Trauma from the past play a huge factor in the way we govern our lives in the future. Although there are ways to rehabilitate, more often than not we remain changed as a person and even more often we don’t get the proper treatment or outright deny it.
From the producers that brought you Anohana, Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda feels like a one-shot that hits you right in the feels the same way it does with Anohana. We as an audience can draw from many of the experiences in our own life in all scales and magnitude to relate to Naruse Jun as she struggles to live the adolescent years of her life when faced with traumatic experiences in her past. So the film starts with a little girl named Jun Naruse indulging in her Utena-like fantasies regarding a prince finding a princess when she sees her father leaving a castle-like love hotel with another woman. Not understanding what it means, she tells her mother about the incident and her father is soon given the boot, but not before reassuring her that his leaving was completely Jun’s fault. Fucking jackass. But since Jun is a kid, she sincerely believes it’s her fault to the point that she imagines a strange egg-shaped creature who tells her that her talkative personality needs to go if she wants to stop hurting people. Thus, Jun ends up getting the reputation of the girl who never talks by the time she enters high school and we get a promising setup about a girl having to face her inner demons in order to live a normal boring life.
With regards to the film’s story, Kokosake’s slice of life storytelling successfully portrays a situation that many people can relate to. In general, this plot sets to resolve the protagonists’ internal conflicts through the events of resolving the story’s conflict. In Kokosake’s case, Naruse Jun, the protagonist of the anime, has her internal conflict in which she cannot speak her true feelings—the main conflict that the film revolves around. As the story progresses, the resolution of the story’s conflict, the school musical, helped her to “open up her heart.” Cleverly enough, the story not only resolves Naruse Jun’s internal conflict, but also resolves the conflicts of the other protagonists in the film. The characters’ development in Kokosake was also enjoyable to watch. Kokosake’s plot is very beneficial toward developing the main protagonists’ relationship, communication, and their feelings toward each other. For example, Naruse’s personality changes as the story progresses. Naruse’s actions to “break out of her shell” is hilarious and at the same time relatable, making the film more interesting. There are some bits of comedy and typical anime tropes that tangent off the main story. But, overall, the story is well paced, has enough content to convey the film’s message, and concisely portrays the actions that Naruse Jun and the other protagonists take to resolve the main conflict.
The artwork that portrays this story brings the animation to life. With Anohana’s and Toradora’s art style, Kokosake’s artwork impressively makes the animation look realistic. The film’s settings is well drawn and emits an earthly vibe throughout the film. The characters of the anime were drawn really well to the point where anime seems to be merging with reality. The characters movements in the animation follow most physics and their facial expressions—especially Naruse’s expressions—is exaggerated to express emotions and feelings. Since Naruse does not initially communicate with actual words in the film, her facial expressions and body language conveys an idea about what she is trying to say. With this realistic and expressive art style, Kokosake’s art is one quality that makes the anime a beautiful film. But, one of the main qualities that makes Kokosake such a beautiful film is through sound.
Because the anime aims to encourage the freedom of expression, the voice acting and music are exaggerated. The voice acting matches the characters and their personalities and the music is well composed to match the situations during the plot, enhancing the liveliness of the anime. As the protagonists who can talk speak, the music serves as a substitute for Naruse’s silence and embellishes the atmosphere of the film. It may be because of the film’s music that enables people to shed tears along with the nostalgic story. With this, Kokosake’s plot, artwork, voice acting, and soundtrack enhances the anime’s beauty, making the movie enjoyable to watch. The film does indeed beautifully conveys its theme. Thus, Kokosake’s coming of age story is one of many good anime that people young and old can enjoy. But, the decision of whether this anime is worth watching is definitely up to you. I acknowledge and respect any opinions that you have for this anime.