Posted by psgels on 30 August 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews




I was really starting to fear that Symphony in August would meet the same fate as Furusato, Japan (as in, arriving to the west three years late and flying completely by people’s attention even though it’s really good), but thank god this didn’t turn out to be true. I really urge someone who likes the realistic kind of movie to somehow sub this thing, because it really doesn’t deserve to fade into obscurity.

Symphony in August turned out to be an incredibly uplifting movie, but the interesting thing is that it’s completely non-fiction: it’s based on the autobiography of the singer and songwriter Ai Kawashima, and takes place seven and eight years ago as she tried to find the recognition for her singing skills. She she even voiced the songs throughout the movie.

After watching,I can really understand why people wanted to make a movie about her life, since it is a very inspiring and slightly unusual road through which Ai worked herself up, and eventually ended up singing the theme song of the Place Promised in Our Early Days (that part isn’t shown in this movie though, it’s solely about her rise to fame), starting out as a street performer. The creators did a wonderful job of portraying her as a character. She grows like a real character, acts very genuinely on the hardest moments of her life, and the people around her who support her are also portrayed as wonderfully restrained.

The director, Akio Nishizawa really has a knack for these kinds of movies: realistic, down to earth and honouring the Japanese cultural heritage of music. In this movie though, I did notice one of the very few points at which he missed the mark: the ending. For who knows what kind of reason, the producers just couldn’t get the right funding to fully animate it, so parts are shown in CG. To make matters worse, at this point the movie abuses its sentimentalism a bit too much and shows a few too many people with tears in their eyes, and this goes on for too long. Apart from that I consider Symphony in August to be just as good as Furusato Japan, but the ending is where the latter is just much better.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Realistic, down to earth and well paced. Only the ending could have used more subtlety.
Characters: 9/10 – Non-fiction, and it shows. A very realistic portrayal of the characters, and they’re charming as hell.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Detailed and well drawn movements, with some unfortunate CG abuse at the end.
Setting: 8/10 – Good portrayal of the modern singing business.

Suggestions:
Furusato, Japan
Fancy Lala
Piano no Mori

2 Responses

  1. Firechick says:

    I’ll have to put this on my list when I have time. I wonder where I can find it?

    Oh! Speaking of Furusato Japan, I think someone subbed it recently. I remember seeing an entry of it on AnimeSuki.

  2. kagura says:

    You must be kidding me! A movie about Ai Kawashima? It can’t be true, can it? *___*
    I’ve been in love with her music ever since I heard her songs in Place Promised in Our Early Days and One Piece movie 8. Hope some group subs this really quickly (though I’ll probably end up watching it raw anyway before that happens)…

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 05:50 AM)
    Still would have preferred dorohedero adaptation than gangsta though but I can dream…
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 05:46 AM)
    Reading over the impressions post for Ranpo, reminded me, has anyone read the Junji Itou take on that story?
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 05:43 AM)
    …crap, that post went on a lot longer than I was planning it to. Got a bit excited over the series. =P
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 05:41 AM)
    Ha, yes the characters are unique aren’t they? How often do you see a deaf gangster.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 05:40 AM)
    I would lying however if I said I wasn’t keen on that Worick fella though and the prostitute girl.
    I am hoping that the series will go more into their relationship with her.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 05:38 AM)
    I think this could be the best of the season and I’m glad it’s being covered on here and thanks for putting me onto it with that season preview/first impressions post.
    Where the scans left off was a frustrating cliffhanger =<
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 05:38 AM)
    I’d worry about the anime, there might be a chance of censoring later on (although so far that isn’t an issue) and the anime is only 12 episodes long so that’s a problem right there. After a good opening chapter I did feel it took me a little bit before I fully got into it.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 05:37 AM)
    It has a feel of dogs-bullets and carnage, which was an alright manga, this seems like a step up/better thing of it.
    However I’m not that big on the tonal shifts, the comic reliefs not great, slight bit of filler, don’t overly care for the side cast as much, their a bit forgettable some of them.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 05:37 AM)
    The action scenes are enjoyable enough, gritty and gory, its competent, time/boredom killer stuff so long as you turn your brain off. That I like the art style also helps. I liked how in one scene the prostitute at least did try to stand up for herself. I can see that a jormungand/black lagoon fan might go for this however I’d warn people to not have their expectations THAT high.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jul 4. 2015 05:37 AM)
    I watched the first episode of gangsta, but I decided to go on and marathon all 6 volumes in one sitting. For the most part this has a page turner quality to it, the three central/main characters backgrounds are adequately handled and theres a development they keep teasing I hope they get more into. I’m glad to has a series with adult characters like this. Theres a kind of bromance in there somewhere.

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