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.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Bridge to the Starry Skies (Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi)

I don't really know why I watched this show. It could be that I was just finding something to kill time while FUNimation was having difficulties streaming the sub of Tenchi Universe. I found myself stuck with having to actually watch real television or find something else to watch. So I went to Crunchyroll and settled on A Bridge to the Starry Skies after about two minutes of debating. I mean, there were only 12 episodes and by the time I got those out of the way I figured I should be able to stream Tenchi Universe again. Well, I was correct in my brilliant deduction, but I find myself having to talk about yet another anime here. I like doing that, but my anime posts typically seem to be about as popular as a bad case of hemorrhoids. Oh, well.

Hoshino Kazuma and his little brother Ayumu have moved out to the countryside to a little town called Yamabiko. On their first day there they get lost and run into two girls named Ui Nakatsugawa and Ibuki Hinata somewhere in the woods. Their encounter is embarrassing. Hoshino accidently falls down on her and kisses her. Now I don't know about you, but I think that if one were to fall onto someone else's mouth than that would mean some teeth are getting knocked loose. In other words: It would fucking hurt. 

Of course, this is anime and this happens all the time in anime. This encounter ends with both Hoshino and Ui looking red-faced while Ibuki stumbles across them and almost kills Hoshino while Ui is too breathless to say anything to defend him. 

Of course, the very next day Hoshino discovers that Ui and Ibuki are in the same class he is in. Awkward. 

Thus begins our story. 

This show consists of twelve episodes and one OVA (although I haven't seen the OVA because Crunchyroll doesn't have it) and it was released in Japan in 2011. So A Bridge to the Starry Skies is still relatively new, but it is old enough for everyone to know that it probably isn't going to get a sequel. And it really shouldn't get one because it doesn't need one or really deserve one.

This is just a typical harem/dating anime.

The fanservice is a little bit different this time around, though. The few main male characters there are have nude shots where you can see their butts, but the female characters (and there are a quite a few) all get nude bath scenes but those are blurred out by fog. So... they aren't really nude shots at all. This is obviously an attempt to get you to buy the uncensored DVDs. Personally, I hate it when that happens because I typically hate censorship in general, but I didn't initially understand why the male nudity was allowed and the female nudity wasn't. 

Perhaps this show was meant to be aimed more at females at one point. That could very well have been the case, but that doesn't wash with me because the very essence of a harem anime is typically a guy kind of thing. A lot of women generally don't like seeing pantyshots of other women.

This show is conflicted as to what it wants to be, but there is a reason for that and I will get to it in a minute.

The animation style is so similar to Shuffle! that I at first thought this show was some sort of sequel or something. In fact, the animation was what drew me because I did like Shuffle! (especially toward the end) and I thought this show might be in a similar vein. I was wrong about that. While no one will ever mistake Shuffle! for being the greatest anime of all time, it was at least memorable. A Bridge to the Starry Skies doesn't have that same quality. There's nothing really impactful about this show. When a few of the female characters were rejected by the main male lead there could have been an attempt to make the show a bit more darker or gut-wrenching. 

A scene in the opening credits shows one of the female characters walking through the rain with a lifeless and borderline homicidal look in her eyes. Maybe the creators of the show forgot that scene was there because it didn't amount to anything. I wasn't exactly expecting School Days Part II with this show, but the thing is that I wasn't sure what to expect at first and then in the end I realized that there was absolutely nothing to expect because nothing happened out of the ordinary. 

So why have that particular scene in the opening credits? I think I know. I called this a "harem/dating" show because other girls are introduced and they are given their chance to bond with Hoshino, but there is no doubt that Ui is really the one Hoshino will end up with. So why go down that road when you know where it will lead? Well, it's because this show plays it safe. It doesn't rock the boat too hard, but it also doesn't want to look like it is completely boring. So it tries to make it look more interesting than it really is. With a main character who is seemingly decent and not a complete idiot and some decent animation and a moderately paced story, this show does just enough to keep you watching. 

It certainly made me keep watching. But I obviously wouldn't have been watching it unless something better had been on. 

This show reeks of ordinary. 

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