Image source: 実写映画『心が叫びたがってるんだ。』 on Twitter

If you enjoyed the 2015 anime movie The Anthem of the Heart you’ll absolutely love the 2017 live action remake—even if some things were changed.

In the anime movie The Anthem of the Heart when Jun Naruse tells her mother she saw her father leave a love hotel with another woman, her parents divorce. Believing the reason they divorced was her talkative nature, Jun loses the ability to speak. After many years of silence Jun finally builds up the courage to speak once again. But, instead of saying her piece, she puts it into songs for a musical performance for the local Charity Committee with her classmates. The live action version follows the same story, with some minor plot variations.

Let’s take a closer look at what changed and what’s the same.

[Note: This article contains heavy spoilers for The Anthem of the Heart]

Image source: 実写映画『心が叫びたがってるんだ。』 on Twitter

With both versions of the movie being so similar, there are a lot of scenes that are the same. But, two of these scenes are some of the most memorable in the movies. The first is when the Jun’s class decides to perform musical she wrote for the local Charity Committee. This scene has the same pacing in both versions and we get to hear the student opinions, but ultimately enthusiastically agree to performing the musical. However, it’s the final part of scene that works so well in both versions. There is a short pause before Jun raises her hand and volunteers to play the heroine. By forcing us to wait that one instant gives us the feeling of will she or won’t she, adding to the anticipation of the scene.

Image source: アニメ映画『心が叫びたがってるんだ。』 on Twitter

The second scene that’s nearly identical in both versions is the actual performance of the musical. True, there is a slight change in location, but that’s irrelevant because the key to the scene is Jun’s mother’s reaction to the musical. We need to see her disappointment when Jun isn’t on stage; her murmur’s of that’s not what she wanted; and her tears at the end of the performance. Without the story beats and shots in the scene presented in a similar way the emotional resonance wouldn’t be the same.

With so much of the two versions of The Anthem of the Heart being similar, what exactly are the changes then? Some are very minor changes to the scenes, such as different location despite similar content. The location where the musical is performed or where Jun talks to her male classmate Takumi Sakagami about her inability to talk are just two such changes. There are also several small differences in the actors’ performances that heighten individual scenes in the live action movie. 

Image source: 実写映画『心が叫びたがってるんだ。』 on Twitter

What are some of the major changes to the live-action version, then? One of the first alterations is actually the opening scene. Where the anime opens with Jun finding out her father is committing adultery, the live-action version gives us a great scene during a festival. This scene sets up core of the movie’s narrative. It does this by showing us the wish granting eggs seen a few times in the anime version, but with one small change: if you say good words to it, it will bring you good luck. But, bad words will bring bad luck. While the idea of a talking egg in the anime version is whimsical, seeing Jun’s inability to speak tied to a physical object shows us what she’s feeling rather than telling us.

Image source: 実写映画『心が叫びたがってるんだ。』 on Twitter

In the same vein as the opening scene, the relationship between Daiki Tasaki and his younger teammates on his schools baseball team is altered to fit the live-action version in a way to bring out the tension even more. Both versions have the same story beats such as Daiki berating his teammates or the memorable scene in a family restaurant where the relief pitcher tells Daiki to disappear. Although the anime version wraps up the conflict in a nice little package leaving a good feeling in our hearts, the live-action version lets the tension between the character build up just a little longer.

This is important for the live-action version because keeping the tension high for so long has us anticipating the release. And when that release comes, it quite possibly one of the best scenes in the movie. Rather than Daiki apologizing to the relief pitcher, as is the case in the anime, we see the two characters rough each other up a bit. It lets all the charged emotions come to a head in one scene. It’s a real roller coaster ride of emotions and the perfect segue into the final act of the movie.

Image source: 実写映画『心が叫びたがってるんだ。』 on Twitter

There is one change to the live-action version, though, that really sets it apart from its counterpart. It occurs at the climax of the story when Jun doesn’t appear for the performance of the musical. The anime presents it with the entire class being present when the news is broken. While it’s a very touching scene in and of itself, the live-action version takes it one level deeper. By keeping the initial news between Takumi, Natsuki, and Daiki, it allows for a great piece of dialog between the two boys where Daiki points out if the show doesn’t go on, the blame will be placed on Jun. By making this one alteration to the climax, the following scenes become far more important because it’s not just Takumi convincing Jun to come back, but Daiki and Natsuki convincing their classmates the show must go on—and Jun isn’t to blame. This is exactly what you want in a climax because it keeps you on the edge of your seat wanting to see what will happen next.

Both versions of The Anthem of the Heart are fantastic movies. While there are slight variations to some of the scenes, they help us better appreciate and understand the story presented to us in each version. So, why not watch both back-to-back?

The Anthem of the Heart live-action version was released in Japan on July 22, 2017. There is no planned international release for live-action version. The Anthem of the Heart anime version is available on Blu-ray through Amazon

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