[Story] 7 - Plot holes and cut sub-plots, excluded from the original script/manga.
[Art] 10 - Characters true to their manga designs, high quality animation.
[Sound] 7 - Creative use of sound/music. Nothing too special and memorable besides theme song.
[Character] 7 - Side characters had their story severely cut. Leaving some with empty character.
[Enjoyment] 10 - Tears, sadness, anger, happiness and laughs, the whole package.
[Overall] 8 - Definitely would watch again.
For those wondering how and where I watched this film, I watched in Japan. At Keisei Rosa10 in Chiba on September 17th.
Having read the manga 4 times over and crying every time, I went into the theater not expecting much tears as I have pretty much dried up my emotional experience with this manga.
However, much to my surprise, it has been a very, very long time since I have cried that much while watching a movie. Even comparing to a similar anime film Anthem of the Heart, which surprisingly lacked the ability to really give me a tearful moment. Not to say it wasn't a bad movie, but if you liked that one, you will certainly like this.
Be prepared for a emotional roller coaster as the movie plays with your ever so weakening heart as the movie progresses.
That being said, this is no perfect movie. The story falls short, very short in terms of character/plot progression outside of the two main characters. Perhaps it was because of the limit of having to cram the story into a 2 hour film that the writers had to cut corners.
However, story/character development of Shoya was spot on. The movie clearly delivered his character and it was very easy to sympathize and relate to the character. Same with Shoko, though the film did leave out some specifics, the repercussions of Shoko's existence could be felt where one may even agree with Ueno who despised her.
Unfortunately, the remaining characters were pretty much left out. And the overall story was ultimately incomplete because of this. With audiences who hasn't read the manga asking why some characters were even there. Character development with the side characters were very lacking and a lot of important details were stripped apart leaving a big hole in the story.
The only character who avoided this cut was Yuzuru who retained a lot of her details and character development.
This meant that people who haven't read the manga can be very confused by the end of the movie. As I had heard people talking about while leaving the theater.
Many details were left out, but the film retained a lot of the core elements from the manga in puzzle pieces, allowing those who read the manga to fill in the gaps to understand what it means. But that also meant those who haven't were left scratching their heads.
Besides the emotional road trip of your lifetime, Nagatsuka's moments in the film are very comedic and actually funny in a lot of ways. Often when the audience was laughing, it was usually when Nagatsuka was at his antics.
As for the art, no complaints here. Besides having some overally familiar Kyoani characters faces, Kyoto Animation has done a excellent job in representing the characters true to the manga. It's no Makoto Shinkai film, but the quality is nothing to scoff at. The high quality is retained throughout the entire film and no lazy production was visible.
Voice acting was top notch and sounded very familiar to daily Japanese life. Though overall sound was okay. The creative use of music in the film is a bonus. Besides that, not much to write home about.
The movie tried to stay true to the manga as best as it could and in the core elements in delivering the original message that the manga had, it succeeded. But unfortunately while following the path, they dropped a lot of it's side content.
The movie was able to deliver the core plot of the manga.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable film and I can't wait for the disc release.