Follows the coming-of-age of Natsuna Keyaki, a college student in Tokyo who goes to Kumamoto after losing contact with her friend after the 2016 earthquakes. There, she meets individuals with colorful personalities, such as middle school girl Izumi, who begin to light a passion in Natsuna.
This anime was hard to watch. Not because of the tear-jerking sentimentality, which was layered on thick from the very beginning. The biggest struggle was getting my eyes to adjust to the caustic visuals. The colors are so bright and so aggressively pastel, the artwork so puposefully, artistically rough that it was distracting. No sooner would I get used to looking at it than the short two and half minute episode would shift to credits. The story centers around the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes that killed more than four dozen people, displaced tens of thousands more, and barely registered in an indifferent global news cycle (including for those of us who pay attention to Japan). It is precisely that forgetfulness that is the theme of the story, which plays out as a kind of heavy handed allegory for how everyone has forgotten about Kumamoto in its ongoing time of need. The solution, part of the promotional nature of the series, is for everyone to come visit. The props int his metanarrative are a girl from Tokyo who has forgotten and neglected her gaming friend, a girl from Kumamoto. When the former gets a strange message from the latter, she hurries down to Kyushu to come to terms with her own neglect and to experience the many wonders of Kumamoto. The melodrama of the two girls trying to reunite (to reconcile Tokyo and Kumamoto) is almost always tonally at odds with the promotional purposes of the show, interrupting sad or touching moments to showcase Kyushu's best alcohol or the natural mineral water flowing freely from Kumamoto's taps. But, between the two, I preferred the tourism-focused parts to the melodrama. The plot relied on a manufactured urgency that would be hard to sustain in a short format under the best circumstances. How did these girls meet? Why was their relationship so important to each of them? Why did they drift apart? None of these question is answered as the show foregrounds instead its subtle taking to task of the whole country for moving on and leaving Kumamoto behind. As with all short format shows, its great strength is that it is a relatively small investment for those still interested. That's why I finished it, even after struggling to cope with the abrasive artwork through the first few episodes. There are some redeeming moments, mostly in the amusing side characters, but overall this is not one I would recommend.
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