The ‘sequel’ to Zutto Mae kara Suki deshita…
…or at least they’d like you to believe that it is.
Most of my points stated below will be in relation to the prequel movie.
Genre(s): Romance, School, Comedy and Drama
Source of adaptation: Novel
The time it was aired: Autumn 2016, December 17
Studio responsible: Qualia Animation
Forget about the synopsis and lets head to…
Story and Plot
This movie’s timeline stretches back from a year before, to the end of the events of the first film, albeit from the younger siblings’ sides of the story. This time however, we are really given the same amount of time (an hour) to focus on one character – Setoguchi Hina the female protagonist. This alone already is what makes this movie a level above its predecessor when it comes to storytelling mechanic. I highly appreciate Hina’s backstory of the moment when she felt in love. The pacing is also perfect; it’s able to fully demonstrate Hina’s struggles from that moment all the way to her resolution. What I got out of this is seeing a completely different Hina after the end of the movie. She’s still very cute, though.
It’s nice to see many lovely pairs having their lovely time but romance is pretty much pointless if very little gets build up. To my surprise, despite having narrative point of views reduced by half, very little of the relationship was built between the focused pair.
It’s actually understandable – the movie is NOT entirely about the siblings being together.
Let’s look at some other things before I go savage on what really went wrong with this movie.
Nearly the entirety of the first film’s cast make their return. Therefore they are the same old, generic shoujo romance archetypes.
What this film has unintentionally done (again) is to actually prove that Enomoto Natsuki really does suit a supporting character role; she’s much more enjoyable to watch as the older sister to (one of) the main character.
Actually, all of the main characters from the first movie look great as supporting characters in this one.
Now for the main characters, Hina the female protagonist is a middle school girl who purposefully shows us the struggles of being in love while Kotarou the male lead may come off as someone who tries very hard to come out of the friendzone.
More about this later in the continuation post, haha.
Art and Animation
The two movies are not even a year apart but there are clear, visible improvements to the visual department. It’s so refreshing to see more background eye candy from someone that’s not Kyoto Animation.
There, I’ve said it.
Now that I think about it, Hina’s character design got me right in my soft spot for female heroines with bright purple eyes. She’s undeniably cute, like a certain someone that I know, who has been giving my heart some appreciable relaxation and joy.
As far as animation go, I’ll have to admit that it’s definitely above average. I see minor improvements everywhere and some serious focus on Hina – every one of her emotions are just so well done in animation!
Opening and Ending Theme Songs
HoneyWorks really have outdone themselves this time! The songs they wrote for the first movie were damn good but wow, just wow. This time it’ll essentially be a big mistake to not at least read the lyrics of both songs – they are definitely part of the story especially the ending song, but they just seem to be much more fitting. Isn’t this just what theme songs are supposed to do?
TrySail can’t go wrong either. The unit absolutely nailed the lovely yet powerful vibe in the opening song. The song has been out long before the movie so this is practically dream come true for HoneyWorks fans when they see animated video to accompany.
Looks like they’ve taken lessons from the more experienced sound directors. Overall the background sounds are definitely an improvement. It’s nice to hear piano versions of the opening and insert songs. It’s nice to hear some electro-beat, too.
I’m a bit nifty on how not even MAL has Kodai listed on the character section.
A glasses wearing nerd with dark hair, who is voiced by Matsuoka Yoshitsugu..
This heavily reminds me of somebody since I’m a fan of that show…
What are you doing here, Aki Tomoya-kun?!
I’ll admit that I didn’t pay much attention to Hina in the first movie because she was a supporting character of the little sister, I did think however that she’d just be the cute little sister just like Otosaka Ayumi, who shares the same voice actress (Asakura Momo). Damn, I am satisfied.
The introduction of Midori adds into the perfect trope of anime that just has to have at least one character who speak with Kansai accent.
It’s refreshing to hear an entirely different range of voices as none of the characters sound too mature (thanks to the seiyuu’s!), because you know – it’s a movie focusing on the kouhai.
Notice that I reverse the order of review between voice acting and insert songs, haha!
This movie retains the tradition of having insert songs as the best aspect about it. The movie also takes it to the next level by having them sung by the characters’ seiyuu.
Once again, all of the songs are very nicely done as they find themselves a perfect place to fit the lyrics within the storyline.
Each of the three main characters have their turns for the insert songs. The boys sound great but when it’s Hina’s turn, oh my.
I’m quite used to Ayumi screaming with happiness in Charlotte but wow, when the seiyuu puts on her singing mode as Hina I immediately stopped staring at the screen, closed my eyes and just listened to her singing.
It’s powerful, it’s heart aching.
The song is so much of a treasure, HoneyWorks is doing whatever they can to make sure that absolutely no MV’s are legally available for view outside of Japan.
All is well but…
So up until now I’ve only been praising the movie for its overall improvement. This movie has a lower rating on MAL compared to the first. What gives?
I want you to have this fact in mind before I go any further.
When anime is out for viewing, clearly it’s going to be watched mostly by vivid anime watchers rather than the fans of HoneyWorks.
There actually is a working formula for romance anime, Akarin~
But each and every good ones out there will not completely adapt the formula! If you look hard enough, one will try to be different with character traits, settings that may not entirely be school. Some are straight up couple love, some start off as love triangle. Some will have interesting love rivals and wing-man, etc.
You can name it all.
This movie plays right into nothing of romance. To top it all off, this movie actually did a solid job of using an hour to show us why the picture below exists as a legendary tier trope of anime.
Suki ni Naru Sono Shunkan wo. does everything so well to only deliver an average story about young ones being in love. Though, I will say this as many times as I want – I’m always appreciative when it comes to efforts into creation. So even if having watched this movie felt like being caught off-guard by glitter bomb in a letter (click the link to send your frienemies some!), I still appreciate the thoughts of the person who sent it to me and the efforts into making it.
I’ll be one of those few people who admit that the second movie is superior to the first. I’m very excited for the third installment!
If you’re in for some laughs to see Notice Me, Senpai: The Anime, you can count on this movie to live up to your expectations.