A Big First-year Student and a Small Second-year Student

Alt title: Ookii 1 Nensei to Chiisana 2 Nensei

Movie (1 ep x 25 min)
3.153 out of 5 from 320 votes
Rank #12,840
A Big First-year Student and a Small Second-year Student

First-grader Masaya-kun is a crybaby despite his large stature, so he can't walk by himself on the dark path to school. The one who holds his hand is Akiyo-chan, a tiny but capable second-grader. Masaya wants to be strong like Akiyo and admires her, but one day, something happens that leaves Akiyo in tears. To lift Akiyo's spirits, Masaya goes trekking to the distant Ipponsugi forest to find the spotted bellflowers that Akiyo loves. But there are still many paths in the world unknown to him. 

Source: ANN

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Contrary to the convoluted and uninspired title this short ends up telling a simple yet emotional story Masaya is a first grader that needs to confront one of his fears in order to help his dear friend Akiyo. The scope of the events is clearly small, but that is direct opposition to our main character's perspective. This is not a coming of age story where we see a passage into adulthood, what we see is just a simple slice of Masaya’s life and one of the many events that slowly make a person mature. Seemingly insignificant things still have a large impact in our young protagonist's life. For example the relatively short walk he takes, he perceives it like a proper adventure, and a dangerous one at that! The characters were extremely endearing, with clear and understandable motivations that instantly made me root for them to succeed and be happy. When Masaya had to cross the incredibly arduous hazard of a dangerous... half meter tall little stream of water, I was still legit worried for him. Despite said stream being an objectively small hurdle the show does a great job at making you emphatize with Masaya and see how he finds it scary.  The tone is overall very light and wholesome both in visuals and sound, but with clear exceptions to make the more emotional scenes stronger. While that last sentence sounds like what a normal competent work should be, its flawless execution still needs to be praised. You will not find inventive techniques or anything out of the ordinary but there is still beauty in a well crafted work.  The script delivers a satisfying buildup and payoff within the short runtime that makes this feel like a complete experience, something that shorts often fail to do.  I highly recommend giving this a chance to surprise you.

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