Management: watch Anthem of the Heart. Spoilers below.
You have to feel for Naruse Jun. An ebullient, talkative child undergoes the emotional trauma of parental divorce, and a single line from an adult blaming her for it snowballs into a wicked anxiety-induced mutism, which manifests as somatic symptoms (intense abdominal pain) whenever she tries to speak.
While Jun is trapped in the depths of isolation, a chance school project introduces her to some unlikely coworkers and ignites within her a desire to communicate, to express her emotions. But how can she do that if she can’t talk? Through texting, through singing (funny how the mind works), and through confronting her anxiety at its source.
Because notwithstanding its tangled romantic dodecahedron, Anthem of the Heart is at its best a story of self-love: of healing through confronting your feelings instead of relying on another person to save you, of accepting your past without taking all the blame for yourself, of having the confidence to open up to your friends.
This is why I find the song “Kokoro ga Sakebidasu ~ Anata no Namae Yobu yo” so beautiful (心が叫び出す〜あなたの名前呼ぶよ—My Heart Cries Out ~ I Call Your Name). The lyrics contain lines like “everything is beautiful/Even my sorrowful past and the traces of my tears” and “I embrace this world/In its entirety”. And while there is a “you” whom the speaker seems to hold dear, it’s worth noting that this doesn’t diminish the love for which the speaker has for themselves or for the world.
And if this wasn’t enough, somebody on the creative team decided to make this a mash-up between “Over the Rainbow” and the theme from the Adagio movement of Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata! This felt tailor-made for me: I love polyphony, I love classical music, and I quite like “Over the Rainbow”. So when Jun, having overcome her struggles, joins the chorus in this cathartic two-part polyphony, I felt chills down my spine. When she reached her hand to wipe away tears, I wanted to do the same.
I have translated the lyrics below (originally, I translated it as I couldn’t find an English translation on Google. Then I realized they have translated lyrics on Youtube. Oh well). Please enjoy, and feel free to point out mistakes or better wording.
Kanji Lyrics here.
Romaji Lyrics here (note: brackets = Over the Rainbow).
English Lyrics (brackets = Over the Rainbow):
My heart cries out [You, who are so gentle]
The world I see while beside you [I call your name]
Everything is beautiful [This beautiful world]
Even my sorrowful past and the traces of my tears [That you taught me about]
I cry out [I embrace this world]
The feelings that were born from meeting you [In its entirety]
I love everything about it [I love you]
I love the world you gave me [I love you so much]
You can read about the 12 Days of Anime project in my intro post here.