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.
A Misfit's Attempt at Self-Reform
What Is Love?
As the River Flows, Shinako Returns Home
The Man Named Minato
The Woman Named Yuzuhara
Premonition of a Couple
A New Year of Beginnings
A Spring Storm
The Long Way
You know an anime is bad when it has got me writing my first review. This one started off with... potential, I guess? atleast I did not see the shit storm that was coming my way. There is only one decent character in this show, and the rest of them are unlikeable and proceed to make the show harder to watch. Every decision that you would want a character to make, they make the opposite. Every word you do not want the character to say, the say it. I had hopes for this show, it was something that I looked forward to watching, but it went downhill remarkably fast. For real, I'm talking after 3 episodes. I can't walk away when I start something thouh, so here I am with the taste of shit in my mouth. The ending is a slap in the ass. Don't watch it.
I don't know whether this is a horrible adaptation of a manga, or a faithful adaptation of a horrible manga. This review will not fit my usual review template, because this review does not fit in that format. 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.
I want to get one thing out of the way before diving a bit more into its plot, which is that this show isn't really a show about romance. It will feel like a love triangle, it'll deal with a romantic situation, but it's really about people who feel stuck in place and are trying to figure out how to move on. The illusion is created that there is a competition, when that's never really the goal of the show. It's like you see a cake, but it's actually a pie, but because it looks like a cake you'll think that it's a cake. The show will leave you feeling rather annoyed at times since you hope that characters will learn from their experiences, but you'll also be aware that they'll repeat the same mistakes over and over again. It's a vicious circle that they try to break out of... or in some cases, don't really want to let go off. I personally feel that the crow was used for its symbolism, but I did get the feeling that many people didn't agree with my assessment. Where the crow would represent guidance and a new phase in someone's life which I believe is the real message of the show. It's a show that starts out with a rather realistic approach, but it doesn't take long before it relies on anime/Hollywood type of storytelling to further the plot. There are some interesting characters and the art/animation style is very clean, but the pace of the show can be rather slow at times.
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