A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Communication is an important theme here; talking about feelings is shown to relieve confusion and anxiety. There are also some examples of teamwork and persistence. The movie's main theme is the definition of happiness, which is left up for each person to decide for theirselves.
Positive Role Models
Despite the characters perpetuating a lie about the AI robot being a real person, the main group of teens -- and mom Mitsuko -- are for the most part quite positive, responsible characters. Mitsuko is especially interesting, given that she's a woman with a position of power in a big company; there's dialogue about how hard she worked to get theres and how easily she can lose everything, given that her male co-workers resent her.
The movie originated in Japan, and while the characters aren't specifically Japanese, most viewers will likely infer that they are. Women are at the forefront, especially mother-daughter team Satomi and Mitsuko, and are compelling characters.
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Violence & Scariness
Rifle pointed at robot. Robot gets Tasered. Bruise on teen's cheek (suggestion of parental abuse). Judo matches. Teen tries to hit another, arm grabbed. Some bullying/threats.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing. Students referred to as "hot." Teen describes her feelings for her crush: "I can't keep my eyes off him!" Teens try to ask each other out.
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"Bastard," "hell," "crap," "screw-up," "idiot," "moron," "stupid," "dummy," "sucks/you suck," "so lame," "tattle-tale." Possible use of "s--t," "God" (exclamatory), and "damn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens are briefly seen vaping (behavior is viewed negatively). Adult drinks a bottle of wine, getting very drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sing a Bit of Harmony is an anime musical about an AI robot that's trying to blend in at school with a group of teens. It's full of positive vibes and beautiful sequences, but there's a bit of edgy content, too. Violence includes a rifle pointed at a robot (and a robot getting Tased), a teen boy with a bruise on his cheek (with the suggestion that his father put it there), a girl trying to hit another girl, judo matches, and some bullying/threats. Characters kiss briefly, teens have crushes on one another and are dating, and teens are referred to as "hot." The movie is available in both subtitled Japanese and dubbed English for U.S. release, and language could include, in one version or the other, uses of "s--t," "bastard," "hell," "damn," "idiot," "crap," and "moron. Three teens are briefly seen vaping, in a negative light, and an adult drinks a bottle of wine and seems quite drunk. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A sweet, big-hearted fantasy/musical full of crushes and cool tech, this enjoyable anime moves gorgeously and sounds great, wearing its unflappably positive attitude right on its colorful sleeve. Available in both Japanese (with English subtitles) and in an English-language dub for U.S. release, Sing a Bit of Harmony kicks off with a delightful scene of Satomi waking up and making breakfast with the aid of her AI house (the house bids her to "have a wonderful day" when she walks out the door for school). It feels lightly, optimistically futuristic, with an overall peaceful feel; the robots are here to help. And Shion's introduction to the students -- and her musical number -- is meant to feel awkward and embarrassing, rather than foreboding.
As with the best teen movies, the characters are portrayed as having identifiable flaws. One spends all his time on one hobby, while another one is only "pretty good" at a lot of things. There are tarnished reputations, hurt feelings, quiet longings, misunderstandings, etc., that all feel genuine, and the growing friendships feel genuine, too. Visually, Sing a Bit of Harmony isn't showy, but when one of its polished, sparkling songs kicks in, it goes all the way, including making effective use of a field of rotating solar panels and a judo match. Logically, Shion is able tap into other AI devices, including pianos and sound systems, so she always has musical accompaniment for her songs. The movie's clever climax, and questions about the meaning of "happiness," leave help it leave off on a lovely bittersweet note.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.