True Love Story

July 19, 2008

Despite the name of this title, True Love Story isn’t exactly what or how a true love story is about. Love story, yes. True, perhaps. We know that there are dozens and countless stories and tales on love. Some simple and some really complicating. This anime series is one of those many ordinary love stories. Yeah, perhaps they should’ve renamed it to that.
 
Based on the game of the same name, just like many other OVAs, this series has only 3 episodes. Makes me wonder if you can really tell a love story with that amount of episodes. Ah well, if it isn’t over-dramatic and filled with heart wrenching emotional tear jerking lines, I suppose so. Aside from being a drama, romance and slice of life genre, judging from the picture of this anime, I could consider this to be a harem anime as well. So which girl will they guy choose? Will true love triumph in the end? Let’s find out how true this love story is.
 
Episode 1
At Tachikuka Kuutou High School, Yuuta Morisaki is getting his picture taken outside by his friend Seitaro Momochi but in actual fact, Seitaro is taking pictures of girls in their sporting action. He’s saying something about capturing their youth and brilliance now as the girls will age in time. I think it’s an excuse to get a little perverted. A tennis ball then hits Seitaro’s head. Hina Kusunose, the girl who’s playing tennis, comes to apologize but that guy is trying to change the subject by saying how pretty the sky is. Hina’s friend arrives and warns Hina about him being notorious for taking pictures secretly. Seitaro rebuffs and says it’s called Live Treasure Photography and that amateurs wouldn’t understand. With that he excuses himself when he’s actually using this chance to escape. Hina’s friend goes after him but Seitaro scurried away as fast as a cockroach. She then looks at Yuuta and a bunch of tennis girls appear and give him that look. I guess another misunderstanding arises, even if Yuuta has no part in it.
 
Hina and her pal are at the fast food outlet discussing about the upcoming ocean festival when the latter sports Yuuta and Seitaro coming in. She invites the boys to sit together but Seitaro comes out with another excuse to leave. As Seitaro dashes out, Hina’s friend chases after him. Hina and Yuuta are both alone and staring at each other blushing. Hina soon leaves. Yuuta is sitting alone on a swing and wonders what everybody is doing when he remembers something and dashes off.
 
Back at his home, Yuuta’s sister, Ruri, has just finished taking a bath and comes out in just a towel wrapped around her. She finds Yuuta setting up some instant food. He mentions why is she dressed like that and says in a way that the reason he doesn’t fantasize about woman is because it’s her fault. Huh? He tells her to be more self-conscious. Ruri seems a little upset and rushes off but Yuuta manages to catch up and apologize. The reason he said those things was because he respects her. But Ruri is just putting up an act and soon gives him a ‘lecture’ like how he can’t understand a girl’s feelings thus he can’t ever get 1 before heading into her room.
 
At Hina’s home, She’s taking a bath and remembering how she met Yuuta. That is, they bumped into each other at the school corridor and she dropped all her books. She wonders if he has forgotten. Looks like another kind of promise made. As Hina gets up from the bathtub, she slips and sprains her ankle. Later she’s lamenting the fact that she can’t go to her club activity tomorrow but thinks that she has a chance to go home with Yuuta.
 
Next day, Yuuta and Seitaro are at the school rooftop and the latter is admiring the ‘models’ below. Seitaro then says how Yuuta knew about Hina, in which he gave the bump in the corridor reply. Seitaro gives him a cute pic of Hina and walks away. As Yuuta looks at the pic and notices how cute Hina is and that Seitaro’s photography skills are something, Seitaro is seen running away from a group of girls who are angry at him and calling him a pervert. Yeah, they want to ‘kill’ him. Yuuta thinks that he should rethink who he hangs out with. He better.
 
At the infirmary, Hina is having her diagnosis report from the school nurse. Yuuta is walking by when he hears Ruri calling and waving him. He pretends not to see her and walks away. Ruri is pissed off when her friend, Yako Mukai, comes by and says that probably Yuuta’s just embarrassed as siblings shouldn’t be doing such things. While Yuuta continues walking, he spots Hina talking to the nurse. Hina too spots him. The nurse asks if she knows him and that he was in the infirmary earlier on for a different reason. She wants Yuuta to send Hina home. As the duo are walking home, there’s this uneasy, shy and not talking atmosphere. Then as they come round a corner, a cyclist suddenly appears, shocking Hina and nearly collided into her. Luckily the cyclist stopped in time. Yuuta tells the cyclist to be careful but the latter recognizes their uniform as she too comes from the same school and introduces herself as Satomi Kiriya. Since she’s in a hurry, she tells them that if there’s anything, they can contact her, before leaving. Hina then realizes Yuuta is holding on to her and pushes him away. She’s spacing out and blushing before the duo continue their walk home. Though Yuuta apologizes, Hina didn’t say anything. The 2 then stopped and stood at the beach. Hina asks if Yuuta knows anything about the ocean festival and that the fireworks over the ocean is really beautiful and wants to see it. But he says he has something important to do on that day.
 
Back in Yuuta’s room, Ruri barges in and notices him hiding something behind his back. Well, he’s actually admiring that pic of Hina in it. Ruri wants him to show it to her but he continues to deny. She asks why he ignored her this morning and as she’s talking, she manages to snatch the pic behind his back. Ruri comments how cute the girl is and asks for her name. Yuuta remain silent. As she puts the pic down, she tells him that she’s meeting Yako tomorrow and will bring him along as well, much to his dismay. Back at Hina’s room, she’s talking to her alligator stuff toy, that she’s happy Yuuta walked her all the way home like as though he cared for her. Are you sure that isn’t just obligatory or it’s because the nurse told him to? Hina also mentions couples who see the fireworks during the ocean festival will gain happiness. She continues to wonder if he really doesn’t remember at all.
 
The next day at the school pool, Yuuta is surprised to see Yako and couldn’t believe that this is the ‘ill-mannered, without a shred of delicacy girl’ he once knew. Yako softly hit his cheeks and wonders who is the one without delicacy and says though they’re childhood friends, he shouldn’t get too familiar with her. Yuuta then recognizes her. At a distance, Seitaro spots Yuuta talking with Yako and Ruri when he hears Hina calling him from behind. Seitaro is a little surprised as he tries to shield Hina from seeing Yuuta getting all friendly with a pair of girls. Unfortunately, Hina spots it already and because he seems so happy chatting away, you can see that spacing out expression written all over her face. Feeling devastated, she soon runs away. Seitaro is looking concerned. As Hina runs away, she says to herself that rather than having her around, he already seems happy and there must be someone he really likes. This is what happens when you jump to conclusions or judge things at first impression.
 
Episode 2
It’s morning and Hina seems depressed and spacing out in her room. She’s taking longer than usual to get prepared to go to school. At the school rooftop, Seitaro is calling Yuuta slow and dense. Yuuta wonders what he’s talking about. Seitaro says though he likes taking pics of girls, he can’t stand guys who make girls cry. Yuuta is still blur. Seitaro continues that there’re sound of cracks between him and her before leaving. So this guy is now a love consultant expert. Even so, Yuuta doesn’t get it. While walking downstairs, Yuuta sees Ruri who asks him to accompany her to go shopping after school before rushing off. Hina is sitting alone and spacing out on the bench when her friend passes her a sandwich. She notices something is wrong with Hina because she’s acting strange and that is willing to listen if there’s anything. Of course Hina couldn’t tell and says it’s nothing.
 
Yuuta wonders why he’s doing this accompanying thing for Ruri and Yako, who’re both trying out some swimsuits at a shop. Yuuta is quite embarrassed as Ruri is asking him to look properly. As he tells her that this is a girl’s bikini shop and he’s a guy, Ruri says that this is the very reason why she wants a guy to look at them and still has to see them at he pool next Sunday anyway. Yuuta seems surprised to learn that they’re going to the pool. Ruri asks him to wait a little longer and gets back to Yako. As Yuuta tries to put back the swimsuits, his hands accidentally touched another girl’s hand. She is Yuriko Shinosaka. He quickly apologizes and is embarrassed but she says it’s alright as she wants to ask something. That is, if he’s a guy, why is he looking at bikinis and thinks if guys really do love bikinis. Yuuta can’t give a straight answer (probably he loves watching bikinis too). Ruri calls him as Yuuta apologizes that he needs to leave now. Yuriko thanks him because she has always wanted to know more about guy stuff. Weird girl. Yuuta is thinking Yuriko must be from his school but don’t remember her. Ruri testing the bikini she chose, asking Yuuta for his opinion and then asks about Yako’s but Yako seems shy to come out of the changing room so much so Ruri has to ‘tickle’ her out. This causes Yuuta to blush. She was afraid to come out of the locker… She was afraid that somebody would see… She was afraid to come out of the locker…
 
On the way home, Yuuta thinks how pushy Ruri is and that all she wants is for somebody to carry their stuff. His mood changes when Ruri says she’ll treat them to some summer special parfait. At the restaurant, the trio are having their dessert and the girls are talking like how they’ve never changed. Yako asks if he notices her to be more feminine now but he replies that she’s still the same tomboy inside he knew back then. Ruri tells him to stop. Some spacing out from Yuuta when Yako says how he too hasn’t changed. Ruri left to get some cakes. Yuuta then notices Yako staring at him. She mentions about the ocean festival which brings back memories of him and Hina back then on the beach while they were talking about it. Yako thinks it’s childish about couples finding happiness there. He mentions she should go see it with somebody. Yako says she’s deciding whom to go with as she’s been asked by many guys and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. She thinks Yuuta doesn’t have anyone to go on that day but he says he has something important to do then and soon take his bag and leaves, surprising Yako and Ruri, who’s on her way back to their table. Yuuta passes by some stuff toy vending machine, stares at it, before leaving. At Hina’s home, she’s spacing out when she gets a call from Youko Furuuchi.
 
Yuuta, Ruri and Yako arrives at the pool. Ruri spots Hitomi Arimori and waves to her. Ruri introduces her to them. Morisaki blushing and stammering. Ruri then teases him for being nervous. He tries to cover up and says why she didn’t tell him that Hitomi’s coming. Ruri replies that she wants to surprise him and says how popular Hitomi is with the boys, making her blush. Later inside the pool, Yako and Yuuta had a little chat and Yako is apologizing for saying bad things earlier on, though he doesn’t mind. She says Hitomi’s quite a pretty person. Yuuta adds that she’s like an idol of all their students. Yako notes that she can’t compare to Hitomi and is afraid Yuuta will forget about her. Since he did remember, she’s glad. Yuuta then says she never changed and Yako’s reply is that he’s kind. They resume having fun in the pool.
 
Hina and her friend are walking out from the pool when she hears Yuuta and co at the stuff toy vending machine. Yuuta is saying something about this doll but can’t remember. He spots Hina who is spacing out and goes to greet her but she says that she’s in a hurry and soon leaves. Yako asks who she is but he says it doesn’t matter. Though Yako is suspicious, Yuuta mentions it isn’t anything like that. Back at home, Yuuta thinks back why Hina’s in a hurry and wonders if she hates him. He then recalled Seitaro’s words. With that, he suddenly remembers a young girl cuddling an alligator stuff toy. Hina is looking out her window and wonders why she said such things. She notices how he looked so happy and wonders if he promised that person to the ocean festival and at this rate she won’t be able to tell him anything.
 
Next day at the library, Yuuta is reading a book when Yuriko comes by and has a chat with him. Yuuta is surprised to see her and gets a little noisy, earning the ire of the other people. Yuriko is fascinated that he’s reading a book which only she borrows. Yuuta takes a look at the card in the book only to find her name written there. She must be real obsessed about this book. Yuriko is so happy that there’s someone else who share the same interests with her. Has she ever thought about coincidence? Well, she thinks it’s fate because there are many books in this library and only they both picked this book. Nice theory. Yuuta says she’s exaggerating the ‘we’ part. Yuriko continues that she’s been reading all sorts of books and knows that only they have picked up this book. Why, she’s looking at him like a stalker! Yuuta thinks she’s too exaggerative as she still looks at him with fascination. Better leave before this weirdo comes up with another weird idea.
 
After the swimming class, Yako leaves only to see her senpai waiting for her. Yuuta arrives at the school gates but didn’t see Yako. She soon arrives and apologizes for being late. Yuuta tells her about a weird girl he met at the library and Yako thought he may be having a good time. Yuuta realizes why he needs to explain to himself since it’s Yako who is late. At a spot on the hilltop, they chat about the day at the pool and on Hitomi. She asks if they could go home together and he wonders if something happened when it starts to drizzle even though it’s still sunny. Yuuta then remembers a big tree and that young girl with the stuff toy when Yako snaps him back to reality by saying that a senpai at her club confesses his feelings to her. Yuuta mentions that she already told him that she’s been asked by many people. Yako teases him and says "Baka". As they both stood facing away from each other, Yuuta says how they’re no more kids. A small rainbow appears in the sky. Elsewhere, Hina is looking out her window and sees that rainbow. She decides to go to the ocean festival with Yuuta and watch the fireworks together.
 
Episode 3
Hina is narrating how her plans to ask Yuuta out to the festival haven’t progressed yet. At the rooftop, Hina’s looking for Yuuta with her bento when she bumps into Satomi. The 2 then chat. Satomi asks where her boyfriend is and this made Hina blush. Satomi says she didn’t mean it that way and asks Hina to send him her regards for helping her fix a flat tyre. Satomi then apologizes and says will talk to her later because she’s having her lunch. Hina’s walking and thinking when Youko calls her and says that she’s been looking for her. Some talk about them being trainees and Youko giving excuses to her senpais that Hina fell down and is in the infirmary. Youko thinks of eating Hina’s lunch as ‘punishment’ for slacking off but Hina’s ‘indifferent tone’ made Youko think that it might be for someone else. Though Hina says it’s nothing, they both shared her lunch.
 
Yuuta on the other hand is ‘sharing’ his lunch with the president of the computer club, Nayu Kamiya, because the latter says she consider this as forgiving them for ruining her lunch, much to his dismay who says she’s the one who left it at a place like this. She taste the sandwich and praises the taste though it looks mediocre. She then gets a little annoyed when she notices him staring at her and tells him shouldn’t he be in a hurry to somewhere. Hina spots Yuuta walking dejectedly but backs off when she hears Ruri and Hitomi calling and heading towards him. They offer him their voluntary cooking and since Yuuta is hungry, he’s quite grateful and gets a little emotional. Hina says to herself how she can’t do it as she watches from afar.
 
After school, Hina is waiting outside the school gates for Yuuta but he never showed up. She says to herself when she was little, there’s a boy named Yuuta whom she liked, but suddenly disappeared. She’s thinking of going home alone when she finally spots him coming out. Her heart is beating fast and is trying to sum up her courage to ask him to the festival. But she collided into him instead. Though he apologizes, she too did the same, especially the time at the pool. Hina then blushingly asks if it’s okay to walk her home, in which he agrees. On the way home, Hina tells him that Satomi said thanks for helping with her bicycle. They then spot a balloon stuck high up on a tree. Yuuta climbs to get it and Hina tells him to be careful but he says he’s good at climbing trees since young. Hina remember those same words he said when they’re young. The branch is going to break when he spots Hina’s facial expression which brings back memories of a young Hina before falling into the river. Since he’s alright, they continue to walk home.
 
As they pass the park, Seitaro spots them and says "That brightness… that intimacy… something’s happening!". He tries to snap a pic of them but Yuuta ‘blocks’ his perfected view as Seitaro curses him. A gust of wind nearly blows up Hina’s skirt and Seitaro is ruing his chance of a lifetime ruined by Yuuta but they’re both gone by the time he realizes it. Finally Yuuta and Hina part as they wave goodbye. Hina in her room happily telling her stuff toy her experience with Yuuta today. She wish she could hold his hands more casually and is confident that it’ll come true because she believes he is still as kind as before. A flashback of her and Yuuta when they were young.
 
Hina and Youko are coming back from camp training as they step out from the bus. Hina spots Yako and her senpai together. Back at Yuuta’s home, Ruri is thrilled that her bro got a stuff toy alligator for her back at the pool as he says it made her feel nostalgic. Ruri says that he should’ve gotten a green instead of a yellow one and wonders how she lose her old one which she treasured so much. Yeah, it might the one Hina’s having. At Hina’s room, she sees a summer greeting card addressed to Yuuta and a flashback of him giving her the green alligator stuff toy. So Yuuta probably gave that toy which belongs to his sister away. Bad boy. It isn’t right to give away someone’s belongings without their permission. Anyway, Hina was happy then. At the place where the festival stalls are being set up, Hina and Youko are chatting and the latter knows that Hina has someone in her heart and doesn’t want to be her substitute for the festival. She’s indirectly saying for Hina to go with Yuuta. Hina thanks her and soon rushes off and says she’ll be honest with him this time. We see Yuuta and Ruri riding a train to visit their mom’s grave. Hina is waiting at the railroad crossing when the train passes by. They didn’t see each other. Of course who could at that speed. Hina continues her journey once the train has passed.
 
Yuuta and Ruri are walking when he says he remembered a cute little girl but can’t remember what happened before that. He looks at an electric pole and says "Next time, let’s meet again here". He starts to remember that girl made a promise with him. That is, when she grows up, she’ll become his bride and will be waiting tomorrow at that tree. Yuuta then says will he be able to make it for the ocean festival to Ruri before rushing off.
 
The night of the festival arrives and Hina is in her yukata, spacing out and walking to the festival alone. But she meets Youko alone there too. As the duo chat, Hina says she’s okay since she didn’t meet him but definitely will the next year. Youko says in the end, it’s just the 2 of them again. Back home, Yuuta is looking at the summer greeting card Hina sent by hand and says that she’d came to find him after all. Yuuta rushes to the festival. The fireworks are being displayed as everyone watches in awe. Yuuta arrives but meets Hitomi, who is asking where Ruri is. He replies that she’ll come along soon but has to go now because he’s in a hurry. Yuuta is searching through the crowd and is thinking why he didn’t realized it at that time, the warmth of her hands, the same feelings he had when he was younger. He then hears Yuriko calling from behind. She is thrilled to see him and doesn’t think it’s a coincidence. But he thinks otherwise. Soon he apologizes and leaves in a hurry. This is the best option, I guess. Satomi on the other hand is watching the fireworks afar from a hilltop and is in her cycling gear while Nayu is seen catching goldfishes at the festival. After the festival ends, Yuuta is sitting dejectedly when a shock Hina drops her drink when she sees him. Also, Yako is apologizing to her senpai that she can’t (rejected?!) because she thinks he is nervous so much so that it’s strange when she spots Yuuta and Hina. A flashback of that scene at the end of episode 2. Yako guessed her wish didn’t come true after all.
 
Yuuta says the big tree has been replaced with steel towers. But Hina replies she’s always waiting under that tree with that green alligator toy, waiting for him to come because she wants to be with him forever and loved him even more as time went by and thus wants to see every year’s ocean festival with him from now on. Yuuta says when he was young and his mom was alive, he used to play a lot with a girl called Hina, though she used to fall and cry many times. Her smile was so cute that he liked her, even now he still loves that girl very much, which is Hina. Hina is very happy to hear this and as they stare at each other, Ruri, Hitomi and Yako are looking on while the little fireworks starts to shoot up. I guess Seitaro has to make his last appearance. Yeah, he’s saying in the end this is the only role he has anyway. Yuuta and Hina watch the fireworks while holding hands.
 
While walking home, Hina tripped because one of her sandals snapped. Yuuta manages to catch hold of her. Though they’re staring at each other for quite some time, they’re being interrupted when Nayu appeared and wonders what they’re doing over there. Yuuta tries to explain that it’s a mistake as Hitomi, Ruri, and Youko look on. Yuriko meanwhile says that she really doesn’t understand guys at all and wants to know more about them. Warning in advance. Stay away from this weirdo. Yuuta and Hina smiled as they hold hands.
 
Happily ever after…
Well yeah, like most love stories, it should end on a happy note. Childhood friends who made a promise to be with each other, finally the vow has been fulfilled. While it still bewilders me on how on Earth he could forget it and furthermore, those 2 are even attending the same school and it’s like right under their noses. Aren’t they curious to know each other even though they have little recurring flashbacks that the other may be the one? Besides, they did come face to face on several occasions, so shouldn’t it at least ring a bell like "Hey, have I seen you somewhere before?".
 
But the biggest disappointment of this series is the harem. Yeah, some of the girls didn’t even play a prominent role! It’s just like giving viewers the impression that there 8 girls (that’s right, count them from the opening credits) but in the end, some of them didn’t make that much impact and I think their presence could be done without. Like Satomi’s. I mean, she bumps into Yuuta and Hina, a short chat with the latter, and then never to come into contact again. What the? How about Nayu. Yeah, it was pretty hilarious to see her eating Yuuta’s lunch, but that’s pretty much about it either. Then the chemistry of the other girls weren’t that strong either. Of course Ruri is his sister and there shouldn’t be incest. While weirdo Yuriko’s fascination is more about the mysteries of men rather than love for Yuuta, Hitomi was because she’s the school’s popular idol so her feelings for Yuuta aren’t obvious, likewise even the closest one Yako, fizzled out in the end. So as predicted, it has got to be Hina. Who else?
 
I also want to mention that even though the drawing, art and animation just seems okay, the way they draw the characters face seems to make them look ‘chubby’. Yeah, probably it’s because their jaws may be a little too wide. In the end, there isn’t anything special about this love story and is just run-of-the-mill. I’m sure there are some cases like this in real life or in the movies but if you want to watch high school love stories, there are plenty of better ones out there. Maybe I should rename this anime to Mediocre Love Story.
 
True Love Story

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