There she was. Alone, sitting on a bench beside the river, playing her blue guitar. But her earphones are plugged into the output port of the guitar. A dog was barking at her, and she didn’t react to it. As if she doesn’t care about it, or is completely indulged in her world. In that one minute opening shot, I realise thatthis is her story and that she enjoys doing what she loves, but it was only for herself.

The frog in the well does not know the deepness of the sea, but it knows how blue the sky is.

Her entire life, she has been practing hard in guitar just to be able to go to Tokyo, and to form a band there. She claims to do it so that her elder sister would not need to take care of her anymore. She feels like it’s because of her, her sister couldn’t live the life she wanted to. Inside her heart, there’s a tinge of guilt for chaining her sister down.

Unspoken words, untaken action; spoken words, action takenthese are all the roots of that feeling she felt: “regrets”.

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And it is strongly expressed through the visuals, dialogue and the soundtracks, playing like a hint to the rebellion of her and her powerful determination to just fight back. The theme song in particular, with its exciting tempo in the J-rock-style song, added a melancholic twist to fit right in the mood. The colorful eyes and landscapes, rich facial expressions and fluid animation, are by Cloverworks.

Directed by Tatsuyuki Nagai, with the script written by Mari Okada, the characters designed by Masayoshi Tanaka, and the sound handled by Jin Aketagawa, this film’s bittersweet taste is quite enchanced after their collaboration in Toradora!, Anohana and Anthem of the Heart. The range of emotions in the story are finely blended by this quartet, waiting to be seen, to be heard and to be tasted.

To once again, portray “regrets”.

 

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The exact word that entangled the lives of these four people together; one doesn’t know love yet, one has forgotten what love is, one is learning to love, and one is learning the bitterness of love.

Again and again, there’s a recurring theme for this type of melodrama that is blatantly shouted: feelings aren’t complicated, people are! We learn to be more expressive so that others can understand us, but in many instances, our thoughts still could never reach them. Yet we wouldn’t give up. We want to protect because we can, and hold on to something because we couldn’t let go. We hate the taste that comes after.

And I couldn’t quite describe it.

Yet, it stings hard.

 

This movie knows it. It might not be a heartfelt fantasy like Your Name, not a pure love that makes one fight against destiny like Weathering With You, not a sci-fi romance on love’s selfishness and selflessness like Hello World, not a magical and energetic romance like A Whisker Away, or a visually-gorgeous portrayal of love like Ride Your Wave. No, not at all. It’s just drama at its finest.

All under a same sky. The sky that enveloped her emotions, her regrets and her entire life. A stupidly blue sky.

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Her Blue Sky