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.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Myself; Yourself (Maiserufu; Yuaserufu)

I think I often surprise myself with the stuff I watch just to kill time until the stuff I really want to watch comes out. Right now I'm waiting to resume my One Piece quest, but Funimation has a huge gap of episodes missing on their streaming service so if I want to resume my quest I must buy the DVD's (if they have even gotten that far yet, I don't know) or wait for my heroes at Crunchyroll to upload all of the episodes. 

Unfortunately, it's going to be a while until I can resume my One Piece quest regardless of which choice I make. In the meantime I've been continuing with my Naruto Shippuden to the point where I will be caught up in about sixty episodes, but now that the end is in sight I kind of want to put it off a bit. Sure, the show is still continuing, but waiting a week for a new episode can be even worse than having hundreds of episodes worth of backlog. 

Naturally, I made the decision to search my queue for anything and everything I'd been wanting to watch at one point. 

I don't remember why I put Myself; Yourself on my list. I had never really heard anything good about it. In fact, I'd never heard of it at all. Its place in my queue was a bit of a mystery, but I have been known for my random decisions. 

I was pleasantly surprised by the show. At first, I didn't plan on blogging about it because it really didn't seem like anything I'd care enough to blog about. It just seemed "meh." I've seen so many anime at this point that some of them have just become so predictable that it's not even funny.

The dumbass dude who can't remember his best childhood friend is a very tiring trend in a lot of anime and, not surprisingly, Myself; Yourself starts off with that very same thing. 

Hidaka Sana was best buddies with Wakatsuki Shusuke, Wakatsuki Shuri, Oribe Aoi, and Yatsushiro Nanaka when he was five years younger and still living in the town of Sakuranomori. 

Five years later Sana returns and instantly recognizes Aoi despite the formation of Aoi's rather large boobies. Yay, boobies. Sana also recognizes Shusuke and Shuri.

However, he doesn't seem to realize that he's already run into Nanaka a few times at a shrine. When he sees her at school he assumes that he's some girl he's never properly met and begins to introduce himself. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nanaka slaps the shit out of him. 

Maybe it's just human nature, but I really wanted to see just how Sana was going to further fuck himself up so I kept watching. I knew this was going to be a romance of some sort and I figured he was going to end up with Nanaka, but I knew it wasn't going to be easy and he certainly didn't start off on the right foot. 

Myself; Yourself is adapted from an visual novel much like School Days and Shuffle! as well as many other anime and these types of adaptations can always be hit or miss because sometimes they just don't feel very organic. When it comes to visual novel adaptations some will go out of the way and try to include as many of the routes as possible and that can end up disrupting the flow of the plot or rushing the final outcome. 

Admittedly, Myself; Yourself seems to be predictable and inorganic, but there's a bit more than what's on the surface. At first, I thought I was going to be watching Suzuka Part II. The typical main male character likes a female character who acts cold and distant toward him no matter what even though she really likes him deep down. That kind of story gets on my nerves a lot.

Thankfully, Myself; Yourself didn't stay on that route for more than a few episodes and what helped this anime along until its ending were the underused side stories.

Mochida Hinako was this show's obligatory "loli" character. I'm not quite sure when these characters became such a hit in Japan, but it seem like there have been a lot of them lately. Normally, I'd say something like, "Gee, can't we just get straight to the point of the story and not introduce characters whom I know will have no impact on the resolution of the series?" but I'm not going to say that.

In this case the main story is almost an afterthought. There are so many detours going on in this short series that it's easy to forget there even is a main story (although the main story does have some teeth of its own).

Hinako is just one of those side characters, but she brings her own bit of charm to the series. So much of this show is spent being a little too dark and melodramatic so it's nice to see some humor and fuzziness being mixed in, too.

Next we come to Hoshino Asami. She's probably my favorite thing about the series because she actually is a reasonably thought-out character that will provide an insane twist. Her scene with that crazy-ass granny lady is pretty dark, but that's nothing compared to her "admission" scene not too long after. If there's anything that might make this show warrant a second viewing it's Hoshino.

Although seeing Nanaka frequently catching Sana and Hoshino doing "couple-like" things together can get old quick.

Another thing I want to touch on is the relationship between Shuri and Shusuke. After watching a number of anime that feature "brother-sister complexes," I guess I've become a bit immune to the trope because I no longer find it so surprising.

It's still gross and weird, though.

Luckily, Myself; Yourself isn't very overt about the way it presents Shuri and Shusuke's relationship. In fact, it's subtle enough to where you could honestly debate about what their relationship really is... if you really wanted to debate something like that.

In the visual novel there is a way that Shusuke will admit romantic feelings for his own sister, but the anime smartly avoids such a direct confrontation of the subject.

The final reveal in this series concerns what happened to Yatsushiro during Sana's absence in addition to how Sana came by his fear of blood. The series is at its darkest during these moments, but I can't help but feel that the ultimate reveal of these issues is horribly rushed. The final episode alone seems like it is constantly on fast forward, even going so far as to advance ten years into the future to show how carefree and happy everyone is at the end.

There's a lot more ground that could have been covered. The fast forward to ten years later came almost an instant after Sana walked into Yatsushiro's bathroom to discover her with her wrists slit.

That's one helluva moment to just kick to the curb like that. Seriously. 

If I had to summarize this anime up in a word then that word would be "decent." It could be better, but I've also seen much worse. While it's not a great anime there are certainly some great and dark moments that provide a bit of meat to the story, but it could have been fleshed out so much more. 

I hate it when great plot points get devalued in favor of happy endings. 

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