Saturday, February 16, 2008

True Tears, episode 6

It's amazing how mediocrity can ruin an entire genre. True Tears is an almost archetypal harem show: an average kid is surrounded by beautiful girls who all desperately want him but he really just doesn't notice. Wackiness ensues - or at least it would if they hadn't put the effort into giving all the characters actual traits and writing them like real characters. A slight dose of melodrama and top-notch art direction clinches the deal, making this a solid anime soap opera/guilty pleasure. An obsession with chickens helps too.

The first surprise was to find Shinichiro, the hapless object of just about every woman's desire, actually had real character traits - and a spine. This gives the women a reason to be interested in him: they're impressed with his art, he stood up for them (instead of the traditional Japanese habit of standing nearby and watching), or he's just a genuinely nice guy that they've seen try to help people. It really is shocking to find that you can actually root for (or even like) the kid. Actually having definably traits shouldn't prevent nerds from associating with him, though - we've all done the "I like the girl, but she likes this other guy, so I'll help them get together" thing.

The girls have actual personalities of their own as well, from the Ideal Girl to the Long-time Friend to the Weird One, they all actually manage to transcend their obvious stereotypes to one degree or another. Further, the art direction and animation is stunning (aside from the unnerving CG crowds in distant shots) and as things seem to warm up, the show injects a bit more melodrama, adding some more tension beyond simply "Will he get the girl? Which girl?!"

Highly recommended for anyone who can stomach anime romance, or teen romance in general. If you're willing to try, give it a chance. I was expecting to completely dismiss it after an episode and I've been unable to quit it since.
based on 6 episodes : ANN : Wikipedia

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