While not the worst anime I've had the misfortune to poison my mind with over the years, H20 ~Footprints in the Sand~ certainly deserves its spot as the worst I've seen in a long time. The viewing experience was analogous to a game of paintball gone horribly wrong; think of it like getting pelted incessantly in the groin for four and a half hours straight, without relief, followed by a long period of puking blood. Now envision the horror of H20 in precisely the same terms, but replace the excruciating bombardment of paintballs with clichés and the subsequent puking with actual, physical vomit straight from the bowels of your stomach. Ordinarily I would have dropped shit like this after ten minutes, but a friend's suggestion that it got better toward the end kept me going. While this, indeed, might have very mildly been the case, it certainly did not merit suffering through the horrendous amount of tripe that comprised the entirety of the series' beginning and middle portions. As such, it manages to stand above ordinary, crap-filled harems, but just barely.
If anything, at least H20 starts out as if it's going to be something original. Our fabulously sophisticated and intelligent male lead happens to be blind, and his naiveté initially seems somewhat believable - the kid can't see, after all. Within the first ten minutes of the series, though, he has managed to plant his face between the legs of every girl in the school at least once (lots of accidents happen to blind people, you know!) and grope at least one set of boobs a minute. This trend continues until the beginning of the second episode, where our brilliant hero somehow wakes up no longer blind. After this, of course, the face-between-legs and groping events continue, but they rely on the usual "misunderstanding" situations to occur (like when our male lead walks in on a girl taking a bath, slips on a bar of soap, and falls into the bathtub with his head smack dab between her legs underwater!) Now, I've seen these sorts of events in harems time and time again, but few dare rise to this level of mediocrity - every single fanservice shot is so utterly contrived it's laughable.
Oh, but here's the best part: H20's primary harem female is a masochistic emo girl who likes being abused because she has a guilt complex. As can certainly be expected, our resident Prince Charming tasks himself with "rescuing" her from her plight, but her constant walking in on him during his perverted mishaps make this a complicated issue. Just for good measure, the writers then insert ten episodes of pseudo-dramatic, fanservice-packed garbage for her to subsequently fall in love with him in for no explicable reason; and, of course, these episodes come with the usual array of harem events such as the bikini beach scene. By the time the "serious" events of the last two episodes arrived, I could have cared less for any of the characters, and found myself laughing at instead of feeling pity for the girls.
For a 2008 production, the animation, in relative terms, is atrocious. While not absolutely awful, its flaws make it seem incredibly dated while still aiming for the colorful, vibrant feel most modern series possess. Above all else, there is a very noticeable lack of movement, which becomes apparent right of the bat and persists all the way through. Character dialogue tended to be accompanied by an unusual amount of stills, and the inanimate backgrounds carried a very rigid, late 90's feel. To make matters worse, it seemed as if two different art teams worked separately on the characters and the backgrounds, as the two appeared vaguely congruent at best. This resulted in an overall droll and plain atmosphere, and given the horrendous quality of the fanservice, I was not impressed whatsoever.
It certainly didn't help H20's suffering aesthetics, either, by having shoddy voice acting and a poorly composed musical score. The main guy's voice is decent at best, but all the girls are either horribly high pitched or whiny and nasal. Although, surprisingly, there was one song I actually liked, it seemed way out of place when followed by this one bile-infested piece of crap track that seemed to get played four times an episode; it's as if the series intended to keep hinting that it could be good, but wanted to definitively prove that such was not its goal. I'm not even going to bother going into any further detail, as H20 shouldn't be touched regardless of the quality of its sound, but it borders on painful at times.
If you're still reading and must truly know, there are three primary characters in H20: Dumbass A (the guy), Dumbass B (the blonde chick), and Dumbass C (the emo girl.) I think their names were Takuma, Hinata, and Hayami respectively, but I honestly wasn't concerned enough about any of the three to actually pay them too much attention. As I mentioned before, Takuma is completely retarded, and his inability to keep his head out of a pair of breasts completely ruins the respectability the writers tried to force him to possess in the later episodes. Hinata was the only tolerable character, mostly because she actually had some semblance of depth, but even then only slightly garnered my interest. Regardless, for the most part the writers reduced her character to revolve around the fact that she had the biggest boobs out of the all the girls, so she's not really worth any more mention.
Again, though, Hayami was by far the most "interesting" character, probably because none of her reactions to any events in H20 made much sense. One moment she begs for Takuma's affections, the next she's pissed off at him and cries to her classmates to kick her ass to get back at him. Seriously, what the hell? I get that she was supposed to have had a rough life, but her complete inconsistency in personality did absolutely nothing for her character. She seemed to be nothing more than plot-driven tripe, and given how downright abominable the story was to begin with, I hadn't the slightest bit of empathy for her.
For those looking for a recent, relatively serious romantic drama, check out Myself; Yourself and steer clear of H20 all together; aside from its fringe harem attraction, this crap isn't worth one iota of anyone's time. If for some reason completely unbeknownst to me you find yourself still interested, try coming up with different names for the series like "HYDROGEN DIOXIDE: TARSAL IMPRINTS IN THE SILICON" instead of forcing its mediocrity down your throat. Seriously, there are so many other more productive things to do with your time that there is absolutely no reason to give this crap consideration. For anybody not specifically obsessed with shallow harems, heed my advice: do not touch. Ever.
After a series of unfortunate events, the young Hirose Takuma was rendered blind. In an attempt to reverse his condition Hirose moves in with his uncle in a rural village, and upon his arrival he quickly begins to make new friends. However, Hirose soon discovers that one of his classmates, Hayami Kohinata, is being harshly bullied by her peers for reasons that neither she nor anyone else wants to explain. Even the seemingly honest and gentle Hinata Kagura, who had been doing her best to be friendly and helpful to Hirose since his arrival, acts harshly towards Hayami. Once a mysterious girl bequeaths Hirose with a life-changing gift, he takes it upon himself to help save Kohinata from her loneliness while working to uncover the truth of the situation.
Though I'm a big fan of slice of life and romance, I'll watch just about anything that catches my interest. My opinions tend to be pretty level-headed, but I have been known to be controversial from time to time! Feel free to lay into me if you so desire, as I always appreciate feedback - positive or negative. I hope you enjoy reading!