates remarkable characters and situations. The result is the craziness doesn't feel out of place.

Jun saying stuff through song in front of the class gave me a really acute case of second hand embarrassment, urgh. Constantly writing stuff on the phone is just so... clunky. The main characters all got a chance at a bit of backstory (well, three of them) but they're not very interesting to begin with.

For a movie, the presentation is nothing to write home about, while being solid all throughout. It's OK. I love anime movies in part because there's a lot if background porn; textures, colors, objects... I love detailed backgrounds. There wasn't a lot of that here and that's OK.

What I did really like though was the sense of place in portraying a small town, I kinda felt there in a few scenes. It was very cool. I loved the conclusion to the romance thing going on, don't know if that's a "Mari Okada thing" but it was atypical and great! "Let's have the potential main couple meet in an abandoned love hotel 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉 ohguesswhatletmeslapyouinyourstupidotakuface"

That Jun jelly was delicious, baby. "Thanks" duuuude.

I give it a my-suggestion-was-dogscheise-and-my-vote-wasted-so-ill-shut-up-for-a-while-but-actually-still-suggest-pingpong-every-now-and-then/10. That's now a word on my phone dictionary, woe is me etc.

Loved having The Ant King voicing the main guy dude.

I guess I'll watch Baccano at the same time as Barakamon or hope that will be a good palate cleanser.

The parents in this thing are garbage. They're worse than garbage, holy shiit. I'm becoming increasingly aware that a lot of the driving forces behind fictional stuff I've watched of late is parental issues. It's so widespread, it's crazy. I feel for people with shiitty parents, really.

Shinichiro Watanabe should have been the musical producer/advisor for this.

Alright, let me stop writing now.

edit: THE DIGIPAK SPOILS THE MAIN PAIRINGS
 
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Lordhippos

Magical Girl
So it's 💩/10 @João Gomes? 🤣

Edit - I really do want to do Ping Pong so maybe it could be the next Renegade Simulwatch after Shiki? It would probably mean waiting until next month however as Shiki will run until early October.

Edit 2 - I could not agree more I love detailed backgrounds, and I think it's why I love KyoAni and Shinkai stuff as much as I do, it's the general artwork and how amazing the scenery can look in them.
 

D1tchd1gger

Flame Haze
I love this film. I'll be honest and say the first time I watched was on YouTube as someone had uploaded it, tut tut (I was actually looking for Your Name. which I had heard about from somewhere, but the cinema showing had past). This was just before I came back here, and the first thing I brought Blu-ray wise when I came back was this film from Zavvi.

I think it's partly because it broke anime convention and went with divorce rather than death or work for the absence. It was the first time I'd seen it in anime, although this was before I watched seasonal stuff, but even now after watching 100s of shows I think it's only come up once or twice since, also the twist at the end was kind of refreshing as well.
I think what makes it hit harder for me is that I to grew up in a single parent family, not that I ever blamed myself for it, I was older than Jun was, so understood it a bit more. My dad met someone at work and then left. Talking with my mum about it later on in life, she said that they had both fallen out of love, so I guess that was better than it being one sided, but it still left her caring for 2 kids.

Right to some replies:
Although I'll be buggered if I know why the film features egg as a running theme,
I think it may have been to do with the shrine and the stories surrounding it. Jun obviously likes her stories, with the fairytale stuff at beginning and then wanting a Prince to come save her, so maybe stories she'd heard about the shrine got mixed in. If there's anything I don't understand in anime I just go with the "it must be a cultural thing".
mother is more pre-occupied with what the neighbours think than how her daughter Jun is doing.
True, but at least unlike the mother in Higehiro she showed remorse at the end after hearing the words Jun couldn't say in the song "Watashi no Koe" during
Juns entrance.
This slays me every time. Her getting to say what she's wanted to and her mothers reaction.

weird that the teacher was the one who was pushing for the musical so badly whilst trying to appear not to be
He says it himself. He's a music teacher and is bored of doing recitals. One might question his choice of students to be on the committee, especially Jun given her apparent lack of communication skills (maybe he wanted to try and help her out), but his motivation for wanting to do a musical, whilst selfish, is definitely understandable.

She was meant to have been dating Takumi before, but yet she knew very little about him, not his email address (it wasn't called out but I guess this was set before smart phones were common), not his actual address, or that he liked playing the piano or was into music.
@Neil.T beat me to this one:
Nito's obvious shock at Jun's revelation, though, was because she had no idea that he'd apparently started playing again at some point, and she was dismayed that she'd been left out of the loop.
And Natsuki even says later during the scene you mention in the next quote that she was glad he was playing piano again.

Their were contrivances in a few places like when they were chatting and Jun overhead them, they didn't see her, but they somehow deduced that was the reason that Jun ran way
That got to me too in the first watch, but where would stories be without coincidences and contrivances. It comes down to believability, and whilst this is possibly the least believable it isn't completely out of the question for Natsuki and/or Takumi to realise that their conversion may have affected Jun as they were working together for a month/month and a half (I'm pretty sure they had 6 weeks to work on it).

Daiki confessing to Jun was kind of out of the blue for me, and felt shoe-horned in.
Like I said above it was a bit of a surprise at first, but on a second watch the clues are there. Obviously starting from the moment Jun stood up for him in the restaurant.

On the drama side, Jun being able to talk, then not being able to talk, but then she can sing, but then can't sing, and now she can talk normally were kind of all over the place
Not really. She was a chatterbox, but then she couldn't talk because of the curse she put on herself after what happened as a kid (and the longer it went on the more anxious she became leading to the stomachaches), then hearing Takumi sing and what he said about emotions expressed through singing she gave it a go (the only thing you could argue is why is she so good if she's never done it, but when you have a talented VA like Inori Minase you're not going to ask her to sing badly!), then she had her heart broken and it's not that she couldn't sing just at that moment didn't want to and she thought she had broken the rules of the curse/the curse itself so she started talking properly again.

Dollar Store Silent Voice
A Silent Voice (the film) wishes it was this good 😜 It's only because it's KyoAni and looks real nice that everyone raves about it (the equivalent of graphic whores in gaming). The story is good of course, but it's obvious bits are missing and reading the manga you see the whole picture (yes, I'm going be one those people), so the manga is better! Whereas AOTH is a film script and feels pretty tight even for a 2 hour film.

I love detailed backgrounds. There wasn't a lot of that here and that's OK.
As a lot of it was set at school there wasn't much to do with the background, but
sense of place in portraying a small town,
and the backgrounds helped immensely.

The Anthem of the Heart is a film that crept up in my estimation with each initial watch.
Yeah, I think I had at 8 initially, but we both have it at 9 now!
 

João Gomes

Straw Hat Pirate
@Lordhippos ahah nah, I was just being unnecessarily mean, I'd rate it the same as you if we had to talk numbers.

It's overall an OK movie but that's it. I just don't have the patience for certain things and tropes in anime, not sure if it's a "Simpsons school principal am I out of touch; no it's the kids who are wrong" thing!

The things I talked about positively though, I genuinely appreciated!

As for Ping Pong, you can't imagine how game I am for that. I'll sit Shiki out as I don't have that one, but I'm down otherwise. 15-Love!! 🏓

@D1tchd1gger I WAS KIDDING lol you're actually not the first person to tell me the Silent Voice manga is superior to the movie (the first one being RadFemHedonist)! I don't want to repeat myself a lot but I didn't like that movie a whole lot on first view neither but that makes me curious about the manga.

Yeah, the backgrounds did their job for sure but they weren't dense with detail, which always (ALWAYS WITHOUT FAIL) gets me drooling. Lordhippos gives good examples, like Shinkai. The backgrounds in his works are always extremely dense with detail, colour and texture.

It's marvelous and I found there wasn't much of that here with the exception of maybe the temple and the road where the old man is putting up the eggs in the small shrine. My favorite though was the one close to Jun's house with all the vacant lots. It put me there completely and I loved that.

Still, despite my musings on the movie, I appreciate the talent and work it takes to create this.

I don't know if this makes me seem jaded or insensitive, but it honestly doesn't take much to get me teary eyed. There are so many examples that it would be silly to try and list them. This just didn't resonate with me emotionally.
 

Lordhippos

Magical Girl
True, but at least unlike the mother in Higehiro she showed remorse at the end after hearing the words Jun couldn't say in the song "Watashi no Koe" during

I know I guess I just wanted her to apologise to Jun, but we never saw that (at least I don't recall seeing it).

I'm with @João Gomes I think it just wasn't exactly the right fit for me either, but I didn't think it was awful or anything. Probably partially because I wasn't that invested in the characters, and partially because I didn't really care much for musicals as a theme.

I haven't seen Silent Voice more than once, and I can see how the two could be compared, I had some issues with Silent Voice as well so I don't think either is perfect. Perhaps in the case of both they'd be better on a subsequent watch. Take in the broader strokes on the first watch, pay more attention to details on the second.

Both are fairly straightforward films from a chronology point of view, but I suspect there will be details or hints you'd see on a second watch on both this and Silent Voice that would make them better on a 2nd viewing.
 

Neil.T

Titan
I love this film.
I'm trying to think back to a post of yours from years ago about the film. You were into the musical centrepiece as well, weren't you?

I've tried Googling to see if Beethoven's "Sonata Pathétique" and "Over the Rainbow" were already known counterpoints to each other, but I can't find any search results that pre-date the Japanese release of Anthem of the Heart. Was it really this film that came up with the idea of pairing the two? If so, that's highly impressive, and I tip my cap to the writing once again.

THE DIGIPAK SPOILS THE MAIN PAIRINGS
Only in hindsight, though, João. Only in hindsight. 😉

I don't know if this makes me seem jaded or insensitive, but it honestly doesn't take much to get me teary eyed. There are so many examples that it would be silly to try and list them. This just didn't resonate with me emotionally.
It's indeed a purely personal thing, exactly, but one of the reasons that I feel like I can really get my teeth into this film is that it deals with the idea of having to live by suppressing your own natural character. That's a theme that I just happen to identify with on a personal level.

I for one would be very interested in hearing what some of your teary-eyed examples are, João. 🙂

As for Ping Pong, you can't imagine how game I am for that.
And ironically, as I've admitted before, Masaaki Yuasa's Ping Pong is something that I just didn't seem to connect with at any point during the one time I've watched it so far. 😬
I'd like to give it another try, though.

The live-action version was an entirely different story for me, however: I liked the characters as they were presented in that. Really looking forward to seeing it again, actually.
 

D1tchd1gger

Flame Haze
You were into the musical centrepiece as well, weren't you?
Jun's entrance to Greensleaves and the lyrics of Watashi no Koe is my favourite, but I do like the two different people singing over Over the Rainbow, although much harder to follow trying to read 2 sets of lyrics with subs top and bottom. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a dub version, but I'm not sure how well translated lyrics would work, if they bother at all which always takes you out of the story if they've been talking in English and then suddenly start singing in Japanese.
I tip my cap to the writing once again
I wonder how collaborative it was, did Okada-san come up with the idea of a musical and then write the story within the story and then hand it over and say you pick the tunes and write the lyrics or was their some back and forth? Haven't looked through the book since I got it over 4 years ago!
 

João Gomes

Straw Hat Pirate
@Neil.T gungrave, Lagann, hotarubi no mori e, probably bits of haikyuu when the characters are triumphant, sometimes just a bit of good music well matched with implied sadness will get me going, it's silly. There are many examples that I simply don't remember because they're from media I've found otherwise unremarkable.

Ping Pong za muubi is coming, baby! Curious to watch that even if I have a very low tolerance for Japanese overacting, we'll see.

Another example still would be Koizumi and Smile's relationship, as I've already told you in another thread. I love the way Butterfly Joe pushes Smile, it's beautiful.
 
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