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.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rumbling Hearts: Kiminozo (Kimi ga Nozomu Eien)

It isn't very often I go out of my way to watch a chick flick. This is because I have an obsession with watching the saddest or most depressing anime out there and seeing if it was worth the hype. Naturally, I find this info out by ghosting on anime forum sites and basically seeing what pulled at the heartstrings of other people. Grave of the Fireflies was mentioned quite a few times next to Barefoot Gen and while I don't doubt that I'll give those a look-see sometime in the future, I'm in no mood to thoroughly destroy my will to live just yet. One show that came up on one of these sites was Rumbling Hearts: Kiminozo and I Googled it just like I Googled most of the other answers. 

This is the description given on Amazon:

"Friendship and faith, love and betrayal… And guilt. Rumbling Hearts weaves a tale not of superheroes or science fiction, but of the silent sufferings of any potential passerby. This is real life. Happy endings are bittersweet at best.

Meet four fast high school friends – Haruka, Takayuki, Mitsuki and Shinji. Life’s promise shines brightly on these companions, until one day a random accident leaves Haruka in a coma. Her boyfriend, Takayuki, cannot forgive himself and seems determined to follow Haruka into a comatose state. Mitsuki dedicates her life to taking care of this tragic young man, and the pair salvage what they can, falling into a self-destructive relationship floundering in guilt. When Haruka awakens three years too late suffering from anterograde amnesia, everyone has to act as if not a day has passed. Torn between his unhappy real-life train wreck with Mitsuki and the warm and fuzzy daydream high school romance with Haruka, Takayuki watches what little silver lining was left in life be mercilessly and methodically stripped away."

Yeah, it's about as happy a show as it sounds. Thank God it was only 14 episodes because I don't I could have stood much more. It is really depressing, to say the least. The show is actually based off of an adult Japanese visual novel and the path the show takes is just one of the paths you could take in the novel. That being said, this show is by no means "hentai" or "animated porno." There are a few sex scenes and a few scenes of nudity, but it's nothing you wouldn't see in Titanic. Still, this ain't a show for kids. 

I think the thing that made me watch this show was that it was about real life everyday people. Yeah, School Days was too, but I hated every single character in that show while I sort of felt a common bond with the main characters of Rumbling Hearts. It's kinda like an anime rendition of Terms of Endearment meets Goodbye Lenin!

Stories about people slipping into a coma and missing time are just about the saddest stories, I think. It's one thing if they never wake up, but how do they adjust to a changed world and a completely changed life if they do? Think about the film Cast Away. While Tom Hanks doesn't fall into a coma, he does miss a large portion of time from the outside world and when he finally escapes it almost seems like he should have just stayed on the island because everything is just so different and depressing in the real world. 

Stephen King's novel The Dead Zone also touches on this theme a bit, but takes it into a different direction. 

But Rumbling Hearts is not out to make any grand statement about life. Well, actually it is, but it does so without resorting to anything supernatural or anything too far out of the confines of everyday life. It just asks a very simple question: do you let your guilt over the past decide your future? 

The show actually reminded me of the "Sometimes dead is better" quote from Stephen King's Pet Sematary. The story could have gone so much easier for Takayuki if Haruka had actually stayed in her coma. But would he have gotten over the guilt if she had stayed in a coma? Beats me, but it's a neat debating point, I suppose. Of course, you'd have to completely overlook Haruka's well-being, but that's the whole point of the debate. 

All in all, I don't regret watching it. It was a rather good show, but definitely a chick flick and thoroughly depressing. Worth it, though. 

Bring your pack of Kleenex if you want to give the show a try. 

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