Tenshi No Yubikiri

December 1, 2007

  You may dream, Oikakete sunao na kono kimochi,
  Tsutaerareta nara, Dreams come true,
  You may dream, Masshiro na koi wa tsubasa ni naru,
  Tenshi no yubikiri, Kanau you ni
 
I remember singing this song when I was watching the anime series, Kare Kano or also known as His And Her Cirmustances. Tenshi No Yubikiri is the opening song of the series and is sung by Mai Fukuda. Ah, how it brings back nostalgic memories about the anime.
 
  Me no mae wo sugiru yokogao,
  Tokimeki ga odori hajimeru,
  Hanasu koe mimi wo katamuke,
  Mata hitotsu anata wo shitta
 
With the lyrics about love and such, this song is quite fitting for the series itself. Thus, in a way, it’s quite easy to remember the words and the meaning. The lyrics aren’t that lengthy and besides, the chorus is nearly the same with just a few changes here and there. In my opinion, I think amateur Japanese learners can still go about and understand what the song is mainly about.
 
  Hon no sukoshi yuuki dashite,
  Sono hitomi wo mitsumetai
 
Basically, I didn’t find this song that hard nor tough to sing at all. Not to say that there is any long sustaining high pitched lines, but sometimes I find myself out of breath after singing the chorus part. At first it may sound ‘monotonous’ but the chorus lines do drag a little longer, thus I need to time myself properly on my breathing periods. Still because of that, sometimes I may go a little ‘off-pitch’. Don’t worry, it isn’t that bad.
 
  You may dream, dakishimete ima sugu kono omoi,
  Kotoba ni kaetai, I love you,
  You may dream, masshiro na koi wa tsubasa ni naru,
  Tenshi no yubikiri, Kanau you ni
 
For your information, a yubikiri is more like a pinky swear. You know, kids in Japan have this tendency to make some kiddy promises like getting married to each other when they’re older (at least in the anime world) by grabbing the other’s pinky finger with their own. Sometimes a yubikiri may be translated as a promise or pledge depending on the situation but basically that’s what it means. As usual, if ever I’m feeling nostalgic, this would be 1 of the songs that I’ll really love to sing. *Making a yubikiri with myself*. :)
 
  Kanau you ni…

Kare Kano

August 19, 2006

When I first watched the anime Kare Kano, I felt that I’m somehow watching a manga, if you know what I mean. Yup, this anime is very manga-like in terms of the drawing of the animation and the way they draw the boxes and borders of the scenes as though as it is in a manga. Plus, there’re many kanji writings manga style too which make it seem like making the manga come too life. Basically what Kareshi Kanojo No Jijou AKA His And Her Circumstances is about teen romance and comedy with some slice of life in it.
 
As seen in the first episode, Yukino Miyazawa is the ‘perfect student‘ in school. Bright, smart, attractive, pretty, helpful, nice personality, active, and all other stuffs and qualiites that students dream to have. Therefore, she’s seen by many as the perfect role model. But behind that pretty facade is a completely and totally opposite person. She’s actually quite vain and loves it when other people praises her. Plus, she has that mentality and attitude where she has to be number one or the best of the best. And she’ll go to very great lengths just to keep it that way.
 
Well, at least until this guy, Souichiro Arima comes along. Arima’s also on par with Miyazawa in terms of intelligence, personality and activeness. So now there’s a challenger, huh. And this really gets to her when Arima manage to be the top student in the entrance exam pushing Miyazawa down to second place. So we see her coming up with lots of sly schemes and plots to bring her competitor down.
 
However, Arima had approached Miyazawa and confessed his feelings to her. Ah… A chance to tear him apart. So she rejected him. But Arima seems not to be devastated. Anyway, Miyazawa’s true face is exposed when Arima came to surprise visit her to return a CD. You see at home, Miyazawa looks totally different too. I couldn’t recognize her at first. She wears spectacles with that weird pajama (or was it a junpsuit) and a headband, and she lets loose her ‘devilish’ personality.
 
Oh, Miyazawa’s family too seems a little interesting. Wonder why her dad and mom looked so young? That’s because they married young. Also Miyazawa has 2 younger sisters, Tsukino (the middle sis who’s more laid back and goofy) and Kano (the youngest sis who seems to have some obsessive knowledge in shoujo novels). Then they have a pet dog too, Pero Pero which looked a little bit like that dog in Crayon Shin Chan.
 
So as Miyazawa’s true identity is discovered by Arima, in the second episode he seems to take advantage of this by blackmailing her. Yeah, he makes her do his stuffs like carrying his books and homework. At this point I was like having second thoughts about Arima actually being a nice guy. Although she deserves what she gets, but I pity her a little lah. As she could no longer stand being used by Arima, she breaks down, only to be comforted by a gentle Arima. Now this guy’s changed. And he gave the reason why he was using her like that it’s because he wants to be close to her and something like he hasn’t been with someone like her before. Strange use of method. But eventually, the 2 of them made amends and become good friends.
 
Can’t blame Arima totally too. You see, he’s got a tragic past too. When he was young his real father abused and tortured him. Because his dad was also debt-laden, he ran away with his mom leaving Arima behind. Luckily for Arima, he was taken in by his adopted parents who adopted him as his own child giving him all the love and support like as though he was their son. Because of this, Arima is somewhat fearful of his past.
 
So now, there’re 2 role models that the whole school can look up to now. Such lucky students they are. So this is where the love between those 2 really start to blossom. Yeah, at first they were good friends, then somewhat close but not lovers yet. The next thing you know, they really have feelings for each other and start seeing each other already and are officially a couple (sometimes even sharing moments of intimacy when theyre both alone).
 
So when Miyazawa’s family found out that she’s gotta boyfriend, they’re all into shock, wondering if she’s sick or something. Yeah, they can’t believe that their daughter would end up having a relationship with a boy. Especially her dad who seems like the overprotective kind at first (and possibly wanted to shoo him away), but when they saw Arima the whole family quickly accepted him, leaving Miyazawa quite embarrassed. I see looks do really count. However, as they say, life isn’t a bed of roses. You guessed it, there’ll be many many obstacles those 2 will face that will test their love and relationship.
 
So the first obstacle that’ll come between them is a guy named Hideaki Asaba. This guy’s a little perverted, though he may have good looks. When he first met Miyazawa and learned that she’s seeing him, he despises her. That’s because Asaba had this sick plan of him and his self proclaimed partner Arima to form ‘Asaba Merry Land‘ where there’re only lots and lots of beautiful girls and themselves. And since Miyazawa took Arima away, that plan won’t materialize. Thus, Asaba decided to break them up.
 
I can’t remember what happened, but after Arima told off Asaba about threatening or making Miyazawa cry or hurting her, I guessed he backed down and accepted their relationship. Now, he’s one of their friends (though at times Arima seems to disagree and suggests to have him ignored). What do you know, this Asaba guy really clicks with Miyazawa’s younger sisters.
 
Well it isn’t over yet. The second obstacle in the form of Maho Izawa showed up. She’s also an attractive and smart girl but she fell out of the limelight because of Miyazawa’s presence. Something like overshadowing her. So basically, she’s jealous of her and wants to get revenge so that she can be in the limelight again. She manage to manipulate and convince the whole class to go against Miyazawa by shunning her. Something like Miyazawa’s monopolizing Arima and Asaba (meaning keeping these 2 guys all for herself). Wah, how could those girls get jealous because of that. Well, I guess if you got 2 great looking guys in school and they’re in the hearts of every girls, wouldn’t you feel awkward that both of them are into this 1 girl? Furthermore, she’s the role model.
 
Eventually, Miyazawa manage to expose Maho’s plot, making her plan backfire. This time, everybody else including Maho’s close friends left her. Soon she repented her doings and before you know it, becomes one of Miyazawa’s friends. Yeah, at the same time too, Miyazawa gained other friends such as Sakura Tsubaki, the tomboyish volleyball player, Aya Sawada, a talented writer for her age, and Rika Sena, a gifted craftswomen and seamstress.
 
Oh wait, during the troubled period that Miyazawa and Maho were in, the appearance of a petite girl Tsubasa Shibahime seems to make matters worse. Tsubasa previously fell in love with Arima when they were in middle school. But some skateboarding accident prevented her from going to start high school with Arima at the same time. Because her confessions to Arima usually fell on deaf ears, she settled to be treated as Arima’s ‘little sister’. That is, until Miyazawa became her girlfriend. So she became jealous and proceeds to break them up. As compared to Maho, she’s more brute in the sense that she’ll physically do things to Miyazawa rather than in stealth or quietly. Plus, when the producers draw her when she’s being ‘devilish’, she looks kinda chibi and weird (also her character as well). You should see her if you don’t know what I mean.
 
But Tsubasa went to far by burning the 1 picture Miyazawa treasures most, the picture of Arima (which Tsubasa stole from her wallet). It’s really funny to see Miyazawa’s ‘devil face’ when she’s gonna pound on Tsubasa. But this Arima still blur, donno what’s happening between those 2 (though he knows that Tsubasa’s being physically hitting Miyazawa but didn’t really do that much either). So as usual, Tsubasa gave up her devilish plot to break them up and soon became their friend (darn… can’t remember how lah).
 
So there’s another obstacle to their relationship too. Nope, this time it isn’t some jealous teen, but their maths teacher Kawashima. Kawashima knows that these 2 are seeing each other and at the same time are the perfect role models for their school. Meaning that their image is important for the sake of the school’s image. So imagine what would happen if a scandal were to arise between the school’s top 2 students? Especially the school’s reputation is at stake. So Kawashima called them to his office and told them to stop seeing each other and break off their relationship. Yeah, and something like think about your future, bla bla bla. Plus, their grades were really starting to slip too but not at an alarming rate.
 
But Arima and Miyazawa remained steadfast. Saying that they can do both. So Kawashima decided to call both their parents and discuss the matter. Surprisingly, they’re quite supportive of their children as they wished them for their happiness as long as they know what they’re doing. In viewing so, Kawashima accepted their decision and believed in Arima and Miyazawa. Yeah, later on he’ll be supporting them both in things they do too (not ‘doing that’ lah okay).
 
So obstacles from third party have been overcomed, huh. What obstacles are there to their relationship now. Ahh… Now it’s more on themselves. What I mean is, now the obstacles to their relationship are themselves. The first test comes during summer break, where Arima had to attend the Kendo national tournament and will be away for months. Because of this, Miyazawa felt lonely and that feeling of I-can’t-be-or-go-on-without-him. But luckily, there’re Miyazawa’s newly made girlfriends there to be with her and take away the lonliness.
 
Mainly the middle part of the series shifts it’s attention away from the Arima-Miyazawa relationship and to the issues of other characters. For instance, Tsubasa. An episode on her lonely life where her mom died while giving birth to her and her dad is the only person she’d love besides Arima. Therefore, she’s quite possessive of him. When her dad gets into a relationship with another divorced women, Kazuma and then decides to marry her, she feared that she’ll take away her dad and she’ll be all lonely in this world. Thus, she does her best to object to their relationship by showing some ‘attitude’. Plus Ikeda’s got a son, Ikeda, who seems to be a nice chap though he’s part of some rock group.
 
Eventually, Tsubasa manage to turn her ways and accept things at it is. With Ikeda playing the role as her big brother, hey, that’s not too bad, huh. And her dad too now won’t be lonely. Besides, I thought that Ikeda would be a regular face throughout the rest of the series, but nope. Yeah, his appearance just ends there. Too bad.
 
Then there’s the part where Miyazawa and her family pay a visit to her grandpa. And we have a glimpse of how they met, fell in love (to their parent’s objection), get married and have kids. Yeah, grandad still having that I-can’t-believe-my-daughter-married-a-jerk-like-you and I-still-can’t-accept-that-you’re-my-son-in-law attitude. Though he seems to treat the girls nicely. Oh well.
 
Then, it’s back to the Arima-Miyazawa. Yup, Arima surprised Miyazawa by returning without her notice. Looks like she’s quite taken by surprise. Seems he won the Kendo tournament too. Yay! Now the both of them can spend quality time together. Oh no! But Arima’s past seems to be catching up on him and is having a devastating emotional effect on him. But with Miyazawa around, he manages to face his past and move forward.
 
So the several last few episodes again takes a little breather from the Arima-Miyazawa relationship. Although the obstacles this time are mainly their insecurities and doubts about their realtionship, but it isn’t that obvious. As we’re introduced to a new character Tonami Takefumi (so late! Appeared in episode 20). So is he gonna come between Arima and Miyazawa? Not really. Though at times Arima from a distance spot them together and misinterprets the situation, but Tonami actually isn’t really after Miyazawa.
 
It’s Tsubaki that he’s after. Uh-huh, you see, another kid with a tormented past. When Tonami was a child, he was fat and chubby so much so he was being bullied. But Tsubaki saved him and in return she made him do things and in a way bullied and tormented him. So Tonami went away for a while and now he’s back, tanned and gorgeous looking, to get revenge on Tsubaki. However Tsubaki doens’t know that this is the same Tonami as before.
 
In the meantime, Miyazawa and the rest of the girls are planning what to do for the upcoming school cultural festival. Wow. It took spanned over a few episodes (the planning) and in the end, we didn’t get to see it either. Yup, the series just ended then. Oh but before that, Asaba’s doing some ‘dinner show’ where he’s the ‘main course’ to attract girls. And he’s so free too that he’d even asked Miyazawa and co if she needs his help with their cultural project. So as Arima and Miyazawa assures and affirms each other’s love (so I guess no more problems already for these 2, the way I see it), Tonami is waiting for his chance to get his revenge on Tsubaki. So he played 1 on 1 basketball-cum-conversation with her. Well, what do you know, they’re both good too.
 
Before Tonami realizes it, he seems to be developing feelings for her. Then the last scene of the last episode, they both kissed! And the narrator went like ‘His And Her Circumstances…’. Ohh… Looks like it’s now their turn to be like the Arima-Miyazawa thing. One thing I find annoying about the last episode that the narrator seems to repeat the lines twice. I mean there’re 2 narrators, a male and a female narrator. And after 1 had said 1 line, the other seem to repeat it. Irritating! Fuan to mendou to kuyashii da yo!
 
In conclusion, I find this anime quite okay, just above average. One thing I notice that this anime tends to be very repetitive, repeating what has happened over and over again especially at the start of each episode. Maybe it’s to make the episode a little longer? I prefer the first half of the series where it’s more funnier than the second half which I find it a little boring (and repetitive). Overall the pace of the anime is slow and draggy at times. The words on the screen sometimes may clutter. So a person like me who doesn’t know how to read kanji will be at a total lost.
 
The visual for the end credit is quite unique too. It’s live action moving forward through the school corridor or the streets. Plus, we get to see the real faces of the voice actors of the series when they tell of the next coming episodes. Hmm… Not really what I expected them to look like (note that this isn’t really meant to be insulting). Probably I’ve seen to many ‘Japanese Anime Girls’ and come to expect that.
 
Then I found out even though the series ends just there, the manga still continues the story from there right until they’re married. Yeah, read somewhere that Miyazawa got pregnant while still studying and she and Arima married young just like her parents did after graduation. Also, what happened to other characters in the series as well. But I’m not gonna read the whole 21 volume series. I’m just happy with the anime and the way things are.
 
So lesson learned… Be careful if you always argue with somebody, because you might end up liking/dating/marrying that person in the end. Oh wait, that’s not a good one. Love conquers all. Yeah, that oughta do it. So a toast and many best wishes to Arima and Miyazawa – the best anime couple! Hehehe.