If there's one thing that grinded me about Myself; Yourself, it's the fact that the opening sequence misrepresents the anime by implying that there would be a band of some sorts present. Alas, this turned out to not be the case, and sadly I found that fact more depressing than any of the events that transpired in the series. I mean come on, they went through all that effort to make the opening sequence badass but then shoot the series off in an entirely different direction - what's up with that?
But I digress. In actuality, Myself; Yourself turned out to be an enjoyable watch despite having some rather glaring pacing issues. It traces the poignant tale of five childhood friends who are reunited after five years of separation, but unlike many anime that share a similar plot, it does so in a relatively realistic fashion. On the surface none of the friends, save Nanaka, seem to have changed, but as the story pans out this notion slowly fades. Though the first few episodes seem to display the characters as happy and carefree, the series soon shows this is merely superficial. The characters each must struggle with their own personal problems, ranging from death to abuse to neglect, which provides for rather bleak substance beneath its heart-warming shell. Because of the pacing problems, though, they spend too much time on some of the lesser characters, which really squeezes the life out of Sana and Nanaka's story and causes the series to end rather anti-climactically.
Still, even though the series peaks a bit early, it certainly peaks strong. Though some of the drama seemed a bit forced at times, especially with Asami's story, it never came across as awkward. As such, the buildup to the climax carried a fair amount of emotional weight, and streamlined the jovial-to-serious transition of the series quite naturally. In lieu of its problems, this smooth and efficient feel is really what carried my interest; despite not having an exceptionally intricate plot, the storytelling is exceptional, and that in itself makes it at least worth watching.
Vibrant and beautiful, the animation in Myself; Yourself is, without a doubt, top notch. Visually I felt quite a part of the series, as the character designs and scenery were all lavish with detail; it probably didn't hurt, either, that the female leads were attractive (I'm guessing the males were too but I wouldn't know.) All the characters seemed drawn to fit their personalities, and this definitely helped in creating the dramatic environment that the series aimed for. Character facial expressions proved especially well animated, which really allowed very subtle personalities like Nanaka's to come alive. If nothing else, it's a very pleasant visual experience, and that is never a bad thing.
Of all the series I've sifted through over the years, it's been quite rare for me to not only like both the opening and ending themes of a series but like them a lot. Myself; Yourself happens to one such rare exception, and perhaps this is part of the reason I enjoyed the series as much as I did. Both songs are exemplary and manage to capture the duplicitous nature of the series quite well - the opening is rather upbeat and energetic whereas the ending is more poignant and melancholic. In addition, the insert music wasn't half bad and the voice actors did an excellent job at fleshing out their characters, so there's really not much to complain about.
The characters were definitely the unequivocal heart and soul of Myself; Yourself. Each person carried a specific role, and this kept comedic relief characters (like Aoi) from becoming obnoxious during important moments or scenes; hell, Aoi virtually disappears entirely after the first few episodes. The main pacing problem comes with the introduction of Hinako who, while a tragic character in her own right, simply lacked importance regarding the central relationships of the group of friends. Asami would have been a more appropriate emphasis of the two, though I would have much preferred a more detailed focus on ending the series well rather than more side character development.
Surprisingly, though he did not initially appear as such, Sana proved a very solid, intelligent male lead and Nanaka foiled him well. Though their romance seemed a little contrived, enough backstory was provided to make it believable. Watching their pasts unfold and their friendship slowly redevelop is perhaps the most entertaining aspect of the series, but I must admit Shuu and Shuri's arc was also quite well done. Even with the series' flaws, both arcs proved surprisingly empathetic; I wasn't really interested from the first few episodes, but as they introduced complexities into Nanaka's background I gained appreciation for her and was soon hooked.
Despite being the central focus of the series, though, the Sana-Nanaka relationship was given little emphasis until the very end, and thus was rushed far too much to be as powerful as I'm sure the writers would have liked. Asami also seemed to be somewhat discarded, which bugged me since her character showed a lot of potential during the beginning of the series. She obviously shows some romantic interest in Sana, but the events toward the end of the series seem more an excuse to displace this notion rather than resolve it, so it left her story rather incomplete.
This series starts out being an extremely average love story, doing absolutely nothing worth noting (nor even remembering) for the first third or so of the series. Kid moves back into a childhood town, meets old friends, tries to reestablish bonds with said friends, etc. etc. However, after that part of the series is out of the way, After this point (and all the subsequent face palming done during these first few episodes whilst wondering why you bother to continue this series), they start to throw interesting story arcs at you, giving you a new feel and understanding for each of the characters in the story. At this point, unfortunately, the average viewer will have lost most of their will to continue/care overly about any of the characters. If you are still going by this point, you will be somewhat surprised with the story, and able to enjoy the unusual themes that are explored in this series, which is what truly sets it apart from most other love/comedy series.
Side note: if you are easily annoyed by terribly annoying voice actors, you may want to avoid the series. You have been warned.
Myself; Yourself starts out as Sana returns to his hometown after being gone for several years. He soon meets up with his old friends and starts hanging out with them. However, everyone has grown since they last met. While the friendships are still in place, everyone has gone through their share of trouble in the past few years.
Bluntly put, the first half of Myself; Yourself was an utter disappointment. Be expecting a lot of dull zero-progress episodes with character designs straight from your everyday budget-harem production. And the voice actors, dear lord why… *insert desperate sobbing here*, let’s say you’ll know when “it” hits you, the “it” with glasses.
Despite all horrors you’ll find in the first half of this show, the second half actually provides you with lots of decent drama, and almost every character gets their episode / mini-arc to deal with their story. Sadly, the drama didn’t grip me as much as it could have due to the lack of care I had for most characters.
For me, Myself; Yourself didn’t live up to its name. It’s far from bad, mind you, even a little better than your average show. It’s just that because of the mediocre buildup, it didn’t left me with much of an impression. While I won’t advice people against watching it, I wouldn’t recommend it either; for both drama and romance shows, there are lots of better ones out there.
Note: You can also read this review on my blog page here. Please do check it out because it has pictures! ^.^
Story: 6 (Almost good)
The anime started off as a typical harem, romance drama. Quite unoriginal at first. A guy returns to his hometown and has forgotten a lot of things about his childhood which he gradually remembers throughout the series. (If I'd get a cookie for every time I see this concept in romance/drama anime, I'd be fat as a pig now) Once you get pass that, the story is quite good aside from some slight missteps.
The story gives an impression that it was completed and then a bunch of mini-stories were simply mashed into it just for the sake of more episodes. And these extra stories are not bad by themselves but they are just thrown in and appear so briefly that they have no significance to the main plot what so ever. The 4th episode - the introduction episode of a 10 year-old girl named Hinako Mochida was nothing but a time waster and completely obsolete. It also introduced the most unnecessary thrown-in character I’ve seen in an anime in a long time.
Characters: 8 (Great)
The protagonist is Sana Hidaka - just your stereotypical romance/drama male protagonist with a stereotypical voice. Overall the character wasn't that bad but there were times when he just seemed so ignorant about girls and feelings that he looked plainly dumb and I swear he resembled Makoto Itou from School Days because it seems that people this ignorant can only exist only in anime. The character did become better as the story progressed though.
The main female lead is Nanaka Yatsuhiro and she has the most interesting character development in the series. At first she just seems like a stereotypical tsundere character but the further you get into the story, the more both viewer and the protagonist discover about her past. The character's story was very deep and the development - great.
As for the side characters, we get Watatsuki twins which were great. The twin brother/sister relationship and difficulties that come with it were pretty interesting to watch. Another childhood friend Aoi Oribe and a teacher Yuzuki Fujimura were both great characters that lightened up the mood and acted as support and comic relief.
The most unnecessary character who was thrown-in to series on episode 4 was the 10 year-old girl Hinako Mochida who hated to be considered a child. Other than the fact that she was plainly annoying, I hate that she was there just for those few extra episodes. The main story wouldn't have been affected in any way, shape or form if she hadn't existed. And before you say: "It's a harem so a loli character is needed," let me remind you that she is 10 years old!
Animation: 7 (Good)
Movements were great and the animation itself was good, nothing breath taking but very well done and the animation would have gotten an 8 or 9 from me if not this one scene that was like a like a knife stab in my eyes. There was scene where a train was arriving to the station and for a second or two I had to bear some of the worst CGI I’ve ever seen in an anime. It’s just a personal issue of mine as I'm not a fan of CGI use in anime and I would let it slide if it hadn’t ruined an emotional and important scene in the anime. If an emotional scene gets ruined simply because of an improper use of CGI, point reduction is inevitable.
Sound: 8 (Great)
Both the opening and ending themes were brilliant with appropriate lyrics for the anime. Unfortunately, while the soundtrack wasn’t bad by any means, it didn’t stand out at all. It served its purpose just fine but it wasn't anything special by itself.
Overall: 7 (Good)
Overall, a pretty good anime that could have been better if the story had been a bit more focused or the side-stories had been extended to actually have a meaning. Don't expect from Myself;Yourself as much I did, but give it a try regardless.
To start off with, Myself ; Yourself was the best anime I have ever seen. To my opinion, it's seriously underrated.
I liked everything, you get the image they're all one big happy family, no worries, everyone happy (except Nanaka in the beginning, but besides that). But then, everything steers right to a steep fall. I made a small graph of "Epicness" to express it. Height means amount ( can't give it a name, can I? ), width means which episode.
As you can see, the beginning is extremely boring yet unmissable for "multiplying" the "Epicness". It's a shame I can't explain it further, since it's likely I reveal some spoilers.
There were only two downsidse to this series, the fist thing, aoi's voice. Big minus ( as you can see in score ), yet the rest was ok and ending song was fine too. The second thing, the ending. It closes a lot of stuff though a lot remains open. Darn, I hate that.
If you wanted to know what you'll find in here, it's a lot, but I'll try:
Hatred, Betrayal, Twin Incest, Suicide, Malicious plots, Crushes, F*cked up Memories, Trauma, Drama, etc.
If you ever had the feeling you were missing something while you were watching anime, than watch this one. Myself ; Yourself reminds you of how touching and attracting anime can be. Anime on it's best.
To finish it off, if you liked Angel Beats, you must watch this one. A lot of similiar stuff. I cried in this series too, at Angel beats a bit more due to a lot more happy stuff.