Imagine, if you will, an end to conflict, a world of peace, a universe where seldom a cross word is exchanged, much less an utterance of aggression. Truly, this would be a wonderful place to live - but watching it for 26 episodes? My, does it ever drag.
Da Capo crawls unapologetically from the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of harem anime. In this school, a generic male lead is pursued by a series of improbably acquiescent girls, who differ from one anime to the next solely by virtue of having their hairstyles and personality hooks randomly reassigned. As a rule, the next step is to introduce a novel setting, to plot an interesting story or perhaps to thread the characters into a comedic tapestry. Unhappily, Da Capo doesn't seem to have read that far into the instructions booklet and dismisses every one of these suggestions, instead including... nothing.
Going back to my first paragraph, this series fails principally because it is entirely free of any kind of friction. There is no adverse force to challenge the characters; there is no conflict between the characters themselves; there's not even a personality clash worthy of note. It just feels like one ceaseless bombardment of fake smiles, like an eternity spent in Starbucks. Supposedly, more than one of the girls is attracted to the unpardonably prosaic character of Junnichi Asakura, yet - aside from a handful of trivial scuffles between the two primary love interests - none of them seem to care enough to do something about it. In fact, Junnichi could have saved everyone a lot of time by just drawing up a rota and leaving it at that.
At only two points in the series does Da Capo threaten to excite in any way, shape or form, and these embers of drama are abruptly extinguished. What seem to be a dark ploy and compelling character shift turn out to be an accident and a misunderstanding, and the series returns to its irenic, monotony. Perhaps conscious of the mass-boredom being left in their wake, the later episodes finish early to be augmented by a five-minute "side episode". It is a small mercy, however, as these comprise a few sequences of unfunny nothingness and dull arthouse surrealism, two moments of mild and stylish intrigue and then one final burst of soul-destroying pointlessness. As was the case with the body of the show, a single good idea is diluted with blandness, and then struck down before it dares to captivate the viewer.
The animation is passable, but far from spectacular. The lighting is done well, and nothing is truly awry. However, while some of the up-close animation is pleasing, there is no outstanding attention to detail. Indeed, there is nothing at all that is striking or memorable, aside from some face-distorting conceits which are as unfunny as they are overused. Certainly there is nothing in the animation which compensated me adequately for the way in which the story numbed my mind.
The soundtrack is actively annoying. Each "funny" scene flaunts one of a selection of irritating, whimsical ditties as though they are some kind of license to amuse. Instead, they make the scene's failure to gratify all the more obvious and maddening. As for the main themes, whoever wrote the opening and ending tunes somehow managed to marry generic with irritating, giving rise to the pair of cacophonous lovechildren which bookend each sorry episode.
Most of the voices are tolerable but, predictably, those that remain in the consciousness are the truly annoying ones. It's not enough that Moe Mizukoshi falls asleep every few seconds; apparently her spaced-out nature must also be emphasised vocally, by stretching out every blasted sentence to the point where fingernails on a blackboard would be blessed relief. Although she is the worst offender, other characters also manage to do this. They repeatedly use their voices to reflect their superficial personalities and drive them home with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
Uninspiring. Unoriginal. Uncommonly nauseating. These are just some of the "un-" adjectives which describe the majority of the show's cast. In a romance anime - or a romance anything, for that matter - it's pivotal that the characters be interesting and worthy of sympathy. In Da Capo's case, half of them invoke feelings of idle hatred, whilst the other half incite nothing but indifference.
What little plot is offered depends quite heavily on the viewer's emotional involvement with the protagonists. You need to care about each individual in order to care about their insignificant backstories and minor plights. It's hardly a surprise that this involvement scuppered by the fact that there is no reason to care. Those last few words may sound somewhat nihilistic but those are the depths that watching this meritless dross has brought me to.
I watched Da Capo a while back when I was sick. I was home from school, and felt like doing something to pass the time. On some anime watching site I found this so called "Da Capo" and figured "why the heck not". Little did I know I would be bored sh*tless for the next 26 f**king episodes and so on to find a second season, and a sequel.
Story: The anime starts out in the dream of Asakura Junnichi. This was a good direction to start causing me to continue watching the first episode. The dream ends with an indication that this Junnichi has some sort of magical powers, and we then find are character awakened by his sister-in-law. After an awkward "is he going kiss her scene" the show continues from there following the same pattern every harem anime does. Enough said, you know what I mean. (The beach, exams, the carnival) The anime does one thing good through, and that's getting to hate many of the fucking dull boring characters. My point being that I fell asleep at least 5 different episodes, and spent about 15 others talking to my self for entertainment and to prevent my self from falling asleep. The only time I really payed any attention was at the end when I thought all my boredom would be over... until I learned there was a second season.
Animation: For a 2003 anime based off a Adult Visual Novel, the animation quality is poor. For they do an okay job at lighting (for the time) the actual quality isn't all that spectacular. The characters aren't to great either, nor original. The only thing I was really interested was "some" of the backgrounds. They also seemed to a rather good job at trees (That's not saying much).
Sound: The music wasn't that great in this. I think one of the ost's was "ok" but nothing memorable. In fact I don't remember a single song or even the op "which I played the 26 times I watched one of these boring episodes).
Characters: Awful, all unoriginal and boring. In fact, the only ones that weren't boring were the ones I winded up hating the most, Nemu and Sakura. These characters just pissed me off weather it was the jealousy or the shitty fucking dialog. I couldn't tell if it was the writing that through me off most of the time, or the voice actors.
Overall: The only reason why this didn't get anything lower was because there is MUCH worse things out there. Boredom isn't really a reason to give it something that low, and honestly there it wasn't completely boring, wait no never mind, it was. But the boring aspect is my opinion, and I don't honestly liking giving a review based on my "opinion". This might have not been a good start for this anime series, but I was happy to see how the entire thing improved in the later season, or the sequel season. Still if you are going to watch Da Capo, I recommend the better of the 2 different name related shows and watch Da Capo 2.
D.C - Da Capo First Season & Second Season Review
Plot: On an island where cherry blossoms bloom all year-round, love seems to always be in the air. It is in this magical atmosphere that Asakura Junnichi lives, and when he dreams he travels to the dreams of others, rather than have any of his own. In everyday high-school life, he is accompanied by his adopted sister, Nemu, and an eclectic group of friends including a j-pop idol-in-the-making and a girl they knew from their childhood. Promises, and magic, and love -- Junnichi seems to dream about every girl he knows, but which girl dreams of him...?" (site synopsis)
Story: Been a while since i last did a review around here, think some people pretty much missed me, anyway after i came across this "hidden gem" titled as Da Capo i was abit amazed, impressed of how good this show was. Yeah, i admit, i do love harem animes, even though they are not so realistic (and this show lacks it all) i was pretty much impressed of how good this one was, all this stuff were tied out toghether in such a nice way, that it made me marathon this show until the end (my god, i dun even wana remember, i spent almost 10 hours in a row watching this show, without taking breaks, only going to bathroom, still remember how pissed were some people, however i think it worth it). The story is centered on a teenage, high school student named Jun'ichi Asakura. He lives toghether with his sister Nemu Asakura on an island named Hatsunejima, a mysterious island, having cherry trees that bloom and never wither. The story follows Jun'ichi as he interracts with other people, such as his friend Suginami and socializing with other girls such as Mako, her older sister Moe, the school idol Shirakawa Kotori, the energetic, cheerful banana addict Amakase Miharu and his childhood friend Sakura Yoshino. At first glance, Jun'ichi seems like a normal high-school student though actualy he has the power to wield magic, but he is refered to be a failure, he inherited the blood of the Yoshino family yet he did not succed in becoming a true magic user, like Sakura. As the story goes on, Nemu and Jun'ichi grow closer, becoming more like lovers, one thing that is not mentioned is that actualy Nemu and Jun'ichi are not blood related siblings, which is a relief, just the though that this might turn into an incestuous anime, kinda made me dislike it anyway because of this fact i continued watching it. The mysterious island of Hatsunejima has a lot to offer, from a tree that always has cherry-blossoms and never withers, that grants wishes and can understand the pure hearts of people, this tree actualy plays an important role here mainly because most of the people that Jun'ichi interracted with, including the closest ones such as Nemu and Sakura, made a wish at that tree, and not only them. As Nemu and Jun'ichi grow closer to one another, Sakura becomes more and more eager to end their relationship. Like i said this is probably one of the most unrealistic romance stories i ever watched but its one that i truly enjoyed, lets be serious who wouldn't love (pointing especialy to guys) to have a harem of girls around him. The first half of Da Capo starts as an romantic comedy, funny as hell, entertaining, that draws a smile on your face, but the second half turns into a serious drama, so dramatic that you might think that this will actualy end tragicaly (there is a second season as well though so nothing to loose).
Animation and Sound: Not bad in terms of animation, as expected from an anime that is inspired from visual novel even though its an erotic one actualy. I pretty muc liked how the characters were designed, some with funny looks other with appropriate looks. In terms of sound, the opening and endings are more orientated for an female audience, did not really like them as much as i did like the background sounds.
Characters: Surely, Da Capo shines in terms of characters. So many characters, with such different personalities, this is one of the things that makes Da Capo worth watching. All and i mean all of the character were developed more or less, giving some details about even though they were not that accurate, it gave a better taste to this show. Jun'ichi is not really my type of favorite character and still i wonder how come he managed to create his own harem, considering that he is such a boring guy. The shy Kotori, the violent Mako, the slow and cheerful Moe, the energetic Miharu, the annoying Sakura, all of them are like one of a kind, so different personalities yet they were able to get along, however all of them started to grow feelings towards Jun'ichi.
Overall: In one word, amazing, Da Capo surely impressed me, and i recommend this show to everyone, making abstraction of anime tastes and stuff like that, this is entertaining, funny, cute, dramatic, it has all the stuff that an anime shud have tied toghether. Anyway at how good this first season was it would be ashame to stop at it, the other ones are even better, with much more story/character development. Fans of Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka should definitely try this one out.
Asakura Junnichi lives with his sister on an island where the cherry blossoms bloom all year around. Is there magic in the air or is this a natural phenomenon? Either way it brings a romantic setting to locals all year around. Asakura does not dream but has the unique ability to explore other people’s dreams instead. Each night Asakura seems to visit a dream of a girl that he knows. What does this mean for Asakura and what does he learn from his dreams?
Da Capo just appeared to be another harem anime on the surface but it turned into something beautiful. For the first 12 or so episodes it was very unimpressive. Da Capo just followed the usual formula, introduce each new character one by one until you had the whole cast and then the whole group would go a group event. Even though it’s a harem there is an over powering love triangle which is certainty a strong focus in this anime.
Magic seems to be important part of this anime however it not really. This anime is definitely a slice of life/romance anime. There are hints of comedy which adds a nice touch but the main focus is on the daily lives of each of the characters. The concept of Asakura exploring the dreams of the girls he knows was interesting because it allowed character development through a vehicle other than flash backs which was a nice change.
The characters were very well done. They had hints of the stereotypes which commonly plague harem anime but they were no means the stereotypes. I viewed each character as an individual not a representative type of character and the audience also gained a connection with the characters. The audience really felt for the characters and really understood them.
Da Capo took an interesting turn when the male lead made up his mind about which girl he wanted about two thirds the way through. I found this every interesting because it allowed them to show some aftermath of his decision. Instead of just finishing abruptly with everyone happy as Larry, it displayed a more realistic finish of jealousy, reason and explanation of why he chose the particular girl. This added great depth to this anime and I applaud Da Capo exploring this usually untapped area.
The animation was pretty standard in this anime but the music was really good. Not only were they good song but they matched the anime and situations extremely well. I loved to listen to these anime songs again because they were just really well done coupled with the video scenes in the back ground.
Overall Da Capo was genuinely well done. Even though it starts off a little slow it worth watching the whole thing because the slow start sets Da Capo up for a strong and interesting finish.
Da Capo (DC) belongs to the better side of harems, since is tries to be more than just fan service or simplistic characters in weird relationships. It is otherwise not really fully exploiting its own merits and ends up feeling bad half the time. And with Key works looming frightfully over its head, it is not even alone in the higher ranks of the genre; so I’m not going to go easy on it. DC is also based on a long series of hentai games but the adaptation is of course taking out the naughty parts and makes the whole thing feel like a joke. It is a usual treatment to the genre; those who want more must play the games and thus fill the industry’s pockets.
Let’s start with the story, which is the thing most of its kind hardly bothers with. The premise is indeed very catchy as it involves an island of evergreen sakura trees, where wishes are granted. Most characters in the story also have a supernatural element to themselves, like the protagonist being able to see other peoples’ dreams, a girl reading thoughts of others, a loli-looking high-schooler, an android, a cat maid, and so on. The story makes sure it use all that as part of an overall plot and doesn’t simply have them there as a useless dressing and sexual fetishes, thus it is nice to see such touches in an otherwise predictable genre. The worldview of the setting is like that of dreams, where people have desires and problems that need to be resolved in order to move ahead in life and the magic of the island helps them in their struggle. Most of such problems have to do with unusual traits that others must accept or with you having to find a way to use them properly. All these elements are what effectively make the show to stand out from all others of its kind.
Unfortunately, they are as I said not fully exploited and a show that could be heavy on character drama is rather left to be just a typical light love comedy with some weird stuff going on in it. Almost half of the episodes are practically fillers, with many more being recaps or simply introduction to a secondary character. Heck, one third of all episodes are spin-off scenes about singing and other similar nonsense. Even the characters themselves are not all looked into their issues as much as some others, effectively having a cast of numerous side characters and a few major ones, who also take part in the main romantic conflict. For a harem, only two girls and a guy feels a bit poor, considering there is a dozen of them present. And from all possible pairings, why are all the major ones only incest-related? Shouldn’t they be the hardest? And as usual, we are just left to assume all girls fall for the same blunt archetype, when he is nothing special as usual. Well thanks for ruining the otherwise catchy idea.
As much as I liked the setting and the character supernatural traits, I just can’t overlook how most were hardly given the attention they needed to become great in my mind. The ending is another issue to consider, as it feels way too weird for its own good, as if it tried to be special by having a NGE/Clannad ending, when in reality it wasted more than half its duration in aimless comedy and then threw in something weird just to win the last impressions. That is why I consider both story and characters to be half-good.
Art and Sound are very good for this type of show. Many praise its details and soundtrack but I personally wasn’t amazed with all that. There are way too many scenes where the characters are poorly drawn and the animation is just a few frames of blobs going back and forth. And the music, as dreamy as it was, is not something memorable for me. Voice acting is quite good in terms of passion but squeaky voices were never my thing. You can say I even disliked all those silly accessories many girls wear that move as if they have a will of their own. Seriously, if one watches Clannad this will feel bad in overall. But I will be lenient on them and still give a thumbs up for the dreamy setting of the sakura trees and the dialogues around several issues which are not always about breast sizes and incest romances.
Is it a great anime? Not for me. It could have been if it focused a lot more on those funky elements with the magic and the character dramas and had more girls going bold with the main male.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 2/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 2/2
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 2/4, Sound Effects 2/3
STORY SECTION: 5/10
Analysis: Premise 2/2, Pacing 1/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 0/2, Conclusion 1/2
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10
Analysis: Presence 1/2, Personality 1/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 1/2, Catharsis 1/2
VALUE SECTION: 2/10
Analysis: Historical Value 0/3, Rewatchability 0/3, Memorability 2/4
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
Analysis: Art 1/1, Sound 0/2, Story 1/3, Characters 1/4
And now some few extra info about the later seasons, as I won’t bother making more reviews about DC. They just rehash the same idea and are worse all the way.
In Da Capo 1 season 2, some well established characters from this season are removed and replaced with far less interesting ones and acting as if all the resolution of the first finale never happened. And the setting is no longer so dreamy or magical, while the plot is mostly fillers and the conclusion just typical and uneventful.
In Da Capo 2 seasons 1 and 2, the series returns to the same concept of the magical sakura trees, as the scriptwriters probably realized that this was what made the original good. The cast is entirely different, as the story happens many decades in the future and again involves the granting of wishes. Unfortunately, by now the formula felt too tired and the new cast was far less interesting and far more sexualized. Although the ending tried to be powerful and WTF once more, it turns out the same trick doesn’t work equally as well as the first time. This anime is basically a more sexual and dark rehash of the first series, with the first season being considered the worst of all installments and the second being the best.
In Da Capo If, it is just a small OVA show, in an alternative setting where the lead male of Da Capo 1 chooses a different girl. Well, it’s part of the new trend of resetting the story and having the lead choosing someone else, just to please the fans of a different girl. It is not much of a story other than fan pleasing.