The World Ain't So Small After All.

Review: True Tears

 

NOEEEEEE!!!!

The first word that comes into my head when I think of this show, besides “Noe-nyan,” is “drama.” And, boy howdy, does True Tears know how to make you bang your head against a wall or mentally order the characters around…or at least squirm with the suspense. I probably would’ve been talking to my computer screen if I weren’t sicker than a freaking dog and every time I open my mouth it’d better be to practice singing “Aquarius” in all my stuffy-nosed glory. (I’ll explain later.) All in all, I’d have to say it was amazing, and it definitely made my list of favorites; it didn’t top it (verrry rare to do that, seeing as the only two as of yet to do so were the first anime I ever watched and Angel Beats!), but it was definitely awesome. But I wouldn’t be telling the whole truth if I didn’t explain my thoughts fully. **SPOILERS MAY ENSUE! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED! (I’ll try to keep them minor, though.)**

Plot:

Shin’ichiro Nakagami is your average high schooler. (NO! WAIT! IT GETS BETTER, I PROMISE!) But he lives with the beautiful, smart, popular, athletic basketball-ace Miss Perfect that he’s crushing big time on, Hiromi Yuasa. (Um…okay, it gets better startiiiing NOW.) The reason? Hiromi’s father died a year before, and, because he had been a friend of the family, Shin’ichiro’s folks took her in. At school, Hiromi stays the same as she was–bright, happy, cheerful Little Miss Sunshine–but at home, she’s quiet and keeps to herself. Shin’ichiro knows that she has to be dying inside after all that’s happened, and she can’t show it; therefore, he’s decided that he wants to be the one to “wipe away her tears.” But, being the average klutz he is, he can’t bring himself to talk to her, even in his own house. So he’s resigned himself to painting watercolor pictures of her while holed up in his room and can merely imagine what it might be like to make her happy. One day, though, he meets a very eccentric little moe at school. Her name is Noe Isurugi, she loves chickens with a burning passion, and she claims that she can’t cry anymore because her grandma promised her on her deathbed that she’d take her tears with her “to the sky.” She enjoys bringing food to two chickens kept in a coop at school (I don’t know), Raigomaru and Jibeta; according to her, Raigomaru wants to fly and believes he can, while Jibeta wants to stay on the ground and be a boring, average chicken. When a raccoon kills Raigomaru, she’s distraught, but doesn’t cry; Shin’ichiro actually becomes his replacement in her brain for a short time, but they mainly become friends. In helping Noe, Shin’ichiro gains more and more confidence, and Hiromi even begins to open up to him. What he doesn’t realize is that he’s got a personal harem slowly forming behind his back. But that ain’t gonna fly–there can only be one, and Shin’ichiro has to choose.

The harem part isn’t as bad as it sounds. This isn’t totally a harem anime in the typical sense; this show didn’t even come from a visual novel, even though it shares the same name as one and looks like it could very dang well have been. Even the opening song sounds VN-ish at first, but if you watch the whole show, you’ll understand the lyrics.

Back to the drama part: again, I say, this show has oodles of it. It drags out the choice he makes so far that it even seems as if he’s switching to another girl, but OH WAIT maybe he’ll choose her, or NO it’s that other chick…yeah. And the suspense did make me squirm on quite a few occasions. The whole “hey let’s end the episode in this suckish spot” bit doesn’t even begin to cover all of it. And it wasn’t just between Shin’ichiro and the main girls–it was between the girls themselves, too; Hiromi grows very obviously hostile toward Noe later on, and even though Noe doesn’t get it at first, it escalates to a genuine cat fight at one point.

Speaking of Noe…did I mention I’ve found a new favorite anime girl~? I mean, really. Ladies and gents, THIS is how eccentric moe is really done. She’s…she’s so CUTE!!

GACK--*heart attack*

You saw the opening image, right? Right?! Aww…NOE!!

Noe’s mother and grandmother have died, and her father works, so she’s kind of grown up without anybody except her overprotective (is that the right word?) brother, Jun. But because of her inability to cry, she’s stayed happy by living in her own little world. Well, not exactly…she’s that type of eccentric moe that sees things as they are and says what’s on her mind…what the heck am I talking about?o_O Point is, this is eccentric moe done right. Aaaand I said that a long time ago~ The cute part is that she’s starting to discover more about herself and the people around her through her time with Shin’ichiro–she doesn’t have a ton of friends in the beginning, and she starts to feel thing like guilt, love…I think it’s safe to say she’s the one who sees the most development throughout the series, going from getting a piggyback ride from Shin’ichiro to her brother’s basketball game to walking away from him on crutches by herself at one point.

So Noe plays a major role…but…erm, she’s not the definite main character. There are three girls, of course, but one of them just wasn’t going to gain Shin’ichiro’s attention at all and joined the competition too late, anyhow. So the two remaining girls that actually had a chance are both leads, really. Maybe Noe is a wee bit more minor than the other, but meh, she’s still always there and being kyuut. Let’s introduce her rival, then.

 

…We get it, you’re troubled and bishoujo-y…

…This girl royally ticks me off. I’m not sure why I feel so strongly about that, but I do. Maybe it’s because she’s always trying to get in the way of Noe, or any Noe X Shin’ichiro action. At first, I used to hope she’d be the one picked, but from pretty much the end of the first episode onward, she started turning into a…pardon my French, but she just became a straight-up beeyatch, at least in the second half of the show, if not sooner. Really. They tried to soften it up with flashbacks of her and Shin’ichiro as cute little elementary school kids in yutakas at a Tanabata festival, with all their cutesy budding romance and blabbity blabbity blah.

Hiromi’s development seemed a bit rushed to me; she was a sad hush puppy throughout the first couple of episodes, then went beeyatch-y for most of the rest. Then she finally sees what the heck she’s been doing around the last episode or two, and boom, she’s Miss Perfect again…or so I’m guessing. There was never any real hard proof besides the end-all be-all choice Shin’ichiro made that I won’t reveal. Maybe this spasm-development process is what generated my animosity.o_O Either way, she can go take a long walk off a short pier. Bye-bye, Hiromi…and you’re not getting the spotlight in any of my imaginary AMVs. Just sayin’.

The third and final harem member is his OTHER childhood friend, Aiko Ando.

 

...For once I can't think of how to caption this...

She doesn’t actually come in as a rival to Hiromi and Noe until later in the show, but she hints at it forever (which Shin’ichiro, being the dude that he is, doesn’t get) and then comes on at maximum force. She’s a year older than Shin’ichiro…I can’t decide whether to call her the “older woman” or just go ahead and call her the resident cougar with heart. Either way, the show starts off with her dating Shin’ichiro’s dude friend, Miyokichi Nobuse, who is ALSO a year younger than she is. (Note: I did take it as a good sign that they put in a dude friend, AND hooked him up with a chick–a lead, no less. It’s always more fun this way, ne?) She didn’t annoy me as much as Hiromi, but the way she was trying to push her way onto the scene constantly (and without admitting it to herself) bored me a few times. And, let’s face it, I didn’t like the infidelity bit. Miyokichi, though he was mostly used for comic relief, had a soul and feelings in the show, and she just let her feelings for Shin’ichiro run rampant without thinking about him, and then flat-out dropped him. That was harsh. That was very harsh. And it’s kinda sad when the comic relief loses his humor for melancholy. Heck, this chick didn’t have a chance in the first place.

But, luckily, the creators didn’t drag her out too much. She was there to add to the suspense for a bit, but they cut her out of the picture seconds after she went in for the attack–and not too harshly, either. Nothing is definitely repaired between her and Miyokichi, but at least she shows remorse and realizes what she’s done.

In that sense, all the characters have their faults; they act impulsively most of the time, which leads to more and more turmoil and general unhappiness. But they all grow. It doesn’t seem like any of the characters are left without some sort of development; not even Shin’ichiro’s mom is spared. With their growth, they begin to realize that they have to face the facts and accept that they’ve done wrong. And each one of them does and makes the best amends they can.

(This post lacks fanart, gotta break it up here…)

 

Kyuuut~

All in all, it used its thirteen episodes well. And it will always hold a special place in my heart, thanks to Noe-nyan. (I swear, that nickname is purely of my own creation; the depths of my brain hath spat it forth to my lips.)

The drama, though headdesk-worthy, was headdesk-worthy in a good way. It wasn’t annoying; it was simply engaging, which is what made me want to keep watching. I was certainly never bored, unless Aiko was on the offensive again or Hiromi was being possessive (bleh). My biggest issue was the ending, and what they did to Noe. I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s not necessarily what happened to her physically (which was still kind of a tearjerker, and definitely had me holding my breath so much that I was grateful when the tension was lifted with a cliche trick). It’s what they did to her at the very end.

No, seriously. For those of you who have watched it, you remember the outro, right? You saw that. You know what happened to my poor Noe. I’ll have to leave it to you to guess from there. As a first review, this already sucks with spoilers.

 

Lulz. Moar fanart.

Thinking back on it, the character growth was probably my favorite aspect of it. Like I said, every character shares in it. Shin’ichiro’s mother is probably the primary antagonist–at least, she is for a majority of the episodes. Even she sees some development.

So it’s a drama that isn’t for the faint of heart, because, frankly, you’ll be twitching a bit. It’s kind of a come for the romance, stay for the story bit…I mean, that’s probably the best I can give you, because that’s what happened for me (and I won’t go into much more on that). Sadly, it’s not getting a dub; however, I’d like to see someone try and beat Noe’s adorable voice~ But it is on sale subbed, for those interested.

All in all, I give it an eight out of ten. A story that could be so simple is fleshed out into a big puzzle, and it always has you guessing. Whether or not you like Hiromi, Noe’s always putting in her two cents of awesomeness. The romance is cute, too, when it gets going. The animation is great (and, in my opinion, it gets better as the series goes on), and it’s P. A. Works’s first title, which is all the more reason to watch. And it’s…it’s heartwarming, for lack of a better word. Tearjerking, heartwarming, merrymaking fun. I totally recommend.

Oh–as a special treat, I’m showing you this. I was dying of laughter. Thanks to theIshter for his/her awesomeness!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Explanation for the above: I was auditioning for Hair on the day I started this post. It’s been a week since, and I’m playing Abe Lincoln and another tribe member (my voice was crud that day and I’m a n00b to the company anyhow). Weeeeird musical.

Sorry I didn’t get the midseason Oreimo review out. I’ll see if I can post a full review of some of the shows, if I get back to them~ For now, though, I’ve gotta get working on my Winter 2011 watchlist post. And I’ve recently become waaaay too busy. xD Hope you enjoyed TechnoSora’s first review! I need to start working through my pile of shame and finish some shows already. Hence this review, as True Tears happened to be first on the list. And now I shall go do more “work.”

Stay tuned!

–チタニア (Titania)

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