Kimi No Iru Machi OVA

August 8, 2014

First thing, this Kimi No Iru Machi OVA is not to be confused with the OVA series that came out prior to the TV series as both have the same number of episodes too. This OVA in fact comes out after the TV series ended and continues from there instead of those first OVAs. But to say it as a continuation isn’t accurate because as those who have seen the TV series, there are certain gaps in the storyline and it feels like for those who want to full understand and appreciate this story, should go read the manga (these OVAs were released and bundled along with the limited edition of the manga). Unfortunately like yours truly who didn’t so at certain points I was left puzzled over what happened. The double OVA episodes are no different either since the first one focuses on Akari and the second one being on Rin. And you thought it would be something straight between Haruto and Yuzuki. Well, love between them is already complicated enough, how bad can it get with a couple of more episodes that don’t really focus on them?

Episode 1
When Akari first moved into this sleepy boring town, her classmates were abuzz over her blonde hair and blue eyes (her dad’s a Russian). Because Haruto and Takashi continue to be ‘amazed’, this irritates her and their first meeting got off to a bumpy start. That’s when their rivalry began and because the guys didn’t like her arrogant attitude, they challenge her to a match in which the loser must do a thing the winner says. Of course Akari aces in everything they suggest. They thought she wouldn’t be so good in fishing but surprisingly she beats them at their own game. Soon all the other students start ignoring her but Haruto and Takashi are the only ones who ‘interact’ with her. Their challenge continues way into the autumn festival and this time it is some local sumo match in which a winner will also receive a plaque if he/she wins 5 times in a row. Something that seems to interest Akari. And so the boys’ losing streak continues with Akari winning the sumo contest and even the plaque. As for what she will have them do, she will think about it. After the match, several boys confront her. One of them was the contestant she defeated. He got a little hurt from her sumo slap and they want her to apologize. Since she won’t, you can guess what happens when 3 boys gang up against a foreigner girl, right? But what breaks her heart most is the broken plaque. When Haruto and Takashi see this, they are furious and ran over to beat those boys up. Of course they lost. They even scold Akari for not coming to help them. They assumed she would when they started fighting. Why would she? Because she is their friend. She is so touched that she started crying.

Back in present time, Akari isn’t quite pleased with Haruto’s decision to head to Tokyo just to go after Yuzuki. In fact, she is against it. But you know, that guy’s mind is already set. She tells him off to face reality, that he has already been dumped and going to Tokyo like a hero would make him end up dying like a dog instead. Akari is through with him since he still refuses to listen. Later as the guys fish and talk things out, Takashi mentions he too is quite irritated about him leaving. At least he should have come to talk to them and leaving for Tokyo seems like he is cutting ties with them and making their friendship look so cheap. Of course Haruto never intended that so Takashi suggests he go talk to her and maybe she’ll even support him despite her objections. So she’s not in talking mood either at her home. He wants to go to Tokyo, right? Who is she to stop him? Haruto requests to stay at her place for tonight because there are lots of things he has forgotten. Like the river where he almost drowned, did he jump in or did they push him in? Or what about the time she moved here and when was it they started becoming friends? He wants to bring these memories to Tokyo and that way even everything is in vain, he’ll get by somehow. Better start now. Who knows how long it is going to take. Where to start?

After Takashi falls asleep, the duo continue to talk more. Despite Akari winning those matches, she didn’t impose anything on the guys to do for her. They considered her their friends so why should they be punished for that? Akari continues to keep that plaque and treasure it because she was really happy when they called her their friend. They remember beating up those boys the next day and how Takashi confessed to a girl and got rejected. His rejection spree continued that he earned some notorious status, so much so Akari pitied him and made him a Valentine’s chocolate. Obligation of course. It was his first chocolate from a girl. Creepily, he still keeps it and will only throw it away once he gets a girlfriend. If that ever happens. When he does, Akari will inform Haruto about it. Before they tug into bed, Akari kisses Haruto. Consider that her farewell gift. Hey, he’ll remember that, right? If he has any difficulties, just remember this.

Episode 2
Yuzuki is now a teacher reading to her students some sad love poem. I’m sure she can relate a lot to it. Nanashiki, a student of hers talks to her about a love she has for her sickly friend’s boyfriend. She feels bad coming in between them. Yuzuki listens to her and gives her some advice. Meanwhile Rin is in some plushie giveaway job, wearing some hideous crocodile mascot. She doesn’t take her job too seriously and her senior, Kitajima had to constantly remind her about her pay’s worth. Something hints that Rin likes this guy. She doesn’t want to be seen by those she knows but who knows, here comes Yuzuki with Akari and Nanami. Big sister could immediately identify her. Rin introduces Kitajima to the girls. She gets motivation to do her job when Kitajima will treat her to dinner. Yuzuki and friends continue along themselves. They are surprised to hear that Nanami’s boyfriend had proposed to her. This has them wondering about Yuzuki’s relationship with Haruto. Well, you could say it is strained as they haven’t been talking lately. As Kitajima treats Rin to dinner, she teases him that he likes her sister. But she gets a little nasty hinting that her sister is getting older and will wither away. At this point, she might have drank too much so she’s starting to say things like how Yuzuki in order to avoid getting hurt, she turned down the feelings of the person she loves. She gets drunk enough that Kitajima had to take her back to her place. However she intends on staying at Yuzuki’s place. Once Rin is sober the next morning, she irks Kitajima that he may be hitting on Yuzuki while she was out. He however notes Yuzuki as a more diligent person than her. After he leaves, she just feels bad for doing something horrible again.

Yuzuki listens to Akari’s monologue about the parting kiss gift she gave to Haruto before he came to Tokyo. She reveals she wasn’t angry about him keeping this plan to himself but rather she was in love with him. Maybe that is what that kiss symbolized too. One day as Yuzuki goes out to meet Rin to treat her, there is Kitajima too. He wants to treat them as thanks for the tea but Rin isn’t amused and wants him to go away. The sisters talk about love and their life is heading in no direction. Rin is afraid she will end up hurting people and not being honest with herself. One night after Kitajima treats Rin, they end up in an alley with lots of lovers making out. This makes Rin want to take something off her chest but she feels nervous. From that roundabout saying that she is trying to hint to him, we get a feeling she is trying to confess she likes him. When he gets close to her, she pushes him away. He accuses her of leading him on and also wants to confess something but she wouldn’t hear it. He leaves by himself as Rin notes it is hard being honest with herself. Shortly she could hear Kitajima getting into trouble with a couple of punks. She dives in like a hero but the punk slaps her! Not cowed that she will call the police! Kitajima steps forth and takes over being slapped and do nothing to fight back. Since there is no fun in this case, the punks leave. In the end, Kitajima tells Rin to stay away from him. Hearing this hurts her a lot inside.

Rin talks to Yuzuki about how hard it is to convey her feelings. Yuzuki asks how strong their feelings are for each other and by now they should understand each other well. This makes Rin feel a little better. Yuzuki hears out Nanashiki that she admits her defeat in love to her friend since he has always been in love with her friend. Her feelings were much stronger than hers. Finally, Yuzuki is seen rushing to Haruto’s side. They hug and kiss. And the final scene that ends it all: A picture of Haruto and Yuzuki married and surrounded by their friends. They both run a restaurant under the name Kirishima Restaurant.

Absence Makes The Heart Grow… Forgetful?
Well, I couldn’t say that I am impressed with the OVA. There were a lot of gaps in the story that as I have said at the beginning of my blog, only those who have read the manga would fully understand what is happening. At least that is my assumption of why this couple of OVAs doesn’t seem to do any better than the TV series. Not to say that this entire series did badly, just that the discontinuity and the gap makes it somewhat a turn off. For the first OVA, we have a blast from the past having telling the tale from Akari’s point of view. Although it is good to hear a story from the perspective from a supporting character and knowing a little about her past. Come the second OVA, suddenly there was this tremendous time skip whereby Yuzuki is now working as a teacher. Although this OVA features about Rin, it just feels odd that the main guy Haruto didn’t even show his face until the final scene.

Even so, that final scene feels like so rushed. Here, we were led to believe that their relationship is strained and that a couple of OVAs or even another season won’t be able to fix it. And then suddenly, woah! Hugs and kisses from the main protagonists themselves! Am I dreaming? Also feels like they are adding insult when they end the series with their marriage. Another huge time skip in between? I don’t know. It renders all the problems that they went through were for nought when they came up with this ending so fast. It’s like they wanted to end this series for good. Of course there is a reason why the ending was kinda ‘abrupt’. The long running manga series just recently ended early this year in February 2014 so in a way it is time to close the chapter.

I always long thought and suspected that Akari had feelings for Haruto so when she did finally reveal the truth, it wasn’t really shocking. What was more shocking was the change in Rin’s behaviour. I remember her as a spiteful little sister who hated Yuzuki so much. Although her spiteful character is still there (at least traces of it), she has changed quite a lot that she can talk to Yuzuki about sisterly problems. It’s like that hatred never existed to begin with. And what a big change this girl is because she too is having her own love problems with the senior she is working with. Not easy, huh? Well, you don’t know how something feels like till you experience it first-hand. Now she knows what it is like to be in love and hurts when it is not requited. So is it the end of her and Kitajima or will she continue to persevere? I’m sure it would be interesting to see other stories from the other characters like Nanami and Asuka (or even Nagoshi) but my guts tell me that it would turn out to something like this and being unimpressive.

One thing I would like to note is that very obvious art and drawing in these OVAs. While the characters still look okay and consistent, I tend to notice that the backgrounds have become very water colour-like. It wouldn’t be so bad if they had at least make it look nicer but this one feels like as though they didn’t put much effort t in it and did a lazy job just to complete it. This is very evident in the second OVA and I thought the characters were living inside a painting instead. The ending credits animation feels like a big summary over what happened in the TV series since it is just a big montage of several scenes crammed into 3-4 minutes of ending song. So if you have forgotten what the TV series was all about, here is your big chance to refresh those memories. If you still remember them anyway. Koko Ni Iru Yo by Nana Kouno (voice of Akari) is the rock outfit ending theme for the first OVA while the more anime pop-like Nijiiro Calendar by Megumi Nakajima (voice of Yuzuki) is the ending song for the second OVA.

Overall, if you like this kind of complicated love drama romance genre, this should be for you but it is advisable to read the entire manga first and then watch all the episodes from start to finish (although I read many comments that stated the anime wasn’t as good as the manga – you know the reason). Since I didn’t go into the reading, you can feel that my blog on this series is somewhat half-baked. There is some realism in which ordinary people facing such love issues can relate to in life so it is not all that bad. One simple almost ‘fool proof’ solution on how to avoid the pangs of love: Don’t fall in love in the first place! Easier said than done, right?

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