My review of the 2005 Slice Of Life/Drama/Romance anime, Lamune.
The story revolves around a male lead named Kenji Tomosaka and a female lead named Nanami Konoe and a host of other characters living out their lives, going to high school, going on vacation, and spending their free days at their jobs or doing various hobbies. They meet a mix of new people and some not so new people they had met at least once as a child, eventually healing emotional wounds they received as children or dealing with feelings they had since they were children.
The story/plot wasn't bad, but it was definitely wasn't anything extremely unique. It was touching near the end however... Since character development had seemed to be already developed due to everyone knowing and meeting each other in the past, there wasn't too much focus on it (That I remember anyway.)
For a 2005 anime, the animation was relatively decent compared to others I have seen in the past. Nothing seemed to be lazily drawn but nothing was extremely spectacular either. Yet it was...above average for an older anime I suppose. The characters movements seemed nice and fluent and the scenery/backgrounds were pretty decent for an older anime. The only thing I didn't really care for were the animations for the beginning and ending theme, which didn't strike me as very impressive. I pretty much skipped past them after watching them once due to this reason.
The sound quality was generally average for an older anime, aside from a few times when it seemed to be reduced or the voices sounded strange on certain episodes. I am unsure of whether or not this is due to the video/player itself or it was that bad in the original, but I am going to assume that the original wasn't the problem. The music in the anime was nothing special or catchy most of the time, but when the creators wanted to make a scene sad, they definitely picked some good music to go along with it.
While the characters did not have any extremely unique personalities, I felt that most were not just crappy quickly thrown together ones, but maybe I'm just not seeing it. Either way, at least they weren't that boring (IMO) except for Hatano, who I found sort of annoying and pointless for the most part.
Kenji- The male protagonist of the story, who is somewhat immature and rude at times. He has had feelings for the female protagonist since he was a child, but has problems confessing due to being too shy; often trying to change the subject or pretending to be joking when he is close to confessing. However, despite seeming like sort of a bad person at the beginning, it turns out he's not such a bad guy after all. Though he does have some problems with not caring about school, and the only thing keeping him from dropping out is Nanami, his childhood friend he is in love with. He has liked motorcycles like his dad and grandpa since he was young and received his grandpa's motorcycle which was passed down to his dad. Despite having a motorcycle since he was little, he is still lacking much experience actually fixing one and never has successfully fixed one that didn't break down that same year. Another thing he enjoys is hermit crabs, which he used to collect as a child. As a teenager, he sometimes takes them to school in his backpack for some reason.
Honestly I could never decide if I liked his character or not. He sort of annoyed me a lot with how he treated Nanami sometimes. Though he might have been teasing her, sometimes he did some pretty mean things that I would have never considered doing, like punching something in half that a girl I liked cherished...just an example. Overall he turned out to be an okay guy in the end I suppose and came through for Nanami when she needed it. Was it just me or did all the other girls that liked him only like him for his looks and not his personality?
Nanami- The "main" female protagonist of the story, and a sweet but timid girl. She's a bit of an airhead at times and much like the male protagonist, she has problems admitting her feelings and usually fails to even if she works up the courage to actually begin telling him. She has had feelings for Kenji since they were children and grew up with him. Ever since she was a child, she has enjoyed tending to and growing her own garden of vegetables and other things; her favorite being watermelons. Something that she has been doing since childhood is claiming some watermelons as her special watermelons (Even though they are exactly the same as others) and saving them for herself. She has a special glow in the dark hair clip in the shape of a fish that she says is very special to her, but where it comes from is never revealed in the anime. She seems to have an extreme fear of blackouts and lightning.
I happened to really like Nanami and thought she had a pretty likable personality compared to the other characters. Unlike Kenji, I didn't have any problem with the way she was portrayed in the anime. As a matter a fact, she has the exact personality of a girl I'd like to meet in real life one day.
Suzuka- Kenji's brave younger sister who practices martial arts with her dad in a dojo. Like Nanami, she has a sweet and caring personality and has had a strong bond with Kenji since they were children. She enjoys stargazing but stopped doing so because of an incident between Nanami, Kenji, and herself as a child. She is best friends with Nanami and sees her as somewhat of a sister.
I liked her personality as well, but not as much as Nanami's of course. I hated that she was basically the only female in the story who does not seem to have a possible or potential love interest, which sucks because she has a great personality and she was definitely interested in dating > : It was such a shame to see her get left out like that.
Hatano- Kenji's "best friend" who acts extremely immature at times, which seems to cause him to be harmed in some way by Kenji's cousin, Hikari. He has an obsessive crush on Hikari which leads him to be used constantly by her for various things, usually a punching bag. Though he has a crush on Hikari, she does not feel the same way about him and sees him as little more than another annoying person. He likes to claim that Kenji and Nanami are a married couple in order to cause them both to blush.
I understand that in general Hatano isn't a bad guy, but I honestly did not care for him in the least. I found his character to be extremely annoying and pointless, and his role as the comic relief character didn't really interest me in the slightest. He just wasn't funny and all he did was hit on Hikari most of the time, which she also found annoying.
Hikari- Kenji's attractive (At least as far as the boys in Kenji's school are concerned) cousin who visits him, or more specifically the beach in his area during the summer. Hikari, Nanami, and Kenji were all friends as children and enjoyed going to the beach together. One day on the beach, they happened to come across an oyster with a set of pearls on it, but since there were three of them they couldn't split the pearls evenly which made Nanami explain that Hikari should keep them. Little did they know that Hikari had a problem with this all throughout her childhood to the point where she was willing to risk drowning just to get a third pearl just to share the pearls between Kenji, Nanami, and herself since she was unable to as a child. Like Hatano, she likes to call Kenji and Nanami a pair in various ways and attempts to hook the two up from time to time. Since she was bored, she somehow got herself into Kenji's school in the middle of the school year.
I am not sure how I feel about Hikari's character. I liked her more than Kenji for sure, but out of all the females, I probably liked her the least. I guess she seemed like sort of a brat at times, but it's not like she was a bad person or anything. I got the feeling that she may or may not have some small hidden feelings for Kenji; and considering this is Japan, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch if she actually did now would it?
Hiromi- An extremely shy girl who has known and been in love with Kenji since they met once as a child right around the time she moved to Kenji's town. She has been trying to get close to Kenji ever since she had been going to school with him, but has never progressed very far due to shyness. She used to help run a shop with her parents as a child, which is where she met Kenji for the first time. Despite the fact that she is in fact she, when she works up the courage, she becomes a lot more brave than you might expect from her character.
Hiromi...well I'd like to point out that my favorite type of personality for a girl in real life to have is shyness. It should come as no surprise that I happened to favor Hiromi's shy personality, but it doesn't mean she was my favorite or anything. I don't really want to spoil anything, but I didn't really like what happened during her last scenes in the anime. You'll find out what happened when you watch .-.
Misora- A motorcycle riding girl who comes from the city and manages to get herself stuck in the country because of her motorcycle breaking down. Coincidentally she lands right near Nanami's garden, who when asked for water by Misora, gives her an earthworm instead for whatever reason, causing her to pass out. She is later brought to Nanami's mother's shop where Kenji offers to fix her bike, but messes it up and makes her have to wait for parts to come in. She is then allowed to stay in Kenji's house for the remainder of her time and is later able to somehow get into Kenji's school because apparently there was another empty seat, much like there was one for Hikari too.
Mosora wasn't anything too special. I guess she had an okay personality but nothing about her really struck me as extremely interesting. If you watch the anime and really think about it, she is completely irrelevant to the plot and if she was removed, the main plot would not have changed in anyway. Though this isn't important, the way she looked reminded me of Yui from Angel Beats! at times.
Tae- A responsible and reliable girl who happens to be the Student Council president of Kenji's school, and his senpai. As a child she had been taking care of her younger brothers and sisters, being rewarded with a piece of candy when she did good. However she felt sad because she as never given a pat on the head like her younger siblings received. Despite all the responsibilities she already has, she volunteers her time cleaning up the environment and helping the community. She seems to have met Kenji briefly when they were children, and seems to have a fondness for him, but it is unknown as to whether she has any feelings for him or not.
Tae's character was alright for the most part. I liked how she really cared about the environment and took an interest in making things look good. I like those types of characters. I have to wonder if she had any feelings for Kenji or not. Since this anime was basically almost a harem, I'm willing to bet she might. With the way she looked in the anime, she sort of reminded me of Yuuno from MM!
Honestly I only started watching this in 2011 and expected this to be boring, but this anime piped my interest on the first episode, which is unusual for an anime, since most "first" episodes are usually pretty boring. I think it was Nanami's personality that drew me into it though. Her personality, though not new, was very good and she didn't annoy me in anyway. *gasp* The anime moved along nicely, though I sort of wish there were more episodes involved, and to be honest, although the parts near the end were really good and brought some tears to my eyes, the ending sort of ruined it for me because a certain thing did not happen between the two main characters. You'll know what I mean if you watch it. After watching the first episode, it may give you the impression that this anime has a bunch of panty shots or something of the sort, but the truth is that you'll only see such thing around 3 times throughout the entire anime.
I would recommend this anime to anyone who enjoys romance anime, but if you are looking for an anime with a bunch of panty shots or nudity, despite the impression you might get from the first episode, you will rarely find any of that here.