The Anthem of the Heart Movie Review

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(image source:
Anthem of the Heart poster.

Have you ever said something to someone that you regretted in the end and wished that you have not said it instead?

"Words can hurt people! You can't ever take them back!"

- Naruse Jun, The Anthem of the Heart

Words are intangible but as powerful as our actions or even more. Just like the quote above by the protagonist of the movie I am going to write about in this blog post, she said that words when once spoken can never be taken back. Words have the ability to change our lives—the way we see the world. It can be the most uplifting or hurtful thing we could ever have. It does not affect us physically but directly ingrained in our thoughts forever.

Today, I am going to share to everyone about this beautiful animated movie that teaches the importance of words and how it could drastically shape our future. This heart-wrenching movie is entitled, The Anthem of the Heart.


(image source: screenshot from the film by Katsanslimites)
The Egg Fairy casting the curse on Naruse Jun.

心が叫びたがってるんだ(Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda or Kokosake in short) that goes with the English title, The Anthem of the Heart(or literally, The Heart Wants to Shout), is a Japanese original movie focusing on the story of a young girl named Naruse Jun. Naruse was a lively and talkative little girl but very unaware that this attitude of hers will be the cause of her happy family to be damaged. Blaming herself, an egg fairy appeared, cast a curse upon her and sealed her lips as punishment. After the incident and the curse, the once spirited chatterbox Naruse became silent, shy and had never spoken even a single word.

However, one day in her high school, her dull and lonely life started to change when she was assigned as a member of the Community Outreach Committee. Her class debated what to perform for the event and even doubted Naruse's position as a member of the committee when she can't even speak, but then the class had unanimously settled to do a musical when they heard her sing. They decided to make a musical about a girl who lost the ability to speak after being cursed by the egg fairy which is basically all about Naruse's life story, with her playing the main role.

The movie deals with love, friendship, music, fear, regret and the struggle of expressing feelings.

(video source: AniplexUS via Youtube)
The Anthem of the Heart trailer.

The Anthem of the Heart was released last September 19, 2015 and grossed about $8.5 million dollars. It was also nominated in the Animation of the Year category at Japan's 39th Academy Awards. The Anthem of the Heart was directed by Nagai Tatsuyuki, screenplay by Okada Mari, character design by Tanaka Masayoshi, with A-1 Pictures as the production company and Aniplex as the Distributor. The film runs one hour and fifty-nine minutes long.

Did you know that the team behind this film were also the same group of the heart-rending anime "Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai" or in English, "Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day." I still haven't watched this anime but a lot of people said it was great and sad at the same time, and so it is a no wonder that The Anthem of the Heart had this effective unhappy story too.

You can visit the official English website or Japanese website of the movie for updates. They also have an official Twitter and Facebook account but in Japanese.


Naruse Jun

(image source: screenshot from the film by Katsanslimites)
Naruse Jun.

Naruse Jun at her young age was a chatterbox with a vibrant personality. She hopes to attend the ball in the "castle" located at the top of the mountain to meet her prince and other people. Due to her innocence, the large structure on top of the mountain which she dreamily thought as a castle was in fact a love hotel. One day after school, she went near the "castle" and saw her father driving their car out with a woman. She went home and told her mother about what she saw which eventually led to her parents' divorce. Her father left their home and had made clear that it was entirely Naruse's fault of being carelessly talkative. With so much guilt surrounding her, an egg fairy appeared and cursed her to an eternity of silence so she could no longer hurt other people with her words.

She became silent and was soon despised even by her own mother who doesn't believe any part of the curse. Her stomach gets painfully upset when she tries to speak or blurt out a few words which was a part of the curse. She communicates with her classmates through phone messages or writing on a paper. But through their musical play, she learned that her stomach didn't feel any pain when she sings. She then sings her words when speaking. This was all thanks to her classmate, Sakagami Tagumi , who had thought that singing might be an exemption to the curse. Naruse who was then assigned for the lead role, begged to Sakagami to turn her words into a song to convey her feelings and make use of her life story and about the egg fairy for their musical.

Naruse Jun was voiced by Minase Inori.

Sakagami Takumi

(image source: screenshot from the film by Katsanslimites)
Sakagami Takumi.

Sakagami Takumi is a part of the committee and a classmate of Naruse Jun. He's good at playing the piano but poor in expressing his feelings. His mother wanted him to attend private school but then he insisted to go to a public school because of his passion for music which also earned his father's support. His family went through a great turmoil overlapping one another which forced his mother to leave while his father left him on his grandparents' care. However, his father comes home to see him once a year. Traumatized, he became reluctant to touch the piano for a long time. By the time he was assigned to the committee, he had this feeling of willingness to help Naruse create a successful musical and had been more willing to lend a hand when he learned that both of them came from a broken family. He once invited Naruse and some of their classmates to his home and made songs for the musical.

Being the one who helped the untalkative girl, Naruse sees him as her prince who saved her from the curse. However, on the last part of the film, he turned down Naruse's confession and told her that he is in love with someone else.

Sakagami Takumi was voiced by Uchiyama Kouki.

Nito Natsuki

(image source: screenshot from the film by Katsanslimites)
Nito Natsuki.

Nito Natsuki is a classmate of Naruse too. She is a cheerleader and a beautiful girl. She had a past relationship with Sakagami Takumi during middle school(which I believe was unresolved.) Even though they had this special relationship before, Nito never knew Sakagami's phone number and home address making her jealous of Naruse for the silent girl who just recently got close to Sakagami had those information easily. But as much as she wanted to hate Naruse, a big part of her wanted to help her more.

During their musical performance, she took the lead role while Naruse was nowhere to be found. She was a bit tensed just before the show started which earned her a sarcastic joke from her classmate Tasaki. Tasaki said that Nito was so confident wearing short skirts as a cheerleader but then she gets nervous wearing a longer skirt for the musical.

Nito Natsuki was voiced by Amamiya Sora.

Tasaki Daiki

(image source: screenshot from the film by Katsanslimites)
Tasaki Daiki.

Tasaki Daiki is a classmate of Naruse and a fellow member of the committee too. He is the ace of the school's baseball team as well but had his right arm broken due to a baseball competition. He completely dislikes being a part of the Community Outreach Community especially the idea of making a musical even belittling Naruse's contribution and ability for the activity. When the girl whom he mocked defended him from his confrontation with his baseball teammates, he felt sorry for his words to Naruse and gave his full support for the musical in return.

On their musical, he was assigned to play as the egg fairy whom he called lame. When Naruse was missing during the day of their performance, he was the one who encouraged the class to not lose hope and directed the shuffling of roles while looking for Naruse. The day after the musical, Tasaki confessed to Naruse who was on her way to dispose a bag of garbage.

Tasaki Daiki was voiced by Hosoya Yoshimasa.

Joushima Kazuki

(image source: screenshot from the film by Katsanslimites)
Joushima Kazuki.

Joushima Kazuki is Naruse's homeroom and music teacher who appears to be very laid-back. He was also the one who elected the four students Naruse, Sakagami, Nito and Tasaki as members of the Community Outreach Community because nobody was willing to participate. Performing a musical was his whole idea too. He considers doing a musical a fresh and interesting sight in their community and doing the typical student performances was kind of unappealing for him.

During their music class where he was introducing the art of musicals, he mentioned that through musicals, one can easily convey his/her feelings through singing and dancing. This, unknowingly, gave hope for Naruse to express her feelings which she cannot speak into words. Joushima strongly believes that in musicals, miracles are downright possible.

Joushima Kazuki was voiced by Fujiwara Keiji.

Egg Fairy

(image source: screenshot from the film by Katsanslimites)
Little wicked egg fairy.

The Egg Fairy is a wicked fairy who was responsible of putting the poor girl Naruse into an eternity of silence by casting a curse on her. He appeared while Naruse was crying over her parents' divorce and taunted her that her careless talking hurt people and will lead her into a disastrous future. He also mentioned that if she keep her mouth shut, she could meet her prince and go to a real castle someday. And so he zipped the girl's mouth to prevent her from speaking ever again.

No matter how much the egg fairy and the curse appear realistic, this was all in fact an illusion Naruse created inside her head. When Sakagami went to bring back Naruse to the school for the musical, he told Naruse that the egg fairy and everything about it are just mere illusions. Naruse got angry and insisted it was real but then at the end of the movie, she realized that the egg fairy was all just a lie and that the real egg fairy was herself, trapping her own self into a curse or shell she unconsciously made to atone for her incautious talking in the past.

The little evil egg fairy was voiced by the same person who voiced Sakagami Takumi.


(video source: Yomogi Mikazuki via Youtube)
Watashi no Koe, sang by Minase Inori for the musical performance in the film.

The film was filled with magnificent music on its entire play. Honestly, even without seeing the movie, one can feel how emotionally moving the movie is just by listening to its soundtrack. One of the songs that effortlessly moved me to tears was the song "Watashi no Koe"(My Voice). You can hear it on the video I provided above. It was sang by Naruse Jun, Minase Inori's character, while she slowly made her way to the stage during their musical performance after she was convinced by Sakagami to return to school.

The way she entered was very dramatic and grand for me; and singing the words she'd been meaning to shout had finally been released. With her mother who was in the audience and finally understanding what her daughter has been going through was the climax of the film for me. The tune of the song was sad and the lyrics filled with anguish were more than enough to pinch my heart and kick my tears bucket.

(image source: screenshot from the film by Katsanslimites)
Naruse walking on the aisle past her shocked mother as she makes her way to the stage.

The tune of the songs used for the musical on the film were actually based on existing songs. In the movie, Sakagami explained to Naruse that despite knowledgeable of playing the piano, he admitted that he is not gifted in writing songs. And so he told they could just use some existing songs and tweak it to fit the lyrics Naruse had written.

One of the songs they adapted for their musical is the old song "Greensleeves." The tune of Greensleeves was used for the song "Watashi no Koe" which fitted perfectly. I also had an instant connection and a wave of nostalgia when I heard the song play because I used to play Greensleeves in my toy piano when I was little. Other songs from the musical which were based on existing songs were "Kokoro ga Sakebidasu ~ Anata no Namae Yobu Yo" from "Sonata Pathétique" of Ludwig van Beethoven and "Over the Rainbow" of Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg; "Tamago no Naka ni wa Nani ga Aru" from "Around the World"; "Moeagare" from "Those Were the Days" of Gene Raskin; "Hikari no Nai Heya" from "Summertime" of George Gershwin; and "Akogare no Budoukai" from "Swanee" of George Gershwin.


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The Anthem of the Heart movie poster.

“Because even the smallest of words can be the ones to hurt you, or save you.”

- Natsuki Takaya, Fruits Basket

Indeed, words have a great impact on us no matter how short or long it is. One should not speak of something just because we want to or merely out of impulse. As they say, "think before you speak." Words you say can make you the worst or the most virtuous human being. Apart from that, the movie also encourages us to speak what we truly feel because restraining and locking it within ourselves would never help it cross the other side. A good relationship's foundation is understanding; because when both sides understand each other, love grows. And to understand each other, we use words.

I have known about this movie through my favorite singer, LiSA, on her online program LiSA TV. LiSA is affiliated with Aniplex, the distributor for this movie. I knew it would be an interesting film even when I first saw it, not because it was recommended by LiSA. Naruse’s character and the thought of making a musical was an immediate point to my heart; and I was never wrong. The story was simple yet very beautiful. I've felt the characters' emotions all throughout the movie. It may sound an exaggeration but I was still spilling tears even when the closing credits were already rolling. The songs were also addicting and surprisingly good. I might try listening to more classical music because of this movie. If this will be turned into a real life musical, I am certain that it will be one of the most wonderful and notable 2.5-Dimensional Musicals ever made.

Thanks for reading!

✧ Katsanslimites

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