The Heart Wants to Shout

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“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
…Until you actually realise how much words can actually hurt.

I’ve been wanting to watch The Anthem of the Heart (心が叫びたがってるんだ。/Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda.) after hearing that it was from the creators of Anohana. I loved Anohana, and I was hoping that I’d enjoy their new movie too. I finally had the time to watch it last night, and I must say that it didn’t disappoint.

The heroine of the story, Naruse Jun, used to be a cheerful girl who loved talking. She dreamed of attending a ball at the castle on top of the hill one day. When she saw her father driving out of the castle with another woman one day, she happily told her mother about it, not knowing that the “castle” was actually a love hotel, and that she had caught her father having an affair.Her mother repeatedly mentioned that Jun talked too much, and told her to never speak of what she had seen again. Her parents eventually divorced, and when she asked her father why he had to leave, he told her that it was “all her fault, since she’s such a chatterbox”. Thinking that it was her words that caused her family to break up, Jun decided to seal away her words to prevent further tragedy from happening. From then on, she would get a stomachache every time she tried to speak.

Jun’s mother did not understand why her daughter stopped speaking, and believed that it was Jun’s way of punishing her for breaking up the family. She blamed Jun for being an embarrassment, as people would gossip about “the girl who doesn’t talk”. I suppose she still resented Jun for making her aware of her husband’s infidelity (she it didn’t seem like she suspected anything before), and with the added issue of Jun not talking and the stress of being a single, working mother, took out her frustrations on Jun since it’s just easier to put the blame on someone.

Jun thought that it was her fault that her family broke up – but was it? It wasn’t her fault for not knowing that the “castle” on top of the hill was actually a love hotel. It wasn’t her fault for telling her mother what she had seen either, or for breaking her mother’s dreams of having a happy marriage. She was just a child, and she merely told her mother what she had seen. Jun was too young to realise that she wasn’t to blame for what had happened, and the way both her parents handled the situation caused her so much long-term emotional damage because she believed what they said – that it was her fault for talking too much.

Jun bore this guilt for many years, but things began to change when she was appointed to be on the Regional Friendship Exchange Executive Committee along with her classmates Sakagami Takumi, Tasaki Daiki and Nito Natsuki. Though all of them were unwilling to be part of the committee at first, they ended up working together to plan and put up a musical at the upcoming school event.

Jun slowly opened up to Takumi, whom she felt could understand her even without her speaking, telling him about her past and why she sealed her words. He inspired her to write the musical for the class performance – a fairy tale about a princess whose voice was taken away by the egg fairy, based on her story. Takumi’s support and encouragement led to Jun falling for him, and she believed that he was the prince who was going to save her from her curse.

*spoiler alert*

However, Takumi was in love with Natsuki instead, and Jun was thrown into emotional turmoil when she realised this. She ran away on the day of the musical, and decided that she would give up trying to express herself. Her fairy tale was just not meant to be.

The story does have a happy end though. Takumi found Jun at the now abandoned love hotel, and with his encouragement, she decided that she would not give up on the progress she had achieved, and returned to finish acting out her part in the musical. With the support of her classmates, she also realised that she had people she could depend on, and friends who would be there to support her.

Her fairy tale did not have the romance she had been hoping for, but it still had a happy ending.

Words have the immense power to build someone up or tear someone down, and The Anthem of the Heart reminds us of the profound impact words can have on a person’s life. Children are especially impressionable, and can easily be hurt by thoughtless words. Like Jun, we all have things we seal away in our “eggs”, but keeping these things inside might end up hurting us more.

I like how Takumi was honest with Jun about his feelings. In many stories, the heroine ends up with her love interest, and it caught me by surprise that this wasn’t the case here. But that’s just how life is. Takumi was the first person who tried to understand Jun, and this might have had a large effect on Jun’s feelings for him. How much did Jun like Takumi because of who he was, and how much because of the way he treated her? Her prince might not be Takumi, but I’m sure she’ll find him one day.

The Anthem of the Heart is a solid movie with a positive message. I’m glad I watched it, and I’d definitely recommend giving it a try.


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