Haruki secretly has had feelings for Akihiko for years, but Akihiko was still in a relationship with his roommate, the violinist Ugetsu Murata. Haruki, Akihiko, and Ugetsu's love clashes on the big screen and starts to move forward.
I am a follower and lover of the manga so I will preface my review by noting that I came into the movie already knowing how the story would play out. My biggest critique of the film is that the pacing is pretty fast. The movie would have greatly improved if they increased the screen time from 59min to 80min. This would have allowed for smoother scene transitions and more appropriate emotional pauses in the dialogue. There are some emotional scenes throughout the movie where the audience isn't given enough time to sit in that moment and really feel what the characters are feeling before being swept into the next moment. I think some of the character motivations are also blurred because of missing dialogue and scenes that were cut out from the manga. Which I think would have negatively affected the movie experience for someone who hasn't read the manga. What makes this arc so compelling is the angst between the characters but that isn't felt as strongly in the movie adaptation which again negatively affected the movie experience for an anime only watcher. So if you enjoyed the movie, but want a more detailed version of the story I highly suggest you read the manga. My second critique for the film was the song performance. The song lost some of its power and impact because there was significantly more internal dialogue from characters and even an overlaid cut scene with dialogue during the performance versus the one in Season 1 episode 9. I had to watch the song performance twice to catch everything that was happening. To be honest I should have watched it a third time. Showing the cut scene earlier in the story and replacing it with silent scenes depicting Ugestu's conflicted struggle or Akihiko's pain during the song would have been preferred. Now for the positives: the music was just as strong in this movie as it was in Season 1. The music is powerful, impactful, and emotional. The animation done by Blue Lynx was very well done and held true to the style done by the original animation studio from Season 1. The story is compelling and emotional (although watered down in this version). The characters as always are wonderful. I recommend you watch it, but also recommend you read the manga either before or after you watch it.
I'M NOT CRYING YOU'RE CRYING This review comes from someone who follows the manga, so take that in consideration. I already knew what was gonna happen and since the manga gives you more depth and emotion, when you watch a scene you kinda feel the emotion you felt when reading, because you know more about the characters and the story, you have bonded more deeply with the characters, etc. so you're basically just revisiting all the emotions /pain/ you have felt before. I loved it. I've been waiting for this for almost a year and it didn't disappoint. Has always, given is really well adapted. The ost is amazing, eventhough we've had the music for months they still make me emotional and fit so well with the scenes. Altough the adaptation is really good, I do have some issues with it. The scenes that were cut out. The scenes that lost some of their meaning. The things that were so well explained in the manga and here they were rushed. Complex characters like Ugetsu and his relationship with Aki deserved better. Aki's redemption arc deserved more depth. etc. For example (light spoiler until almost the end of the paragraph), the scene where Haruki leaves his home and is crying while walking on the street had such a huge impact on the manga (because honestly Haru is baby and one of my favourite characters after Ugetsu so that might have something to do with it) but here I didn't feel the same kind of impact. I mean, there was feeling but it was just not the same thing. The same happened with some other scenes. Not something that ruins the movie but I've read the manga and I'm a little biased. Of course this, as following the manga, has the same scene that has problems and was considered unnecessary for a lot of ppl. It's not terrible (coming from a person who has read/watched a lot of this genre) but it's something I definitely did not expect from given and that could've been handled differently. But that was the manga's author choice and already a problem on the manga so I won't be discussing it on the movie review, since it doesn't concern here. And since I already knew it would happen and had enough time to muddle over it and be kinda mad at the character in question, it didn't impact much my enjoyment of the movie. I'm not sure how it would be for anime-onlys tho, you'll probably be mad about it like we all were. That being said, as I am a huge fan of given, I really am biased and that's what made me like this movie so much. Seeing this finally animated, even if it isn't perfect, was a source of joy and well, tears, because I love these characters a lot. Also if you haven't read the manga I recommend you do so. The manga is absolutely amazing and way more profound.
From the point of someone who first watched the series, then read the manga, then watched the movie I believe overall it was a good movie. However, it really just seemed like a shortened version of the series. I would watch the anime series first because you get more detail and it is better, but if you need a crash course on the series this movie is the perfect thing to watch.
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