Every person has his or her own little world. Among the 34 bustling students of classroom 2-1, there are many such worlds.
Honjou Akio's world—my world—is filled with passionate talk about last night's anime with Yoshida, Watanabe, and other friends. It's a fun, comfortable place... But, I always wonder. Wonder about the world of Makina Juri, smiling and surrounded by gorgeous friends on the other side of the classroom.
One day, I enter her world. But it's not as simple as it sounds.
Harmonie was one of the four films of Anime Mirai 2014 (Young Animator Training Project), a project funded by the Japanese government's Agency of Cultural Affairs in order to support training animators.
What is ordinary?
Is it routine, is it fitting in? Is it being morally, ethically right? Is it not to cause others trouble?
Makina Juri has made herself into the "usualness" of high school. We all want to change. We all want others to accept us. We need others in our lives to breed a comfort zone and not stand out categorised by others. So... you compromise. On yourself. You split yourself into two, or more if need be. One for yourself, one to display to others. It's nice to act... sometimes.
Honjou Akio's days are routine. Come to class and discuss what happened in previous night's episode.
You are moved by scenes so much that you want to share them with your friends, [like this review], and you want to recreate those scenes because they are mentally being recreated all the time. So you zip out your phone, start the Piano App and replay the tunes that you've heard. Ah! Yes, yes, yes, yes! That scene! You get even more excited because others can talk about it too and share their views. There is that common link.
So... how do you find a common link between you and someone you like? You need to have something special, which is just between the two of you. And that happens when you're ready and willing to dive into the other person's world.
In 25 minutes, we are shown snippets of 7 characters of the same class. You become familiar to their overall personality. You can notice what each of them consider trivial or significant in their lives. There is also an interjection briefly by an 8th character who provides a slight background to one of our main characters. And suddenly, one dialogue reveals a new relationship. Within 25 minutes, we touch upon the vulnerabilities of our characters, especially Makina and Honjou's. And within those slight nuances, we are allowed to enter a whole new world.
This anime is like a metaphor. Or, perhaps a haiku. It leaves spaces for the viewer to move in and out. It is open, and open-ended. It allows you to enter into their world, and by doing that, you allow them to enter your world too, and you can imagine all that might have happened and all that could possibly happen. It is that breath.
The animation is smooth, it is realistic - there are no snapshot stills to cover imaginary movements. You are given a burst of classroom noise with snippets of conversations and movements flooding from all directions. There is a multi-spontaneity.
The highlight is the one soundtrack this plot is woven around, accompanied by a dream scene, which actually looks like a dream scene - surreal and yet realistic. And now, I feel like I may see that dream too, if not already. It's been passed.
Some people may believe that they need a closed plot, with full development of characters like in a novel. I think a short story allows itself to say so much more and leave room for imagination, for more worlds to cross it with possibilities. While it is true that this could be developed into longer movie or a set of episodes, I feel it would lose its charm if anything more were said.
Harmonie is an anime made by the "mirai project" animated by Studio Rikka
is a 25-minute short film which show that each head is a world and among the 34 students in a class there are all kinds.
The anime is a metaphor, Makina Juri the female lead shows that being different can make misunderstood by friends , parents, people in general, its called "dream" is something that torments him so decides to change and leave everything behind , and also in part the dream shows what will become , something like a robot waiting for someone finds it, while the male lead Honjou Akio always live
in your comfort zone , talking about anime with friends, making music , while hiding his desire talking with Makina , while that which stands out from the rest (a good musical ear) is what makes the 2 characters are connected.
How many of us hide what we are , to not feel alone or also locked ourselves in our world, but in the end if we show our dreams perhaps we are not so alone
The animation is very good, comparable with some studies even more experience is fluid and part of the dream of Makina is very well detailed.
The characters are well-drawn and you feel an empathy towards the 2 protagonists and supporting characters personalities to contribute their narrative forward.
in general is a good story which I would like to see more.
Individuality is something every person has, but can be judged harshly.
When growing up, people are classified by groups and "norms" which are typical things everyone does, but when people step out of it they get frowned upon and ridiculed. This OVA shows a realistic point of view of how something like that can affect a person and make them into a puppet of the norm and be someone they don't wish to be.
This 25 short minute film packs all emotion, story and theme in a way I have never seen before. It shows that everyone has their own personality and is unique to their self.
Everyone has a world that they live in. You see each character having their own likes and dislikes while also seeing a barrier between the differences in everyone.
This film presents you a song that a girl named Juri made. She heard the song in a dream and tried to spread it to everyone, but it backfired making people call her a liar. She goes through the pain of it all and decides to leave the song and her dream of it in the past. It does a really great job portraying the emotions that she felt and how it's like a block in the road for her to continue.
The film starts off with Akio and his friends talking about an anime they all like and he pulls out his phone to play a piece he heard during a show, but stops due to someone complaining. It plays the show in a way as if you're actually there and experiencing everything as it all lays out.
The anime shows a realistic view of the downsides of an interest we may like, but does a good job showing that there are people who can accept it and make friends off it. You see everyone of similar interests together and enjoying it. The show can be interpreted in many ways and leaves the viewer with an open minded thought at the end of it. How you view it and perceive it as is based upon ourselves.
Harmonie is a fantastic metaphor for the duality between individualism and collective conscious. Each of the students are remarkable individuals, who share an interest in one way or another. I don't find it a coincidence that Akio's friends start the short film by talking about their shared interest in anime before their individual qualities are portrayed. Akio has an ear for music and an interest in art.
Now what's more important is the message conveyed about stifling individual creativity. Juri, the female lead, is constantly embarrassed for the ridicule she has undergone for her dreams and her musical compositions. For a
long time, I was the same way. I used to compose music and play the piano, for my own sake. I felt extreme insult when my sister or mother would tell me to stop. I was being "too loud" for them to stay in their comfort zone and watch their TV talk shows in the other room. I was "too repetitive" because I had to practice, and they ridiculed me for that as if I had to know a song as soon as I read it. I didn't play what THEY wanted me to play. And so for 8 years I quit the piano completely. My creativity was stifled, but I had dreams, and still, I would hear the music in my head. I had to hide it. Juri opens up to Akio and it took a lot of courage.
This short film is about all of that. Individuals are unique, but still connect and bond beyond the shallow premise of conformity. Also let me add that Harmonie is part of the Anime Mirai Project (for the year 2014) and there are other great short films released under the Project. However, almost every stream site that isnt specifically a fansub group will have Harmonie listed as "Anime Mirai" by title.