Friday, July 27, 2012

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai

I will admit that loosing someone close to you is not an easy thing, especially at a young age. It leaves a scar that is very hard to heal, and the memories of that person will most likely haunt a person for a while. It's even harder loosing a person your own age, especially when you're all at an extremely young age. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai, or AnoHana looks back on the death among a group of friends, and how one summer, it changes their lives forever.

Our story follows Yadomi Jinta, a normal truant high school student who seemingly does nothing. However, the ghost of his childhood friend, Honma Meiko, or Menma appears in front of him, asking him to fulfill her ast wish she she can go to heaven and be reborn. Jinta gathers all of his other childhood friends who were close to Menma in order to help her. However, they have all gone their separate ways, and getting them together might take a little bit more work than he had anticipated.

The story was almost set up for drama, and perhaps a bit of tear jerking parts. Menma was probably around the age of seven to ten when she died, and it just is a good drama story, even though it was rather depressing. Although I am not that fond of straight drama, but this anime was the acceptable type because it was profound, and it deals with a subject that eventually will hit all of us. The execution of the story was also well done, even though some parts made me want to facepalm, such as the end. Also, the story could almost be told in two parts: the presnet day and the past, and sometimes, that line becomes very blurred.  The story is very drama heavy, so those looking for the action, this one is not for you.

The characters were the strongest point of this anime, due it being character driven drama. Jinta is our main protagonist who just bums around his house, truanting from school until the ghost of his childhood friend, Menma, comes and visits him. Jinta's other friends, Anjou Naruko, Hisakawa Tetsudo, Matsuyuki Atsumu, and Tsurmi Chiriko, all have gone their separate ways, but yet, have not really changed that much from when they were kids. The characters all have distinct personalities, such and Anjou's tsundere character and Tsurimi's library girl like character. The characters' interactions were what really made this anime work, and you could actually feel some of the tension between them while they were trying to figure out Menma's wish.

The art for the series also very well done. The back grounds were vibrant and colorful and the characters were well designed. Perosnally, I think Menma was the best designed character due tot he fact she had white hair and for the fact that it was simple. Each characters' art work had a different vibe about them, however, they all still emulated the theme of loss and memories.

Overall, for any drama loving person, or even those that are just looking for any tear jerking anime, this one is the one for you. It had its ups and downs, but overall, this series was well rounded and generally down to earth.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan

Bread is a staple of life for most parts of the world. It can feed many, it can give us energy in order to carry out everyday tasks, and it can even make someones day. However, baking the bread might become a coping mechanism into order to deal with certain illnesses, such as lost memories. In the case of Shining Hearts: Shiwase no Pan, bread and the making of it becomes an escape for Rick and his fellow companions in the bread shop.

The story was proposed to be about Kaguya, a young girl who washed up on shore with no memories, and Rick and his fellow companions find her and take her in. They go about their regular duties, keeping an eye on Kaguya, making bread for her, and those in the community. However, as it turns out, Kaguya is no the first person to wash up on shore with no memories, and the quest to find the answers begins.

Sounds epic, right? Wrong. The story is actually more about Rick and his companions, Airy, Neris, and Amile, making bread for those around them, and when it seems there is any break through behind the characters or the story, they just go back to making bread. If they stuck more to the mystery to why so many people washed up on shore, with no memories, then this anime would be epic. Instead, they brush off that and just focus on making people happy with bread. 

The characters were very weak for an nime that tried to focus on the characters. Rick had so much potential to be a great "harem lead," but they pushed him to the side, and when he could have shone, they didn't really do anything with it. The girls at the shop were so bland that they didn't even have a stereotype such as a tsundere or library girl, they were just there. Kaguya was proposed to be the center piece of the anime, but she was relegated to a minor roe. Xiao Mei was almost this shows saving grace, but she was pushed to the side once again.

The art and music was the best part of this anime to be honest. The art was fluid, and the characters were artistically distinguishable, but only artistically. The backgrounds were also well designed, and everything was vibrant in color. The opening theme was slow, and made me feel like the theme of lost memories could be prevalent, but it was also mello and relaxing. The end theme was actually pretty good, even though it was about baking bread. It had an upbeat tune, and very, very catchy.

Overall, I say avoid this anime like the plague unless you just want to watch making bread and them making people happy. It has a lot of potential, but the execution of it is poor. I do realize it is based off a game, but even then, they could have done a lot more with this anime.