If I could sum up my initial impression of the first episode, it’d be “Well, it’s kind of like an anime version of Bridge to Terabithia, but the main character’s a prick.” Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh. I just find our main character rather unlikable. All of the same themes are there though: friendship, individualism, childish fun, etc. You’ve got a guy who wants to fit in, but then he meets a girl who appeals to his more creative, imaginative side. It’s probably just a coincidence, but Yuuta, the main character, even has a little sister who thinks he’s cool.
People always say that our imagination is most active when we are young. That is probably true and everything, but this statement also gives off the impression that our imagination will somehow dies off with age. As such, I think it would be more accurate to say… well, we become self-conscious. Guys like Yuuta epitomize this. His imagination hasn’t gone away at all; he just knows shame now. As a result, his former antics embarrass him, and he’s afraid that Rikka will drag him down when he’s tried so hard to discard his former self. So for grown-ups, I’d argue that the imagination’s still there. Just look at all the people on Reddit proclaiming their love for pillow forts. If Reddit was like high school or a workplace though, you sure as hell wouldn’t find too many pillow fort submissions.
My first gut reaction to Yuuta was harsh — hell, I just called him a prick at the top of this post, right? — but I can understand why he rejects Rikka over and over. He’s a teen. Teens are stupid, but they also just want to fit in. Yuuta only wants to make some lasting friendships: “That memory pains my heart. I’ve been on my own in that class ever since.” Even so, the main character nevertheless frustrates me, because he admits that he’s been in Rikka’s position before. As such, he’s being a jerk to someone who, like him, just wants to make friends. Is she wrong for thinking she’s found a kindred spirit in Yuuta? Why should she be punished just because she doesn’t feel the same sense of shame that he does? He’s the one with all the hang-ups, after all.
But at the end of the day, they’re all kids. Yes, they’re teenagers in high school, but they’re still developmentally incomplete. As such, can I really expect Yuuta to act any differently? Will Rikka teach the guy that he doesn’t need to conform 100% to his peers’ expectations? Will he help her make enough friends that she doesn’t have to retreat to her fantasy world all the damn time? I’ll tell ya what, though… all of these questions make me wonder if I should even be watching this show. Beyond the premise, it just feels like another generic story about friendship. I’m not asking for some tiring exercise in self-referentiality like what Shaft would’ve done with the same subject material, but is there enough here to keep me interested? Well, would I ever re-read Bridge to Terabithia, a book I haven’t read since elementary school?
Basically, I just think the show’s messages will end up being too self-evident to keep me engaged. I suppose it could try to tug on my heart strings instead, but that rarely happens with anime and me. I would probably have to see why Rikka prefers to play in her fantasy world as opposed to acting like a typical teenager, but I’m bracing myself for a potentially corny backstory full of tears and angst. I guess I’ll find out soon enough over the next few weeks.
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• Nitpick: That OP is seizure-inducing, and I’m not even exaggerating. By all means, take a look for yourself. Parts of it are literally uncomfortable to watch. I made a comment on Twitter that the OP basically resembled a moe strobelight.
• What I liked: Well, it’s KyoAni, so the animation is decent. I don’t get their penchant for pudgy fingers and limbs though. I guess it’s supposed to be cute and everything, but a peculiar side effect is that everyone looks super, super short.
• Nitpick: What is really the appeal of girls with eye-patches? No, I get it: the show is lampooning similar heroines in shows that actually take themselves seriously (e.g. Another). I’m just curious as to why this look ever became popular to begin with. Having just one eye is so moe!
• Nitpick: For whatever reason, the male voice actors are being told to sound annoying. I guess Yuuta will just take some time to get used to, but Makoto’s voice is downright nasally. He’s supposed to play the typical best male friend, but I hope this doesn’t end up being the case just so I don’t have hear him utter another word again.
• Nitpick: Even if it’s not aiming to be ha-ha funny, the humor didn’t really click with me. Maybe the show would just be better served to play up its heart.
• Just an observation: Of all Rikka’s special moves, the only thing I could recognize was the Konami code.
• What I liked: Hey, a new show! Yes, I’m reaching here, but at least it’s a diversion from the you-know-what.