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Zero-to-hero movies, usually about athletes or musicians or other folks engaged in something competitive and cinematic (baseball, yes; darts, no), are a staple of the film business in Japan. One reason: Audiences here admire gaman — the perseverance the protagonists display in pursuit of their group or individual goals. Another reason: They enjoy a good cry and these films reliably deliver, usually with a final heart-warming, tear-wrenching triumph.

Masahide Ichii’s “Bring on the Melody!” is among the latest in this sub-genre. Based on a teen mystery novel series by Sei Hatsuno that has already launched a manga and TV anime, the film starts naively formulaic, as though Ichii, who also wrote the script, somehow hadn’t heard that some of his tropes were gray-bearded cliches.

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