This is my first time doing something like this since I generally don’t consider myself a part of the aniblogger community (not that I don’t like you guys or anything, I just don’t blog anime-specific things on a regular basis) but I thought this could be fun. And really, until this year I haven’t even watched half as much anime as you’d think. I’d watch a few here and there and drop it after a couple episodes or watch the beginning and the ending and call it a day. But I’ve finished more series than ever before and I thought this would be a nice way to finish the year.
Now, if you aren’t familiar with Reverse Thieves’ Secret Santa project allow me to elaborate. Each person entered, myself included, gives three recommendations that another blogger will receive. The three shows I got to choose from were CLANNAD, REC and Full Metal Panic. Now, Clannad and I have a sort of history already so I decided against that. Plus, I really just want to watch After Story and skip the first season. Full Metal Panic is, I’m sure, probably a very good show. But it didn’t seem my cup of tea. Although I do have to admit I saw an episode at an anime convention before and couldn’t stop laughing. Hmmm… maybe I should have gone with that. No, in the end, I picked REC. This is because a few days, possibly a week or two, before entering the Secret Santa, I had added it to my Plan to Watch list. It was probably something I would never get around to but what the heck, eh?
I plan to marathoned this show on December 17th, 2010 in one sitting because it is fairly short but I wrote my impression as I went. If things feel a little disorganized or written kinda clunky that’s probably why.
I’m having a hard time deciding if this has aged well or not. It is very hard (for me) to believe this is actually SHAFT’s work here. Maybe that is because nearly everything SHAFT produces lately looks the same in some way or motif. That’s right, I said it. SHAFT had an original idea and ran with it for so long that I don’t even want to touch any show by them anymore. But, that is beside the point. There are some of their quirks every now in then when it comes to the coluring/shading and in episode seven when everything but Aka’s things are in black and white. Actually, the animation improved with each episode. Which is strange since usually the first episode has some of the best but I could tell a total difference in quality by comparing the first episode to the fourth. I think we’ve come a bit farther when it comes to male protag’s in terms of design and uniqueness but maybe his average appearance is more otaku-wish-fulfillment we-can’t-all-be-beautiful genius? Ahhh, I don’t know what to think anymore! (I’m probably overythinking it!)
As I watch, I can see a bit more of SHAFT’s influence that I had overlooked (or was not overly apparent in the clips I watched). This is surprisingly reassuring. I also must say I’m a bit smitten with Aka’s voice. It shifts between cutesy to slightly mature in a style that is nothing short of charming. I was a bit surprised her seiyuu has only done a few shows. Admittedly though, her crying in the first episode was pretty weak. But that was easily made up for by her Hepburn-quote voice. This plays interestingly with the premise of the show though. Would that sort of voice work if you were a seiyuu?
I must say it is nice to watch an anime not about the trifling love affairs of highschoolers. I watch so few that aren’t. Perhaps that is why I like Kuragehime so much? But alas, that too shall be over soon. Ugh I should really stay focused. They also really get straight to business and sleep together on the first night they meet. No blushing and pushing aside the issue. They don’t even learn each others names until they’re in bed with each other! They do like adults. One who is tired of being a failure and could use the satisfaction and another who is vulnerable, thankful for the kindness and weakened. I’m not going to say all of your life’s relationships, any or even one, will be like that. But to me it was the picture of a real relationship. Relationship seems to be the wrong word but it’ll fit until I think of the right one.
Matsumaru was a surprisingly funny character, as well. From his WORK IS LIFE mode to the differences with Aka, I found myself laughing more and more at his antics as the show went on. However, he wasn’t the sort of male protag that I loathe that manages to ruin heartwarming moments by being a pervert. And there were a lot of dawww worthy moments. Though the times where he did try to advance their relationship and was punished, painfully, for it were constantly funny. These advances do lead to some of the major conflicts in the show, I must add though.
I found episode five where Aka was auditioning for a role in an eroge to be relatable. Not because I’ve ever auditioned for a role in a eroge (I’d be damned good as a seiyuu in an eroge, I can tell you that) but that it applies to many different dreams. It’s like if you want to be a writer and write the next bestseller… well what if you have to write a harlequin or terrible, terrible YA novel that becomes insanely popular and you can never live that down? Or what if you want to be a singer who wants to be taken seriously but must write a couple of catchy-pop songs that appeal to people who wouldn’t normally give you even one listen? While those are somewhat different the point remains: a job is a job and a job doing what you love is highly desirable. But if there are many who wish for that same dream, even if there aren’t, is it okay to push aside things you might think as beneath you or undesirable? Do you push aside the purity of your dream to do what you must or do you take a loss, possibly ending your career in order to do what you believe is the right thing? Do you even have the right to choose when there are so many who would take your place in a heartbeat? Woah.
The episodes where they were fighting near the end were less pleasant than earlier episodes but isn’t that the case when a series that is normally lighthearted takes a dramatic turn? Well, most that I’ve seen. The real dramatic episodes are usually dragged out and a chore to watch. I found myself just waiting for them to make up already and get on with it.
Anyways, as far as slice-of-life, romcom’s (keep in mind neither of which are genres I care for very much) this was a pretty cute watch. The characters at times were very mature and I appreciated that. There was a lot I could relate with despite the slightly outlandish premise. This seems like it would be at the start of the dawn of more shows that would follow after. I lumped it in with Doujin Work and OreImo but I don’t think that’s entirely appropriate. I had expected this to pander to otaku but I don’t think we were at that stage yet, back then. (okay, it was only four years ago, whatev) This was a charming watch and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for something short and sweet that, despite it’s moe-cutesy-sorta-artstyle, features two realistic characters in a complicated but conventional ‘bonding-serious fight-jealousy-misunderstanding-happy ending’ sort of way. You could probably do a lot worse, that’s for sure.