True Tears 8-9: As the World Turns

You go girl! (Runs away from army of Noe fans with torches)

This show continues to delight in the quality of its character interaction and writing, scored to some of the most appropriate BGM I’ve heard in romance anime in a while. But oh, the twists…

I’m still amazed that they captured both the sadness and resignation so well in her face.
I’m still amazed that they captured both the sadness and resignation so well in her face.

I am going to go out on a limb here and rejoice in the outcome of episode 9–namely, in the impending Hiromi x Shin pairing. For Shin and Noe both, it is a victory for emotional honesty, in which they realize just where their real feelings are and don’t, as some of the characters in Kimikiss are doing, drag it out to the point where irreparable damage is almost certain. I think there is a place for the happy, but fleeting, love affair that episode 8 portrayed so beautifully between Shin and Noe, and I’m also heartened to see that Noe, by the end of episode 9, seems to grasp this. (Quite frankly, the maturity of these characters compared to some of the ones in Kimikiss is very refreshing. Nobuse’s reaction to losing Aiko is also notable.) By now of course all the Noe fans among this readership are gnashing their teeth–but she’s so cute and Hiromi is a bitch!–to which I say, well, that’s all true. But like Mao, I see Hiromi as redeemable, and honestly less culpable than her, who is simply prone to lying outright and continuing to lie after the damage is clearly obvious.

You know, Shin-chan, it’s not such a great idea to compare yourself to a chicken
You know, Shin-chan, it’s not such a great idea to compare yourself to a chicken

One of the strands that wasn’t emphasized by most reviewers of this show wass the role of creativity and artistic imagination. It’s not as showy or as central as it was for ef-a tale of memories, to be sure. It comes in brief sections portraying Shin’s imaginary scenarios, rich with found metaphors and analogies, and increasingly in the picture book about Raigomaru that he’s illustrating for Noe. I admit the roman a clef aspects of the picture book are starting to just get a tad obvious, which Noe, of course, discovers in due time. (She really is what she claims to be, a pretty good judge of people.) Being a literary person, I always appreciate it when anime does symbolism and metaphor right, and certainly by this point, the strange motifs of chickens has redeemed itself from ridiculousness. It helps set the show apart from simply being just another high school soap, albeit a quiet and better-than-average one.

You know, I’d warm my hands too if I was unhurt but still that cold
You know, I’d warm my hands too if I was unhurt but still that cold

Some signs of rush in the plotting of episode 9 are apparent. The motorcycle accident that opens it was strangely underplayed, primarily used to have all the principal characters meet (that Hiromi and Jun are unhurt stretches plausibility), and using it as the sole catalyst for Shin’s mother’s change of heart is a bit sudden. We discover what I suspected, of course–Shin and Hiromi are not in fact half-siblings–and the way the explanation for Hiromi’s mistreatment all these years is clumsily put off for future episodes honestly doesn’t work for me. (It really needed to have started to be answered the moment we know the truth of her parentage. You don’t create emotionally consequential scenes built on that lie only to dismiss it abruptly.)

I mustn’t run away?
I mustn’t run away?

So what are these “true tears”? Most bloggers are predicting some kind of sad ending, and I’m inclined to agree. The subtext of Noe’s life is that she has never learned to properly grieve–for her grandmother, or even for Raigomaru. Given that there are still a good number of episodes left, Noe is probably going to have to go through some sort of grief process until, at last, the tears she sheds are genuine. Which is, at the same time, a kind of “happy” ending in that it is the first step for her to move on, to grow as a human being. And, perhaps, a prompt for the other characters to learn empathy. I am, by nature, a hopeful person; it might very well be a non-violent Nice Boat, too. But I’m a sucker for good redemptive endings. We’ll see.

4 thoughts on “True Tears 8-9: As the World Turns”

  1. Just some thoughts after watching all nine episodes in one go.

    Is it just me, or is Noe almost like a Haruhi ripoff with a darker personality? She’s got the eccentricity, the friendlessness, the fall-in-love-with-the-first-guy-who-accepts-her, etc. However, unlike Haruhi she does show her more feminine side at home, in private. I actually liked her character quite a bit; it’s a refreshing change to the typical harem lead, which is invariably the girl next door, the tsundere, or a combination of the two.

    Hiromi’s character…it was almost hate at first sight. Disregarding the fact that she’s almost a Nanaka-clone from Myself; Yourself (long hair, childhood friend, tragic past, tsundere, “ice-queen”, etc.), her character doesn’t really make sense. Her parents die and she’s adopted by her father’s best friend? Does that sort of thing even happen in real life? And she’s been living with Shin for a year and he’s never been in her room, even though they’re childhood friends? Unless the next several episodes give us a valid reason for her behavior towards Shin, I’m going to write her off as a failure. Too much tsun-tsun and not enough dere-dere in such characters defeat the purpose of the “tsundere” character in the first place.

    Miyokichi’s character is the only flawless one I can see in this anime. Not much to say here, except I can’t imagine a happy ending for him. Shame. Although some guy over at AnimeSuki did speculate that he’ll hook up with Tomoyo, hahaha.

    Which leads us to Aiko. IMO, she is the most poorly designed character in this anime. Okay, so she’s a childhood friend of Shin. Why does she automatically have to like him? She seems like a plot device placed into the anime just to make it more melodramatic than it already is. Her character would have been put to much better use as a regular girlfriend for Miyokichi, and as a older-sister-type sounding board for Shin when he has problems. I don’t think she really has a chance with Shin, which is a relief. It’ll be interesting to see how her character will resolve when the series comes to an end though.

    Jun. The mysterious brother. A little too mysterious for my taste though. As mentioned before, what was up with his reaction after the bike crash? “Oh, my bike’s on fire…you got money for a taxi? Yea? That’s cool. But it’ll be a bit difficult to call for one. Bummer.” Unless he too has some tragic history that turned him into what he is, I don’t buy that attitude. And the sister complex…please please please don’t turn this into another Myself; Yourself incest animu when Noe inevitably is rejected by Shin. Although there is speculation that he’ll end up with Hiromi and Shin with Noe, I think it’s unlikely. Again, I’ll pass final judgement when the anime is complete.

    Last but not least, Shin. He’s one of the more likeable porn game/harem/romantic leads to come out for awhile (No Makato-kun here, thank you very much). However, his nice-guy persona takes away some of that special…something when you see someone like Takayuki from KgNE screw up for the fifteenth time. I think it’s safe to say he’ll get a happy ending here. My one criticism of him is his relationship with Noe. Throughout the first eight episodes we’re led to believe that he genuinely likes her, but as soon as he finds out about Hiromi not being his sister he promptly dumps Noe. He’s just lucky the anime’s name isn’t School Days. Otherwise, he’s kinda screwed.

    The animation and music in True Tears is above average. Nothing like Byousoku 5cm or Haruhi Suzumiya no Yuutsu, but that’s to be expected of the run-of-the-mill tv-series based of a visual novel. It’s nice that some of the secondary characters are given personalities (wow, Shin actually has parents! I’m looking at you, School Days), although it’s still somewhat disappointing that Aiko is still somewhat one-dimensional, considering she’s a potential love-interest.

    One last thing. I don’t know about you guys, but it seems that not much has happened throughout the 9 episodes. No startling revelations (except the false sister alarm), which may be a good thing since this anime is striving to be a somewhat realistic slice-of-life drama, but I can help but think I spent three hours watching…not much substance at all. I mean, so far all we’ve found out is:

    -Noe like chickens and all related paraphernalia
    -being a nutcase, she’s also given away her tears, whatever that means
    -Hiromi likes Shin, but due to some traumatic event in the past cannot bring herself to tell him so
    -she even resorts to lies about ol’ number 4
    -this is probably because of some trauma she suffered in her youth, which is somehow related to Shin’s mother
    -Shin had introduced Aiko to Miyokichi, but she secretly likes him; no one knows why Shin is so special
    -Noe likes Shin, but Shin may or may not like her back; the plot’s really quite unclear on this point

    I think that this anime has the potential to redeem itself in the next four episodes. I eagerly await episode 10, what with the probably Aiko breakup and emu Noe.

  2. Although I am a complete Shin x Noe shipper, I understand and almost agree with their emotional honesty, as you put it. I just wish true tears will break away from the traditional format of the protagonist ending up with the girl he had a history with. That’s why I love Noe (besides the fact that she’s adorably cute).

    The whole motorcycle scene pissed me off because Hiromi didn’t die (lolz jk), Hiromi was so nonchalant about the motorcycle burning and uses it to WARM HER HANDS. Unlike what other people have said, I don’t think that’s cool; I think that’s just rude. I applaud Jun for having patience though in order to keep Noe and Shin’ichiro together, although their relationship (at the time) did not rely on Hiromi x Jun.

    @ beowulf: I actually agree with most of your comments on the characters. I didn’t even think about a Noe/Haruhi comparison until now.

  3. “but she’s so cute and Hiromi is a bitch!”

    I don’t see it that way. I see it as someone who’s honest and speaks with their mind (rare in reality) vs. someone who holds things in and hides what she really feels a lot of the time (common in reality). So Shin x Hiromi is realistic while Shin x Noe is idealistic. Call me a dreamer than. :P

  4. Exactly. Shin x Noe is what should happen, while Shin x Hiromi is what probably will happen. IN A PERFECT WORLD, SHIN X NOE WOULD HAPPEN, M I RITE? Unfortunately, things don’t always happen the way they should =P

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