Shoutout to SM City Cinema Iloilo City. This is the second time I've seen an anime film wherein you guys started the movie 10 minutes early while placing it as a double feature in an inconvenient timeslot. Thanks for nothing. I missed the first five minutes or so of this film.
Anyway, on to the review:
I really wanted to like this movie... but well, it's rather disappointing.
The production values are top-notch, of course and I love the character designs -- but there's so much wasted potential in this film that even though I found it entertaining, I can't really say that I like it very much.
First of all, the story is extremely convoluted. Much of the movie is devoted to world-building and what we end up with is a wild mix between The Matrix, Inception, and a little bit of Steins;Gate thrown in for good measure. There are several plotholes in this movie that would take quite a bit of suspension of disbelief + fansplaining in order for anyone to find rational. As such, I found it hard to empathize with the characters and their problems, because I had only a very vague idea of what their problem was by the end of the movie when the Persona-style battles suddenly kicked.
The characterization for the two main characters (and I mean the main character and himself) is pretty good, but the rest of the supporting cast, including the main girl, end up as nothing more than convenient plot devices. I was waiting for a twist such as the "other cute girl" (Misuzu) having a little bit more involvement in the plot, but nothing came of it.
Finally, the ending makes very little sense since nothing is really fully-explained and well... I've seen this kind of twist done better in Steins;Gate, so I'm a bit spoiled.
In any case, it's pretty much a feel-good movie and still better than most Hollywood Blockbusters in almost all aspects, but don't expect a stellar plot that will have you invested much in the characters or in the world that this movie creates. It had the potential to be something really great, but in end, it fell a bit short.
It's just okay. Watchable, even. I think the film tried to do too much, but ultimately failed to deliver a seamless coherent storytelling. The movie pulls inspiration from other films within the last decade or so for its visual narrative, but I'm not sure it really did the film any favors except make an already confusing story even more convoluted.