So wait, there’s more of KimiNozo that I have to see? (I refuse to use the adapation’s title, Rumbling Hearts, for reasons I have outlined before.) A few years ago, before I’d seen Honey and Clover, I considered KimiNozo to be one of the best dorama-style animes ever made; it dealt with adults for a change, for one, and despite H-game conversion issues the character situations and reactions were relatively believable, if rather over-dramatic. The fact that it was essentially a Japanese version of daytime television soaps did not faze me. It was dark and depressing much of the time, and a study in the way people use sex and relationships to forget about their guilt and inadequacy. It was, in short, accomplished.
Granting that this is only the first episode, I question then what the purpose of this OVA is.
The immediate purpose is obvious, of course. This is an alternate ending/outcome in which Haruka, not Mitsuki, is the winner of Takayuki’s affection. Neither Takayuki and Mitsuki came off in the TV series as being very good people, sharing in various measures guilt, emotional suppression, an inability to face up to their real desires which led to all manners of lying and betrayal. They are believably bad, mind you; the kind of rationalization people make in order to simultaneously appear “nice” and still get what they want is pretty far. This OVA seems to be an effort to sweep all that either under the carpet or to “correct” some of the emotional wreckage left in the wake of the dark TV show.
That was why I couldn’t buy into the characterization of Takayuki in this episode. He was too perfect: too devoted, too caring, too good at saying exactly the right thing at the right moment to a still-recovering Haruka. Where is the self-absorption? The guilt-riddenness? The inability to decide? Remember, this series still is set after all the crap that happened for three years; the only thing different is that he chose Haruka rather than Mitsuki at the end. Here, he was acting almost like a fantasy boyfriend, which, of course, is belied by the way Haruka still tries to break up with him by the end–but because of her own issues, apparently. I don’t recognize this Takayuka. He’s just way too good, and one of the things that made the original show artistically compelling, albeit unpleasant to experience, was how incredibly flawed everyone was.
Incidentally, the breakup was sprung on us all too suddenly, despite some sad and angsty shots of her throughout the episode. I really hope this isn’t one of those deals where the girl thinks she will only be a “burden” and is breaking up so that “you can really be happy.” I just saw that done really well in ef and I have no desire to see it again.
The atmosphere of most of this episode was quiet and almost conflict-free (on the surface at any rate). 90% of it felt like a redundant epilogue of sorts, though of course since this is not the route the TV show took, it was necessary to show how this world is different. They have two more episodes to go, apparently, so now that the exposition is done hopefully they can justify this OVA to me–I’m guessing Mitsuki is coming back and is going to throw a wrench into everything somehow. Just like she did in the original, of course. :) They probably won’t have time to make it as horrifically messy as the TV show, unless they are going to go for a tragic ending, which would at least be interesting.
Since this is destined to be short, and is based on a show I really liked from a while back, I will be eyeing this one with interest. Any word on when the next episode will be released?