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For everyone who has followed my reviews you know I’m rather critical and I favor shows that grab me within the first 5 minutes or so. So take this one with a grain of salt.
Previously, I wrote that I felt this one would be an introspective show. Looks like I was right. The atmosphere this show gives off is subdued, quiet, and thoughtful. A little bit like Makoto Shinkai’s work, but not as happy and nostalgic. In fact, like the first episode of Mushi-Uta, we get to see strong evidences of the decline of rural towns in Japan, possibily due to economic downturn, though we are not told of that.
Early on, we learn that this one will be a Sci-Fi affair, as two ministers from the UN heads somewhere in space to negotiate with an invading alien force, but saying “negotiation” is just saving the face for the humans in this negotiation.
However, the focus quickly switches to our heroine, Wakatake Mari, who lost her memory as a child due to a traumatic disaster.
I’m already speculating that it has something to do with the alien invasion. In any case, to long time anime watchers it’s probably obvious that what she forgot is the key to this entire story.
Through beautiful animation and quiet music the two heroine meet. Mari sitting in a speeding car, and Senkuji Hagino standing on a rock in the middle of water, surrounded by seagulls.
Mari’s admiration of her would quickly turn to despise later.
Her entrance into the school is not a happy one. Despite being repressed most of the time, she does not hesitate to show her displeasure and annoyance to anyone. We’re essentially told that she’s not good with people.
To me, she’s like Shinji but whines a lot less and acts more. Also, she lashes back, unlike Shinji or other similar indecisive male leads who can only fight back in a mecha, Mari can hold her own in person. However, the comparison with Eva-style shows stops here. From the get go, this episode clearly shows us that it’s a character, mood and music driven rather than Sci-Fi and technology driven show.
We see indecisiveness in Mari. She runs through the hallway, stopping and resting inside her home room (she doesn’t appear to know at the time that it was her homeroom). She knows she has to run, to get away from it all. But where is she heading? Where does she want to go?
I see her as another example of classic Otaku – not good with people, not understanding the good intentions of people (her grandmother), and not knowing where to go. They just know they want to be out of ” here” – maybe their jobs, maybe the cities they reside, maybe even their lives.
But none of them is certain for sure.
Our heroines meet the second time and the result is a lot of sparkles flying – no, not sexual sparkles, but rather, sparkles from the clashing between instincts.
Hagino appears normal around everyone else, but when she and Mari make contact (it’s just shaking hands, so don’t imagine too hard), her alien (I think that’s fairly obvious from her glowing blue eyes) instincts take over and she tries to choke Mari to death. In the process, Mari remembers her cries as a child during that disaster.
After Hagino somehow regains her senses, Mari does not hesitate and lash back with the flowers on the table.
One thing to take notice is that in the beginning of this sequence after they shake hands, it appears that Hagino wants to kiss Mari, but she ends up trying to strangle her to death.
I wonder if this is a little tribute to Shinji trying to choke Asuka, but we all know that he also wants to be with Asuka.
Watching that part reminded me why this show is being called a “yuri” show.
The RA (resident advisor) and the girl in glasses came (I didn’t talk about the girl in glasses because she doesn’t impress me at all), and discover Mari and Hagino standing tensely.
One more Otaku trait for Mari is displayed when she doesn’t explain anything and just runs out with these words of disgust: “I couldn’t really stay in this kind of place, could I?”
The rest of the show didn’t interest me very much as the show is slow paced and I was checking the clock and looking at my the figurines of my Mecha Musume Collection placed around my LCD screen from time to time.
I wasn’t impressed much when the girls started fighting in person (still no mecha, sorry). With the light hearted music playing it was plain that the fight was non-consequential.
In any case, later, as Mari is sent to her room without food, she ends up discovering Hagino’s secret.
Once again, these days I’m easily bored and hardly impressed by anything except something that’s exceptional. The animation here is great. Smooth, digital, and perfectly blended. The color is somewhat subdued but it’s hard to keep the colors toned down with CG. But I found the colors and the lighting well used and beautiful.
I’m not much for piano or classic music, but I would say for this mood, the music fits well and helps to take the viewers along with the characters as they make their discoveries. As for the characters, it’s too early for me to say much about them. I’m most intrigued with Hagino, and I feel familar with Mari in some way (must be the common Otaku syndrome), and as for other characters, I really didn’t think a principal of a prestigious high school (middle school?) would have long hippie hair. Must be a bijisan (haha) thing that shojo manga readers like to see. In any case,
84% recommended for your daily anime diet. I’m sorry but it takes me a while to warm up to slow paced anime.