Da Capo

March 25, 2006

I’ve got this mixed feelings when I finished watching Da Capo. Yeah, I somehow got addicted to this magical comedy school romance anime type.
This series takes place on a crescent shaped island called Hatsunejima. Here, the sakura trees bloom endlessly all year round regardless of season. Hence the name Da Capo, which is a musical term meaning repeat again from the begining. Plus, on this island, some inhabitants posses mysterious magical powers.
The main protagonists are Junichi Asakura (who has the power to see other people’s dreams), his adpoted sister Nemu Asakura and his cousin Sakura Yoshino. When I say adopted sister, what I mean is that Junichi and Nemu aren’t really related by blood. It’s just that Nemu’s parents died in an accident when she was still very young and has to live with him. Ever since then, Junichi has been treating her like his own little sister. So you can tell that the story revolves around a love triangle between these 3. But the good part is that, unlike in Ranma 1/2, these 2 don’t actually go into fist fights. Yeah, they really tolerate each other if the other show some signs of ‘advancement’. That’s because they consider themselves to be good friends too and wouldn’t want to hurt each other (at least in the beginning).
The story starts off with Junichi and Nemu making their usual trip to school, when they found out that Junichi’s long lost cousin, Sakura, has returned from America to the island to remind him about the 3 promises which they both made six years ago before she left. However, physically she hasn’t changed and looked exactly like the way she was 6 years ago.
The first half of the series is more of the play-play, not serious type, while at the same time introduces other main characters to the series. Like spending the day at the beach, or visiting the natural springs-cum-resort-cum-zoo, or the girls telling some ghost story, or the school organizing some cultural festival thing. Other ‘adventures’ include Junichi ‘dating’ Mako just to help her out and that internet admirer of Nemu’s which seem to be ‘stalking’ her.
Speaking of characters, besides the main protagonist, the other main characters really does provide some spice and variety. Like the hyper-active Miharu, who’s Nemu’s best friend, whom later on is revealed to be a robot! Created by her scientist dad to look and act exactly like her. Well, that’s because the real Miharu went into a coma after trying to rescue a kitten from a tree (we didn’t see how she fell). Then there’s Kotori, the singing lass with a beautiful voice and the mysterious power to read people’s minds.
Don’t forget the tom-boyish Mako who at first seems not to like Junichi because he viewed her having ‘small chests’. I wonder if her feelings changed after that ‘dating’. Yup, there are some signs showing but not conclusive enough. Oh, and there’s Mako’s elder sister Moe. She reminded my alot of Kasumi of Ranma 1/2. Yeah, she’s the dreamy kind and the way she talks too is dreamy. Plus, seems to be very easy going and casual. In order words ‘blur’.
Also, there’s that cat lady, Yoriko. She’s actually a cat and with the mysterious power to become a human. She’s very afraid of meeting other people because they might be intimidated by her cat ears. But she doesn’t feel so when she’s with Junichi and co. Somehow I think that her character was somewhat ‘redundant’. She ended up being Junichi and Nemu’s maid but can’t do anything right at first. Then most of the time she sneaks out of the house just to build up her courage to meet people. Hmmm…. Anyway, to avoid making this a 1 guy all girls anime, I think the producers made Suginami as Junichi’s best friend and the one who’s the most ‘seng mok’ or ‘aware of his surroundings’ kind of guy. Sometimes saying the most unlikely of things but most of the time giving supporting advice.
Then there’s that cute and funny little cat, Utamaru. At first I thought it was a statue or furniture. But later on I found out that it’s actually a real cat! Yeah… Such a small kitten with no mouth and sometimes no legs. But the weirdest part is how it sound. It’s like a human trying real hard to sound like a cat, but fails at it. Nyaaaaaaa…. That’s how it sounds like. Looks fake, sounds fake. So is it fake? Also, it seems to understand what people tells it to and is quite close to Sakura.
I also notice that 2/3 of the series shows that Da Capo Side Story at the end of its main story (except for in episode 21 where it was the last side story and it was shown first). I don’t really get what this side show is really about except that of the beautiful sceneries and sometimes it focus on 1 or a few of the main characters at a time. Then later on, you’ll notice that mysterious cat man dressed in a detective like overcoat, appearing here and there. Who or what is it, actually? I dunno. But the last side story saw him leaving on a ferry and those who met him said that he really did exists. Huh? Besides that, I think the side show is just used as fillers. You know, the main story’s too short and they need to fill the remaining 10 minutes with something. I think.
The second part of the series gets down to more serious stuff and there won’t be anymore happy happy situations. After that episode 16 recap, Nemu finally confesses her love to Junichi and this has caused Sakura to feel jealous. The reason for this sibling treatment thing is that Junichi didn’t want to lose Nemu as a friend as things could’ve been really different. So, you’ll also find that Junichi’s actually a nice guy by now. But you might stop to think for a while, won’t it give rise to a little incest if Junichi and Sakura became a couple. And that’s what Sakura thinks (although she didn’t really say the word incest) between him and Nemu being one. But I wouldn’t have guessed that she’d confessed quite early in the series, as I thought perhaps 1 or 2 episodes before the end.
Not wanting to let go of Junichi, Sakura has that mysterious power to have her wish to become true. Yeah, that big main sakura tree that was planted by Sakura’s grandma many years ago seems to be the source of the mysterious powers on this island. Because of this, Nemu fell ill and she coughed out sakura petals! How horrifying. But seeing how Junichi really loves Nemu, Sakura tried to let go of her feelings for him. Just as things seem to get a little better, disaster strikes again! Well, deep down in Sakura’s heart, she really didn’t want to let go of Junichi, and the Sakura tree was becoming stronger and stronger instead of dying as Sakura wished so desparately.
Before the final 2 episodes, I think the producers wanted to ‘kill-off’ certain characters with episodes 22, 23 and 24, particularly Yoriko, Kotori and Miharu respectively. Like in Yoriko‘s case, since the magic of the sakura tree is dying, she knows that this’ll be her last chance to be with Junichi as a human, she went on a last date. Whereas for Kotori, she confessed her love to him finally but got rejected (we won’t get to hear or see that part). But I think it was the right thing Junichi did. I know that there’re lots of Kotori fans out there crticising Junichi for it. Yeah, I know, she may be prettier and has a better personality than Nemu (that’s because there’s not many episodes focused on her). I mean, Junichi’s already in love with Nemu and you wouldn’t want him to be two-timing on her don’t you. Plus, Kotori didn’t felt sad but happy that she cleared her mind.
As for Miharu, her constant search for her lost memories in order to become the like real Miharu had drained her ‘batteries’. As the real Miharu becomes better in hospital, time is running out for the robot Miharu. But it’s ironic you know. Think about it, All these 3 ladies confessed they loved Junichi but the ones Junichi wanted them to stay were gone, like Yoriko and Miharu. But Kotori, she’s gonna be around… You know what I mean.
Now back to Sakura and Nemu. My heart sank and I felt disgust when Nemu started to lose her memories at the end of episode 25 and only wanting to be with Junichi! That’s so not like her! So pitiful. Even though I felt sad, but I’m proud of what Sakura did to end this. She really let go of her feelings for Junichi this time and you could see all the leaves of the main big sakura tree fall off like it died instantly.
In the end, Sakura decided to go back to America because she doesn’t want to cause trouble again to them. But she promised she’ll be back again in the future and will be a full fledged ‘bong-boing women’ (that’s what she said and you know what I mean) to win Junichi’s heart.
But I’m not really sure whether Nemu became her usual self back again or not. When the end credits of the last episode role, we could first see a headshot of the other main characters, including that Mako’s pesky little girlfriend wanna-be and that charming admirer from the internet of Nemu’s. Then we could see Junichi rushing to school passing his school mates and teachers and finally Nemu waiting at the school gates smiling. End of show. I hope she’s cured.
Overall, like I said earlier on, I had mixed feelings at the end, some happy and wonderful, some sad and bitter. And sometimes I have goosebumps just thinking about it. Still, I find this quite enjoyable and heart warming. But hey, it’s really a bittersweet tale of magic, love, hidden desires and unattainable dreams (quote taken from Anime News Network). *long sigh* Now that this is over, I think I’ll be watching the second season to follow up what happens next.

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