Anime Review · Review

From music to anime: Zutto Mae kara Suki deshita. Review

This movie adapted the parent story from six novels that further introduced a story from several Vocaloid songs, in which they made up 告白実行委員会 (Kokuhaku Jikkou Iinkai)/Confession Executive Committee: Love Series.

Confused already? It’s okay – so was I!

Let’s get to the minor details first.


 

Type: Movie
Genre(s): Romance, School
Source of adaptation: Novel
The time it was aired: Spring 2016, April 23
Studio responsible: Qualia Animation

 


 

Take a peek at MAL’s synopsis and I’ll later tell you what to actually expect.

This is the last time I’m going to practice…

Natsuki Enomoto, a third-year student at Sakuragaoka High School, has feelings of unrequited love for her childhood friend, Yuu Setoguchi.

Unable to be true to her own feelings, Natsuki tells Yuu that she is merely using him as a stand-in to practice confessing her love to.

As Natsuki continues to pretend not having any feelings for Yuu, her classmate Koyuki Ayase asks her out on a date.

Will Natsuki ever be able to stop “practicing” and actually confess her love to Yuu?


Story and Plot

 

It is not a flaming hot trend but it has always been a potential – anime made from Vocaloid songs.

I really didn’t expect a lot from romance anime aimed at shoujo demographic. The story definitely isn’t groundbreaking; it is just your typical romance where the biggest hurdle in love stages is the confession. From start to finish, I can easily conclude that the film indeed has slice of life sprinkled all over it (and it is not even tagged as one…).

The plots literally make this movie’s story harder to grasp at first glance. Things are definitely moving forward which is what to be expected and that’s fine. However, for just an hour long movie, there are three lovey dovey pairs the story is trying to wrap around in and this causes storytelling problem, right from figuring out who is the real protagonist in the movie – it just says Enomoto Natsuki but proceeds to give us multiple views of the story as if this is a confession war of Fate/Zero.

The rival himself is almost worthy of having the drama tag put into this movie. It’s just underwhelming; what could have been the most intense moment in this movie is quickly dissolved by the use of ‘childhood friend’ plot device.


Characters

 

When I say shoujo; this movie has everything in the archetype stone:

  • The love smitten female protagonist – she’s so lovely, you love to watch her love someone else.
  • Her boi who is apparently out-of-this-world awesome and a husband material.
  • The love rival that potentially creates a love triangle. Without this one here the whole shoujo romance thing breaks immediately.
  • Wing(wo)men

 

This anime exerts absolutely no effort to make anything new out of any characters. That said, if you’re a shoujo romance veteran then this movie guarantees one extra dose of repetitiveness.


Art and Animation

 

They are actually average across the board! There is nothing horrid about them but they will need to try something different to have me sing praises. Up close, the still arts are pretty enough to have me feel emotional about whatever goes on in the movie. When medium and long shots are taking place, that’s another story.

I can’t actually blame the studio as they probably teamed up just to make this film and its sequel.

Again, when I said average it really doesn’t mean bad (we’re seriously living in an era where average means shit lol) because there really are times when I can legit see budget being shoved in the scene. Take Natsuki’s shiver for example.

Shivering Natsuki

The amount of frames put into these 2 seconds is so damn high not even a GIF can capture it.

 

I’m actually happy they didn’t go full on with CGI for the concert scene. For romance anime, CGI should play very little role in animation, at least in my very own opinion. If anything, save Sakuga for the characters’ emotions on display.


Sounds

 

The opening and ending themes

These two would please HoneyWorks’ fans! They sound good, the lyrics are good – all is fine and well. Somehow though, I do feel like they are there just because they have to be there. It was 2016 and not having openings and endings would actually be embarrassing for an anime.

 

Background Music

Fitting for romance genre show but just like many things that exist before them, BGM’s are no exceptions to being generic.

 

Insert Songs

Right. This is the cue for my praise.
This is the biggest thing this movie has going for – the music used in montages. Not only that they sound great but the lyrics are essentially part of the story.

 

Voice Acting

Oddly enough, this show is a gathering of high profiled voice actors/actresses! (No, seriously. Check them out)
Is this really where the budget went?
Superb work from everyone involved, that is all I have to say.

If you want to see Attack on Titan‘s Eren and Levi having a shot at romance then don’t miss out! Their VA’s take on the main male roles in this film.


Which pair is it?!

 

The biggest difference between romance anime aimed at shounen and shoujo demographic is the overall setting – it’s obvious that harem and waifu war types romance get all the boys excited whereas in the works aimed at female audience, none of those craps will ever be prominent. The show will automatically and almost instantly set up a romantic pair in order to have us root for until the very end; that’s the working formula to this day.

Now, what happens when there is more than one romantic pair to root for?

I end up losing focus and so will you, probably.
This is the biggest narrative issue I have with the film. This is really what happens when there are too many main characters in a romance show. You’re welcome to call me out for having short attention span but I’ll have to ask those who’ve seen this film.

The synopsis may practically be about Natsuki and her progress to confessing her love, but which lovey dovey pair is it that really gets your attention?

Souta x Akari ship gets all of my attention.

Akari and Souta!

 

Oh? After checking the discussion on MAL, I guess I was right on the money. The fact that I checked it out AFTER writing all the words above makes this even worse on the film’s look.

Naturally, I went to look for everything that has to do with the pair – music, novels, etc. because this film’s mistake is to accidentally showcase the much more interesting characters; more than the ones they really want us to look at.

I say that I went to look after this review because….


This is coming from a person…

 

Who has actually never seen anything of the original source material. Technically I went reverse order of discovery, from anime to novel and then to music. Initially this movie strikes all the bad chords for me but I always believe in giving good things a second chance.

So here I am, liking it more and more but never to the point of putting it high up the list.

To compensate the lack of feature for Akari…

Akari!

 

I’ll gladly point my finger at Tsuki ga Kirei as what could have been the potential of her relationship with Souta. I’m glad that I reviewed this in 2017.


HoneyWorks have done quite a splendid job in expanding a few minutes of music videos into a an hour long romance movie with decent slice of life element in it. As a standalone however, this movie comes off as weak.

So there you have it – an addition to your romance collection that makes you feel good about being in love and all that jazz. Despite its many technical flaws, the movie did its job of making my heart race to the moon thanks to Souta and Akari!.

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