Jun was once a bubbly young girl, a real chatterbox that was obsessed with finding her prince and attending a ball in the ‘Castle’ at the top of her town. After seeing her father and another woman leave the castle of her dreams, Jun races home to tell her mother. A dark secret is exposed, a family broken and Jun takes all the blame upon herself. A magical egg seals away Jun’s ability to speak. Now in high school, Jun is forced to communicate with her classmates and wishes to step down from the Community Outreach Council her teacher has put her on. Not to mention, how can a girl who cannot speak be the lead character in a musical?!

This was certainly a more complex story than what I was expecting. Jun has spent the last few years carrying the guilt, believing she ended her parents’ marriage. Believing that all her words do is cause unhappiness to others, she imagines a magical egg that seals away her ability to speak. Now in high school, Jun has to face her fears and is confronted with using her words again in order to back out of joining a committee. The other members of this committee, and later her classmates, start to support her when it comes to expressing her feelings. We also meet Takumi, who is living with his grandparents. Also nominated to join the committee alongside Jun, he doesn’t appear passionate about anything until he understands why Jun never talks. Deciding to support her all the way, he falls back into music by playing the piano the way his father taught him. There is plenty of character development in the story, which ends with a more realistic outcome than might be expected from more stereotypical ‘happy ever after’ stories.

Jun has some serious issues to deal with in this film, as since the moment her father left the family dynamic has changed drastically. With Jun’s mother now taking on more responsibilities when it comes to providing for both of them, taking it to heart that her daughter will not speak and the rumours that circle around the neighbourhood of their household, it’s no wonder the pressure is getting to this woman. Takumi has his own story of a broken family, a lost passion and a failed romance. Add in a baseball player that has fallen on hard times after blowing out his elbow and a popular girl who longs for the boy that she couldn’t comfort, teenage drama, school events and one teacher trying to get them motivated to do a musical, and you have an intricate drama that is definitely worth watching.

Anthem Of The Heart is animated by A-1 Pictures (Anohana, Your Lie In April) and directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai (Toradora!, Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day). The film is written by Mari Okada, who was the Guest of Honour at this year’s Japanese Film Festival, showcasing her new movie Maquia: When The Promised Flower Blooms.

You can buy Anthem Of The Heart now from Anime Limited, just follow the link below:

The Anthem of the Heart

Overall: 8/10

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