On 22 July 2017, the live action adaptation of The Anthem of the Heart (Kokoro ga Sakebigatterunda) was released in Japanese cinemas. The original anime was very charming and featured an amazing and heart-shattering performance of the voice cast and fantastic animation, so many were wondering how the live action movie would adapt those charms.
The story of the live action and the anime are pretty much the same, although there are minor differences. The parents of the heroine Jun Naruse got divorced because she witnessed her dad cheating and told her mother about it. Since then, she suffers from trauma which causes her to get a stomachache if she speaks of her feelings and thoughts. She is then chosen as a member of the charity committee at school, which she ends up joining.
The things that weren’t used in the movie were fantasy segments like the fairy egg. This is because if they used such fantasy elements, the reality of the situation would have been destroyed. You can say that excluding those scenes was the right thing to do. The makers understood the advantages and disadvantages of anime and live action very well.
I can’t deny that the performance of the actors in the movie was a bit underwhelming compared to the voice cast of the anime. All four members who were chosen for the committee have a heart that needs healing. While I felt like crying out loud with the heartfelt things the characters in the anime said, I can’t help but feel as if the live action version cut something from the words that drew the whole body and soul into them. However they did get closer to the core of the feelings with their facial expressions and body language, which certainly stimulates the viewers hearts like nothing else.
Kento Nakajima, who was cast as Takumi Sakagami, is a member of a very popular idol boyband in Japan and normally has a very prince-like aura. None of that could be seen in this movie. He seemed like any regular high school student you meet on the street, so it is like he became Sakagami.
The musical scene, of course, seemed very lively in the movie. Every time the audience started to applaud in the movie, the viewer would be tempted to clap along with them because it felt as if we were there and not in front of the screen. The live action cast stuck close to the characters of the anime version so as to not destroy the image they had, but still did all the things that are only possible in a real movie and not in an anime, like acting with their face and body and making the story come alive in a whole different way.
However, the beautiful grotesqueness of the anime seems to have faded on purpose. During the scene in which the characters scream out their emotions, the anime is so full of heavy emotions because of the words they use. It’s as if the world would end with these feelings. It is such a pity that the movie wasn’t able to express it, because it felt like mixing salt with sugar.
But in the end I can say that this live action movie was a great success. It made the story of the anime come alive without killing its unique flavor and skilfully turned the story into a real movie. Even though anime fans might feel disappointed by this movie, it is a work that only makes the original better.