Welcome, all, again. I’m running a little behind this week, due to a training workshop I attended–as the old saw goes, “Time is the only precious commodity.” But I’m back, this time offering a brief review of The Moment You Fall in Love, the second HoneyWorks anime movie. HoneyWorks, for those unfamiliar, is a Vocaloid unit comprised of two composers and an illustrator, as well as supporting musicians and illustration/video production folks. Their previous movie was released last year (2016) and streamed on Crunchyroll under the title I’ve Always Liked You. Additionally, they released their fourth album in February of this year, and were working on the development of a smartphone app game.
Now, as these anime features are inspired by song, it is important to recognize that Vocaloid expressiveness has come a long way in a relatively short time. Early on, these synthesized voice banks simply did not emote well–and that’s probably being kind. But magic was worked and tweaks were tweaked, and one day a song screamed revelation! at me: “Love is War,” as performed by Hatsune Miku. Four minutes of pure emotional turmoil and angst bled out of my speakers, and I realized that I had just witnessed a sudden and irrevocable shift in the musical landscape. These noisy little entities (and I am myself a firmly devoted fan of the Utauloid, Kasane Teto!) were here to stay, bolstered by oft-captivating visual representations. Little wonder, then, to see the spirit and story of certain songs interpreted through the kindred medium of anime.
The Moment You Fall in Love is just over an hour’s worth of slice-of-life realism, weepy and frustrated and confused. (And who doesn’t spend a large chunk of middle school and high school frustrated and confused?) It follows the same basic group as the first movie, although emphasis is now placed upon the younger siblings. Our primary protagonist is Hina Setoguchi, younger sister of Yu, who was one of the leads in the prior movie. Hina has developed a crush on her senpai Koyuki Ayase, but just doesn’t know what to do about it. At all. Meanwhile, next-door neighbor and childhood friend Kotaro Enomoto is struggling to express his own budding realization of his love for Hina. And that would be difficult enough to sort out, but there’s an entire high school’s worth of kids busy interacting, all learning the harsh truth that nothing else slows down just because you need some extra time. Adolescence sees an upswell of emotion for which few are adequately prepared, and our little cast limp through their own individual misadventures of the heart while trying their best to support each other.
This was a good watch. At just over 60 minutes, it was long enough to draw its audience into the story without overtaxing viewers’ interest. The characters, while often exaggerated, feel true and believable; it’s easy to empathize with them, whether singly or en mass. The artwork is consistently good and occasionally great, while frequent song insertions lend mood and create atmosphere. In all, this proved a relaxing and quietly enjoyable way to pass a short space of time. And I already know that I’ll be back to watch it again.