Ushinawareta Mirai Wo Motomete
May 2, 2015
If only real life was like in video games. In the sense that if you screw up somewhere in the game and die a horrific death, you can always go back to your earlier save point and redo the events again. Because it is like you already have the experience and prior knowledge of the ‘future events’ and take steps to deal with it. Apparently this case is something of the anime Ushinawareta Mirai Wo Motomete that was adapted from an adult visual novel game of the same name. Unfortunately I have to give away that much even though you can somewhat guess something of this likes while watching it because otherwise there isn’t anything standing out that describes best this anime. The synopsis was general enough to not give away too much. Enigmatic enough to at least make you (like yours truly) to wonder there is more to it. With the typical setting of a certain club in a certain high school, as usual the main male protagonist lead, his female club members, the other guy in the club, and with events like paranormal sightings, accidents and mysterious coma-related illness. Wow. So much going on. Can they find time for romance here? And don’t forget the all-important ingredient of a mysterious amnesiac girl popping up and ‘slowly moving the gears of fate’.
Kaori Sasaki and her mom, Shiori are teasing Sou Akiyama about his strange dream of catching a star when he was young. In class, Sou’s friend is bugging him about the reason Kaori has turned down guys who confessed to her since they are childhood friends. Sou wants to borrow his homework but he wants a naked photo of Kaori in the bath in exchange. That’s a joke, right? When Sou goes to ask her, he baulks and runs away! Well, it was to ask Kaori to borrow her homework. She reluctantly lends it to him after he promises to treat her to cake. Eitarou “Kenny” Osafune takes Sou and Kaori along since there is trouble brewing with Airi Hasekura. However she got it all under control as she singlehandedly beats up the boys. Seriously. No need for help. The guys were fighting and accusing each other of some sabotage. Airi wanted to stop them and in a way got involved. Nagisa Hanamiya has photo evidence that it is one of their fault. With the student council here, they have the perfect request to seek of the astronomy club members. Sou rejects whatever it is but they aren’t listening. From now till the school festival, they are to help stamp out such troubles. Isn’t that supposed to be the discipline committee’s job? In the clubroom, they wonder a mysterious black box that Nagisa is holding but she won’t tell. They also know she has some sort of fan club whereby she considers them as people who work at her beck and call. They discuss what they are to do for the festival and Kaori suggests a planetarium. This has Sou motivated as he thinks of how they’re going to make it. Sou and Airi get involve in some silly antic (he biting her feet?!) so Kaori isn’t so pleased and leaves. Sou is made to go after her but she’s still pouting. Next morning, Airi talks to Kaori about telling it straight to Sou. She believes Sou feels the same thing but is just an idiot for not being able to express it.
The astronomy club members go to quell trouble between the karate and judo club. When one of them accuses Kaori of some bribe (which she denies and was just as thanks) and pushes her down, he got an Airi kick into his face. Knocked out. The other guys follow but met the same fate. Kaori’s foot is sprained although she can still walk. The teacher is reprimanding Airi and Kenny about the recent ruckus but Nagisa said something and he gladly lets them off. Tonight, the astronomy club members are going to watch the stars. Kaori doesn’t feel like going but with Sou persuading he would like to see them with her, she relents. Even so, she is in pouting mood so the rest of them leave to give some space to Sou and Kaori. Kaori apologizes for sulking. Next day, Airi is pestering Sou for details because Kaori is in a good mood. Said anything romantic? Well, he doesn’t know it too well either because he apologized and everything was okay. Disappointed? Well, there’s that sulking look back on Kaori’s face again. Later when they are alone, Kaori confesses she likes Sou. She wants to be more than just family or childhood friends. She was mad at him because she wanted to know how he felt. Poor guy is left blushing and trying to find the right words. He just couldn’t. He doesn’t need to answer now but at least let her know. On the way back, she drops her strap. Cliché moment. Incoming bus. Brakes not working. She tries to pick it up but her hurt ankle has her fall. And then… Blood all over. Hospital. Sou. Depression. Shiori breaks down crying. A change of scene shows the astronomy club members in their clubroom when the building shakes. It cannot be an earthquake so Sou goes to check it out the floor above. Well, what do you know? An unconscious naked girl.
She wakes up and introduces herself as Yui Furukawa. That is all she remembers. Just great. An amnesiac girl. Since she is still tired, Nagisa takes her home with her. Yui is still restless and mentions about the need to go to Uchihama Academy but Nagisa has her rest. Next day, Nagisa uses some secret hand of hers to get Yui become a transfer student. Classmate Karin Fukasawa quickly becomes acquainted with her. Yui also joins the astronomy club. As they make preliminary preparations for the planetarium, the rest notice Yui has gotten more attached to Sou and Airi. One day in class, Yui got this big ringing headache and just walks out of class and something about Kaori bugs her. She is in a dilemma on what to do. Later in the clubroom, the girls design dresses for the maid cafe. Yui’s one can be said as avant-garde. A girl is checking some equipment when she sees a ghost that looks like Yui! Holy sh*t! Spooked! Soon rumours of the ghost become widespread. The astronomy club members check the area where the ghost is sighted. Kaori is the most scared one and even pushes the blame to Yui when Airi makes a prank scare. Suddenly a loud sound rattles the place, as if a jet was passing by the building. A box is going to fall on Kaori so Sou goes to protect her. After the sound is long gone, only the box drops. Mind boggling, Sou didn’t push her away but stood there to protect her. I thought at least they should move away instead of standing there although the box drop deals no serious (or even light) damage. Of course the student council wants the astronomy club to continue their peacekeeping ways and investigate whether this ghost rumour is someone pulling a hoax. They split into groups and interview those who have seen it. Most recount that it was a girl with long hair wearing their school uniform. Since they’re going nowhere, they take a break as the girls try out different sets of maid outfits. Nagisa’s one seems to have more cleavage exposure… She then has Yui compare her boobs with Airi’s… Honest Yui… I can tell who is going to get frustrated and upset. Later Kaori asks Yui if she has gotten used to the club. She feels they are a bit odd but that itself is pretty much normal. Yui remembers she forgot her hat and returns to the clubroom to get it. She sees Nagisa’s mysterious box and touches it. However Nagisa comes to check on her. Yui believes she now knows the reason she is here.
Yui will not elaborate but wants Nagisa to not tell the rest. When Airi sees Yui in her PE class, this reminds her of how she first met Kaori. Airi was a high achiever when young and thus she tried her best for her love to being praised. This means she wasn’t easy to make friends with. She started growing conscious about it as she grows older as her performance slightly dips till she met Kaori who was impressed of her. They were in the same relay team. Kaori’s slowpoke makes her team dead last but with Airi as the anchor, she zooms past everyone to win it. Kaori was super impressed. From that day on, they became best friends and Airi couldn’t care less about what people said about her. As the astronomy club is about to initiate a discussion about the ghost, suddenly they are called to break a fight between the judo and karate club guys. Yui remembers Kaori got injured and tries to stop her. Kaori says she’ll be fine. When things are seemingly heading in that direction (they rough guy is about to push Kaori), Yui takes Kaori and run out of the hall. But it was Sou who got his ass kicked before Airi and Kenny settled things. This causes Yui to feel responsible that it is her fault for getting him hurt although nobody is accusing her for that. Yui still puts a forlorn face, still believing that her interference causes Sou to be hurt. The more action she takes, the more unpredictable things happen. She hints it might be better not to do anything. The gang splits up to do investigate more on the ghost. Kenny and Nagisa speak to a teacher about the school’s past like if there was anything tragic that happened before. He denies but claims he recently saw the ghost on the roof. Suddenly Kaori’s scream attracts everyone. It seems she spotted the ghost from across the cafeteria! Holy sh*t! Is it real?! Airi spots the film club guys from the corner of her eyes and chases them down. They make a run for it knowing they’ll be in deep sh*t if they’re caught. Too bad, how can you outrun Airi? Prepare for sh*t. Look at her freaking scary face. Sh*t already. And why is the guy still continuing to film in such situation? It is learnt these guys did a prank just to see people’s reaction and recorded for their horror workshop at the festival. Of course it got out of hand. The ghosts were just projector images. Everyone is glad the case is solved but the film club guys are puzzled. Who was the one at the rooftop then? As the astronomy club members leave school late at night, Yui sees an apparition on the rooftop… Yikes! It’s not over…
The film club gives a camera as apology. Sou takes ownership of it as he tries to become the best cameraman in the shortest time, taking snapshots of all the people in their normal action in school. Of course, no secret toilet shots, mind you. But Yui seems not to be fond of getting her picture taken. She feels photos cement the passage of time and that she herself doesn’t need memories. Sou is baffled when the rest comes to join for lunch. Since today is a fine weather, they decide to skip class and go outdoors. So they’re going to play truant? Hell, yeah. Yui doesn’t want to be left out and joins them. So they really take a bus trip out of town to some river. It brings back memories to Kaori how she lost her teddy bear in the river. She and Sou tried to retrieve it but not only they fall in and got wet, they lost the teddy bear to the river’s flow. When Kaori accidentally sprains her wrist, Yui seems to be overreacting like as though it is a very big deal. Yeah. She’s panicking even though the injury is very light. Again that guilty feeling. She feels she has been making the wrong decisions and if she had only stopped them from coming here. Nagisa calms her down that she was quite happy that Yui decided to come along (but remember people, playing truant is still bad) and if there is anything on her mind, please let her know. Because Kaori lost a shoe during that slip, Sou helps her go find it. And as usual, once Yui returns and finds Kaori not waiting at the spot, it’s like she’s going to panic again until Nagisa points out that Yui won’t wander alone herself and there could only be one possible reason. Sou and Kaori find the missing shoe stuck between the rocks. Sou goes to get it as the rest are worried to see him doing something dangerous. Kaori wants to help but this makes Yui to go do it on her behalf. As expected, Yui slips but just in time for Sou to catch her. A happy ending when the shoe is retrieved. A group shot is taken and since Sou has been taking lots of photos the entire day, this so happens to be the last shot on the roll. Let’s hope it turns out well.
Of course the astronomy club members get reprimanded by the teacher although they are let off with a warning. There is this lesson the teacher is explaining about case and effect, parallel worlds and Schroedinger cat which I assume is important to the plot of this series but I couldn’t really care much about those deep stuffs. Besides, do they really teach such subjects in high school? It all began when some survival club girls accidentally damaged some flower of the gardening club. He got mad and chased them. This causes Airi to collide into the student council vice president. If having her face in her crotch wasn’t bad enough, her important laptop is broken. It is essential for the festival. Nagisa suggests they could replace it. They are going to borrow it from the computer club since they are not using it for the festival. It seems those girls are playing a reverse harem game and dreaming of the heaven they are in. Really. Hey, Amnesia parody? Anyway they are brought back to earth when they realize the astronomy club members are on their way. It’s like hell is coming, right? So we can see them lie through their teeth just to hide the game and won’t lend their PCs (Nagisa wanted all 5 although 3 were only required). Till they accidentally reveal the screenshot of the game they were in the midst. Another round of blatant lies about these aren’t just your ordinary hunks of a dating game. They are doing research of some AI that interacts and grows into a person that loves you! Nagisa throws down a challenge. If she can get the guy to loan the computer, they win. Otherwise, they won’t borrow at all. Because if those AI guys have real feelings, they will only listen to them instead of Nagisa so it might look like a hands-down victory to the computer club, right? Nagisa asks a series of agree or disagree questions. Although the character won’t allow her to borrow the PC, due to some liar’s paradox, he contradicts himself and the computer club girls admit their bitter defeat. And some explanation of how the AI aren’t actually responding because they understand either and only acting like they do, thus some pattern to the algorithm. Well, create better AIs next time. Meanwhile Yui and Kaori are waiting in the clubroom preparing their stuffs for the festival while talking. Kaori noticed Yui used to be close to Airi and Sou but now it seems she is focused on her. She wonders if she is that unreliable. Nevertheless, she is glad Yui joined the club. Because Shiori won’t come home tonight, looks like it is home alone with Sou. Despite flustering and panicking about it, ironically she is the one with guts to go sleep with Sou. Scared to sleep alone?
Well, Kaori just tells him about how she got along well with Yui and that’s it. Back to her room. Dang. For the rest of this episode, Nagisa takes the spotlight and the other girls very much sidelined. After the talk about their future prospects and Yui finally given a badge to officially make her an astronomy club member (I can’t believe it is this late), Nagisa accompanies Sou to retrieve the developed photos. However there is a phone call that keeps ringing she doesn’t answer or call back. Turns out the day before her father talked to her about her marriage meeting with Hikaru Reito. She is reminded that their union is very important to the company, associates, conglomerate, trading partners, etc. Hell, the future of the entire group is riding on this marriage? Of course just like any other girl, Nagisa doesn’t quite like it but what can she do about it? Nagisa talks about being in love. In love with the times she has with the club members. Sou jumping to conclusions made him blush so much that it’s obvious. On the way out, they are picked up by Hikaru who was on his way to see her. Nagisa introduces Hikaru to Sou and likewise Sou as her boyfriend. Say what? Hikaru is cool and even takes them for a drive. It is no surprise Sou is feeling awkward. What the heck is he a third wheel doing on their ‘date’? They go to a gaming centre and play bowling. Nagisa the ‘gutter girl’? Well, better than Sou who sucks a lot. Even a rematch with Hikaru, he lost. It’s not like Sou takes a liking for Hikaru when he wants him to hang out further. He challenges him to several other games. You win some, you lose some. But Nagisa is the highlight as she is attracting others with her amazing shooting skills. The guys talk things out as Hikaru knows they are faking it as a couple. Nagisa is against the marriage and calling Sou her boyfriend is like her rebellion against it. He knows because he is also the same, though he is okay to live the rest of his life for his father and company. It’s not like they can change their future either. Sou then privately talks to Nagisa if she is okay with this engagement thingy because Sou doesn’t like to see her in this state. She’s used to it. Sou wants Nagisa to be her usual self because giving in to decisions of others isn’t like her. This causes her to fluster so much that she looks like a different person. Embarrassed. Never seen her in this state before, eh? She’s always the dominating type, no? So much so, Sou even thinks she’s cute! Holy cow. Maybe he’s right. Back home, Yui notices Nagisa in a good mood. Indeed. She has a good feeling that the future is not completely set yet.
The astronomy club members minus Nagisa converge at Kaori’s place. While the girls are baking cookies, the guys are going to create the planetarium. However Kenny is more interested in the porn magazines (how can he admire those babes while thinking about his Jennifer girlfriend?) while Sou finishes the sphere. If you want things done, you have got to do it yourself. Yui wants to talk something with Kaori privately and can’t say it before Airi. But since Airi is begging I guess Yui will put it off to some other time. Noticing they are short of several ingredients, they head to the supermarket to get some stuffs. Sou sees a teddy bear strap in the shelves and remembers Kaori has one of these. It’s back to work when they get back. Yui asks about Sou’s fascination in the stars as he explains how he was in awe of them since young. He also continues to explain the deeper stuffs about Andromeda and light years. Does a girl like her understand? Yeah. This guy is so passionate that even making the planetarium had to be perfect. The stars needed to be the right size. Who cares?! He does. When Sou displays the planetarium, Yui can tell they are summer constellations. She remembers being with some scientist guy watching the stars. Sou asks about her memories and she just says she remembers somebody with a sad smile. Sou believes that person might be someone close to her since she looks sad talking about him. Kaori heard this outside and leaves the cookies on the doorstep. By evening, Sou has completely finished his planetarium and Yui is sleep talking about wanting him to call her by her first name and touching his cheek before realizing this isn’t a dream. By the time Nagisa arrives, the baking is complete and Sou shows his completed planetarium to everyone. And Sou had to passionately rant about the stars. Airi is suspicious Sou is on first name basis with Yui and Kaori looking worried Sou is seemingly close to her.
Kaori is acting strange. All because she overheard Yui telling Sou about that person being precious to her. You know something is wrong by the way she is putting up that unenthusiastic face even though she says everything is alright. Something is definitely not alright. Yui can tell and asks Sou if anything has happened. Just this scene of them together makes Kaori further depressed. Her depression continues so much so everybody starts blaming Sou for whatever. He must be the root, right? Hey, he is a guy. Like hell he knows what is going on either. He is made to go talk to her and her usual answer that nothing is wrong. When girls say something like that, something IS wrong. She gets a mail from Airi to come watch the stars tonight because it will be meaningless if one of their members is missing. This familiar scene feels like the one in the first episode. The friends watching the stars, making a wish on the shooting star, everybody leaves to give Sou and Kaori some time together, he gives her the teddy bear strap, Kaori’s confession she likes him although she won’t rush him for an answer. Thus it becomes awkward between the duo. This means the duo are not eating together as usual. This causes Yui to be worried as she talks to Sou if there is anything that happened. She can tell that Kaori has confessed so surprised Sou replies he hasn’t given his answer yet. And what do you know? Kaori sees them together. The kind of face that is sure to walk down the yandere path… That evening, Yui starts to panic for real when she doesn’t see Kaori in her class after school. I mean, really panic like it’s the end of the world. She takes Sou’s handphone and calls her but no answer. Hey, calm down. Maybe she is in the clubroom. More panic when Kaori is not there but Nagisa tells her she saw Kaori leaving with her friends. Yui quickly rush to the gates. Eventually Kaori apologizes she can’t go karaoke with her friends and returns to the clubroom. Her members are surprised to see her back as Nagisa mentions about Yui looking for her. Kaori leaves to look for Yui. Well, Yui has been waiting at the bus stop for hours, getting paranoid that Yui may have been elsewhere. Then she sees her coming. Déjà vu scene. Kaori drops the strap, she trips and couldn’t get back up since her wrist is still painful, bus coming, brakes not working… Hospital scene. Everyone gloomy. Bad news…
Good news: Kaori’s condition has stabilized. Bad news: She may never wake up. Again. Sou sinks into depression. They ended up doing nothing for the festival (everything they did went to waste) and Yui was suddenly transferred out. Sou left home to study medicine under the brain department to try and bring Kaori back but each time he hit a dead end as human’s technology was very limited. Airi is a scientist researching on some quantum stuffs while Kenny wrote some theory about time travelling. Even Shiori immersed herself in some sort of special research. One day Nagisa brings Airi and Sou to their old high school where it is being demolished in favour of a new research lab. Nagisa reveals the box she used to bring to the club. It has been researched and studied ever since then and it is found it responded strongly to a specific place. She brings the duo back to her general lab where Shiori and those computer girls are part of her team doing globally cutting edge research of a top secret project. They are shocked to see someone resembling Yui in the chamber. Nagisa reveals on the day of Kaori’s accident, Yui went into sleep mode. More specifically, she ceased to function. More mind boggling, she had Yui’s strap. In short, Yui is an artificial human being. Who made her or how are unknown. She is clearly something that current human technology is incapable of. The box that they call AI Unit may be related to Yui too. They deduce there is a way to save Kaori. Because all internal organs including Yui’s brain are perfect, they will study her body, build a new one and transfer Kaori’s memories and conscience into it. Is that possible although it looks good theoretically? That is why Nagisa is requesting their help.
Soon, Sou and Airi drop out of their universities to join the team known as Yui’s Unforced Intelligence System or YUI’s Project. Many years passed and they have created the perfect body. When it is time to transfer, something went wrong and it was aborted. Although the body functions have begun to activate, none of Kaori’s memories and conscience were transferred. In other words, experiment failed. Shiori soon left for Europe to study about artificial brains. Sou continues to hit the dead end. When he looks at Kenny’s time travelling theory and Airi’s quantum study, he hits upon a crazy idea. He has turned Kaori’s synthetic body to look like Kaori and is going to send her back to the past to save her. Even if it is all hypothetical, what about diverging the worlds, etc? Sou believes that whatever divergence or paradox will be reunited and eliminated. Sou argues about Yui’s suddenly appearance back then, her goal, her motivation and the reason she was with them during high school. If you think about it, now it all makes sense, right? Is he crazy? Maybe. But you can tell he is desperate. Anything is better than nothing no matter how crazy it is. Sou teaches Yui and even talks to her about the stars. Yeah, 14 years is nothing compared to millions of light years. Many years passed and when it is time to send Yui back in time, it failed. Then one day while thinking about who made AI Unit and Yui as some divergent point, it hit upon Sou the idea of a save point. And so Yui is successfully sent back in time, right at the moment when Sou finds a naked unconscious girl on that floor.
Remember these familiar scenes when Yui first came into the picture? Yeah. You’re not going to watch a recap or summary. Back at Nagisa’s home, when Yui touches AI Unit, she suddenly retrieves all her memories and knows what she must do. It seems she has been sent back in time many times. Every time she changes something, Yui’s fate never changed. Like when the bus hit the stop, the roof killed Yui instead. Or when the bus broke down, a car rammed into her. It is like the more she interferes, the results will be even more horrific. Like as though this is some sort of warning to change the timeline. When Sou asks about what is on Yui’s mind, she really wants to tell him about everything but she can’t. There is also this Uchihama Syndrome whereby students fall into coma for unknown reason. You see, the ghosts are actually Yui’s after-image after popping up so many times in the past. There is one timeline whereby that girl touched the ‘ghost’ and fell into coma due to some quantum thingy. She worries that if one of the astronomy members falls into this, it would throw the continuity of time into chaos. Because she wouldn’t exist, right? Then there is that fight between the judo and karate club members. Yui takes the fall instead of Kaori. As proven in other timelines, she can prevent Kaori from getting injured by if she gets injured herself. However if she tries to circumvent Kaori’s movement, like one time she was forcefully locked in the room, so many after-images of Yui appeared and it killed her!
Yui knows she is running out of time. With her after-images appearing more and more each time, her ability to travel back to the past may soon vanish and must save Kaori before that happens. There is also the dilemma that if she successfully does so, what will happen to her own existence? But she has to remember the reason she is here. There is one time Kaori asked Sou if he likes Yui. Then she was absent on the day she wasn’t supposed to be and it rang alarm bells for Yui. She also prevented that truant trip as they took a group picture in the school grounds instead. There are a handful of times Kaori and Yui wanted to tell each other something but were interrupted. During that baking session, Kaori finally asks Yui if she likes Sou. Because she confessed to him the other day and she never got a reply. She thinks Sou likes her. This makes Yui feel conflicted. Does she really like him? All she wanted was to see Sou smile. Kaori is feeling depressed right now and talking about how she at one point wanted to give up on him. This causes Yui to get upset. If that happens, what is the point of her doing here? She runs out of the house and Sou had to chase her. She tells him to love Kaori for the best of everybody back but that guy says it doesn’t matter who he falls in love with. It can be anybody. Including Yui. She feels even more conflicted as she reveals she is going away soon. So please, return Kaori’s love. Otherwise he will not find happiness. Of course Sou can’t understand a thing she says.
Future Airi wonders what happens if Yui successfully prevents Kaori’s accident. She’ll go into sleep mode. But will sleeping be all that happens to her? So back to where we left off in the last episode, Yui runs away without saying anything. Sou returns empty handed and is puzzled about how Yui looked at him and the way she said goodbye. Next day in school, Sou tries to talk to her but she continues to play the runaway act. Airi and Nagisa talking to him can only help so much. Yui remembers future Sou telling her the time and place to save Kaori. It is believed they will be happy when Kaori is saved. Sou wants Kaori saved because he has something to tell her. But Yui knows Kaori always confesses to Sou in every timeline. However Sou never replies. She starts thinking that the chain of events might not be related to the accident but Sou’s feelings for Kaori. The next time Sou finds Yui, he is going to apologize for anything, for whatever he did. But his stomach had to growl… Sou brings her around town (because she is still new) and explains about his times with Kaori. He brings her to a spot where they can watch the stars. Oh look, a shooting star. Yui believes she is the only person who can connect Sou’s smile to the future. She says if wishes can be granted, just don’t forget about her. She then has a favour of him to ask. Tomorrow after school, please bring Kaori to the clubroom because she will confess to him. Please give his answer without fail. Next day before that, Yui talks to Kaori to clear the air that she has no feelings for Sou whatsoever. Kaori wonders if she is lying because she feels Yui is a lot like her. Kaori reveals she plans to confess to Sou. This means she might get hurt or hurt somebody else but she can’t move forward if things stay the same. Therefore, is Yui okay with that? When Kaori is alone with Sou in the clubroom, she confesses. As Sou looks for Yui, he stumbles upon Airi who tells him Yui met her but was acting strange like as though it was goodbye. Sou panics and rushes out to find her. Airi is made to follow up with Kaori. And that means console a crying girl. Sou catches up to Yui but the bus accident is about to happen. Thankfully Sou saves her although suffering minor bruises. They’re glad they’re both okay (nobody cares about the bus driver) and she wonders about his response to Kaori. He replied. He told Kaori that he loves Yui because lately he has only been thinking of her. Shocked and surprised with also the fact she is starting to disappear, I guess you can’t waste these last moments. She hugs him and says she loves him too. A little kiss and more tears welling up in her eyes. This is goodbye. In the aftermath as Sou’s friends see him at the accident site receiving treatment, they feel they are missing something. Indeed. Even Yui is missing from the group photo.
Life goes on. All those affected by the Uchihama Syndrome suddenly wake up although they were talking about how they saw a ghost before their coma. When the astronomy club members hang out, they get this déjà vu feeling that they might have this conversation before so they briefly touch on parallel alternate worlds. Kaori is stumped that she created 4 waitress outfits for the festival. Who among them is the cross-dresser?! The vice president returns a dropped enveloped that was found near the accident site. It contains their badge and group photo minus Yui. Of course they are perplexed as to whose it is as all of them has theirs. Later Kaori talks to Sou that although he rejected her, she felt she has arrived at a long overdue answer. She feels better and can now move on. She suggests that if he hasn’t found somebody to love in 10 or 20 years, she would step up and consider again. Because for now getting to see him tomorrow is enough. As Sou prepares the stuffs for the festival, at the floor where he first met Yui although there is only a doll, he can’t help have this déjà vu feeling. Flash forward into the future, Kaori is still in coma. Airi and Sou talk about Yui being unable to save Kaori in their timeline but Sou believes Yui’s actions are hardly of that as though she is trying for the first time or doing the same thing over and over again. Even with the theory of the world diverging back together at some point, this has Airi question Sou if he made Yui only as a tool. Back to the past, the festival is underway and the funniest highlights are how some ugly heroine beats up the ghost and the spoof play of Romeo and Juliet whereby Juliet hands Romeo a divorce letter!!! At the end of the festival, there is a big trophy sitting in the astronomy room. Before its closure, the festival committee whisked Kaori away as she has won the beauty pageant. Kenny and Airi believe with them winning something, they are a step becoming the most powerful club! They’re just an astronomy club for heaven’s sake… But Airi points, everyone wasn’t really looking at the planetarium… So true… So frustrating…
Karin walks in as she is in a dilemma to talk to them about her friend. On the day after the accident, she was asking about her friend but her classmates do not remember such a transfer student. Oddly, Karin can’t remember much about her too. As the days passed and she got busy for the festival and everything, she forgot. But before her gig on stage, she saw Yui among the crowd. That made her certain that her friend existed. However with everyone not remembering her, she too became unsure and just had this vague feeling of telling them. Why them? Because she remembered her words that it was fun joining the astronomy club. Nobody could say anything. Flash forward to the future as we see Sou talk to Airi about his reason of making Yui to save Kaori. He also mentions about the world merging back and how things affecting each other that prompts that merger. I do not really understand this part because it has to do with Yui even she succeeds in not letting Kaori get into that accident and that it will take much longer than now. Someday he will make Yui for sure because she wants to see her. He remembers his old self picking up that Yui-less group photo and that is when he remembers about Yui and cries. Sou gets a call from Nagisa that Kaori has woke up. She remembers him and oddly had been dreaming the whole time. At the end she always says to see him again tomorrow. They both emotionally hug each other. Welcome back. Took too long? A short scene showing Sou handing his career form to his teacher who will support him all the way.
In Search Of The Right Ending
WTF was that kind of ending?! It felt like one big trolling because all we see is everybody going on with their daily lives with that I-think-I-am-missing-something-but-can’t-put-my-finger-on-it feeling. It makes you think that after all that and by some sort of miracle no matter how ridiculous it feels, Yui is going to pop back up and give us a happy ending. A double happy ending that Kaori didn’t fall into a coma and continues to live a happy life with everybody else. And what do we get? A big final troll episode that has Yui never coming back but only in flashes of their memories. Many of the other minor stuffs that happened throughout the series also felt like trolling like that loud passing by jet sound or why Yui had Kaori’s strap. You’re not going to find any answers in the end. Did they forget? So really, was this ending worth it? Was it worth it to Sou and the rest who had been waiting for donkey years for Kaori to wake up? Yeah well, maybe. But think about it, even if they didn’t send Yui back, perhaps she would have woke up herself somewhere in the future? I mean, even without the accident, Kaori fell into a coma so it must means that whatever happens back then, it is inevitable that Kaori will still fall into a comatose state sooner or later. And what we have seen in the end, doesn’t it mean she will wake up sooner or later? But you’ll never know, right? And where was Yui in all of this? That’s why, doesn’t the last episode feel like a big troll just to lead to that sudden happy end of Kaori awakening?
The flow of the first half of the story may seem slow and going nowhere because it feels like just ordinary high school days for the astronomy club members. Their outings together, a little bit of hinted romance, nothing serious. Just casual high school kids going on with their daily lives. Although they keep teasing and trolling you with bits of hints like the ghost sightings and short scenes of a very familiar looking stressed out scientist working in a dark lab containing a chamber with a very familiar girl inside. It became interesting and the story takes on a grimmer tone when the big revelation is revealed although I am not surprised because somehow I thought up that this is the only plausible way of why the events are flowing this way. Hey, I’m no genius but if you pay attention and have been watching such themes in your television series, you would at least make a decent guess that it has to be so. I mean, what else could it be?
That’s why when this time travelling thingy to rinse and repeat the act of saving Kaori becomes apparent, it was of no surprise. In a way, this act itself somewhat reminds me of that Endless Eight arc in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. Remember that arc in the second season that kept trolling us and the repetition over 8 episodes was enough to make some of us go into some trolling rage? Yeah, it kinda felt like that in this anime. Except that instead of a certain time to restart things, it takes the death of somebody to trigger it. Who knows how many times Yui has relived this event over and over again. Oh, the horror of seeing her friend dying a million deaths in a different million horrifying ways. Enough to make you go paranoid, eh?
This series also tries it hands at the sci-fi subject of time travelling and how it effects the past and future. Well, I can say it is a good try but then again you wonder if it is plausible even in this anime itself. Because you will start to ponder about questions like who made Yui and if it was our protagonists, it leads to the chicken and egg situation. If they created Yui using some future technology, then who was it that created that technology? Also going back in time many times there is this paradox that you know, you would cancel out your earlier doings. So by changing the past so many times but with different results, does it mean there are many parallel words? Besides, Yui going back to the past each time means that Kaori cannot be saved and the inevitable will always and still happen. Because if it was a success, Yui wouldn’t have gone back to the past, right? Think about it. Another paradox. Ultimately answers like what is the AI Unit too won’t get answered because just like the chicken and egg situation, who built it? What is its purpose? It feels like an ‘accessory’ for the plot of sending Yui back in time and restore her memories. Otherwise you keep thinking at the back of your head if this little black cube is going to play some sort of turning point in the series somewhere. Which of course it didn’t.
All this brings me to another point. How would the future Sou and Airi know that Yui has been successful? Because I am assuming that they don’t have this ability to feel and think about all their other selves in other parallel worlds. You know, if you yourself in another parallel world commits suicide, the other yous in other worlds would get this feeling that this dude just died. Assuming that they only have one timeline to go through, how would they know it is a success then? Because as long as they are on this track, Kaori is still asleep, this means the experiment to change to past has failed, right? Besides, how does Sou know that what Yui has been doing is different from other times? I mean, is he that smart to analyze from her movements and all because I don’t remember Yui leaving a note in the past for Sou and even if she did, everything will be erased. Like I said, good try but if you’re not into sci-fi, don’t think too much about it because like yours truly only got lots of headaches and nothing understood in the end. Even the questions I have asked in this paragraph, I am not sure if I know what I’m asking… Seriously…
At first there are very curious numbers that take up the size of the entire screen in various scenes. When the revelation of the entire story is revealed or at least known, you start thinking that these numbers might actually be save points in the anime. You know, think of it like certain stop point or chapters in books or videos/DVDs. Personally, the biggest downside of this anime is of course the scientific terms. Although they don’t go deep into it, just the mere touch on that subject, it seems it has some sort of a reaction-cum-reflex to my brain. As usual, I don’t sit well with the terms so it is a turn off for me just listening to it. Although thankfully it was just enough for me to understand what is going on and the direction of the plot.
Character wise, personally I don’t see any deep progress with them. Some don’t make a difference like Karin as we see make cameos with Yui here and there is this feeling like she might play some sort of important role. I suppose that important role is reserved for the final episode whereby she tells about Yui and that is about it. So this is the importance of just Karin being Yui’s friend for the entire series? And what are the astronomy club members are going to do about it? What can they do? Nothing. As we are seeing one of the timelines and I am certain that every timeline, Kaori’s ‘stress’ about her feelings for Sou is the main source of the problem. You know, you’ve been childhood friends for so long, certain feelings start to develop and you can’t decide whether to say it or not because you are afraid if it would change things. Very conflicted about her feelings. That’s pretty much about it. Otherwise the main characters feel ‘stagnant’ like Sou who is typically the decent good guy of the group, Nagisa the girl with the connections, Airi the brute girl whose kung fu kicks serve as fanservice if your eyes are fast enough to catch her plain white pantsu each time she doesn’t hesitate to give her high kick and not forgetting Kenny the comic relief guy.
The very odd thing about Kenny is that he is an exchange student from America but yet his accent… I am guessing that since he has a Japanese name, he might be a halfie. The way he speaks isn’t exactly convincing that he is an American trying to speak Japanese because it felt like a Japanese trying hard to sound like a foreigner and fails. No American accent at all and trying to put some English words in his sentences aren’t particularly assuring either. I am not sure if this is somewhat a running joke because at times you can hear Kenny passionately ranting about his love for girlfriend Jennifer. There will always be a different photo of her in some sort of sporting action but you can never see her face. I’m not sure about this guy’s taste in women but it is rare to find somebody waxing lyrical about his
fat plus size girlfriend. Yeah well. Thank goodness love is blind in this sense.
Speaking of the romance, I supposed this anime follows the Sou x Kaori route seeing the ending we get. Over the course of the series and the different timelines, Kaori’s confession always ends in tragedy and it makes you wonder if their match wasn’t mean to be. Nagisa and Airi as you can tell they might have some feelings for Sou but then again, their pairings may have occurred in another timeline. That single episode with Nagisa in focus hijacking Sou as her boyfriend feels like a troll because it didn’t really matter to the overall storyline and it is just to give a little ‘variety’ and to show perhaps it is not always just Kaori. Airi might not have one but it is greatly hinted that the future Airi does have feelings for him but Sou is just too depressed and thinking about Kaori for Airi to make any move.
Thus throughout the flow of the series, perhaps Yui is the character that changes the most. Because she somewhat retains memories of her previous attempts and the more she tries again, the more conflicted she becomes. Over time as she tries to change the future, there is perhaps an unseen romance blooming for Sou. All she wanted was to see his smile. But that is the future Sou, right? What about now? Don’t you want to see him smile now? Is she sure that what she is doing is for Kaori’s sake? Does she want to exist on her own right and be loved by a guy too? So when Sou has feelings for her, it becomes a great dilemma. Another great paradox. Because if it turns out to be Sou x Yui route, this means sending her in time to save Kaori was futile in the first place and it would be just too odd a reason he send Yui back so as to love her. So does making her disappear with hopes to create and see her again in the future the best option? And even if he does (now that Kaori is awake), will he choose Yui over Kaori? I noticed I’ve been asking these type of questions over the past few paragraphs. I think I should stop since I won’t be getting an answer trying to think about this myself. So to be it shortly, character development and romance department: Mediocre. Full stop. Let’s move on to something else.
I don’t know what gave me the idea because when I first looked at the characters, I have this feel that they were CG generated although clearly they are 2D animation. Especially Kaori. Maybe she just had that 3D look. I don’t know. Must be just me. After all, Feel, the studio that produced this anime also did other adapted adult visual novel games like Da Capo (first and second series only), Fortune Areterial and Otome Wa Boku Ni Koishiteru. They also adapted ecchi manga or light novel series like KissxSis and Dakara Boku Wa H Ga Dekinai.
Apparently there was this very familiar voice when I heard Shiori speak. It didn’t take long before I realized that this is Yuko Goto behind Shiori! Remember the voice of Asahina of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu? Wow. It seemed like ages (ironically) since I last heard from her. She has been out of the voice acting scene for years ever since her announcement of her poor health back in 2012 (something to do with her voice and throat) but thank goodness has made a recovery. So this anime marks her return and first voice acting since her hiatus. Well, hope to hear more from her in the future. Also another familiar voice is Kappei Yamaguchi as Kenny. This veteran is still active in voice acting roles after all this years. Just that it is a big coincidence that he voices roles in animes I do not watch. Therefore to me, this guy has always and mainly been One Piece’s Usopp and the male Ranma in Ranma 1/2. The other familiar voice is Satomi Satou as Karin (Wendy in Fairy Tail) although she only has very limited appearances here.
The rest of the casts include Takuma Terashima as Sou (Shiroe in Log Horizon), Hatsumi Takada as Kaori (Honoka in Maria+Holic), Akane Tomonaga as Yui (Hikari in Lamune), Kei Mizusawa as Airi (Celia in Walkure Romanze) and Tomoe Tamiyasu as Nagisa (Rin in Little Busters). The opening theme is Le Jour by Satomi Satou. Thanks to the grandeur and epic sounding of this theme, I fail to recognize Satomi Satou singing this theme. The dramatic ending theme is Ashita Mata Aeru Yo Ne by the duet of Hatsumi Takada and Akane Tomonaga, although there are versions of them singing the piece solo each. One of the interesting ending credits animation versions is one whereby it is like a 2D paper animation and the buildings are made out of English words making up that structure. For example, trees are made out of the words “TREES” and houses are “HOUSE”. Quite creative and unique if I should say. At least it is better than the still picture of Kaori or Yui which feels like just to satisfy fans of the character.
Overall, trying to use this genre of time travelling back to the past to change the future may seem like a novel idea for a dating simulation and romance genre (although I don’t think it would be anything new or original), the downfall is trying to be a smartass and think too much about the what-ifs and the paradox that comes with it. You can’t help it because any normal viewers watching this show is tempted to try and think about this otherwise you aren’t paying attention and have wasted your time watching. Maybe the me of in another timeline who is smarter would have understood it all but not me of now and here. Something tells me that what Sou is doing is like telling us that if you don’t succeed at first, try, try, try and try again. Perseverance is the key. But from what I just saw, it feels like this saying: Insanity is doing the same things over and over again but expecting different results.