Miki ItouNobunaga ShimazakiRyota OhsakaDaiki Yamashita
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2014: G
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2014
Director: Junji Nishimura
Actor: Daiki Yamashita, Nobunaga Shimazaki, Risa Taneda, Ryota Ohsaka, Saori Hayami, Seria Fukagawa, Ai Kayano, Hiroyuki Kinoshita, Nao Toyama, Rieko Takahashi, Aki Nagao, Atsuko Tanaka, Atsushi Nagai, Erii Yamazaki, Kensuke Matsui, Kyoka, Machico, Mayu Iizuka, Midori Ichinose, Miki Itou, Reo Nakanishi, Seinosuke Matsuda, Shota Hyodo, Tomomichi Nishimura, Yuki Nakagawa, Yuuji Takada
Keywords: anime, SF
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 13 episodes
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=15901
Website category: Anime 2014
Review date: 9 June 2016
It's a pleasant, slightly bittersweet slice-of-life drama with a touch of the supernatural. I watched ep.1 quite a while ago and decided not to continue, but then recently I went back and watched it anyway. It's nice. It begins forgettably and ends with a whimper, but I quite liked it anyway.
It's set in a small seaside town, rendered so beautifully that you'll want to go and live there. The show's main characters are five friends: Touko (f), Yanagi (f), Sachi (f), Yuki (f) and Hiro (f). They hang out. Theoretically they have a rule about not getting involved with each other romantically, although at least one of them is unaware of that. They're also all likeable, except perhaps for the sullen Yuki who's probably allergic to smiling and obviously fancies Touko. (It's universally agreed that he's eye candy, though.) Touko is an artist and glassblower, Yanagi is a model, Yuki is on the school's athletics team, Sachi loves literature and so on.
Ep.1 has some nonsense about Touko getting worried about some chickens and deciding to take them home with her. She's going to keep the chickens in her house. She hasn't even begun to think about: (a) how long she should keep doing this, (b) what the chickens will eat, (c) what they'll do on the floors, (d) what her family will say, etc.
The chickens were fine where they were and she'll put them back in ep.2. That bit of brainlessness is part of what originally persuaded me to stop watching. It seemed pleasant enough, if low-key, but Touko was an idiot and I hadn't yet noticed anything remarkable in the show.
Ep.2, though, contained something that made me sit up and take notice. A mysterious boy, Kakeru, explains to Touko that her hallucinations are fragments of the future and that he can see them too. That's different. "Where's that going?" I wondered. Answer: nowhere much. What do these precognitive hallucinations look like? Well, you'll have to wait for that one. The show's in no hurry to let us see. What's their impact on the plot? Not much. What plot? I watched two episodes out of order without noticing. This show is mostly about the gentle interactions of this group of friends, so there's precious little for a time-sensitive to do. We learn about their unrequited feelings for each other. There's the odd love confession. Don't expect those to go well, although the recipient's always thoughtful and considerate about their reply. We see relationships evolve. I can't say I admired the taste of the person who liked Yuki, but I suppose it takes all sorts.
Mind you, one thing worried me enough to make me take the risk of checking wikipedia. Fortunately in this case "family" means "step-siblings". I also found Yanagi and Momo (Hiro's sister) hard to tell apart visually, since they both have similar character designs and the same hair. Admittedly Yana often wears a bow, though.
What's the show all about, then? Personally I think it's a delicate study of the effect that psychic powers might have on friendship and romance. Nothing dramatic happens with those powers, but I think that's the point. What effect would precognition have on teenage courtship? What about telepathy? Kakeru won't be universally popular and will be accused of ruining everything, even by Kakeru himself. Similarly I wouldn't say that the show actually has a downer ending, but it certainly doesn't think that psychic powers would be a boon to anyone who just wanted to get on with their ordinary life.
The ending is unclear. What happened there, eh? I think it's fairly clear what the story is with Touko's powers, but beyond that it's pretty much up to you. It's ambiguous and inviting you to reach your own conclusions. Or, if you didn't like it, it's a let-down.
Would I recommend this show? No. Most of the reviews I've seen have been negative. The plot's tissue-thin and it doesn't have the ending you wanted, or indeed arguably a proper ending at all. Personally, though, I thought it had charm. Visually it's to die for, while both the opening and closing title sequences are perfect in setting the tone and making you happy. The classical music soundtrack can be obtrusive, mind you. I enjoyed seeing the friends' relationships unfold and I think it's quite a mature, thoughtful slice-of-life series. The psychic powers are largely irrelevant to the story, but I think that's the point and I think it's a show that encourages you to relax and reflect. (I've seen a fascinating fan theory about Touko and Kakeru being different space/time aspects of the same person, for instance.)
Mind you, if you're looking for a gorgeously animated, slow-moving relationship show from P.A.Works about school friends in a quiet seaside town, apparently they'd done better the year before with Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea. I've heard encouraging things about that.