I”s Pure

December 15, 2006

It sure took a long time to watch the whole series of I”s Pure. Why? Because the series is shown for the duration of approximately 8 months. What’s so bad about that, you say? Well, that’s because… this series has only 6 episodes!!! Yup, count them. Only 6 episodes worth 30 minutes of air time.
 
Wow! That’s really a long time and what a way to spread the series. I mean, no doubt that it’s an OVA so it’s not like other normal tv series where they show each episode week by week. But nearly one month for one episode?! At least that’s for the first 3 episodes. Then the remaining episodes took like almost forever to come out. And when it eventually did came out, so much so that I’ve nearly forgotten what the earlier episodes are about.
 
Basically, this is what the show is about. To put it simple, there’s this shy and reserved guy, Seto Ichitaka who has a crush on this girl Iori Yoshizuki, which is supposed to be quite a popular girl in their school. She’s even got her own fan club. But it’s not that kind of situation where they both fell in love at first sight. Of course, Iori isn’t too fond of Seto’s at first, you know, the usual shy shy, blush blush, that kind of thing. But later, Seto’s dream would come true when he and Iori are supposed to organized some welcoming party together. And thus, we’ll slowly see how their relationship develops from there. And that’s pretty much how the term I"s came about. It’s the initials from their first names, Iori and Seto that they came up with for that project as a team.
 
However, when things are just about to go in favour Seto’s way, his childhood friend and sweetheart, Itsuki Akiba, one day returns to her hometown from the USA and decides to make a special visit for Seto. Uh-huh. So you’ve kinda guessed it already. A love triangle kinda situation. Seto torn between his newly dream-come-true crush and his dearest childhood friend. How is he gonna solve it? Nope, he’s not gonna run away that’s for sure.
 
So in episode 1, it introduces things and stuffs like as mentioned, how Seto’s got this crush on Iori, who’s also part of some drama club. Also, there’s Seto’s best buddy, Yasumasa Teratani, who’s really a true friend in times of need but sometimes can be really annoying. In this episode, we also see that Iori’s being harrassed and verbally abused by some school bullies outside the drama club room and they’ve got a fake picture of Iori posing nude. Yup, it’s super-imposed. Ah, the ‘wonders’ of technology. But Iori’s not the kind who can really fight back. Well, at least not to a bunch of tough looking school bullies. Seto who saw what’s happening, tried to ‘chase them off’… with a broom? Unfortunately, they left and the drama club members thought that Seto’s the harasser. Wrong place wrong time.
 
Later, Teratani tries to cheer up a depressed Seto by consoling him at his home. The things is, Teratani slipped that fake nude photo of Iori into his notebook. And the next day in school as Seto was apologizing to Iori about that incident, somehow Iori knew he wasn’t part of those harassers. It seemed that everything’s going well, that is, until some gust of wind blew Seto’s notebook and that picture dropped out. Oh oh. How would you feel if you saw a naked photo of yourself. And everything Iori had perceived good about Seto has gone down the drain in just a split second. You could say Seto’s good reputation has ‘gone with the wind’. Hahaha. And a furious Iori slapped him before she walked away. Ouch. His face and heart must be real hurt.
 
Next day, Iori’s being persuaded by some club members to have a photo shoot with them. Iori was very reluctant to participate at first but eventually gave in. Actually, it’s just a ploy by those school bullies earlier on. Yeah, they’ve planted hidden cameras in the changing room and are secretly filming them as Iori and the other girls who’re participating when they’re changing. But Iori seemed to notice the cameras just before she took off her clothes and realized that she’s being duped. Of course, she’d tried to escape but those school bullies blocked her path and wouldn’t allow her to do so. It also seemed that they’re targeting Iori in particular.
 
Luckily, Teratani’s passing by and found out about it and hurriedly rushed to inform Seto. Of course, the latter would feel mad and in his anger he quickly rushed there (with a broom again?) and attacked those school bullies. Before he could start, Teratani pressed some alarm button which made those school bullies flee. As Seto tries to comfort Iori’s who’s crying and saying how men are all the same, Seto surprisingly raised his voice back at her saying that he wasn’t like one of them as he was here to save her. But slowly, after some events here and there, she didn’t hate him and apologized to him about her earlier statement. Well, looks like things are back to normal. Looks like.
 
In the closing scenes of this episode, we see how Seto overslept only to be awaken by the ringing of the doorbell. Who could it be? It’s Iori! Oh, Seto’s late for some shopping to be done together with Iori. But while he’s getting ready, he saw a girl in just her undergarments. Initially the both of them were shocked as first as that girl slamed the door closed. But later, she realized that it’s Seto and proceeds to hug him happily, calling out his name. Yup, it’s Itsuki alright and she’s back.
 
I felt that episode 2 is more of Seto and Itsuki doing things together. Yeah, like some sort of date but it isn’t like that. More like since Itsuki’s returned from the USA, Seto’s obliged to take her around. Also, there’s this ‘uneasy atmosphere’ between Iori and Seto. Yup, Iori who’s starting to like Seto, is a little hesistant and indecisive about Seto and Itsuki being together. The 2 looked like they’re having a whale of a time together and Iori thinks Seto may eventually go back to Itsuki. Yeah, Itsuki already confessed out loud that she loves Seto and wants to be with him. However Seto thinks it’s just a joke and rebuffed her. Of course, Itsuki felt hurt and ran away. Seems Seto’s still got his mind on Iori. But Iori isn’t pushing the panic button yet. She’s just observing it and well, not jumping to conclusions just yet even though that’s what she thought.
 
We also find out that Itsuki’s some sort of sculpture or model designer. And that she’d made some sort of mould figure during their younger days. Hmm… Seems she’s got lots of it. Before the last scene of the episode, we see Iori and Seto having a walk together at some scenic shrine. When things are starting to get a little romantic for them, Seto received a phone call form his mum saying that the place Itsuki recently moved has has caught fire and Itsuki’s no where to be found. Of course, Seto rushed back to the house (now totally burned to the ground) and saw Itsuki crying there with that mould in her hand, as he comforts her.
 
The first half of episode 3 isn’t anything that much besides Seto being sick and Itsuki who’s now temporarily residing in his house, looking after him. Yeah, she’s a little playful, hanging her arms around him, clinging on to him, you know stuffs like that. And there’s that ‘misinterpreted look’ on Iori’s face when she saw them like that when the 2 went to answer the front door. But Iori seems cool about it. Though maybe deep down in her heart she isn’t. Also, we see how Itsuki and Seto spend the rest of the day with Itsuki playing barber to Seto, only thing it wasn’t a good cut. And how the 2 slept together in bed. Don’t worry, nothing much happened here. They didn’t ‘do it’. Just that ‘uneasy atmosphere’.
 
The second half shows how Iori again has been desparately persuaded by some guy at school to do a photo shoot for one of his club’s project. Because Iori has had a bad experience before, she’d wasn’t really sure and decline it. However, Seto and Teratani gave some words of advice and encouragement, thus Iori felt that it was no harm to try.
 
So on the day where Iori’s supposed to be at some place of the photo shoot, Seto and Itsuki are seemingly going out together. Well, I wouldn’t consider them dating. But during his outing he spots that club member guy walking around when he’s supposed to be at the photo shoot with Iori. Sensing something amiss, Seto confronts the guy. Oh no! It seems like another trap laid by those school bullies to get back at Iori. And they had threaten that guy to help do their bidding or else. Looks like Iori’s in a pinch again.
 
But she realized it too late as she arrived in some abandoned building as those school bullies surrounded her and tied her up. They’re gonna take advantage of her for the troubles that she’s caused them. Yup, it seems that those bunch of losers got expelled from school after their hidden camera incident was reported to the teachers. Seto again, rushed over there, leaving Itsuki behind. But Itsuki isn’t a dumb girl. She called Teratani and informed him what was going on.
 
At the abandoned place as the school bully boss is fondling with her, Seto managed to arrive in time and his rage he’s gonna take all of those school bullies by himself. Self-confidence is one thing. But being blinded by anger is another. Yup, the school bully boss easily beats up Seto, who still isn’t giving up yet. Okay, it may seem unfair now that every school bully is kicking and punching a defenceless and injured Seto. But before they could go on, Teratani arrives with his motley crew. Yay! The calvary has arrived. The school bullies seeing them being outnumbered by a bunch of weirdos quickly ran for their lives as they chased after them. And of course, some talk like ‘are you alright’ and that sort of stuffs. But Seto’s glad that they haven’t done anything serious to her.
 
Just then Seto realized that he had left Itsuki all alone back there. As he rushes back there, he still saw Itsuki waiting there. Well, she’s not mad at him. She’s also relieved that everything’s alright. Then the shocking thing. Yup, Itsuki tells Seto that she’s going back to the USA after she’d received some call from some movie producer to design some moulds for some upcoming movie. Some emotional farewell talk from her which would suggests that she’d ‘given up’ on Seto being her boyfriend and he would seem to be better off with Iori kinda conversation. Why not? Itsuki realized that Seto cares for Iori very much after rushing off like that and not thinking about his own safety. Plus, she’s already accepted it and gave him her blessings. Sad. But I guess she’s quite mature in her decision making as she wanted for them to be happy. Yeah, and that ‘catch her’ before it’s too late remark.
 
So by episode 4, Itsuki’s really gone. And in this episode, Teratani invites Seto along with Iori and her friends Nami and Yuka, to some inn near the sea side as he believes this is Seto’s chance of getting close to Iori. Also, here Seto meets a girl named Izumi Isozaki by the sea who claimed that she’d lost some ring her boyfriend gave to her. So a kind-hearted Seto decides to help fing it for her by snorkelling nearby, he found it near some undersea rocks and when he gets back to land, to his horror Izumi throws it back again! What the? But then some big wave appeared and it injured Seto’s leg a little. While Izumi cleans up his wound, she told Seto that she just recently broke up with her boyfriend and asked if Seto has a girlfirend. Well, that fellow denied it. And she surprised Seto a little when she asked him if she could be his boyfriend, only to tell him shortly that she was just joking.
 
Besides that naughty prank played Teratani whereby he switched the male and female sign to some hot spring and Seto unknowingly enters the wrong section and realized to late, he overhears Iori’s true feelings towards him. Of course when they found out that Seto’s there, you know what they did to him lah. But later they found out was a misunderstanding as Teratani confessed and repent his wrongdoing. So it seems that this episode is more like Seto’s ‘fling’ with Izumi.
 
There’s that part where Izumi explains to Seto some belief whereby if a guy manage to successfully stack 50 black stones on top of one another and then the girl puts that final 1 white stone on top of it, they will forever be together. Some belief. Anyway, Seto’s trying real hard, failing each time. But he’s not giving up yet. No doubt in frustration, but I guess Izumi couldn’t wait any longer as she silently slips away. When Seto finally stack all 50 black stones, in his joy he asked Izumi to stack the last white stone on it. Ah, the joy of achievement. But to his surprised that it wasn’t Izumi who put that last stone. It’s Iori! She’s been told about it by Izumi about the whole thing and to stack that last stone on behalf for her. Unfortunately, Seto faints from his fatigue. Looks like another girl besides Itsuki who believes that Seto and Iori are fated to be together. But Izumi’s part is just until here, as well, she left by the end of the day.
 
There’s a change of scene before this episode ends. Whereby, Yuka invited Seto, Iori and Teratani to some karaoke outlet. Actually, Yuka has a crush on Teratani and she’s too shy to ask him out alone. So during at the karaoke outlet, Seto decides to confess to Iori but can’t do so because he doesn’t want to get Teratani all suspicious. But that Teratani guy seems to know what’s going on even when he’s drunk. But it looks like Seto’s a little drunk too. He then noticed that Teratani and Yuka had gone out of the room already. And because of that, he inadvertently took the chance to ask Iori if there’s anyone she like and Iori asked back the same question. Some long moment of pause there before Seto confessed that he likes Iori. Is this confession for real or because he’s drunk? Maybe kind of both.
 
I find episode 5 kinda a little ‘slow’. Yeah, mainly this episode sees how Seto tries to confess his feelings towards Iori but he’s still too nervous to do so. So they have their moments together here and there but nothing that intimate. The part where the Christmas tree was lighted up in the middle of some square was quite a nice scenery. I guess with all those lovebirds kissing and holding hands there, made Seto and Iori a little ‘uncomfortable’ and thinking about their own situtation, huh?
 
Also we find out that Iori has got some major acting play coming up. And because of this, some production crew, I think she’s supposedly Iori’s manager and caretaker for that play production (she seems fierce and strict), confronts Seto and asked him to break up with Iori as this dating thing is distracting her from her work. Well, Seto seems reluctant at first. Any guy in love wouldn’t just listen obidiently to some stranger you’ve known a few minutes and use that as an excuse to break up. But Seto’s having second thoughts as he wants Iori to pursue her dream and become happy. So I guess you could say he’s a little torn and indecisive of what to do.
 
Besides that, we see how the 2 while on their night outing together, finds a sad Yuka sitting all alone by some steps. As Iori approached to ask her what’s wrong, Yuka told her that she’s being ‘dumped’ by Teratani. Yeah, Yuka had confessed to him but the latter turned her down saying he’s not interested bla bla bla, things that would break a girl’s heart. Seto, after hearing all this, rushed to find Teratani. Looks like he’s a little upset and mad. And he manage to find him… browsing through some porn videos at some porn store. *Smack*. In Seto’s fit, he punches Teratani, catching him off guard and tries to find out why he rejected her. But Teratani after he gives him some explanation like how serious she is and if he dated half-heartedly, he would end up hurting her even more (what is it with men and commitment), he tells Seto about his own predicament as well and then punches him back in the cheek. Right back at ‘cha.
 
So in the last scene of the episode, after Seto and Iori boards a train after bidding their farewell to Yuka, has that ‘uneasiness’ and tension during the ride.. Like want to confess but cannot. Then Iori said something how she tried to plan this meeting carefully but it didn’t out too well. Just then without thinking, Seto also said that he was unable to confess. And when Iori asked who, Seto replied that it was her. When he realized what he had just said he became embarrassed. And there’s that ‘uneasiness’ between the 2. Blushing, can’t look into the other’s eye.
 
And when the train arrives at Iori’s stop, she left without saying anything, and Seto felt guilty and thought that he might have done something wrong possibly hurt her feelings. But as everybody on the train alighted, Seto saw Iori coming back in and she said something like she thought that it was a one-sided love. Could this mean? Yeah, probably the 2 of them had the same idea that the other doesn’t like the other. Funny.
 
And finally the last episode number 6. Mostly, we see how busy Iori is with her work and her manager’s trying to break up the relationship between the 2. But Seto’s still stubborn. At the same time, Seto, Teratani and their other friends receive some news that some stalker by the name of Marionette King is gonna make his move on Iori. Well, I guess that’s what being a superstar is all about. Besides fame and glory, you have to put up with stalkers and obsessed fans. So Seto had to be vigilant and ‘watched over’ Iori without her being noticed.
 
To save time, on Iori’s big day, the Marionette King is going in for the kill as Seto keeps his eyes peeled. So who is this Marionette King? He’s actually that school bully boss. Yup, now he looks like a mad zombie and his grudge over Iori is overflowing the Nile River. Just kidding. Well, he still wants to get back at her. Luckily Seto manages to spot him and before the Marionette King can act, they both engage in a fist fight. Their commotion manage to alert the security as they took the Marionette King into custody. Unfortunately, Seto got hit on the head during the fight and is bleeding profusely. Some flashback with the times he spent with Iori. I guess he’s happy, knowing that Iori’s safe.
 
And to make things worse, Seto’s in a coma when he’s admitted into hospital. Teratani, Yuka and Nami, even Seto’s parents were there except Iori. Yeah, looks like she’s being ‘forced’ by her manager to continue with her performance that she can’t go and see Seto. So Teratani and the 2 ladies thought that only Iori can lift Seto out of his coma as they rushed there to plead to Iori to come and see Seto at the hospital. But their attempts were being hindered by that manager. No words could persuade her. Yeah, I’m starting to hate her. Iori who’s partly in her make-up and costume came out to listen to them as they desparately try to persuade her to come and save Seto. But unfortunately, she apologized and couldn’t do so.
 
The 3 friends head back dejectedly to the hospital and thought the worse has come as they saw the nurses pushing Seto’s bed to somewhere. But rest assured, that Seto’s mom said that he’s got a phone call from Iori. And after putting the receiver next to Seto’s ear, Iori emotionally apologized how she couldn’t be there with him, how she’ll quit this show business once she’s done so that she can always be with him. And when she finally says "I love you from the bottom of my heart", like as though some sort of miracle (like those 3 magical words girls has to hear from guys), Seto slowly opened his eyes, much to everyone’s joy and relief.
 
And in the final closing scenes as the credit rolls, we see Seto on a rooftop playing some video in a CD he received from Itsuki, who spots a new hairstyle now, telling him how she found something better than sculpting, that is, she’s found herself a boyfriend! Kyaaa!!! And then she went on talking about achieving some dream and be happy with the person you love, that kind of stuff. Just as the video ends, Iori turned up and the 2 stared at each other for some time before they smiled and hold hands. That’s it? They didn’t kiss? Oh well, I guess it’s a start. And like Itsuki’s final words, whereby she congratulates Seto and say how he finally managed to catch his dream.
 
Before I conclude this series, I’d like to save time by blogging I”s OVA as well. That’s partly because before the I”s Pure series finished and while waiting for the remainding episodes, I decided to watch this one to see how different it was. Well, the main characters are still there, but the plots a little different.
 
This OVA is an earlier production of the I”s Pure series and it has only 2 episodes. Yup, 2 episodes only. To start things off in the first episode, we see some sort of flashback that Seto and his friends seeing off Itsuki at the airport. Yeah, she’s heading for USA. Fast forward to present day, during the summer holidays, Iori’s working as some actress in some commercial near some lakeside resort. And Seto who’s on some lone biking expedition inadvertently took a rest at the resort where Iori’s filming. More than just mere coincidence, huh? Hey, Teratani, along with Nami and Yuka, and some other guy, whom I forgot his name, are there too.
 
Meanwhile, Itsuki returns from the USA to fulfill some childhood promise made 10 years ago with Seto and Yosuke Ichimura (he looks kinda good-looking). And that place is at some small island in the middle of the lake called the Lover’s Island, which so happens to be near the lake resort as well. Okay, maybe not that close. And Yosuke’s also coming to fulfill that promise, but he’s riding his bike along with 3 other biker friends. Yosuke and Seto bumped (more like nearly collided) into each other during their way up but the latter didn’t recognize him as he’s wearing a full face helmet. And probably the former didn’t too because it was quite a distance when he turned back and looked over his shoulders to see if that guy he bumped into was okay. Looks like he is as Yosuke continues his journey.
 
But unfortunately, Yosuke finds out that his 3 biker friends’ intentions are to rape Itsuki. To his horror and shock, he tries to flee. But they’re hot on his tail. Wah! Can ride and handle a bike through such terrain wan ah? So terror meh?Meanwhile, Itsuki trekking alone on some old railroad, reminiscing about the good ol’ days when Yosuke suddenly turned up fleeing from his biker friends. Of course Itsuki’s pretty shocked and puzzled at first to see what’s going on. The bikers manage to corner Yosuke and they stabbed him! Oh, how cruel. Yosuke then fell off the cliff and into the lake. Hey, isn’t that the Love Island? Anyway, Itsuki who witnessed everything, screamed in horror. Those bikers realized that since there’s a witness, they just couldn’t let her go alive. And off another round of chase as Itsuki flees in desparation.
 
At the same time, Seto and Iori, who’s just finished with her filming, decides to row a boat to that Love Island. While on that island, Seto remembers the place when he, Itsuki and Yosuke visited while they’re young. We can see that during the flashback, Seto’s some sort of a ‘chicken’, afraid to do things, but he eventually plucked up his courage and followed the other 2. Meanwhile Iori and Seto heard screams from across the lake, and when they looked, Seto immediately recognized it’s Itsuki. Wow. Does he really have such ‘terror’ vision or hearing? I mean, at such a distance, maybe the place is echoey but to identify her from that far? Anyway, he quickly rows back leaving Iori behind alone on the island.
 
Back on the mainland, luckily Teratani and his friends were there or else, those bikers would’ve took Seto out easily. But the biker leader knocks out Itsuki and abducts her as Seto chases after him while Teratani and friends handle the other 2 and managed to overpower them. Then this part seems a little ‘exaggerated’ an ‘unreal’. Seto spots the bike leader below and Seto’s standing near some worn out bridge high from above. Just like in his flashback when he was young where he was too scared to cross it. Can’t be thinking about those things now. Then taking the rope of the bridge, he swings down like Tarzan and George Of The Jungle and in such great timing manages to grab Itsuki from the back as the bike leader crashes. Since there’s a stream nearby, they both fell into it.
 
Then here’s another far fetched scene. When Seto and Itsuki manage to regain consciousness, they saw a ghost-like figure of Yosuke standing nearby and telling them about the secret underground cave which leads to that Love Island. And since it’s pouring heavily, the rain is threatening to flood and wipe out that Love Island, which Iori is still there. Since the underground cave is partly submerged in water, Seto has to dive in, with a basketball as a floating device (?!), and quickly rescue Iori before it’s too late. And just like before, a perfectly orchestrated timing, he manages to do so and pull her back to safety as they drift back to the main island with that basketball.
 
Later, when it’s all sun shiny again, Seto, Iori, Itsuki were reunited with their other pals as they relaxed. We find out that the basketball is some sort of time capsule where the 3 friends buried it near there as some sort of a friendship thing. And lastly, Itsuki wonders where Yosuke has gone to as we see the police taking those bikers into custody and some search team looking for Yosuke’s body, the place where he fell into. Yeah, and we see him watching them from above near some dam before disappearing. What the? So, Yosuke’s really gone, huh? And that’s the end of this OVA.
 
Overall, in comparison, I would say I’d prefer the storyline in I”s Pure as I felt it was more decent. As mentioned, the storyline in I”s OVA seems a little more far fetched and there isn’t any love-chemsitry developments between Seto, Iori or Itsuki. It’s just one big misadventure, if I should call it. Plus, the drawing, art and colouring is much richer and brighter in the later series as compared to the previous OVA. Uh-huh, the earlier production, colouring seems a little mundane and ‘worn out’.
 
In addition, I also felt that the characters in I”s OVA didn’t play any significant part nor did it have any major impact throughout its 2 epsiodes. At least there’re some character developments in I”s Pure and even though they try to develop them slowly, but it’s still much better. And just like in both series, Itsuki’s part is like, ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ kinda feeling. Something like fillers. Only playing a role and making her ‘real’ appearance for a while. And that Teratani guy’s role in I”s OVA seems trivial and unimportant. Worse than a side role. Does beating up those bikers really count? Maybe only for that part.
 
Then there’s that Bonus Episodes prior to the release of I”s Pure. From first looks, it looked like hentai stuffs. Yup, showing the 2 girls, Iori and Itsuki, in their underwear and scenes of their body parts in sexy positions. Looks tempting but I didn’t watch it. Trust me. I wasn’t turned on or too fond of it. Maybe the contents different. But that’s what you get when you judge a book by it’s cover. I’ll just leave it there. I hope it isn’t anything that important.
 
But I’m glad that for both series, it ended well for the main characters. Well, maybe except for that Yosuke at the end part of I”s OVA. So I would suggest to watch I”s OVA first (well, duh!) before watching I”s Pure because I felt that if you do it the other way round, you might be a little disappointed, though both of them have a different set of storyline. That’s mainly because the latter series is definitely much better in quality.