I think I have officially proved that I am an anime fan. I could point to 8 and half years of running a blog, 6 years of podcasting, or dozen of panels run at conventions as some sort of poof of dedication to the hobby. I think they all pale in comparison to braving a blizzard that dumped over 2 feet of snow on NYC just to see The Anthem of the Heart. That alone should allow me pass by any gatekeepers without a second thought.
(Truth be told gatekeepers almost always have their opinion formed before they talk to you but I like to believe beautiful lies.)
I do mention that in advance that if you are a strong proponent of the theory of effort justification and its effect on a viewer’s experience that it might be a factor in this review. My journey was not flying to Japan to see a movie premiere but it was a fairly long hike over quite a bit of snow through a very stressed transit system. I don’t think it prejudiced it me in favor of the film but it was quite a trial to see the movie and an equal undertaking to get home. When you have to climb over walls of ice that are as tall as you are, dig out trapped taxis, and stand in subway stops with snowdrifts in them you are going place some weight to the work you placed into your odyssey. Keep that in mind as you read this.
A good question might be what sort of movie would motivate me to do my best Robert Edwin Peary impersonation? The Anthem of the Heart has a fairly strong pedigree. Much of the staff of the movie including Tatsuyuki Nagai, Jin Aketagawa, Masayoshi Tanaka, Kazuko Nakajima, and Mari Okada also worked on AnoHana. While hardly a perfect work (as evidenced by its vocal detractors) I thought that AnoHana was extremely entertaining and rather touching anime so I was looking forward to seeing what this team could do with the tighter storytelling space of a movie.