Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


I gotta admit this was kind of a tough anime to watch, but I think it is really well done and it made me think a bit. I mean, this is one of the very few shows to actually inspire me to want to read the manga. That either says a lot about how good it is or a lot about how good I just think it is. Doesn't matter much to me what other people think of it because this particular show just struck a chord with me.

The music is kinda bland and the animation isn't striking, but I think the story is a good one even though it has been done before: Insecure-guy-meets-popular-girl isn't exactly an original concept, FYI. What makes the show stand out is the sense of realism I felt while watching. The male lead was nerdy but not too nerdy. Sure, a lot of the drama comes from his stupid decisions, but he's not a complete failure as a human being. He's just a bit confused and with a girl like Suzuka it's easy to see why. 

The female characters look at first glance like your usual harem characters, but this show doesn't exactly fit the harem vibe. Yeah, there are some nude bits early on during the series, but it's played down a lot compared to the manga. This show is character-driven and primarily a romantic drama. The comedy bits are there, but they aren't overdone like they would be in a harem anime. The comedy was more of that awkward variety that you'd find in everyday life. Especially if you have vivid memories of school days. Sometimes it'll cause you to laugh out loud and at other times you'll wince and think, "Geez, that sounds like something I'd do." At least that's kinda how I reacted. 

Our main protagonist is a guy named Yamato Akitsuki and he's got a fascination for his new next door neighbor, a high strung chick named Suzuka Asahina. Suzuka is a high-jumper and a good one at that. She's held in high esteem by the jocks and the coaches. But Yamato is not a popular jock so he knows that he doesn't have a chance with her. She's just out of his league. 

What does he do? Well, he does whatever he can to get close to her.

But it doesn't all quite work out as well as he planned. Yamato is left desperate and heartbroken and decides he's going to do the unthinkable: he's going to join the track to just so he can spend time with her!

I don't want to spoil anything by going on about the show, but I will say that this show isn't quite the one trick pony it sounds like it should be. It's not all a bed of roses, either. At times it is just a little depressing and sometimes the insecurities of the characters can come across as overdone and drawn out, but I think that only adds to the sense of realism. After all, in high school everything is so much more important and everything else is practically the end of the world. In one case the world really does end for a character. 

This show uses sports as a metaphor for love and even life. Yamato's track races are more like distractions he can use as an excuse to think about his life. So if you want some thrilling sports action then this isn't quite up your alley. 

The series does offer some closure at the end. The drama that preceded the ending certainly warranted a bit of follow-up, I think. It could have gone on. The manga certainly does. 

The anime was received with mixed reviews and it is a few years old (almost a freaking decade!) so I doubt there will a be a follow-up. But it's worth watching anyway. 

Not quite sure how it will hold up to repeated viewings, but I can see myself watching it again. 


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