Archive for the 'true tears' Category

How on Earth do they manage to cram so much drama and emotion (and dangling bento boxes) into a single episode of true tears?

Answer to question: Nishimura Junji, that’s how.

Episode 7 was plot twist after plot twist, and the plot jerks you around like you are a bento box dangling on a belt above a flight of stairs. The hard thing about watching this series, at least for me, is that I like the entire cast, male and female alike, and I don’t want to see any of them have their life destroyed. But, of course, for all of them to be happy, barring a deus ex machina of some sort, some of them are going to have to suffer. The fact that the series is called “true tears” isn’t much of a upper either.

The fact that I like the entire main cast astounds me. None of the characters are behaving in such an idiotic fashion. Hiromi might behave idiotically at times, but I don’t not like her because of it, and at any rate her character is such that it’s impossible not to feel sorry for her and her predicament.

Noe gets some depth, now; last time I mentioned she was the least developed, but now she’s something more than just a cute face and a quirky expression. I think the first episode had something along the lines of those that got involved with Noe were cursed and had horrible things happen to them. This is most certainly true, as she seems to be the cause of all the complications. Ai-chan wouldn’t have kissed Shin’ichiro if she hadn’t been there when Noe’s brother told him to date Noe, nor would she have tried to break up with Miyokichi. The tantalizing n-gon of the relationships in this series is amazing.

There’s not much to predict, as this series has been entirely unprefictable from start to finish. My gut feeling tells me Noe is going to be the one left behind to feel miserable all by herself, which will bring back her tears, but I really have no idea. Sometimes, I find comfort in knowing where something is going, but on the flip side, recklessly charging into the unknown with no clue what’s going to happen next is a marvelous feeling too. I think this series is the best of the season for sure, and is probably going to be one of the best of the year, when 2008 is said and done. Yes, I’m naming best-ofs already. That’s how good this is.


I said it. Oops.

That’s what I call an episode of anime.

I think it’s safe to say that at this point, Shin’ichiro, Hiromi, and Ai are all fairly complex characters. Noe’s pretty much been left aside, sort of–she’s certainly the least-developed of the main cast. It’s slightly surprising to me, even though I know this is the same Nishimura Junji who directed Simoun–I didn’t think this series would get this way. By “this way” I mean “this is getting better than ef.” Maybe it’s just freshness, and the fact that ef’s ending is a couple months behind me, but true tears has got something that even the mighty ef lacked: strong characters. Now, ef had strong characters of a kind, and I’m not downgrading my opinion of the series at all, it’s just that true tears is doing something you didn’t see in ef. In exchange for the removal of fancypants SHAFT showing off their mad directing skills (which was the real meat of ef), you have much more subtle directing, but stronger characters (which is the real meat of true tears). And both these series air in successive seasons to each other. I’m thinking it’s a little unfair to compare them, but it’s the easiest way to illustrate the true strength of true tears.

The other way to illustrate the strength of true tears is to, of course, actually talk about the characters. Even a relatively minor character like Shin’ichiro’s mother is more complex than most mother characters are in series of this type, and for good reason, given Hiromi’s origin. Hiromi herself wants to love Shin’ichiro (and may even suspect that he likes her, we’re not exactly sure on this point) but yet she gets angry at him all the time, most likely due to her nebulous origin. Ai, of course, really loves Shin’ichiro, yet somehow agreed to date his best friend. Oh, what a complex and tangled web we weave.

The music too, I’ve finally decided, is wonderful, and skillfully used. Basically, every element of true tears, although none of them are ostentatious in and of themselves, combine, through the power of narrative, to create a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. With this and ef, it seems like galge are getting somewhat more complex than even Kanon. It’s a wonderful trend, and I’m glad people are responding with positive reception. It’s interesting, too, to see such things develop out of the moe phenomenon: instead of hastily slapped together “moe blobs”, we get actual characters in a show that could theoretically be described as a bishoujo show, although, depending on how you interpret bishoujo, not wholly. They’re certainly about strong female characters, though. And they’re most decidedly not another incarnation of Da Capo. Bonus: they’re cute.

Don’t you DARE touch my tako wiener, Hiromi.

That is not your tako weiner. That is my tako weiner. Touch it and I kill you.

So true tears continues to impress. I’m not necessarily a “fan” of galge adaptations in general, love of ef – a tale of memories aside, but true tears is a weird galge adaptation: for one, I don’t think it’s got a lick of anything to do with the game of the same name (and even seems to have a different logo, I think), and two, as I am fond of repeating, it’s directed by Nishimura Junji, of Simoun fame. true tears, however, is a charmer of a series. The little character touches they put in there are quite subtle, and Noe’s quirkiness is a wonder to behold.

Unlike ef, whose plot was relatively simple, true tears is a complex web of misunderstandings and consequences. For instance, take the Hiromi’s room scene from episode 5: Shin’ichiro thinks he’s doing Hiromi a favor by telling her that the boy he thinks she likes that he finds her cute, when it’s exactly the opposite: Hiromi is too shy and possibly ashamed to tell Shin’ichiro her true feelings for him, and instead she gets mad at him, because she doesn’t realize that Shin’ichiro likes her too. Whew. If that’s not complicated, I don’t know what is. And that’s just the relationship between two characters!

And, speaking of the room scene, I loved the way it was done. Nishimura took a page from Tokyo Marble Chocolate and showed the same scene from two perspectives, first Shin’ichiro’s, and then Hiromi’s. I found it a novel and non-linear approach to telling both sides of the story within the same episode, even more fun because I didn’t expect it and was momentarily confused. It was almost like I was having ef flashbacks, except with different kinds of pretty visuals.

true tears is essentially at the halfway mark, and it’s only been improving with age. I don’t know if I’ll like it as much as ef (again with the ef! Surely there’s some other highly-regarded galge conversion series out there) but it’s a strong series in its own right.

Love Pentagons (as well as body wash and birdseed) Leave a Bitter Aftertaste, Indeed

Four episodes into true tears and we’re set for drama. Shin’ichiro likes Hitomi, Noe like Shin’ichiro, and Aiko likes Miyakichi (but secretly likes Shin’ichiro), and who knows who else is going to enter the fray, so we might end up with a love heptagon or something (I dare someone to make a diagram if this happens. Make sure it has sides of equal length!). I’m liking it so far. It strikes a good balance between the serious and the silly, and I like the way comical moments (such as brushing one’s teeth with body wash) tie into the overall plot. It’s a changeup from the Key method of inserting humor, where the humor serves as a kind of gimmick to create affection between the viewer and the character. Not that that is a bad thing, necessarily, but it’s good in true tears as this series is only going to be 13 episodes long, and they’ll need all the plot development they can cram into it.

And I think that comparisons with ef – a tale of memories are going to be inevitable on the behalf of other people, but, as with all things, the strengths of each are different. ef was made spectacular via its visual flair and excellent directorial execution. true tears is much more subdued, of course, but it makes up for it by having more engaging characters and a more complex plot. true tears has been much better at four episodes plot-wise than ef was at the same length, although, again, ef had its visual stylings to carry the day. It’ll boil down to taste as to which one individuals decide to like better than the other, although I have the feeling that ef is going to be far more popular than true tears ever will be.

One other thing to mention–the art. It’s so…pretty. NIshimura’s always been about the pretty (well, at least, he was about the pretty in Simoun, less so in Ranma 1/2, but the latter is from the 80s, so…) and it’s nice to see he’s still got a knack for stunningly rendered background visuals. It’s not quite as good as the faux-watercolor backgrounds of Simoun, but pair up the background art with the bold character art and you’ve got yourself a very pretty series indeed. And I like pretty.

Shin’ichiro does not make a good chicken

But he does make a good love triangle protagonist.

Like Nishimura’s previous series, Simoun, True Tears manages to rise above what some may call a cliched and hackneyed genre in anime–that of the harem-esque love triangle (or, since this is anime, love dodecahedrons)–and puts a fresh spin on it. I’ve really enjoyed the mellow mood of these first two episodes. There’s just enough light humor to keep it from being a total drama-fest, and mysteriously-in-good-taste fanservice of sorts. I think NIshimura is having fun throwing in the random pantyshots in this series (he did, so sayeth ANN, direct the nudity-fest that was Ranma 1/2).

And I really like Shin’ichiro. He’s one of those characters that they could just as easily made a flat stand-in for the viewer to project their emotions on (as is common), but they instead opted to flesh him out. We’ve only got two episodes of development, but he’s certainly not the king of spineless whiny wimp that ruins these sorts of series for so many people. As I expected from Nishimura, they’re aiming to tell a story, rather than parade girls around for the viewer’s lustful enjoyment–a tried-and-true tactic, to be sure, but not one that wins awards.

In sum: after two episodes, True Tears will probably be one of the two highlights of this winter season (the other being Okami to Koshinryo), so often a season of dullness and drudgery while waiting for the real deal to start in spring. Breaths of fresh air in this season are always appreciated.

And, hey: classier panties than Rosario + Vampire. Quality > quantity.


This show is so pretty. I love you, Nishimura Junji.

So, I finally got around to watching my other hotly anticipated show of the winter season, True Tears. It’s only been the first episode, but I was quite impressed with it. For one, as I said above, it’s truly beautiful to behold. It’s pretty in a different way than Simoun’s faux watercolor backgrounds were–here, it’s a bit more like Makoto Shinkai making a TV anime. But yes, the visuals.

The actual content of the episode was much, much better than I expected. There appears to be some mysticism regarding Shin’ichiro and certainly around Noe, the main girl. I didn’t expect the plot to be so…different. I was kind of expecting a kind-of harem love-triangle drama, which it may yet become, or may not.

One thing is certain: this series is classy. Shin’ichiro walks in on a resident in the house he lives in with what I presume is his family (or possibly his sister) changing for the bath and it’s totally just…there. You see her panties (they are striped, of course) and her bare back, and later, you see her fastening her bra, but…it’s just there. That’s probably due to the fact that this isn’t a comedy, but there wasn’t even a “Kyaa! Ecchi!” (people who have seen this episode will understand that this is a plot point) or anything.

I’m expecting full-blown character development here, NIshimura. Bring it on. I can handle it.

Advanced Forays into New Types of Anime Blogging Never Seen Before (Plus Wolf Girls!)

In other words, now I am blogging a PROMO!

The True Tears promo, actually. Contrary to my previous expectations, it actually has a GUY in it, so no delicious Nishimura yuri for me. :( However, even so, the strength of Simoun for me was how Nishimura handled the relationships. And the main scriptwriter, Okada Mari, worked with Nishimura on Simoun, as well as for Aria the NATURAL, Sketchbook, and Red Garden (?). However, he (she? I can’t tell with these names sometimes) also worked on Kodomo no Jikan, which really shouldn’t count against him (her) as SOMEONE had to write it. (Similarly, Nishimura directed Ranma 1/2, because SOMEONE had to direct it) Not that I dislike Kodomo no Jikan, it’s more that it’s a different kind of show than what I expect True Tears to end up as. In a heartening counterbalance, however, it appears that Okada did same for Kita e ~Diamond Dustdrops~ which I take to be a similar series to True Tears. I’m interested in both.

It should be noted that I’m not expecting an EARTH-SHAKING INSTANT CLASSIC out of True Tears–if the series manages to be a soft, sad story that hits me at just that right note, I’ll probably like it. The fact that it’s “based” on a Broccoli game kind of worries me a bit (although the anime seems to have nothing to do with the game whatsoever) but, eh. I’m hoping it’ll be a fun little series like Blue Drop has been thus far for me. Except now with less yuri. Romance is romance, what can I say?

Also short, unrelated update: Still massively looking forward to Okami to Koshinryo. Horo apparently is walking around naked all casual-like in the manga. And Horo is hot so that can only be a good thi–

Er, I mean, she’s a really well-developed character! Yes! That’s it! Development! Personality!

Look! Bread! Development! Wolf ears!



I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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