Sing a Bit of Harmony

image for Sing a Bit of Harmony

Short takes

Not suitable under 8; parental guidance to 9 (mild animated violence and threat, one occasion of alcohol abuse, mild coarse language, complex story, themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Sing a Bit of Harmony
  • a review of Sing a Bit of Harmony completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 3 February 2022.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to mild animated violence and threat, mild coarse language, one occasion of alcohol abuse, complexity of story, and themes based around high school teenagers.
Children aged 8–9 Parental guidance recommended due to mild animated violence and threat, one occasion of alcohol abuse, mild coarse language, and potential lack of interest due to themes based around high school teenagers.
Children over the age of 9 Ok for this age group but likely most appealing to a teenage or special interest (animé/Japanese) audience.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Sing a Bit of Harmony
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and coarse language
Length: 108 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Conscientious and quiet teenager, Satomi (Japanese: Haruka Fukuhara/English: Risa Mei), lives with her mother, Mitsuko (Sayaka Ohara/Laila Berzins), who is a scientist at a large Artificial Intelligence (AI) company, Hoshima Electronics. Mitsuko has been working inhumane hours, creating an AI robot named Shion (Tao Tsuchiya/Megan Shipman) that is supposed to look and behave so much like a human that it cannot be distinguished from a real human. To field-test Shion, she is sent to Satomi’s high school under pretence of being a new student. Satomi accidentally comes across some of her mother’s work files, and therefore realises quickly that Shion is in fact her mother’s project under scrutiny of her male-dominated work place. Even though Shion acts bizarrely, Satomi decides to help Shion fit in and be a success, along with a group of class mates. But as they get to know Shion, it becomes obvious that she is more than a heap of hard and software, and that she inspires each of them to start dealing with some of their own personal challenges.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Japanese; Animé; Musical; Fantasy; Science Fiction; Teenage Romance.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • Shion gets shot.
  • It is implied that Shion’s body gets destroyed.
  • Security guards threaten Satomi and her friends with guns, arrest them, and a guard violently pushes one of them against a double-sided mirror.
  • A teenager has a big bruise on his cheek and explains it was his Dad, implying that he was punished using physical violence.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The idea that there might me robots among us who look and act like humans might be scary to young children.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • The above-mentioned scenes and images are likely to scare or disturb children in this age group.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Shion is referred to as, “hot”.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Shion tries to kiss one of the teenage boys but it is with innocent/naïve intentions and in a comical, non-explicit way.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Some teens are seen vaping (it is portrayed as negative behaviour).
  • Satomi’s mother is drinking a bottle of wine when she is upset and appears quite drunk.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • What the hell
  • Bastards
  • Idiot
  • Moron
  • Stupid crap
  • Shut up
  • Dummy
  • You suck.

In a nutshell

Sing a Bit of Harmony is a Japanese sci-fi/fantasy/musical/teen animé movie. There are a lot of positive role models and messages, and some of the scenes that appear a bit odd (some might say cringe-worthy, i.e. some of the singing scenes) actually make sense along the way as the story unfolds and grows in complexity. The film is set in a futuristic setting where artificial intelligence and robots are present in every-day life. Mild violence and sense of threat, mild coarse language, the complexity and themes of the story make the film most suitable for a teen or special interest audience.

The main messages from this movie are that people and life are complex – happiness is not the same for everyone. Also, happiness is often derived from seeing/making other people happy, but at the same time it is also important to look after your own needs.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Friendship.
  • Ambition.
  • It’s okay not to be perfect.
  • Fighting for what you believe in.
  • Communication (tell others what you feel and think and it could save you from any misunderstandings).

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of:

  • equality at the work place: Satomi’s mother is under pressure in a heavily male-dominated work environment. Parents can discuss about the importance of giving everyone the same opportunities and treatment, regardless of their gender.
  • how (not) to deal with frustration: when Satomi’s job is on the line, she responds by drinking a bottle of wine. How does the alcohol change her behaviour (for the worse)? What would be healthy coping?
  • what makes a person? Is it their outside, their body, their looks? Or is it their soul, spirit, personality? And do souls and spirits live on? It is implied that Shion’s spirit had been around for a long time, looking out for Satomi, and that the robot body enabled her to manifest this spirit. It is also implied that after Shion’s robot body is not around any longer, her spirit is all-present (in Shion’s case within the internet and anything that is connected to the web). How is that similar to what different cultures and religions believe?
  • considering the ethics of scenarios: this movie really raises the question whether a robot, equipped with artificial intelligence, has any rights. Would it be okay to harass, bully, maltreat, or ‘kill’ a robot? When and where would you draw the line? It is implied that Shion really is more than a programmed piece of technology. Rather, it is implied that she has, or is, a virtual soul, that she has feelings, and that she cares. Parents can discuss with their children what this would mean, as technology is becoming more advanced. Is this something they could imagine happening in the future? And how should one deal with it?