Film Review – Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda

anthemoftheheart - lead

Beautiful Word, Beautiful World

Wow, a full film from the team that brought you the adaption of ToraDora! and noitaminA’s anime original anohana. So how did it fare? Join me for as spoiler free review, one that feels appropriate before we get the Spring 2016 season underway….

Princes, Princesses, and Eggs

anthemoftheheart - group


In a word?Japanese for youth…But I know I can do better than that. As I said this will be a spoiler free review of the film. Well as much as I’ll ever admit to being a reviewer, a thing that I am not, so I’ll just do what I usually do and give you my perspective and all the stuff that I brought with me watching this film.


The inevitable comparison…

First, my expectations. Of course I was anxious for it. I love ToraDora!anohana, and AnoNatsu. That is enough to get me in the door. So I remember what I get from all those productions and I went in expecting to have a big, ugly, sopping wet cry just like I did by the end of anohana. I’m not just saying that for effect, that is honest reportage. I feel myself getting a bit wet behind the eyes, right now, if I just think of the full English name for that series. I start to sniffle a bit when I recall the ED, then I start getting very emotional singing along with it inside my head, cause I just can’t help doing that sort of thing. Then I think about the really tearful parts and….yeah, my emotional memory is quite vivid.


Jun ( Inori Minase) is the lead character, but she needs a bunch of support

Second, I’m going to keep this one short, and I won’t go for a blow by blow. But, this one didn’t make me cry as much as anohana did. Which isn’t to say this film doesn’t get downright emotional as much as this creative team’s other work. It does. It very much does. But it’s going on a different groove. Whereas as anohana really knew how to go in for the kill, so to speak, and could do that nearly ever week,  Anthem creates a space that allows the emotions to build and build without having to go back and forth.

anthemoftheheart - walk

They did both of that with the anohana series, but this is film, and that’s a different story for a shorter time frame. But, they know how to take advantage of being a film over being a series, and works that to the fullest. It allows for moments of rest and contemplation. It allows us to feel the space the characters are in before they move on; quite the fete for a film when I think about it. That’s the most important aspect of this film. For a story that centers on music, and the music of the unexpected, it takes notice of the rests.

anthemoftheheart - blossoms

It’s structured almost like a musical. It has a terrible curse that opens the story up. It has a tragic heroine, it has the promise of music and song to save her. Then it all changes and become it’s own thing before it goes back to literally being a musical. And the songs will make you tear up. The production had to have payed for many of them, I think? I’m sure you’ll poke me and tell me otherwise. But the songs are wonderfully remade with “original” lyrics put to them. It’s quite a treat, and so much fun. And so bittersweet.

So, I’ve given you the general gist of the film, without really giving it the plot away, but how does it really break down? Quite well. The characters are very believable. They go from very sullen and moody at times, to great spots of brightness and creativity at the drop of a hat; they’re teenagers, that’s what they’re supposed to do. The story acknowledges that, and also allows us to see what they are aiming for with four different sets of eyes, four different hearts. It get’s a bit messed up and painful, but I don’t think it ever stops being good and honest and entertaining.

anthemoftheheart - give

Are you still going on about eggs, girl?

There is a goal, and it’s that the characters put on a musical number for a community center in their high schools town; which by the way is anohana’s hometown of Chichibu. Do they go to that shrine, is something any fan would ask…butI won’t say any more about. Other than the fact that like the creative directors other work, they recreate that Saitama town beautifully in animation yet again; so much it’s becoming it’s own character.  As for the goal? It is achieved, but that’s an ending. It’s the journey that matters. It’s how the song is played as much, if not more than, how the song is finished.

anthemofthehear - castle

You’re…uh…magic castle awaits you….

So go see the film. If you are a fan of the creative team, either as singles or as a group then you’ll want to, won’t you? It’s not something you want to miss, as a huge fan of Okada (yes I’m aware of the Okadaisms, why do you ask?) I certainly didn’t. It’s not likely that we will ever get a sequel to any of the works the favored creators have done, so this is the next best thing, and it’s a gem. Go see it, if you love a good teenage romance, cause it was a good one. Now, if you have seen the film, and want to discuss it, please use spoiler tags. It’s not like there is a big giveaway, but I feel that every bit of the film needs to be experienced with the least amount of present notions.


All around nerd that enjoys just about any anime genre. I love history, politics, public policy, the sciences, literature, arts...pretty much anything can make me geeky...except sports. Follow me @theskylion
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28 Responses to “Film Review – Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda”

  1. akagami says:

    Ooooh, this wasn’t even on my radar. I think I know what I will be doing next weekend!

    • skylion says:

      Oh, I highly recommend it. I love rewatching bits and pieces of it. One of my favorite character designs….

      • akagami says:

        Actually the opening pic reminded me of Hyouka, and I thought, “well now, what do we have here?”

        Both ToraDora and anohana were great, so I’m excited! Actually now that I think about it, I recall some time ago that there was another show coming out from the anohana team, and then I didn’t hear much about it afterwards so I had forgotten.

        • skylion says:

          AnoNatsu? They share a director and Character Designer

          • akagami says:

            No, looks like it was this movie. Except I don’t check ANN that often so I missed the actual title reveal and then I forgot about it completely. It was 1 and 1/2 years after all.

            • skylion says:

              That reminds me of a story that Peter o’Toole used to tell (Irish actor, and yeah that is one hell of an ironic name). But he was regarded for being an excellent actor and a total drunk. On day back in the early 70s he was on a drunken tear in London’s West End, and suggested to friends they go see a play when the pups closed for mid afternoon. So they went in, and it started up, and he finally twigged on to the play that was going on. He said, “Oh, this one is quite good. I’m in this one….oh, bugger….”

            • akagami says:

              I… don’t get it. Besides words I don’t know, haha. Google tells me “twig” is to look at something and “bugger” is either f or someone who commits buggery… which I’m afraid to search because it sounds like it’ll be a surprise I’m not expecting.

              Google doesn’t give me anything useful on “tear”, but I assume from the context it means he went on a drinking spree.

            • skylion says:

              twig, yeah, look at something and figure out what’s going on around you. Bugger is just that, but it’s another way of say “oh f*ck me”. And you are correct on tear. So, to dissect the frog, he was so drunk he didn’t know he was supposed to be in that play during that time he took his friends in.

            • akagami says:

              Ahh, got it. I thought maybe it was a filmed version of a play he was in, and he was enjoying watching himself act. Or something like that. Then couldn’t figure out the punchline =P

            • skylion says:

              …given how drunk he might have been, if it were a film, and he still thought it was a play, that would have been much funnier.

            • akagami says:

              I need to get me a taste of that Irish Guinness. Clearly the stuff they serve here doesn’t compare.

          • akagami says:

            AnoNatsu wasn’t bad, but I was more a fan of Kanna to be completely honest. I really didn’t like Kaito though, so that lowered the show’s appeal for me.

            anohana is one of three completed shows that are a 10/10 in my books, so I have high expectations after I’ve read through your spoiler-free review (thanks for that!)

            • skylion says:

              I have to give Kaito props, he was a pretty good romantic MC. But I totally agree with you, I was pulling for Kanna from the beginning, when I wasn’t distracted by Remon, which I admit was pretty much every time she was on screen.

              Yeah, I wouldn’t change a single thing about anohana. And you’re welcome. The film isn’t quite available broadly, so I didn’t want to be unfair.

            • akagami says:

              I will say that Remon (Lemon?) kept pulling the story in a different direction. I get that she was an outsider, but the way she was added to the show felt like she was an outsider to the entire show (like if she was in some other movie and somehow slipped onto this set and got merged into the story).

              The whole making-a-movie was elementary school bad. I think I cringed one too many times… but maybe that was the effect they were going for. For an avid videographer, he’s not really good at making a movie.

            • skylion says:

              He was as avid as his practice, which was to say, not that much. But we have to begin somewhere don’t we? Elementary school is low-balling your estimate. It was highschoolish and amateurish but then…..The point wasn’t really to make the movie, it was to make the memories, using that camera…

              I don’t quite think Remon stuck out like that. She was the outsider, which made her the instigator for a group of kids that were growing complacent with the status quo. But I don’t think she came in from another story, just a wider – far flung – part of the main one.

            • akagami says:

              Well, like senior elementary… so around grade 8. I would have expected a high-school movie to have a bit more polish.

              I still feel like Remon was a bit out-of-place. But I guess with the inevitable comparison to Onegai Teacher, they had to add a strong enough differentiator.

              But seriously, that was a horrible love-line, as opposed to a triangle or (what’s six? a love hexagon?) Mio really got the short end of the stick. Poor girl…

            • skylion says:

              Well, with Mio and Kanna. Mio is much more patient and less overbearing than Kanna, so she could win out in a much longer time line. We have a tendency to call a love line like this a Love Conga.

              I never finished Onegai Teacher, so her connection to Ichigo is tenuous at best, non-existent at worst. She supposed to feel out of place, as she is much older than them.

              Why would it have the level of polish you’re assuming. That’s what that sort of film stock looks like.

            • akagami says:

              I meant in terms of directing and plot. I wasn’t expecting much graphic wow from a camcorder =)

              It’s been a while, but wasn’t it mostly people standing around and talking to the camera? Or maybe my memory has become selective…

            • skylion says:

              Your memory is very selective, as he didn’t use a camcorder, he used:


              As for being a director, he was a 16-17 year old boy with pretenses, rather the point of his character.

            • Highway says:

              It was a high school movie made before digital was available. It was shot on super8. I really think that it looked fine for what it was. Don’t let your expectations of what can be done now color what could be done in a time frame that was, essentially, the mid-90s.

              And as for girls in AnoNatsu, I thought Ichika was #1 and Mio was #2. It sucks for Kanna to lose out on Musical Boys, but I had a feeling through the show that she took both Kaito and Tetsuro for granted, knowing that Tetsuro had a crush on her and that Kaito really wasn’t going anywhere else. It wasn’t malicious, but the circumstance caused her to not really try, not like Ichika and Mio did.

            • akagami says:

              Isn’t that a camcorder? At least that’s what I thought it was.

            • akagami says:

              Did Ichika try that hard though? It felt to me that she was mostly a passive recipient, ignoring the parts where she had to intervene as a result of her guilt. It felt like, oh it can’t work, we’re different, etc. etc., oh all right, let’s date. Which isn’t to say that’s wrong, but it wasn’t as appealing to me as a romance story.

              I agree with you Highway on Mio. I really liked how she grew as a character.

        • akagami says:

          On a different note skylion, did you watch the anohana movie that was a retelling from Menma’s view? I’ve yet to watch it, is it just a shorter rehash that loses some of the emotional impact? I know someone who had watched the series on a recommendation but had accidentally picked up the movie instead of the series, and wasn’t impressed.

          I don’t want to taint my experience if it doesn’t really add much new and/or cheapens the experience =/

          • skylion says:

            It does have a few new scenes, and the older scenes from the show that it incorporates, has gotten a “fresh coat of paint” so to speak. If you are a fan, they you really should see it.

      • akagami says:

        Hmmm, now I’m really interested. I think I’ll check this out tomorrow evening, and report back~

  2. akagami says:

    My thoughts having watched it:

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    • skylion says:

      Thanks for using spoilers.

      Show ▼

      • akagami says:

        Show ▼

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