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.  

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