Sing "Yesterday" for Me

Alt title: Yesterday wo Utatte

TV (12 eps)
3.732 out of 5 from 2,549 votes
Rank #2,655

Rikuo has graduated from college, but has zero ambition or direction and works in a convenience store. A strange high-school dropout, Haru, keeps coming around with her pet crow. Rikuo still has a crush on his senior Shinako, who is beginning a teaching career, and who shows up in the store one day. Rikuo's relationships with the girls, and his feelings about his life, keep changing as the story evolves, bringing in other important characters—Rikuo's co-worker, the coworker's sister, and a childhood friend of Shinako's, etc.

Source: ANN

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A Misfit's Attempt at Self-Reform

Episode 1

A Misfit's Attempt at Self-Reform

cul-de-sac

Episode 2

cul-de-sac

What Is Love?

Episode 3

What Is Love?

As the River Flows, Shinako Returns Home

Episode 4

As the River Flows, Shinako Returns Home

The Man Named Minato

Episode 5

The Man Named Minato

The Woman Named Yuzuhara

Episode 6

The Woman Named Yuzuhara

Premonition of a Couple

Episode 7

Premonition of a Couple

Innocent Blue

Episode 8

Innocent Blue

Christmas Carol

Episode 9

Christmas Carol

A New Year of Beginnings

Episode 10

A New Year of Beginnings

A Spring Storm

Episode 11

A Spring Storm

The Long Way

Episode 12

The Long Way

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Reviews

zala
5

I don't know whether this is a horrible adaptation of a manga, or a faithful adaptation of a horrible manga. First impression: a quirky romance story about four people competing for love, with much introspection and tragic backstories. There's a crow for a pet! Reality: a frustrating romance story with characters who don't want to advance in life, don't want to change and do not know how to express their feelings for each other in a healthy way. There is a crow for a pet, but that means nothing.  Once in a while, an anime will come around and make you ask: what happened?   I don't mean, how did this anime get made? That's easy, someone thought that the manga was popular enough to be adapted. I mean, what happened for this anime to be so fundamentally flawed? After ten agonizing episodes, I found one answer to this problem. This anime has no idea what to focus on, or what genre it is trying to be. Genres are broad, but they are important because genres focus on different aspects of a story. For example, a story about a family moving to a new city could be a fun slice of life, a gory horror story or a drama about making important life decisions. Different genres have different tools to make you feel a certain way.  From reading about this anime, you might be expecting a complicated love polygon story about four people who have no idea what they want to do in life falling in love with each other. This is a relatable story of unexpressed emotion and trying to move ahead in life. There is potential drama here to be made, and in good hands, this could be a gloriously emotional love story.  So what makes this anime feel like nothing is happening? Why do these people seem to agonize over each other while doing nothing to change their relationships? My answer is that the anime portrays itself as a romance, but has the structure and pacing of a slice of life story (SoL). A romance focuses on the dramatic aspects of relationships: expressing feelings, confusion about making decisions, dramatic events that lead to relationships growing or ending. A SoL story focuses on the lifestyles of certain characters: what these characters do, what motivates them to live how they do and how they might change over time in a more lifelike pace. Romances are dramatic, with high stakes! SoL are muted, with low stakes. Good romances and SoL can be meaningful if used well.  The problem with mixing romance with SoL is that the tools for both genres are very different. Romances use broad action and characters committing themselves to decisions to show changes in relationships. SoL have characters living at a normal pace, with decisions leading to change over time. The problem with using SoL tools for a romance is that the actions feel muted instead of intense and the change in relationships feels needlessly slow and tedious instead of exciting. This is equivalent to creating a serious drama about war with background characters tossing bombs at each other, blowing up and suffering no damage. It breaks the tone of the story.  The most important problems with this approach is that the characters feel inactive instead of active; the dramatic actions taken to advance relationships feel weak or uneventful; and there are no stakes. What romance works if there are no stakes?  I don't know what to label this anime as. As a romance, it is dull and weightless. As a SoL, it doesn't have interesting characters living interesting lives. That means that this anime fails on two fronts. Is this anime bad? I would say yes. I didn't feel any interest in the characters or the story. I don't know what this anime was trying to do or what emotion I was supposed to feel. There was plenty of awkwardness, but I don't watch anime for that feeling alone.  Watch or skip? SKIP at all costs. 

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