Finally. Oh finally. At first I was surprised that there was a sequel to the TV series but it took me more than a year to finish watching this sequel! Does it have over a hundred episodes? Heck, only single digit number of episodes. Did the fansubbers face problems while subbing this short series? Nope either. They released it as quickly as possible once it became available.
 
Seeing that this sequel is a year 2007 OVA with only 4 episodes, the producers initially released the first 3 episodes on a consistent periodic basis. If I can recall, around 3 months per episode. Then when they are supposed to released the final one, they are hit with some internal problem which I am not really interested in which resulted in the delay of the release. So much so when it did finally come out I have almost forgotten about it. Not to mention the initial episodes that I have watched. So I need to do a little rewatching to refresh my memory.
 
But I’m still wondering why this OVA title, Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien ~Next Season~ has the ‘next season’ in it. It’s not like it’s continuing from where the TV series left off. Though it is based on the PC game of the same name (the latest edition as I have found out), this OVA offers an alternate ending whereby our main protagonist Takayuki decided to stick with his one true love Haruka at the end of the latter’s 3 year coma instead of the TV ending in which he ended up with Haruka’s best pal, Mitsuki.
 
Episode 1
The series kicks off with Haruka being discharged from hospital and everyone is glad of her recovery. As Haruka gets into her car, she notices someone on the hospital rooftop. It’s Mitsuki. Takayuki then gets an SMS from Mitsuki informing him that she is leaving town. But something tells me that she isn’t really giving up on Takayuki because she wants to keep her ring a little longer. A fortnight later, Haruka is still having nightmares about the accident. She wakes up 1 morning and trips on her way downstairs. Luckily Takayuki is there to catch her fall. When the duo go out to town, Haruka is still having traumatic fears of cars zooming by but Takayuki assures her that everything is alright as he helps her to cross the street. Takayuki spots a microwave being displayed at a store and Haruka if there’s anything that interests him but he says nothing and they move on. At the bookstore, Haruka remembers the first time how they met here before and tried to confess to him. She unintentionally does so which causes everyone to look at them embarrassing her even further. Then at the aquarium, Takayuki remembers how he got close with Mitsuki and tells Haruka how Mitsuki sacrificed her own dreams to support him during those tough times.
 
They arrive at Takayuki’s apartment and when Haruka asks if he still has feelings for Mitsuki, he didn’t hesitate to reply yes. Takayuki gets a call to return to work for his waiter shift. So Takayuki walks Haruka home before leaving for his shift. That night as Haruka studies in her room, she reminisces the fun times she had with Takayuki but feels bad that he went out with her despite having to work. Akane comforts her by saying how Takayuki have changed for the better. For the next few days, Takayuki and Haruka make up for lost time by going out together and even Haruka’s family welcomes Takayuki as part of their family as they have him over for dinner. Then a day whereby Haruka is reluctant to go out with Takayuki because on that day she has to go to the hospital for a check up. Takayuki decides to accompany her. Dr Houzuki gives Haruka the green light that she’s find from head to toe.
 
On another day whereby the duo took a train ride to their destination, Haruka learns that Takayuki had bought the microwave so that he could bake some meat pie for them. Don’t worry. It tastes delicious. As they chat, Haruka talks about her dream of entering college and to be a picture book author. As for Takayuki, he is satisfied of finding a proper job and supporting Haruka for the rest of his life because he doesn’t want to lose her again. However Haruka puts on a sad face and probably feeling guilty that she turned Takayuki into so. But he hugs her instead. When they prepare to board the train home, Haruka lets go Takayuki’s hand as he boards the train alone. Haruka then suggests that they break up. Before shocked Takayuki could react, the door shuts and the train leaves, separating them.
 
What the?! Now that they’ve got back together, Haruka wants to break up?! Isn’t she happy?! Oh wait. Must be the guilt of how everyone sacrificed everything for her sake. Does she not trust that Takayuki truly loves and trusts her? She even has the support of everyone else. Oh well. What good would such a drama be without suspense?
 
Episode 2
While Haruka is studying, she gets a miscall from Takayuki. She then wishes for Mitsuki to forgive her even though she had promised her. But this episode is some sort of a flashback episode. Since it’s been a long time that I’ve watched the series, I can’t remember that the scenes here are taken from the TV series or never-seen-before clips from the time Mitsuki and her pals were in high school to the day the tragic accident happened and how she tried to support Takayuki during Haruka’s absence.
 
We see Mitsuki living in a apartment along with her roommate Tsujimura who is also an ex-swimming member. Mitsuki is currently trying to look for a job to help pay the rent (she bumped into Tsujimura while trying to find a place to live). I guess the economy downturn is that bad, huh? Even in animes during that time. Or is it that Mitsuki and Takayuki lack the qualifications to get a decent job seeing that they didn’t go to college. This episode not only has Mitsuki telling her side of the story to Tsujimura (seems like she is reluctantly listening because Mitsuki said "Since I’m troubling you, will you hear me out?". Yeah, can’t say no, eh?), but also from Takayuki to Shinji as they meet at a bar place.
 
Without going into further detail (mainly because I don’t remember much) as the episode goes back and forth between Mitsuki-Tsujimura and Takayuki-Shinji, all I can say is that Tsujimura thinks Mitsuki has wasted her swimming future and potential by dating that Bakayuki, oops I mean, Takayuki guy. But Tsujimura is the one to say because she too soon follow suit in Mitsuki’s footsteps in quitting the team and the reason why she’s now letting her bunk at her apartment is to clear her conscience for the time she was thinking bad stuff about her like wanting her to quit too. One bad turn deserves another. Of course Tsujimura too has heard a lot of negative rumours about them so Mitsuki takes the opportunity to tell her about the sob guilt ridden story from the events that led up till Haruka’s accident. Mitsuki then felt guilty when Takayuki became obsessed in staying by Haruka’s side so much so Haruka’s parents told him to stop seeing her for his own good. Thus Mitsuki took it upon herself to care and support a very depressed Takayuki till he is better. Then when Takayuki invited Mitsuki out to the aquarium as sign of gratitude, before they know it, they started dating.
 
Just like in the TV series, Haruka wakes up from her coma and Mitsuki felt threatened that Takayuki will be taken away but of course they eventually broke up because Takayuki’s love for Haruka was much stronger. I think it came to a point where Mitsuki nearly lost it and didn’t care about her appearance anymore and tried to flirt with Shinji in front of Takayuki. But you know it isn’t teary Mitsuki who is just suffering because she too spot how Takayuki broke down when he was trying to find an answer that would not hurt both Mitsuki and Haruka. He doesn’t want to be forgiven and blames everything on himself. How to turn back time? Not even God can do that. Since this isn’t a harem anime, obviously Mitsuki decides to leave Takayuki’s apartment and wants him to throw away all her stuff with his own hands. We also learn Mitsuki’s reason to leave town was to relief Takayuki of his pain and since this place is small, the girls might bump into each other and bring back tormenting memories. Yeah, Mitsuki visited Haruka at the hospital just before she was discharged. If only in life there are girls who are so willing to give and take, so tolerant and understanding like them. After hearing her story, Tsujimura concludes that it isn’t Mitsuki’s fault to begin with. So whose is it? What about the driver which crashed into Haruka that time? Well, no story on what happened to the driver after that. Thus Tsujimura feels that Mitsuki too is a victim of it all. And because Mitsuki’s story was so boring, she decides to drink and has Mitsuki as her drinking partner too. I’m not sure if Tsujimura’s being a sadist or already drunk because when Mitsuki’s tear drops into her wine, she tells her she deserves it and go ahead and cry.
 
On Takayuki’s side, he is telling Shinji how for the time being he and Haruka are staying apart. Takayuki feels that in his current position he had to choose between Haruka and his part time job, both in which needed undivided attention. So being separated from Haruka, at least Takayuki thinks he will use this time to get a more solid job in order to make Haruka feel more secure. Thus he is taking his time to do so because he doesn’t want to rush and make the same mistakes all over again. But of course he can’t do it half-heartedly either. So once Takayuki has secured a permanent job, he’ll move in to a place and live with Haruka. Shinji notes how Takayuki has changed too.
 
Ah well, I wonder what is the real significance of this episode anyway. It’s like the 2 characters doing some past analyzing stuff about the problem in hand and a reflection of themselves while pondering about taking the next best course of action. Like I said, it’s all part of being a drama series. This is the episode in which Mitsuki gets to be featured more prominently, albeit it isn’t much. For the remaining episodes, I felt like the series could’ve been done without her. Hey, this is mainly a Takayuki-Haruka focus. And as for Tsujimura, that’s it you’ll hear from her. She’s just a character providing listening service and we won’t know what kind of a past she had with Mitsuki.
 
Episode 3
I guess after having episodes focused on Takayuki-Haruka and Mitsuki, it’s right to have an episode on Akane too. Initially I thought this episode was going to be somewhat similar to that OVA spin-off, Akane Maniax because Akane has been confessed by a guy to go out with him. No, not that loudmouth dumbass guy, Jouji Gouda, from the spin-off OVA. At least this one looks somewhat decent and handsome. Unfortunately Akane apologizes and rejects that poor chap. Of course this has been spot by Chizuru and just like any other good girl pal, proceeds to tease and talk to Akane about the incident as they walk their way home. We learn that Akane is studying English so that she could achieve her dreams of studying in America.
 
When she comes home, mommy tells her that it has been some time that Takayuki had visited them and that it feels lonely. Even though it’s Haruka’s problem, Akane still feels that all this isn’t right. The next morning, Akane goes and talk with Haruka if there is anything that has happened between them but Haruka mentions nothing serious and that Takayuki had change in his work shift, the reason he is unable to visit them. Then it’s like Haruka is trying to avoid Akane’s further questioning when she goes to her mom the instant she calls her.
 
Meanwhile at the Sky Temple cafe where Takayuki works part time, remember those loli brats, AyuMayu? Yeah, they’re still around and this time they’re suspicious of Takayuki because he just got a raise. Because the manager still notices that they are lazing around, he nicely tells them that if something increases, something else must decrease in order to be balanced out. So in terms of salary… Yeah, they better start working hard. The manager too is grateful for Takayuki’s hard work and is also worried that he may have no time for himself if he takes more shifts. Soon Akane comes by to have a chat with Takayuki if anything has happened between him and her sister. Takayuki gives his honest answer like she might feel insecure if her boyfriend does odd jobs for the rest of his life and everything is going to be alright. Of course Akane is still confused because she thinks they both need each other and while deeply thinking about it on her way home, she has a flashback whereby she had a little argument with Mitsuki because the latter said that she is fine if Takayuki chooses Haruka. Mitsuki questions her back if she has ever truly loved someone because if she does, her way of thinking will be different. Mitsuki walked off by saying that she had never intended to seek permission from her in the first place. Back in present time, Akane is of course still bitter about that incident and is confused more than ever as she breaks down.
 
The next day after swimming practice, Akane gets a call from Shinji to meet up at a cafe. Shinji explains a lot has happened between Haruka and Takayuki and what recently happened has allowed them to move forward. He then leaves in a hurry after getting some important call but the look from Akane’s face indicates that she at least understood the situation. On her way home, she spots Takayuki working hard and the usual spat AyuMayu (remember her "Go step on cat poo!" line?). When Akane comes home, she sees Haruka and mommy making dinner together. Akane tells her sister not to deceive them. She wants a clear explanation why she and Takayuki broke up. Akane continues her scathing verbal attack and even though you can see guilt written all over Haruka’s face, she tells her little sister that this is a problem between her and Takayuki which has got nothing to do with her. But Akane isn’t listening as she continues her severe criticisms over Haruka’s selfishness when Takayuki is working so hard and such. I guess if one gets an earful from a younger sibling, it will be deemed too much because Haruka suddenly blacks out and collapses. GASP! Don’t tell me she’s into another coma again!
 
Episode 4
This episode starts off with Haruka and Akane having a sisterly chat together when the latter informs how she is going to America to further her studies. Akane feels that she is in a dilemma because Haruka just got discharged and everyone is finally back together and yet she is going to be separated soon. But Haruka encourages her to pursue her dream and not to worry about her as she is already well as they both hug.
 
Continuing from the cliff-hanger event at the end of the previous episode, Haruka’s mom freaks out over her collapse but Haruka soon regains her consciousness and says that it isn’t anything serious and wants to continue her conversation with Akane. Phew. However Akane is still upset and claims that Haruka is being unfair as she runs out of the house in tears. While wondering aimlessly in town, Akane remembers when she was younger, she tried to play a cheeky cupid to get Takayuki and Haruka together.
 
Houzuki is driving around in her sports car (and in a tight body hugging sexy yellow outfit too. Yeow!) when she spots Akane and picks her up. Along the way, she tells Akane how Haruka has worked hard during her rehabilitation, the importance of dreams, and how sacrifices are necessary to obtain one’s dream whether you wished for it or not. "To gain something, you must sacrifice something else. Achieving your dreams isn’t pretty. The closer someone is to you, the easier they are to be sacrificed", says she. Akane then finally realized her mistake as she tears trickle down her eyes. It really takes a lot of talking to make this girl open her eyes.
 
Back home, Haruka’s mom tells Haruka that she has a dream whereby no matter how much she tries to wake sleeping Haruka up, she just wouldn’t wake up. So she stayed by her side and as time passes, slowly everyone who visited her eventually stopped doing so and even to the point mummy herself. That’s when she gets up from the nightmare and the only thing which gives her a peace of mind is when she sees Haruka in the morning. She is also worried about her gloominess and wished she could tell her. Haruka says she’s scared to be with Takayuki because she feels it’s her fault that he skipped college, broke up with Mitsuki and the reason he has changed. Though 3 years have passed and she tries to catch up and not fall behind everyone, she feels that she is chasing her own dream while Takayuki has given up on his. After mummy gives her more words of encouragement, she supports her to tell Takayuki and start anew. By that time, Houzuki has arrived home with Akane. Akane apologizes as the sisters reconcile. Later the sisters have a chat and Akane says how she loves Takayuki because he’s like a big brother to her and wants them to be together smiling and laughing previously like 3 years ago.
 
The next day, Haruka takes a brave step out of her home and though she still has fears of crossing the street, she sums up her courage and manages to overcome it. Takayuki continues to work hard on his waiting job and in no time is soon finished with his shift. The AyuMayu pair is still working their ass off and isn’t pleased to find Takayuki taking an early leave. That’s because he’s done. You girls should emulate him more. Takayuki notices a miscall on his handphone and calls Haruka. When he finds out that she is waiting at Hiiragi Train Station (where the accident took place 3 years ago), he straightaway rushes there. When he arrives, traumatic memories of that accident flow through his mind as he frantically searches and calls out Haruka’s name amidst the bewildered crowd. Finally he finds her waiting there as they both emotionally embrace. Haruka starts apologizing and says how she wants to move forward and continue walking forever along with him even though it’s just a little step at a time. Takayuki too apologizes for making her feel insecure but Haruka replies that she’s alright now. As they both kiss, they soon notice the onlooking crowd applauding. A real life drama, eh? Though a little embarrassing, they decide to stay this way a little longer. After the end credits, at a beach, Takayuki takes a picture of Haruka, catching her by surprise as she playfully splashes water on him while he snaps a happy shot of her smiling.
 
Next Sequel…
Like there will be one. Even so, I guess it will probably take several more years. Besides I’m wondering if there is another sequel or spin-off, who will be the girl in focus. We’ve got Mitsuki and Haruka already, so how about Akane? Yeah, another spin-off for her. This time maybe an onii-chan complex. Haha. How about AyuMayu? Their short chibi comical spin-off is nothing but comical stuff they do at Sky Temple. So maybe. A tsundere loli for Takayuki?
 
But without speculating if there should be any future productions or not, let me just get back to this particular OVA. I guess I can say that since this OVA is on Haruka, it would definitely be right for it to end on a happy note between her and Takayuki. It would just be suicide if the duo ended up separated and I’m sure many viewers would not like it (including yours truly). And as mentioned, many of the other characters here are just playing second fiddle. However even with their insignificant roles, without them the drama between Haruka and Takayuki will not develop to where it is now.
 
Being an OVA series, the quality of the animation is high and if my memory serves me right, the drawing, art and animation is still consistent with the TV series. I’m still wondering about the strangely named title of the dramatic and upbeat opening theme of the series, Next Season, by Minami Kuribayashi. There is nothing in the lyrics which tells of the back story of the series or anything of the likes. It’s one of those abstract love lyrics. And yes, I’m still baffled that the ‘next season’ title is a little misleading. So it is true that in real life too, sacrifices are necessary to make dreams come true. But sometimes seeing that someone you love happy is rewarding enough and that your sacrificed has been worth it.
 

Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien

Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien

April 29, 2006

Oh my *sob*sob* what a sad anime this is. Yeah, that’s how I felt after finished watching Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien. It’s truly a romantic and tragic story. Nearly cried, but managed to hold back my tears somehow.
 
Well, the storyline goes something like this. About 4 high school friends Takayuki Narumi, Haruka Suzumiya, Mitsuki Hayase and Shinji Taira. The shy and timid Haruka likes Takayuki but is too shy to confess her feelings to him. So her best pal Mitsuki sets them up. Before you know it, the both of them are already dating.
 
Plus, Haruka has got quite a cheeky little sister, Akane. Yup, she’s looking forward to the day where she’ll get to call Takayuki her big brother. In addition, she’s got the guts to ask Takayuki whether he ‘ate’ her sister (cheeky little girl, you). She also looks up to Mitsuki and follows in her footsteps to become a professional swimmer.
 
One fateful day, when Takayuki was supposed to meet Haruka on a date, he bumps into Mitsuki who then pesters him to buy her a ring. Because he was late, Haruka got involved in a very serious car accident at the end of episode 2. Must be very serious. You can see a lot of blood spewed all over the ground. So whose fault is it. Quite debatable. If Takayuki had arrived on time this whole mess could have been avoided. Or is it Mitsuki’s? Perhaps Haruka could’ve stood somewhere else rather than at that exact spot where it happened.
 
Fast forward 3 years later. Haruka is still lying in a comatose state for that period. Things have changed. Takayuki and Mitsuki are going out with each other. This drew the ire of Akane. She really hates the both of them now, especially Mitsuki. Well, you couldn’t blame her. You see, after the accident, Takayuki was in a lost and very depressed. Staring blankly doing nothing. Very hopeless state. So Mitsuki tried everything she could to bring him to his senses. Until she has to resort to giving her body to him. Wow! In a way he nearly snapped out but wasn’t completely. But I wouldn’t blame Mitsuki too. What would she have done in that time? She did everything she could.
 
Then Akane found her naked in Takayuki’s apartment and feelings of resentment and betrayal start to flow through her heart. How would you feel if somebody you’ve been looking up to does this sort of things behind your back. But this is just how she sees things at that time.
 
Mitsuki now seems to work for a data research company and Takayuki is doing a part time job (he seems to be there for a long time) as a waiter in a restaurant. Speaking of the restaurant, there’re 2 other waitresses there who seems to eavesdrop and being busybody with Takayuki’s affairs. The rude, loudmouth Ayu Daikuuji and the naive, simpleton but gentler and soft-spoken Mayu Tamano. Also known as Ayu Ayu and Mayu Mayu respectively. You’d probably wonder how does Ayu keep her job there since she’s so rude with customers. Well, she’s the daughter of the restaurant’s executive. Plus she and Takayuki seems to be quarelling but Takayuki always ‘wins’ at the end, pulling her mouth and cheeks. Yeah, Ayu would at the end always curse him and saying things like step on cat poo and things like that.
 
But anyway, the whole story takes another turn when Haruka suddenly wakes up. And the thing is, she thought she’d been only sleeping for a few days. Being diagnosed with some sort of amnesia, Takayuki and the rest have to play along and make it feel as though it has been only several days since the accidents in order not to give Haruka a rude shock.
 
So that’s when Takayuki’s feelings and his relationship with Mitsuki wavers. He has to play both parts. It’s rather confusing since he seems to harbour some affection for Haruka still and at the same time doesn’t want to loose Mitsuki. Yeah, he has a conflict of guilt and responsibility there. I mean, what would I have done if I myself was caught in that situation. I don’t think I could even get through it.
 
As the story progresses, their relationship drifts even further apart and until Mitsuki feels that Takayuki may go back to Haruka. Slowly, she begins to lose her sanity. Poor girl. But slowly too, Akane’s hatred for the both of them subsides as she understood finally why Takayuki had to do what he did.
 
The thing is, I wonder why Haruka didn’t realize that she’d grown such a long hair. If not, couldn’t she see that her little sister has grown bigger and that school uniform doesn’t really fit her anymore. Well, at least until episode 10 she does. And as usual she needed to know the truth. But it was Akane that spilled the beans to her rather than Takayuki. And she slapped Mitsuki too after Mitsuki confessed to her that she and Takayuki has been seeing each other since. So pitiful. I think that’s when Mitsuki has really lost it. To the point that she even made out a one night stand with Shinji in a hotel.
 
The last episode did manage to tie up everything well. When Haruka realized everything and the current situation. She finally let go of Takayuki and said goodbye to him with a smile. I had goosebumps and felt sad during this part *sob*sob*. So Takayuki manage to find Mitsuki at the tree where the 4 friends once made a vow there (with Shinji’s help, of course. But somehow I think that’s the only useful thing he’s done so far since his limited role, besides that ‘fight’ with Takayuki at the restaurant to wake him up). And with a few meaningful words, the both of them made up and decided to start anew again.
 
As the end credits were rolling we could see that Takayuki have moved out of his apartment he has lived in for 3 years (must be to leave behind those sad memories). Plus, he also quit his waiter job. Altough Mayu misses him, and Ayu seems to be her usual self by saying how much better it was without him, I’m pretty sure Ayu too misses him, though she doesn’t seem to show it either. Haruka managed to become that picture-storybook publisher and her work is quite successful so much so that it was being display at shops. So I guess Takayuki is very proud of her and I think he even bought a copy of it. As for Akane, she went on to become a very successful swimmer making headlines in newspapers. So I think Mitsuki was proud of her too as you could see her smile. End of story. *SOB*SOB*SOB*SOB*
 
By the way, unlike at the end of most animes, where they show a preview of the next episode, there’s this Ayu-Mayu theater, which is around 30 seconds to a minute. What’s this theather all about? I don’t know either. It has no relevance to the main story and the drawing is very chibi-like. For example, Ayu and Mayu trying to control a spaceship from crashing, or getting stuck in a freezer, or watching a video replay of Takayuki and Haruka kissing (and freaking out), or when Ayu claiming that she’s gonna have super powers but couldn’t because it’s not in the script, or when Ayu was laughing and imagining when Takayuki has been hospitalized only to be strangled by an angry Haruka’s hair. But I think this is to provide some comic relief to this overly tense and sad anime. But so funny lah.
 
Overall, this anime stired a lot of emotions in me. and I tried my best not to cry (really!). It’s both heart-warming and heartbreaking especially in the last episode. It still gives me the chills just to think about it. Eventhough everything didn’t turned out the way I had hoped for, but it was for the best for everyone. I truly enjoyed this anime. Musn’t see another sad anime for awhile or else…  Oh no… My eyes are getting teary… Can’t hold on any much longer… *SOB*SOB*SOB*SOB*.