12-Sai Chicchana Mune No Tokimeki
November 26, 2016
Apparently there have been ongoing OVA episodes for this series ever since its first OVA back in 2012. In fact, that was the only episode I watched. Because nobody subbed the rest of the episodes (it even had a second season of OVAs) and since I wasn’t really such a fan of elementary level boys and girls falling in love, it fell off my radar as quick as I finished that only episode. Hence it was a big surprise when I found out that it was going to be adapted into a TV series, 12-Sai Chicchana Mune No Tokimeki. I know I said I wasn’t a fan of such demographic for romance but there is this small hidden part in me who wants to go back and see to where such love was pure and innocent. Before hentai and online porn corrupted me forever… Seriously…
This is exactly like the first episode of the OVAs. Only extended with additional scenes. Boys will always be boys. Under Hiyama’s ‘guidance’ the other guys flip up girls’ skirt. Yui Aoi tells him off so he claims he doesn’t want to see hers since she is wearing pants. When the other guys decide to do so the next time she does, Kazuma Hiyama snares at them. A signal like saying, “Stay away from my girl!”? In class, the boys continue their naughty ways by saying out loud the girls’ popularity. Kokoa Hamana is tops. When they are going to read the least popular, Hanabi Ayase tries to stop them. Cool Yuuto Takao takes the paper away. The teacher cannot understand why her class is the only one where boys and girls don’t get along. In her bid to have them so, she will have a recorder test next week. As the sitting is paired with a boy and a girl, this means they are forced to practice with their partner. Kokoa wants to be paired with Takao (he is paired with Hanabi) but the teacher tells her not to be picky. Kokoa then threatens Hanabi not to make a move on Takao. Hanabi promises she won’t since she has no interest in guys. Yui is starting to experience her first period. Hanabi helps her to but tampons at the drugstore. While Hanabi and Takao are practising at the rooftop, they see their teacher kissing another fellow teacher! This shocking scene has Takao follow suit and kiss Hanabi too! This makes her wonder if this kiss is a big deal because to Takao it doesn’t look so.
Yui’s period hurts during PE. The boys start taunting her. Hanabi shoves Eikou for being the biggest jerk, telling him off for being a dick. Okay, she didn’t say that but I’m pretty sure it is along that line. As Yui rests in the infirmary, the boys come in to apologize for being insensitive. Later, Takao tells Hanabi that it was his first kiss too and apologizes it might not be her ideal one. Hanabi realizes he was as nervous as her. Kokoa then ropes in Hanabi and the other girls. They are going to sabotage and mess up the recorder test. It should be easy for her since Hanabi did say she was uninterested in him. The teacher is appalled that the test sounded horrible. Like as though no one practised. Hanabi is in a dilemma to sabotage or not. If she doesn’t, she will be ostracized. But seeing Takao’s cool face, screw Kokoa! Theirs is the best by far and in harmony. It is no surprise that Kokoa confronts her about it. The boys find out about the sabotage and that is when Kokoa throws the blame back to Hanabi saying that she is the mastermind behind it. With crocodile tears, it is easy to see why the boys are almost convinced. But Takao dismisses it all. He knows Hanabi will not do such a thing. With Hanabi hiding behind his back, the boys egg on them to kiss. Here is another shocker for all of you. Takao claims they have already done it! Outside, they know they’ll be teased but Hanabi continues to hug him and confesses she loves him. His feelings are mutual too.
Yui’s bath is broken so when she visits the public bath, she finds out Hiyama’s family runs it. While changing, Hiyama tries to stop his naughty little brother from running about and accidentally stumbles upon her naked body. Hanabi notices that many of the girls are starting to wear bra. Kokoa teases her that Takao will dump her for her childish undershirt. So Hanabi and her friends later go out to buy fitting ones. Yui is surprised that a boy from next class, Mori confesses to her. But he gives her time to think. Her friends couldn’t help eavesdrop on it. Since Hanabi has some ‘experience’, they ask her what it feels like to fall in love. The boys are at it again as they touch the girls’ arm. Yui tells off Hiyama thinking he is behind this again. That guy admits nothing except he asserts he doesn’t like her. This makes Yui reveal that someone confessed to her. Curious now? Whenever Yui visits the public bath, she avoids talking to him at the register. Then she realizes her key is missing and becomes distraught. Hiyama goes out his way to help her find it. She is so relieved when he finally finds it stuck in the drain. Hiyama is radiating with coolness and it makes Yui believe she has fallen in love with him.
Yui goes to see Mori and rejects his confession and adds she has someone else she likes. Strangely, he touches her arm and then leaves quickly. Is that some sort of defeated gesture? Too bad her friends are eavesdropping again as they bug her to reveal her love. The pressure has her spill the beans it is Hiyama. Yui feels awkward passing Mori. But how can Hiyama shield her if he is smaller than her? Better than nothing. The girls are making crepes and supposedly give it to the person they like. Hiyama will not accept from Yui. Wow. They aren’t official and they are already quarrelling like the real deal. Then Hiyama gets into a fight with Mori. After the teacher reprimands them, rumours have it that Hiyama was taking out his frustrating after getting scolded by Yui. Yui believes he isn’t the kind to pick and fight and tries to find out what happened by asking the girls in Mori’s class. They reveal the recent trend of touching girls’ arms is believed to be because the softness is the same as a girl’s breast. Mori has been bragging about Yui’s ‘breast’ ever since and when Hiyama heard about it, he quickly gave him one in the face. Hiyama might not want to tell the truth either to prevent this incident of Yui’s ‘breast’ spreading around. Later Yui sees Hiyama at the bath house to thank him. She hands him a crepe she made for him. Then she confesses she likes him. Before she runs straight home, it is his turn to confess he too likes her. Am I seeing a pattern here?
With Yui and Hiyama acting weird, her friends could guess they must be dating. The awkwardness has them spill the beans and it soon spreads like wildfire that the class has another official couple. Yui would soon learn how popular Hiyama is as there are a few other girls wondering who his girlfriend is. Better not cross paths with those b*tches. It is suggested that they go on a double date since the nervousness would be lesson if they had a friend around. The girls are the ones initiating to ask the guys to go on a date and they agree. So before the duo can jump right in to start dating, Marin Ogura teaches them the finer points. She’s such a pro thanks to her sister. Both sides meet up and have a swell time at the mall. They follow Marin’s to-do list but eventually the only thing they can’t do is kiss. Still too early for that. Hanabi easily holds Takao’s hand. As Yui summons her courage, they realize Eikou and his pals have snapped pictures of them. Knowing they’ll be in for a teasing, they split up and easily lose them because Eikou and co are such dumb asses that they took each other out by bumping into each other. After they reunite, Hanabi realizes she has lost her Panda Rabbit toy that Takao won for her at the crane game. Wow. She’s acting like it’s the end of the world. Don’t panic. Retrace your steps and find it. Eventually they did and Hanabi is such a happy girl again. At the end of the day, why does Hiyama looks like he isn’t happy with the whole thing? Then he quickly ends this double date and takes Yui’s hand to go somewhere. Ah, I suppose he wants to spend time alone with her. And Yui finally gets to hold his hands. Albeit for a short while because you know how embarrassing it feels for young kids to be seen doing so. But it’s better than nothing.
Ayumu Tsutsumi is the new transfer student from Tokyo. Hanabi knows him since kindergarten and has a penchant of acting like an emperor! It is no surprise he bosses her around but with Takao to the rescue, he even warns him of not laying his hands on his girlfriend. Don’t worry. He won’t steal his short flat chest girlfriend. Despite Tsutsumi being popular, he doesn’t intend to be friends with everyone and acts like a lone wolf. Yui feels sorry for him and thinking the need to get to know him better, she gives him a profile to fill out but he ignores it as usual. Because Hanabi doesn’t a profile of Takao, Kokoa takes this chance to become a b*tch and brag she has got his since the first day of class. She shows off photos of him and would exchange it for something she has. Since Hanabi won’t give in to her demands, Kokoa shoves her. Takao catches her. He explains Kokoa’s misconception that he only gave his profile to her because she was special. In fact, he never gave Hanabi one because his likes and dislikes change. He would prefer to tell it to Hanabi in person by his side. Just ask and thou shall know. So cool! A dance test is coming up. Tsutsumi mocks Eikou’s lame moves. They almost fight when Hanabi tries to stop them but accidentally sprains her ankle. Then she goes to talk to Tsutsumi how she just wanted him to make friends since he looked so lonely. When the teacher realizes the CD is missing, Eikou accuses Hanabi of stealing it. Of course it’s not her. When it was the previous teacher who had forgotten the CD, Eikou brushes this incident off but Tsutsumi forces him to apologize to Hanabi. Tsutsumi’s dance moves are so cool! Everyone loves him but oddly he can only think of Hanabi. And that strange feeling in his heart? We know what it is. When Hanabi accidentally trips, Tsutsumi thought he could catch her. I don’t know where Takao came from but he was fast enough to catch her. Am I seeing some sort of pattern? But Tsutsumi does not seem happy at this sight.
When Hanabi enters class, everyone starts interrogating her for answers for being a two-timer. Eikou picked up Tsutsumi’s profile in which it states Hanabi is the person he loves. Takao pretends to be mad so Hanabi had to assure he is the only guy in the world she loves. With Tsutsumi claiming somebody else wrote it on his profile as prank, the commotion quickly dies down. Hanabi seeks Tsutsumi’s advice to get a present for Takao. Thing is, Takao’s birthday has passed! That’s why she thought of making it up with a date this Sunday and giving him a belated present. I’m sure Marin the pro has lots of tips but Tsutsumi brushes them off because they’re expensive. He offers to accompany her to pick a present. I suppose it is part of Tsutsumi’s plan to sabotage the present. Despite Hanabi reminding him to remind her of the time so she could meet Takao (she doesn’t have a watch), Tsutsumi doesn’t tell her when the time comes and instead hangs out with her at the fast food joint. This is why Takao is stumped when Hanabi didn’t show up. And then he spots Hanabi with Tsutsumi. Panic time. At least for Takao’s level. Frantic search. Seeing Hanabi smile so happily makes Tsutsumi regret and ponder if he had only been nicer and held her hand earlier, she would have been his. When Hanabi wants to leave, he grabs her arm. When they see Takao spotting them, Tsutsumi takes her hand and run! He tries to confess but Takao has caught up. Confused Hanabi still believes in Tsutsumi that he didn’t do anything wrong despite he claims he knew she was late and wanted to make her miss her appointment. Takao takes her away and she thinks he is mad at her. Well, he is for secretly being with Tsutsumi. But he forgives her knowing that she has been thinking about him the entire time and forgot her own birthday. So it’s today? He gives her a necklace present and a magic hug that whooshes away all the fears and doubts. It’s nice to be young and in love.
Eikou and co must be having a field day teasing Hanabi. She laments she didn’t get to buy Takao a present. Tsutsumi is still sulking and tells everyone just to shut up. One of the female classmates plan on confessing to her crush. Here comes Marin the pro. When she suggests creating an event to confess and that the upcoming marathon would be perfect (she can use the excuse of serving him drinks after the race), I don’t know how the responsibility ends up having Hanabi to set it up. She confides in Takao about it and Tsutsumi looks even more agitated. Then Takao confronts him and just warns him if he likes her, don’t hurt her. During the race, Tsutsumi didn’t come back and it can be assumed he got lost (since he was newly transferred). So Hanabi goes out her way to find him. Seeing her radiant smile again, that’s when he confesses he likes her. He wants her to dump Takao and give him a chance. It is natural when Hanabi returns, she is acting strange and her friends can tell. It is no surprise when Yui talks to her privately, she can tell Tsutsumi has confessed his feelings to her. Well, everyone seems to know Tsutsumi has a crush on Hanabi. Except Hanabi. Realizing it took him a lot of courage to confess, Hanabi needs to reply him. But what should she say? Before she could think up an answer, things are heating up between Takao and Tsutsumi. They are challenging each other in the next marathon for Hanabi. Takao explains he accepts Tsutsumi’s challenge otherwise he will not give up. Don’t worry. We trust that he will win, right? So I guess the other girls are also rooting for Hanabi since their confession failed (because the guy friend zoned her). This has Marin to suggest giving Takao a kiss as reward if he wins.
You can bet Kokoa is taking advantage of this as she goes to conspire with sulking Tsutsumi to help him out. Otherwise would he like to see Hanabi giving his rival a kiss? During the race, Takao leads and is predicted to win. Halfway, he stumbles upon Kokoa who claims she cannot move because her stomach is really painful. He stops to help her while Tsutsumi thinks he is not taking this match seriously and continues running. Hence it is a shock when the girls see Tsutsumi reaching first. Seeing Hanabi is worried about Takao and wants to go look for him, Tsutsumi takes her to where he is. Hanabi misinterprets Kokoa’s pain as her period so this made b*tch girl refute all that and she was just faking it. She then accuses Tsutsumi of wasting this chance to steal Hanabi when he reveals he hasn’t crossed the line yet. That is when Hanabi slaps her! It’s a big deal for this show! As Tsutsumi has already told his feelings, she won’t allow her to insult her friend. Kokoa thought Takao’s help meant he dumped Hanabi but he replies that this was what Hanabi would have wanted. He will definitely help those in need no matter who that person is. Since the rest isn’t over, the guys resume and Takao crosses the finish line first. Then Hanabi thanks Tsutsumi for confessing. Although she likes him but it is on a completely different context to Takao. She hopes he understands. From what I understand, he isn’t giving up on a long shot yet. When Takao teases Hanabi about his reward, she flusters but is ready to give him a kiss. He starts laughing at how cute she was doing that. Though a kiss isn’t the reward he is seeking for, he’ll have it another time.
Yui is surprised but happy that Hiyama asks her to walk home with him from school. So Marin thought Yui was going to give Hiyama a kiss after that but of course that’s still a step far away. This has Hanabi wondering if she should ask Takao the same but Kokoa is here to pour cold water on her hopes. After mocking her childish taste, Kokoa even wonders what is it that Takao likes in Hanabi. This causes Hanabi to scratch her head on what Takao likes about her. Hiyama remembers it has been a year ago when he caught Yui crying after seeing a picture of her own drawing of her mom. Eikou and co as usual were doing a class poll about the most popular girl (Kokoa of course) and mentioned Sakura as he least popular one. This really made her cry! Seeing this, Hiyama talked to Marin for advice. She revealed that Yui’s mom passed away. Hiyama continued to observe his classmates. Takao accidentally read Hanabi’s notebook that she liked macho men (though she clarifies it was from some spy movie). Eikou plays baseball in class during cleaning and accidentally hits Yui. She didn’t cry and after reprimanding them, she laughed happily with her friends. So why is Hiyama unhappy? He screwed things up by telling her he doesn’t want her to smile like that. Huh?! At the playground he apologizes to her but still somehow ends up arguing with her. Not until he almost tripped on his shoelace and they laughed it off. Though he told her to laugh at happy things, subsequently they continued to argue a lot. Hanabi manages to ask Takao what he likes about her. He says she looks like a puppy! Does this mean her status is just a pet? But which boyfriend would give his pet a necklace as present? Ah yes, the answer that dispels all doubts. After reassuring their love, they spot Hiyama coming by and hide. Seems Yui had been waiting for him and fell asleep. He waits by her side till she wakes up in which she thinks he has drawn some funny stuffs on her face. He wouldn’t do such a thing. Because her face is already funny enough! Was that an insult? But Yui is happy to know Hiyama is trying his best. Despite running his mouth at times, he is actually a kind person.
Yui ponders over Hiyama’s mom calling him by his first name. Well, duh! She would love to call each other by their first names. So we’re going to have Marin sensei guide our clueless girls in love and give them tips how to call their loved ones so. Like Hanabi she thought of calling herself via third person but Takao continues to call her by her surname. Yui’s is simpler. She doesn’t have the courage. When all the girls bug Hiyama for his handphone number, he tells them off he will never give it out. Yui thought she was included in the pack but later on Hiyama personally gives it to her and only her. Because she is special. Aww… So the first time she texts him it felt nervous but it was great. Hanabi ponders over using an imaginary boy to make Takao jealous but he overheard it and she fears this might lead to some weird love triangle. But even after all is clarified, he still calls her by her surname. So she challenges him to a duel who can read and write more book comments, the winner will have the loser do something. Of course Hanabi lost but could have won had she read lighter books. His wish is to grant her what she wants. She realizes making him call her first name is impossible and settles for just walking home with her. She gets happy when he whispers her name in her ear. Turns out to be the fireworks (hanabi) festival he is talking about. Darn. Too good to be true. Yui sends a personal text to Hiyama but she never got a reply the entire night. Yeah, she was literally sleepless… Next day when she confronts Hiyama about it, he tells her his parents came back and need to give the handphone back. You know what? She blows her top saying he should have told her that sooner! Like a true fine woman she’ll grow up to be, she hates him and ignores talking to him! Fine woman indeed… Then she comes to her senses this can’t go on and apologizes to him. At this time he has gotten the handphone back and she is embarrassed he has just read her feelings. She thought he was looking down on her feelings but he says he isn’t used to using mails to express his love. It will be better if they just call and talk to each other. He manages to call her first name. But one time offer only? He can’t say it again despite her pestering. But it made her love her name even more.
Yui excels in maths and piano that it sometimes makes Hanabi feeling a little jealous… But it is a good thing her honest nature has her point this out to Takao and it is already a good step forward knowing such feelings. Unfortunately she accidentally slips and surprisingly Takao who was so damn close to her didn’t catch her this time! Ultimately she sprains her ankles. But Eikou thinks she is covering up her period. The incessant taunting has Yui put her foot down that is not true. Because Hanabi hasn’t had her first period yet! Whoops! Everybody heard that… So of course Yui tries to apologize but Hanabi still feels hurt since she said it in front of Takao too. A little argument and then the inevitable. Their relationship strains. The duo avoid each other so obvious that their boyfriends even notice. But they are wise not to get involved between a fight with their girlfriends. Let them settle it themselves. However, remember what Takao said about the need to help others? Yeah, so I guess he can’t leave this saga alone. With Hiyama talking to Yui, Takao also talks to Hanabi about how close the duo are. They were always together, smiling and doing things together. This gives Hanabi the resolve to reconcile as she remembers how Yui became her first friend in school when nobody did. Yui even protected her from dumb boys who teased and even dared to hit a girl! Hanabi sees Yui being confronted by bullies at the riverbed. They are from the same piano class as her. They claim she stopped piano classes because she fell out with them contrary to what she told others that she wanted to concentrate on her studies. Yui then reveals she quit not because of that but more of because she ran away. The bullies continue to mock her. It is Hanabi’s turn to stand up and tell them off. When Takao comes by, his handsomeness has those bullies retreating! What the heck is the deal of such girls backing off after seeing hot guys?! The duo reconcile, own up their shortcomings and continue being best friends forever. Please, no yuri thoughts when they start hugging and say I love you to each other.
Today is Tanabata. In a bid to make the boys and girls get along, the teacher has Takao and Hiyama in charge of tonight’s star observation since Takao is a hit with ladies and all the boys trust Hiyama. Hanabi and Yui feel embarrassed if they are to write their love wish and hang it up. So Marin tells the girls of a useful Tanabata ‘spell’. They need to take a picture of themselves with the guy they like. If the guy finds out, the spell is worthless. This means the guy will be relegated as a background thingy. Kokoa hears this and hatches her plan. After using her charm to borrow Eikou’s camera, she proclaims herself as in charge of this plan. Due to the limited number of films, she selects girls to be taken photos with. Of course this is part of her plan to single out Hanabi as she cries crocodile tears Hanabi has already had enough and just this once she would like to be happy. Gullible Yui agrees although we can tell she doesn’t like this one bit. The plan goes smoothly for the other girls. When it is Kokoa’s turn, Hanabi on pretence lures Takao to talk to him. As she leaves, Kokoa comes out to hug his hand and hurries for her photo to be taken. That is when Hanabi won’t take this sh*t anymore and blocks the shot! Wow. She really covered the entire of Kokoa’s portion. So Takao seeks an explanation. But he didn’t get mad although he hints that they’ll be together for the rest of the day and night so isn’t that more than enough? Kokoa confronts Hanabi later. With 1 more film left, it becomes a tussle between Kokoa, Yui (didn’t have her shot yet) and Eikou (wants his camera back). But they trip and the last shot is taken under Yui’s skirt! Hiyama is so fast to snatch the photo and gives it to Yui. And nobody saw the picture! At night at the rooftop, we see various wishes from decent ones (Hiyama wishing for his grandma’s health, Yui wishing to become a better pianist), simple ones (Hanabi wants fried chicken), ‘amazing’ ones (world conquest!) and desperate ones (a certain somebody wants a certain guy to wake up and be her wife!). Well, we all know Kokoa is being disappointed since things didn’t go her way. While watching the stars, Hanabi thought she spotted a UFO but it’s actually a satellite. I thought it was a shooting star?! Hiyama steals previous secret pictures that contain Yui and Hanabi and gives it to them. I guess the ‘spell’ is still valid then? While Hanabi forgot her dream, Yui had an embarrassing dream of Hiyama and can’t tell others.
Earth to Hanabi. You can stop dreaming about your beach romance with Takao. An unromantic scene for Yui too when she is staring at Hiyama’s awesome football skills only to have the ball hit right on her head. So to make things up, he invites her to the pool in which his cheeky mom gave so he could enjoy with his girlfriend. Since there are 4 tickets, I guess they have to invite Hanabi and Takao too. So the first order of the day is to get appropriate swimsuits and this is where Marin sensei comes in. She’ll have the perfect swimsuits to suit your insecure needs. It isn’t anything risqué but Hiyama isn’t as cool as Takao commenting on Yui’s swimsuit. So much so he wraps his towel around her like a mummy! The double pool date could have been wonderful had not Eikou and pals are here to ruin the fun. Because of Yui and co being conscious, this sets up accidental close proximity for the naughty trio to watch and tease. At this rate they won’t enjoy the outing. Thus when Eikou suggests Hiyama a volleyball challenge, he accepts with a condition that if he wins, they will have to leave. It seems hardly fair with Hiyama against 2 of them. Even more puzzling is how the rest wonder why Hiyama is playing with them in the first place. Eventually Hiyama wins and the shocked trio must keep their word. Takao then confronts Hiyama about his doing and lectures him about leaving his girl alone on a date. This should be perfect lesson because a couple of creeps are trying to hit on Yui! Can’t they tell she is underage?! Then here comes Hiyama protecting her and proclaiming to be her boyfriend (at first the creeps thought he was her brother) and that was enough for them to go away. Once Hiyama’s intention is made clear, they restart their pool date and have fun for the rest of the day. Hiyama apologizes for leaving Yui alone but she is happy he protected her. Back in school, Hanabi is distraught that she forgot to put sunscreen and now she is tanned. Don’t fret. Takao invites her to the fireworks festival.
Although Takao and Hanabi are set for the fireworks festival, it won’t be a double date this time. On that day itself, Hiyama will be helping his family clean the bath house. Eikou and co are trying to rile up Hanabi so they can know when and where the couple will be dating. This means each time Hanabi wants to get close to Takao, the 3 Stooges will always be there waiting to hear the juicy details. Hanabi gets an idea after watching her friends. Using a recorder, she relays a private message to Takao so they can make meeting arrangements at the festivals. While the duo meet up, Yui goes to the bath house to help out Hiyama. She meets his mom first and the latter is so ecstatic to meet her that she hugs her. It’s like she is already her daughter-in-law, eh? Takao and Hanabi’s outing stumbles into an obstacle. Kokoa is there and she is trying to get close with Takao. When she wants to watch the fireworks with them, Takao declines. B*tch girl tries to force Hanabi to let them but since she won’t, Kokoa resorts to calling the rest of her classmates (including the 3 Stooges) to gather. Now they can all watch the fireworks together! B*tch. We can see Kokoa bragging her yukata while Hanabi’s is almost in shambles. Buy you think Takao cares? When it is time for the fireworks, Takao makes a smart move that he is going to go get something he forgot. Because he hints that Kokoa has been following him ever since, she is forced to stay put with the rest in order to avoid having the rest get a wrong idea about them. Wait. I thought it was what she wanted? With Hanabi following him, they leave the rest of their classmates and head to a secluded spot to watch the fireworks all by themselves. Takao returns the recorder and she accidentally plays it in which Takao records he wants to watch the fireworks again with her next year. She is so happy to hear it that she keeps replaying it. Meanwhile Hiyama and Yui also watch the fireworks from the bath house. It’s small but being together makes it all meaningful. When she leaves, we notice another boy staring at her.
Never Too Young For Love
A seemingly ‘cliff-hanger’ at the end?! Don’t fret. There is more to come when the next season arrives (which is in the midst of airing right now). Uh huh. It feels like the love escapades of these 12 year olds are in abundance so much so that they need another season for it. If Hanabi and Takao can have their own love triangle, why the heck not for Yui and Hiyama? That would be fair, right? Something tells me that this is to satiate Hiyama x Yui fans. But I suppose we have to wait for the next season to find out more.
Plot wise, it is pretty much what you would expect to see when 12 year olds date. Though, I am not sure in Japan if that age is legally safe for young kids to be out by themselves dating. It seems pretty normal seeing them building their relationship. Normal date in the mall, normal date at the pool and normal date at the fireworks festival. Nothing scandalous. And it felt like the biggest ‘threat’ was the love triangle that ended as fast as it came. What proceeds in the remaining episodes felt like normal generic relationship building scenes as mentioned. Oh yeah, not forgetting Hanabi’s slap on Kokoa’s face. I know people don’t pay much attention to kids’ fighting but it feels like a big deal to have a b*tch slap in this series itself.
I’m sure the series also tries to tackle the subtle issues like bullying and girls during this tender age facing their first period and the discrimination and stigma that comes along with it but nothing that is too serious because eventually despite all the taunting and mocking, even the naughtiest boys will be made to apologize and repent on their actions. Somewhat a bit unrealistic because in real life we all know how things don’t usually go over so smoothly. Especially when bullying can last very long and a very painful scarring effect on the rest of the victim’s life. It’s like those factors were completely taken out as the kids here go about living their normal everyday life without such long lasting percussions. I’m not saying I know these stuffs or am an expert but I can tell that real life is not as straightforward and rosy as painted here.
The characters aren’t as unique as one would hope for. After all, they are all only 12 year olds so how bad do you really want them to be? I mean, wouldn’t it sound terrible if the kids here were given tragic backgrounds? Wouldn’t you like to see brooding 12 year old boys with a dark past? In that case, wrong anime. Therefore if you are looking for unique characters that would really stand out, look elsewhere. They feel as generic as they are in real life. I mean, in every class for kids their age, you would find one or more of such generic tropes (or all of them). Be it the popular kid, the b*tch, the naughty ones, the cheeky ones, the big bully, the loner and perhaps the nerd and least popular kid. But sometimes I can’t help feel that all this feels a little unrealistic. Like an elementary version of teen romance. Despite an adult writing this romance story and I am very sure all adults have gone through their phase as a kid, hence the ‘experience’ of falling in love in that age (assuming the writer did so), one would wonder if this is correctly portrayed as human interaction and relationships are difficult and not as stereotypical as mostly portrayed in here even for 12 year olds. Again, I’m not saying I am a pro in human relationships nor do I have a degree in psychology but it isn’t as simple as seen throughout the series.
So we have our main protagonist boys, Takao and Hiyama. Both cool and popular among the girls. But that is it for them. Nothing else extraordinary. While Takao is a cool cat in handling his relationship with Hanabi, Hiyama is a little nervous and shy as his love counterpart. That is pretty normal even in real life standards, right? I’m sure we have even forgotten how Hanabi told us outright that she was not the slight interested in boys. That was even in the first episode. One ‘special’ incident to turn it upside down. The power of love? Plot convenience maybe. So while our quartet may still be struggling to find their footing in love, hey at least they have got a head start from the rest so by the time they reach their teens, they would have become ‘experts’. We hope their love would last a lifetime. Till death do them part. But let’s not get too far and too grim with this series. Besides, this series kinda feels similar to Kimi Ni Todoke, Sukitte Iinayo, Bokura Ga Ita and Kaichou Wa Maid-sama whereby popular boys fall for unpopular or normal girls. Only difference is that this series doesn’t seem to have another girl who is more popular than Hanabi and Yui. Not just yet. Kokoa, you say? As far as I can see her subjective popularity is only limited to her class and based on Eikou’s personal list.
Finally there is Tsutsumi. He is the closest guy in this series to look like he has some sort of ‘real life problem’ thanks to his moody and lone wolf outlook. His role as far as this season is concerned is to provide some sort of love rivalry and triangle to the main pair but as mentioned, that was quickly resolved. Then he becomes somewhat irrelevant for the rest of the season. That’s the thing about love triangles. Somebody has to lose. And it is Tsutsumi in this case. Can I blame Hanabi for being naïve enough not to notice his developing feelings? Or was she too deep in love to Takao that the thought of other guys would never like her ever crossed her mind? I suppose after all the bossing around from Tsutsumi (hence her projected mentality of his state of behaviour) as well as the numerous teasing from Eikou and co about her stature and chest, she wouldn’t think herself as Miss Universe material in the eyes of other guys. Tsutsumi looked like he isn’t doing anything now. Maybe wounded lions need time to recuperate before striking back. Laying low for now…
Kokoa as expected the typical b*tch for the series. It feels like when she grows up she can become part of the Mean Girls sorority. Annoying as hell she is, it feels like she is portrayed so, so that we could hate her and make Hanabi and Yui more likeable. Does it? Although it seems that Kokoa does like Takao, I have come to believe that this isn’t the case. It feels like the main reason she is trying to snatch Takao away from Hanabi is because she doesn’t like Hanabi. It is just to spite her. I have come to noticed that if Kokoa does really like Takao, she would have taken more ‘extreme’ action but what I see here feels half-hearted. Because when she loses out like when her plan backfires, she doesn’t seem to be really in dire regret. It’s like, “Okay, plan failed. No big deal. Try again next time”. That kind of vibe. Even though Hanabi and Takao are officially a couple, that still didn’t stop Kokoa from trying to snatch Takao. If she was desperate in wanting Takao to look her way, she would have continuously exhaust all options like what Wile E. Coyote would have done in his bid to get the Road Runner. But her attempts are sparse and little.
In fact, I don’t even think Kokoa wants to be Takao’s girlfriend. During her cohorts with Tsutsumi throughout the marathon, she didn’t really say their collaboration was for her to take away Takao. You know, I scratch your back and you scratch mine. It was just for Tsutsumi to steal Hanabi. Maybe her part was implied and she didn’t want to make it sound obvious like a dorobo neko. For the Tanabata festival where she borrowed the camera from Eikou, she doesn’t necessarily need to go through all the trouble of taking photos with other girls. She could have just borrowed the camera and used it all for herself and Takao. And there were a few other times where Takao coolly dismisses her but she doesn’t take it too personally to heart. If she was really in love with him, she would have been quite devastated (even for her age). But we see her brush it off easily like it didn’t matter. So do you not agree with me that Kokoa’s intention isn’t actually to become Takao’s girlfriend but rather to pick on Hanabi?
And the rest of the other characters… Well, I don’t think there are much of them because we have Marin who seemingly plays the pro in dating advices. It is like as though she is a dating expert-cum-consultant-cum-counsellor-cum-guru-cum-mentor-cum-advisor and knows what needs to be done courtesy of what she learnt from her elder sister. I take it that she prefers seeing her friends date. Because if she knows so much of such stuffs (whether they are workable or not), why hasn’t she got a boyfriend of her own? I mean she is pretty cute herself, no? Maybe it’s her obvious hair bun that sits perfectly right at the top of her head. Sticking out like some sort of permanent oversized bump or anthill antenna. Yeah… Sometimes it might seem a little weird like as though there might be some little alien inhabiting it and controlling her body. No kidding!
As for Eikou and his pals, they are like the baka trio of the series. I know boys like them are the naughty kind for their age but it is their role in this anime to be the comic relief as well as remind our lovebirds of their place because you can bet they will never stop taunting whenever they get close together. Their idiocy goes a step further as they always feel compelled to write down ‘awesome cool quotes’ they believe flow out from Takao’s mouth. Yeah like, WTF? I believe one of them has no dialogue at all (that specky kid who is supposedly the real class rep but nobody cares or remembers about) and he ‘communicates’ via writing on boards or notepads like Gintama’s Elizabeth and Special A’s Megumi. Besides, I feel like as though the trio look like they came out from the Chibi Maruko Chan series. You know, their weird hairstyle and simplistic silly mug.
On a trivial note, in some episodes I noticed there seemed to be this odd looking lady who is a salesperson in just about any shop that our protagonists patron. Not to say that there are doubles of her but as long as they are visiting a certain shop, you can bet this lady is sometimes there to serve them. What makes her creepy is the fact that her face looks like a pale classic Japanese horror ghost mask! Sometimes it just gives you the creeps even though she is perpetually smiling and no other facial expressions. No, seriously. Is that really her face or is she stuck looking like that? Oh, and she sounds creepy too.
The art and drawing remain the same as it was. At least for the first OVA that I have watched. It feels like it is pretty much targeted for younger audiences since the characters are looking extremely cute with wide doe-like eyes. Eyes so big that it might take up almost a quarter of their face. Yeah… And we find such Japanese anime art to be extremely cute, right? Interestingly, this series is animated by OLM, the same studio that brought to you the world famous Pokemon (and all its other spin-offs, movies specials and OVAs – yeah, a whole bunch of them). And you thought Pokemon was just for kids, huh? Remember the Pokemon GO game phenomenon a few months ago? Not so for kiddies, right? OLM too produced other animes ‘for kids’ like Inazuma Eleven, Youkai Watch, Wedding Peach, Doubutsu No Mori and that Agatha Christie adaption as well as not so suitable animes ‘for kids’ such as Steel Angel Kurumi, To Heart, Gift: Eternal Rainbow and Gunsmith Cats. But we’re not interested in all that, right? Maybe except for Youkai Watch. But that series itself isn’t as big as Pokemon for now. Just saying…
The opening theme is the same as from the OVA, Sweet Sensation by Rie Murakawa. Cotona Mode by AOP is the ending theme feels like another generic anime pop. One thing I noticed is that this series has a wide variety of the strangest and weirdest BGMs. What do I mean? For a genre that revolves around the romance of 12 year olds it is just odd to hear BGMs ranging from one that sounds like it was meant for Christmas to a bizarre men voice choir to slow classic rock and to one that has this uncanny resemblance to Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal! WTF Smooth Criminal?! Well, not exactly a spoof or anywhere near but just when I heard the low notes plucking of the electric guitar, it instantly reminded me of that song. I don’t know. Somehow hearing these BGMs just makes it feel out of place but yet so amusing.
Overall, this isn’t the kind of series that you should be referring to if you own child is going through his/her phase of relationship problems at a tender young age. This series can come off as cute, funny and innocent but sometimes silly and unrealistic. Well, aren’t all movies and TV series are? You can’t have best of both worlds and being flawlessly perfect at the same time. So I guess these lovebirds had it better than us otakus for experiencing the good nature of romance and love at their age. The only thing similar is that we are both still virgins by the end of the season. Holy sh*t!!! Sooner or later we will all learn the ‘finer and advanced aspects’ of love one way or another. Better to have love and lost than never to have loved at all.