Haruka TomatsuAki ToyosakiHiroshi KamiyaKenichi Suzumura
I've Always Liked You
Also known as: Zutto Mae Kara Suki Deshita
Medium: film
Year: 2016
Director: Tetsuya Yanagisawa
Writer: Yoshimi Narita
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Actor: Aki Toyosaki, Gero, Haruka Tomatsu, Hikaru Midorikawa, Hiroshi Kamiya, Kana Asumi, Kenichi Suzumura, Momo Asakura, Natsuki Hanae, Sora Amamiya, Tsubasa Yonaga, Yuuki Kaji
Format: 63 minutes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=17342
Website category: Anime 2016
Review date: 19 November 2018
Zutto Mae Kara Suki Deshita
Good grief. I struggled with this film, despite its short running time, and had to take a sanity break after twenty minutes. I was clock-watching like a lunatic. It's quite well done and even charming, but unfortunately its characters are indecisive idiots.
That's the point of the film, admittedly. Towards the end, supporting characters deliver the Obvious Moral Of The Story.
"Your time at school is short. You can't rewind it like a movie, or edit it."
"You should say the things you want to say. You'll regret it if you leave it too late."
"It's too late to regret it after everything is over."
If you like your messages to be subtle, you'll feel as if you've been mugged in a back alley with baseball bats. I approve of the sentiments, but... well, yeah.
We begin with a girl confessing to a boy. (I'll call her Red Tights because that's how you'll identify her.) Congratulations! Good start. Unfortunately she immediately gets overcome by embarrassment and tells him that she's kidding, even though she was serious. DROP DEAD, YOU IDIOT. I can empathise, but seriously. Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. She then spends most of the film confessing her love to him while pretending that she's just practising, so of course he thinks she's in love with another boy and that he's got no chance with her. Audience suffers brain damage due to excessive headbanging.
There's a boy who's also pathetic. He's in love with a girl he's never spoken to, because he can't bring himself to say anything, because he's in love with her. He's jealous of a classmate for having the courage to get a haircut.
Movie Club Bloke is a breath of fresh air, mind you. He's not disappearing into his own navel... but it'll turn out that even this chap is in a pseudo-relationship that's not going anywhere because, gyaah, this film.
The film's about people learning to get over themselves and actually make a move. This is a good thing, in principle. Morals have rarely been presented this loudly, but the character development and plot beats are pretty good if you can stomach the cast being the romantic drama equivalent of lemmings. Purple Haired Bloke asks out Red Tights on a date and she lightly says "yes" because she's a huge fan of that band, with no consideration of what the men in question might infer from the mixed messages she's sending. (She's in a romance movie. She's in love with and actively pursuing Bloke A, albeit in an impenetrable way that assumes he's psychic. Despite this, though, she's going on a date with Bloke B, who might well have feelings for her. Helloooo, awkward relationship triangle!)
There are four potential couples here, if you count cameos from Red Tights's little brother, Kotaro, and her crush's little sister, Hina. Each couple is hopeless in its own way, but Kotaro and Hina take that so far that it's funny. Kotaro fancies Hina and likes to think he might have a chance with her. He argues with his sister about this, which is audible from Hina's house and underlines her opinion of him as an argumentative jerk who doesn't deserve a girlfriend. I laughed.
Halfway through, I gave up. I started fast-forwarding, but then I steeled myself and went back to watch it all properly. There was only half an hour left. I could fight my way through.
The film's second half is less maddening than the first. The film's two male losers have lunch together and you realise that at least Purple Hair is doing something. Pathetic Boy plucks up some courage and takes a big, laudable step... but even then I was assuming he'd find a way to fail. He'd miss his appointment. He'd get stuck on classroom cleaning duty or something.
The film's origin is of mild interest. It's based on a Vocaloid song project (eh?), so it has what feels like four theme songs, spaced throughout the film. They're not just songs. They're SONGS!!!!!. They all turn the film into its own title sequence. What's more, this film is the first instalment in an anime series of two films (the second one being "The Moment You Fall in Love") and a six-part TV series called "Our love has always been 10 centimeters apart". Before I started this film, I'd been expecting to watch the whole series. Ahahaha, no.
For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure my reaction to this film was more extreme than most people's. It's a nice film. It's got a heart and it can be funny. It has a happy ending. I also can't pretend that the characters are unrealistic, since I'm sure we can all remember worse from our own teenage days. However you'd need to stick pins in me to make me continue with the next film.