Told in three interconnected segments, we follow a young man named Takaki through his life as cruel winters, cold technology, and finally, adult obligations and responsibility converge to test the delicate petals of love.
A high-school girl named Makoto acquires the power to travel back in time, and decides to use it for her own personal benefits. Little does she know that she is affecting the lives of others just as much as she is her own.
The story revolves around Nishimiya Shoko, a grade school student who has impaired hearing. She transfers into a new school, where she is bullied by her classmates, especially Ishida Shouya. It gets to the point where she transfers to another school and as a result, Shouya is ostracized and bullied himself, with no friends to speak to and no plans for the future. Years later, he sets himself on a path to redemption. Written by
At the very beginning of the movie (where "My Generation" by "The Who" plays), when Shoya and his friends enter his mother's hairdresser salon, Nishimiya with long hair can be seen looking at a magazine about hairstyles in the salon. The next day when Nishimiya starts to Shoya's school, she has short, bob-cut hair. See more »
During Ishida and Ueno's conversation at the crosswalk, Nishimiya is seen holding the pouch that Ishida had given to her as a gift. However, it disappears after Ueno sprints across the street and removes Nishimiya's earpiece; it is nowhere to be seen on her person or on the ground. See more »
Ai wo Shita no wa (Loving Is)
Written and Performed by AIKO
Arranged by Kanou Kawashima See more »
Both an emotional roller coaster of a film and a thought-provoking contemplative experience.
I somehow managed to tear up several times over the course of this movie - something very uncharacteristic of myself. Moreover, despite my eyes moistening this unusual amount of times, I enjoyed this movie immensely. Does that mean this movie is without fault, though? Not at all, hence my lack of a full ten-out-of-ten score.
Before I begin with my review, just a word of warning: the "romance" tag on this movie is a bit misleading. Sure, it's implied throughout the film, but definitely not the main focus. Rather than love and loss, it highlights friendship and forgiveness a lot more. Another thing that should be brought up would be that this is my first review on IMDb. Sorry if there's anything weird with my pacing or structure or grammar... or something like that.
Alright. Now, on to the review!
A big problem which hindered this movie from being a masterpiece would be its plot progression and character development. In truth, this kind of couldn't be helped. As this animation is an adaptation of the manga of the same name, cutting a 7 volume long manga into the span of a 2 hour movie (which is quite long for an animated film) would have to result in the removal of some details.
One of these details that was omitted, as mentioned earlier, was character development. Outside of the main two characters were a whole bunch of side characters. In the manga, all of their stories were told in great detail. However, trying to expand on them in the film proved to be impossible, given its 2 hour time limit. The result was side characters which, although shallow, certainly still bolstered the movie as a whole, but left it with a somewhat incomplete or even slightly confusing story. Something that could have been done to make space for these side characters would be an improvement of the plot progression. There were... a few scenes which I thought could have been cut down or even removed altogether. I'd like to elaborate further but this is a no-spoiler review, after all.
Now that we've gotten the bad stuff out of the way, let's focus on what this movie did great at. The studio behind it - KyoAni - is known for their outstanding animation. In fact, the animation in this film was most likely the best I've ever seen in any anime, except for a certain other Japanese animation film which came out a few months earlier than this one. This movie also possessed some ambitiously creative music which managed to work well - a risk well taken. Combined with a catchy theme song, which was unfortunately only used for the trailer and credits, sound-wise, the film did an excellent job.
Although one or two aspects of the story wasn't completely up to scratch, as explained earlier, a part of it that was done very well was how it was so easy to sympathize or even relate to the problems that the characters in the film were having. And, as shown in the summary, it was an emotional roller coaster. There were parts when the theatre had sounds of giggling, gasps of shock, and the sniffing and blowing of one's noses, which is a rare and impressive feat. Furthermore, although the side characters weren't explored enough, the two main ones most definitely were. A big shout-out that I have to give would be to the voice actor for the girl, Shouko. They did a fantastic job voice acting a deaf person struggling to talk. The other main character, Shouya, had their character elaborated well, to the point where relating to them was a very easy task.
So, all in all, this film, while not perfect, is a very well produced and enjoyable work of art. However, it might not appeal to everyone who watches it - the movie might even be fairly uncomfortable to some, as it addresses a dark, serious but very real problem in Japan (or so I'm told). But, as evidently seen, I'm not one of those people, and this film something that I would definitely recommend. Although, if don't live in Asia, you might have to wait for a few more months before you'll be able to see this film or buy the disc, so please try not to forget about it in the meantime.
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