A Town Where You Live OVA (Kimi no Iru Machi)

(2 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a 18-volume (and counting) romance manga. Obviously, some degree of compression and creativity was needed to fit some of it into such a short format.


Haruto Kirishima, our generic male lead. Lives in a small country town.

Yuzuki Eba, a Tokyo girl who randomly decided to live at Haruto’s (the flashback is too vague to determine the exact circumstances), to his irritation. Presumably one thing eventually led to another, because the actual story here is that she’s now gone back to live in Tokyo, and they have kept a long-distance relationship over the last few months. Today he comes to Tokyo on a class trip, and they’re planning on finally meeting again.

Nanami Kanzaki, a classmate of Haruto’s whom he used to have a crush on. After presumably months of awkward love triangle, she eventually settled for them being just friends. Anyway, she’s also part of the class trip, and asks him to play the role of her boyfriend while she meets with one of her friends (to whom she bragged a bit too much). There’s absolutely no way for this to backfire !

Akari Kaga, said friend. It’s obvious she’s not entirely fooled by Nanami’s stunt.

Production Values

Perfectly serviceable. Some nice bits of scenery porn, even.

Overall Impression

Let’s be frank : the first half of this episode is fairly dull, as the two leads struggle to set up their meeting in a very boring way. Neither of them come off as particularly interesting here.

But this completely change once Nanami enters the picture. It’s charming how she scrambles to reinvent a happy relationship with Haruto despite things not having turned some well (as some judiciously chosen flashbacks show while illustrating her unreliable narration). There’s some genuine chemistry and drama in this very well-designed scene, even when you can plainly see the inevitable cliffhanger coming from the moment it starts.

It’s always a risky choice to adapt a long-running manga by choosing a storyarc set quite late in the overall story ; you can alienate a lot of potential viewers with convoluted relationships between characters they’ve not gradually grown familiar with (hello, Wandering Son !). This OVA avoids nicely the trap by focusing on the essentials of the relationship between the three leads, and making its particular story stand on its own. While it does matter that those three have a lot of history together (presumably detailed in numerous manga volumes I haven’t read), all you need to know is summed up perfectly in a way that seamlessly builds into the plot. The more I think about it, the more I can’t help by admire it.

Hopefully the concluding episode will live up to such a promising start.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012 – Page 2.


(6 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Leiji Matsumoto does Dune. Well, kinda.


Maya, a princess in distress on the run from a generic army of bad guys. Whatever this is all about, she’s not telling yet. (Not that she gets much of a chance, what with getting interrupted all the time.)

Sam Coin, our teenage protagonist, who was originally out to fish for some Ozma (basically, giant sandworms) until he stumbled onto Maya’s chase scene ; he takes advantage of the confusion of an Ozma appearance to rescue Maya and bring her back to his home.

Said home is some sort of vaguely pirate-like sand-ship (that can burrow underground if needed). There are scores of minor characters in the crew, with the most noteworthy being Mimei, Sam’s not-girlfriend (who’s obviously terribly jealous around the new chick) and the Captain, a charismatic and cool-looking woman (until you realize she’s just zoned out).

Oh, and the army of bad guys is led by a Cyclops lookalike who’s obviously important, given his distinctive character design. (Not that they actually do much evil yet ; maybe it’s all a misunderstanding ?)

Production Values

Pretty good on the action side, although the CG elements are a bit too obvious to my liking.

Leiji Matsumoto’s hand in the designs is unmistakable : there are four noteworthy female characters, and they all have the same face ! (It’s all the more grating because some random male members of the crew get very distinctive designs.)

Overall Impression

I’m still not sure what to make of this. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it (my above very minor quibbles aside), it’s got enough energy to carry itself over… But, well, it’s more than a bit on the generic side.

Still, it’s only 6 episodes, and it’s perfectly inoffensive ; I could see myself sticking with it till its end.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012.

The Scarlet Fragment (Hiiro no Kakera)

(26 episodes)

What’s it about ?

It’s an adaptation of an otome game. You see those romance-simulators where the player can chose between a harem of characters ? This is the female-oriented version, where the player-stand-in is surrounded by a bunch of pretty boys.


Tamaki, our generic female protagonist. With her parents off doing cooperation work over in Africa or something, she’s moving back to the countryside to her grandmother’s estate. Which is very convenient, because she’s the next in line to be the Local Princess Protector Of Stuff, and Granny’s about to retire. She has no clue what this is all about, although she does seem to have the innate skill required to cast spells against the random creepy things crawling around the place.

Takuma, the mandatory gruff bishie who begrudgingly escorts her the whole episode (voiced by Tomokazu Sugita, impeccable as always). There seems to be no depth whatsoever to him besides that. He just grumbles and reluctantly gives some exposition from time to time.

Tamaki enrolls at the local high school, and there are a bunch of of female classmates that might have gotten a chance at becoming supporting characters if Takuma hadn’t dragged Tamaki out of the classroom within 30 seconds so that she could meet more bodyguard bishies. There’s the short one with a size complex, the quiet deadpan one, and the handsomer-than-the-others glasses dude.

Just in case you’re wondering whether there’s actually a plot here, the last minute shows us Tamaki’s Evil Blonde Counterpart and her squad of underlings. Not that they do anything yet, mind you.

Production Values

Slightly better than you’d expect. The random monsters do look suitably creepy and menacing, at the very least.

Overall Impression

This could have been worse. Sugita pulls off his character without being too annoying. Some of the jokes work. (I like that Tamaki’s bodyguards are called “The Five” despite there only being four of them.) The monsters look good.

But the key issue here is that it’s dreadfully unoriginal. There’s nothing to set it apart from any other series in the same genre. None of the characters display any dimensions beyond their respective archetypes. To put it bluntly, I just don’t care, and I can’t see myself bothering with another episode ; nearly everything else this season looks more interesting than “Generic Otome Game Adaptation #1642”.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012.

Carried by the Wind: Tsukikage Ran

(13 episodes, 2000)

My previous exposure

Suggested in this very thread.

What’s it about ?

Ran Tsukikage is a drifter that everyone she meets thinks is a samurai. (And she does have the skill : if she starts fighting you, you WILL lose, often in a matter of seconds.) She’s a woman of few words who rarely gives a toss about anything around her, except when sake’s involved ; in which case she’ll start rambling incoherently like a mean drunk.

Her sidekick is Meow, a very talkative martial artist who stumbled onto Ran in the first episode and stuck with her ever since. Let’s be frank, Meow is a bit stupid and gullible, which often provides the hook to involve the duo with whatever the plot of the week is. (This is a very episodic series.)

Mostly, they aimlessly roam the Edo-period Japanese countryside while getting on each other’s nerves. And the audience’s, too.

What did I think of it ?

Well, this could have gone better. While I don’t have a problem against our protagonists’ double act in theory, in practice it can get quite irritating very quickly (especially if Meow starts shouting a bit too much). While most of the time their antics reach the level of “mildly funny”, they rarely rise about it, and sometimes go down to “bloody annoying”.

It doesn’t help that I’m pretty sure I’ve already watched half of these plots, with much better execution, over in Samurai Champloo. Sure, that’s no fault of this show, but the comparison is unavoidable. Here, the directing is pedestrian, most of the characters are one-dimensional (special mention to the generic bad guys, who couldn’t sound more B-movie evil if they tried), and the strict episodic format prevents from attaining any kind of depth.

As it is, the series is cute for a few episodes, after which watching it became a bit of a chore. (I think I lost most of my goodwill with the “Meow finds a baby” episode and its questionable gender politics. And the less said about the “idiot blonde foreigner” episode, the better.) Not that it’s bad, but it just wasn’t funny enough to really be worth the time.

via [LTTP/WIW] Various anime from the 00s and beyond – Page 11.