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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  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 06:43 PM)
    @Emma, middling would be better than bad. Hell the Japanese AOT live action movie is already adding in original characters.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 05:30 PM)
    And the best we get as a Hollywood adaptation of a Japanese work is edge of tomorrow if thats anything to go by a titan American adaptation would be middling at least.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 05:26 PM)
    Although I may wait with Cossette…I have watched it three times now that I remember…
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 05:25 PM)
    @Bam, hell they are making a parastye live action movie as well. the CG is awful. Just awful. Just why…
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 05:23 PM)
    Now to see if Macross plus and Petite cossette still hold up.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 05:22 PM)
    Log horizons 2s first arc came to a very fun conclusion this week, Deen did a good job of adapting volume six in a short time and making it feel less like a bit of a slog to get through.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 05:21 PM)
    Also took a look at barefoot Gen again, despite its dated art and animation for me the nightmarish, bleak and harrowing bombing sequence still carries a high sense of power to it.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 05:18 PM)
    Right thats Patlabor 2 rewatched then. Not only does it still hold up, as an adult I find myself having a better grasp/following of it. Thinking mans scifi in a great clinical, dead serious style thats to its favour and some very good animation for its time, the villain, even off screen still commands alot of presence. Though a bit long winded in parts and in length, its not my favourite Oshi film but a worthwhile one nonetheless. I miss the English dub for it though =<
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 06:02 AM)
    Although given that the the Japanese film industry is steadily improving, this still would’ve worked much better as a big Hollywood flick, mainly because it’s just an over-the-top story with big action sequences, but also because pretty much all the cast (with the exception of Mikasa) have western features.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 22. 2014 05:55 AM)
    Well it looks like the Japanese have taken it upon themselves to make a live-action Attack on Titan movie, which sounds like a pretty bad idea:
    http://www.otakuusamagazine.com/LatestNews/News1/Liveaction-Attack-on-Titan-Visuals-Revealed-6057.aspx

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