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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  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 12:03 AM)
    I agree that there are loose threads in Evangelion that were probably never fully developed by the committee, and a lot of symbolism (primarily Christian) that were only there for flare and edginess. But everything I say is backed up by the information available in the material or straight from the infodumps. If you see the Eva proposal to TXN (Tokyo TV) you can see that everything, and so much more actually, was planned from the beginning; albeit some stuff did change when Anno lost his mind.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 11:58 PM)
    The alpha strike was to infiltrate Central Dogma and take command and eliminate everyone inside. Seele is not really a sentimental type, if you hadn’t notice, so a ouple of hundred casualties before everyone turns to goop is pretty inconsequential.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 11:56 PM)
    @Aidan: Gendo is one of the few at NERV (if not the only one) who knows about the scrolls and the truth behind the Evas, and keep in mind Shinji is primarily piloting 01 just to get his acceptance; so he was certainly needed. Plus in the original series you need an intermediate vessel to connect thru an entry plug (Shinji and Asukas, moms) so not any kid will do. This is before the dummy plug and Toji mind you.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 11:50 PM)
    There is being obtuse and indirect. And then there’s just being plain nonsensical. I don’t want to spell out everything but I hate to see people tie thin threads together and act like it was some great master-plan when it could just as well have been a guy just throwing any random shit together that he could think of. Ikuhara for one got away with that bullshit far too often.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 11:45 PM)
    @Bam, And why was alpha strike necessary? If the goal is to destroy the evas and such then why not do as I suggested. Remove Gendo. Then it would be a piece of cake. And killing everyone just seems excessive and really unnecessary.
    Pretty sure anyone in Shinji’s class was suitable to be an evangelion pilot. And alright, shinji’s connection to the Eva is a reason to keep him in. But Gendo…not so much. He doesn’t influence it in any real way personally.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 11:28 PM)
    I actually really enjoy Evangelion for being obtuse and indirect. Not spelling everything out is part of the show’s charm and legacy. Now Eva has spawned numerous anime which do this wrong (looking at you Darker Than Black) but that isn’t really their fault. If you want something simple and basic go watch the endless supply of Nisio Isin’s stuff with neverending exposition and deafening verbosity.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 11:20 PM)
    I don’t think Kaworu needs much characterization. He’s the 1st and 13th angel who took human form since the DNA of one of Dr. Katsuragi’s team was fused with parts of Adam on the day of the 2nd impact. He’s basically the alien who finds sympathy for humans and ends up sacrificing himself for them. This is almost the same as in Rebuild and the manga, albeit he’s sexuality is much more clearer and is used more extensively for tension relief in the manga portrayal.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 10:49 PM)
    Keel Lorenz needed Gendo as his connection to Eva-01 (which is outfitted with Yui Ikari’s soul) and Shinji is crucial to the third impact. You want Shinji to reach maximum desperation in order to achieve synchronization. And if you pay attention you get why Seele couldn’t use their own pilots, as they needed the kids from the Gehrin project.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 10:46 PM)
    *their
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 10:44 PM)
    What Seele does in EoE (or respectively ep25-26) is known as Alpha Strike. They take down the entirety of the apparatus that has the only chance to hinder the their plan, as they role is completed by that point.

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