Even in 2008, Engrish still rules.
Hehehe, I said that H2O ~Footprints in the Sand~ will be challenging Nodame Cantabile for the Anime of The Year 2007 title, just to find out mid-way of watching it that this anime is a 2008 anime instead. This is the first 2008 anime I watched to date, so we got a provisional winner of Anime of The Year 2008 instead of a challenger of Nodame Cantabile (incidentally also the first 2007 anime I watched and hold on to the award all the way to the end of the year and past it too). At first I want to slap my romance handicap on this anime (that I suspect is also based on dating simulations, but I’m lazy to check), but this anime has a heavy dose of slice-of-life genre in it so I will let it pass.
A blind middle-school kid moves to a God-forsaken village in the search of the cure to his blindness, and he instead got to play with a bunch of beautiful girls (and one cross-dressing guy too). A few events that I sometimes can’t fathom happened, and we arrived at a happy ending IINM, and that’s about it.
Watching the first episode of this anime, I got a feeling that this anime is what we got if we cross AIR and Higurashi no Naru Koro ni, without those violent murders or bird transformations of course. After watching up to the episode where they go to the beach, I am convinced that this anime is really a cross of both titles. Unfortunately, this anime’s storyline is not as good as either of them, and the story can only be categorized as decent but not great.
One of the reasons for that is that this anime takes a weakness from Higurashi and incorporate it into this anime, and that weakness is incoherent plot. There are things in this anime that is hard to understand or make no sense outright. You know, like Hinata that can swim suddenly can’t after she reverts to Hotaro?
Another weakness of this anime is the ambiguous ending this anime has. I do not think it was done to indicate a second season, but just like the first weakness, some events at the end of this anime is incoherent in my view. Did the female protagonist die? If yes, then who is that woman at the end of the last episode? If she doesn’t, then what with the expressions on the faces of the rest of the characters? So many questions that I have to make assumptions of.
Other weaknesses include the slow pacing at the middle of the series. Meanwhile character developments are done well, helped by the character-specific presentation per episode. There are no strong characters like the female protagonist in AIR though.
Earlier in the series, she can swim. Later in the scene above, she can’t. What gives?
Just like Clannad, no difference really from what you can see from H-games. As usual, all stereotypes are in, but at least the main female protagonist has black hair.
A positive point of this anime, generally this anime has great voice acting, although with some exceptions. The main male protagonist notable excels in his role as an indecisive spineless bastard which neck I want to break.
The OST is great, but the OP/ED themes are not.
She loses her wallet, she looks inside her hand-bag and she did not found it. She desperately shook down all the contents of her handbag to find it to no avail. I can hear the sound of the content of the handbag coming down the earth but I cannot see it. What gives?
With most of the 2007 anime titles I have reviewed to date has excellent animation, this 2008 anime, the first one I reviewed, has mediocre animation quality at best. ‘Mediocre’ is probably not a correct word, ‘lazy’ is probably more like it. See the screenshot for more details. And when I am at it, the fansub group (BakaWolf and m.3.3.w.) that subbed this anime really screwed up the upscaling process while encoding. This is not the first time they have done it, and I probably may just get the normal version instead of the upscaled ones if I were to watch their releases again.
The choreography is nothing to write about because there are almost no action scenes here. The directing is good and does his/her job, and that’s about it.
7 out of 10. I don’t think this anime can do a Nodame Cantabile and hold on to this provisional Anime of The Year 2008 title until the end of the year. There are bunches of 2008 anime that I am collecting (and reviewed if permitted) that I think is better than this one. Myself, Yourself will conclude this 2007 (and one 2008) wave of reviews in few days.
To BakaWolf-m.3.3.w. group, fire your encoder. And the QC team too while you’re at it. No ffdshow filter tinkering can save the quality of the encode here.