First Look Fair: H20–Footprints in the Sand

This seminarian groaned when he saw what this first line intimated for the rest of the scene.
This seminarian groaned when he saw what this first line intimated for the rest of the scene.

What? They actually start the whole frickin’ series with that really, really cheesy “Footprints in the Sand” poem I heard all the time growing up in church and is printed in my first, childhood King James Bible? Then again, it is the subtitle of the whole series…and so far, at least, the best I can say of it is: it could be worse.

After a somewhat surprising scene with the “Footprints” poem read over a scene in which a girl is beaten up by two boys (!)–ending the poem just before the final lines of the poem, to boot, which is somewhat gutsy–we are treated to a surprisingly spry and tuneful OP that wouldn’t be out of place in the Celtic-flavored Chrono Cross soundtrack. It is not the kind of OP that we normally get for comedies, which of course is not necessarily a sign of future seriousness to come (usually the ED is a far better clue). After all, the most raucous comedy of all, Full Metal Panic Fumoffu, has a surprisingly wistful and melancholy OP song. The rest of the soundtrack, especially its piano tracks, are used in a surprisingly tasteful manner as well. There were unexpectedly quiet moments that were filled well.

Otoha sure picks them badly
Otoha sure picks them badly

The most promising bits of the show are contained in what, on the surface, are the most ridiculous parts (aside from the fanservice-because-he’s-blind scenes): the interaction between blind Takuma and the spirit girl who (temporarily, I assume) restores his sight, claiming he is the “Promised One.” This is purely an interest based on plot, mind you. The characters are at this point extremely generic and not at all interesting, filled with the usual harem archetypes, though a lot of the focus is heading toward to tsundere girl we saw beat up in the beginning, Hayami. She is marginally interesting, mostly because she doesn’t have a squeaky voice, though she is showing her dere-dere hand just a little too soon if you ask me. We are of course going to find out why she seems to get beat up all the time, and this lone break with convention may be worth exploring a little bit more.

The only moment that might even slightly qualify as actual satire
The only moment that might even slightly qualify as actual satire

The only difference between Takuma and the usual harem lead is his poorly-explained blindness, which is used mostly to let him poke his walking stick up one girl’s skirt and to let him fall on top of other girls or have other girls fall on top of him and grope them “accidentally” with relative impunity. I have learned from personal experience that medical ailments only get you so many sympathy points and only for so long. I suspect he is going to wear out his welcome in very, very due time–especially since he got his sight back at the episode’s end! The only part they got right is how blind people have a heightened sense of smell. I also wonder if he ever considered getting a guide dog. Perhaps he’s allergic or the school doesn’t allow animals?

One blogger suggested that this show would have been a lot funnier if more segments, or the entire episode, had been filmed from Takuma’s POV–ie, no visuals, but only sounds. Though I am rather unimpressed by the character designs–I like Moka’s in Rosario + Vampire a lot better–I think the squeaky voices would have gotten to me soon enough even if I didn’t have to see their faces.

[squish]-KYAAA!-[slap slap pummel pummel]
[squish]-KYAAA!-[slap slap pummel pummel]

I have been tempered by two seasons’ worth of misjudgments at the beginnings of seasons, so I will not declare at this time whether this show does or does not rock my soul (you thought I’d forgotten about that increasingly tiresome phrase, didn’t you?). The spirit girl holds out the one slender straw of hope that I have that this will be more than the usual fan-service fest; I’ve seen plenty of anime that began with fan service and later dispensed with it to get on with the real story. I’ve also seen more that never got out of a rut. Since this is merely the First Look Fair part of the season, this is a time for patience. And maybe, just maybe, surprises.

4 thoughts on “First Look Fair: H20–Footprints in the Sand”

  1. @IKnight: yes, it is overused, especially in the American Christian environment. It epitomizes the sentimental goopiness of the sort of things you find in Christian bookstores. I fully expect they will finish the poem in the final episode when Hayami and Takuma at last get together, and if I even make it that far, I will groan again.

    @Zeroblade, omo: Me too. :)

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