Memories Off 2nd

March 23, 2007

Another one of those short teenage romance drama, Memories Off 2nd is the second installment and sequel of the Memories Off series. Though it isn’t actually a sequel. In fact all of the Memories Off series are independent of each other and are not related in terms of storyline anyhow.
 
As usual, since this is an OVA, there are only 3 episodes of half an hour each. So you can actually finish this in 1 sitting. It was kinda weird of me to watch the second series first since I’ve never even watched the first one and the rest before. Yeah, maybe I couldn’t find it anywhere and since it wasn’t related, I won’t be scratching my head thinking what has happened that it turned out this way. So okay, here we go.
 
Episode 1
Your usual flashback of 2 teenagers, it’s snowing when Hotaru Shirakawa returns Ken Inami‘s handphone and at the same time confesses she likes him. In addition, she wants him to go out with her. Typical girl meets boy falls in love with him and wants to go dating. I’d thought it would be much later in the series, but since they started it off like that, I’m guessing something else will crop up later on.
 
Back to present time, a day before the summer vacation, we see Ken in some philosophical literature class being taught by an ominous sounding teacher, Tsubame Minami. It’s ironic she got a job as a teacher, the way her voice and tone sounds. Then at the school’s swimming pool, Takano Suzuna is doing some laps and is being timed by her buddy, Kana Maikata, when they heard somone playing a beautiful piano recital in the background, which is Hotaru actually. Then this is the funny part. Takano says how beautiful it is and Kana reiterates "It’s really beautiful". Just then, Takano replied "What are you saying? Me or the piano music is more beautiful?". Hahaha. Perasan betul. But that’s about all you’re gonna see these 2 for the rest of the whole series. What a short appearance. Anyway, Hotaru got up and left, feeling quite happy herself.
 
Back at the dorm, we see Ken and Hotaru together trying to adjust the fan for some breeze. It must be really hot (yeah, both the weather and Hotaru. Haha). Ken reminds her about homework but it seems that Hotaru just wants to play with him (no naughty thoughts here), hugging and hanging her arms around him by his neck. Yup, she has no intentions of doing homework at all, though Ken mentioned it’s really hot, she said she likes really being hot. I’m thinking it must be the weather that they’re referring to.
 
Then their pal, Shin Inaho comes in and asked them what are they 2 studying exactly as their hugging and yelling are annoying everyone else in the dorm. But Hotaru seems to be enjoying it. Later, Shin gave them tickets to the newly opened pool near the sea. As usual, Hotaru wants to go but Ken is worrying about his studies. After Shin and Hotaru pleads to him, only did Ken agreed to come along.
 
So at the pool, the usual stuffs, having fun and we see Hotaru and Ken kissed underwater. After they’re done, Shin goes off for his part time job while Hotaru and Ken walked home together. Hotaru asked if Ken really likes her. Of course he replied yes. Well, duh! Next day, Ken spots and bumps into Tsubame doing some deep analysis and thoughts on vegetables…?! This teacher is really weird. Then they saw a girl, Tomoe Tobise, without an umbrella taking shelter outside a shop. Tsubame then says to Ken that he wants to lend her his umbrella. What’s this? She’s a psychic now? Anyway, she continued saying they can share her umbrella to go home.
 
Ken proceeds to give Tomoe his umbrella. Tomoe thanked him and told him she can’t get those stuffs in her hands wet. Ken said hat she could return the umbrella by looking for him at a family restaurant, Ressac, where he works part time. Soon, off Tomoe goes. When Ken gets back to Tsubame, she tells him how kind hearted he is but that statement wasn’t a compliment. Yeah, she’s blabbing about some hidden meanings like having a good heart can be great evil and that he’ll be pressured by Hotaru to sleep in his room, but since he’s kind, he can’t refuse. Thus, this may cause problems in school if this were to happen. Finally, she says that she’d just given him a warning and whether he wants to be sinful or virtuous is up to him. Tsubame then gives her umbrella to Ken and runs off chuckling with Ken going after her. Now this teacher is really scary.
 
At Ressace, Shin, Ken and Megumi Soma are working there. Megumi seemed lively taking one shot all the finished plates and stacking them up at one go. Is she gonna lose her balance? Nearly. The crowd cheers when she managed to put it all down safely. But as she bows to acknowledge the crowd, her butt accidentally knowcked the stack of plates over. Crash! Oh dear. Clean up time.
 
Soon, Hotaru comes by and is waiting for Ken outside Ressac. When Ken goes outside, Hotaru introduces him to Tomoe, her best friend, as Ken is in disbelief. Coincidence or fate? Hotaru wanted to see the nice guy who lend his umbrella, which turned out to be Ken. Tomoe returns the umbrella and blurts how cool he is and is starting to like him. This caused Hotaru to worry a little, though Tomoe said that it was only a joke and that she wouldn’t make a move on her best friend’s boyfriend. Tomoe then shows them a poster about a theater production she’s in and asks them to come and see.
 
Later that night, Ken’s escorting Hotaru to the train station when the latter wants to stay at Ken’s place. Then a flashback of Tsubame’s words. Oh, the revelation is coming true. But Ken disagrees as a disappointed Hotaru then agrees to go back. Some lovey dovey moments from the 2 as Hotaru reiterates how much she loves him. The train comes as Hotaru gets on board and Ken waves goodbye from outside.
 
As Ken walks home alone, he passed by a park and spots Tomoe. He then heard her saying to herself "I know he’s my best friend’s boyfriend, that’s why I can’t say, because I can’t betray my best friend. At least let me say it in my dreams, I like you". Is that for real or just part of the lines she’s supposed to rehearse for the play. Ken then says to himself that at that point he didn’t know that this meeting would bring a dark shadow over Hotaru and his summer. Sounds really ominous.
 
Episode 2
At some pier, Tomoe’s repeating her play lines to Ken. She breaks into laughter after seeing Ken’s stiff and serious face. She then asks him if he had kissed before, much to Ken’s surprise. Tomoe then laughs again and soon Ken asked her back the same thing. She replied don’t ask that her acting part has a kissing scene though it’s pretend and not real. Some chit chat here and there before Tomoe asked him to practice with her once more. Ken thought it was the kiss, but Tomoe doesn’t know what he’s talking about, making Ken all red faced and he too pretends not to know. Then, Ken receives an SMS from Hotaru saying that she’s coming to his place. But when Tomoe asked who it was, Ken said that it’s just some ad mail. Oh oh. Bad boy. He’s starting to lie.
 
At the dorm, Hotaru gave some ice cream to Shin when the latter tells the former that Ken’s not in. Yeah, she said it would be weird if Ken were to caught them both like that together. And soon she left. Later, Ken and Hotaru are studying together at WacBerger (hahaha). She says she wants to study at home but he says he can’t. Then Tomoe comes in surprising them both. Looks like she’s working here as a waitress. Ken’s asking her about how the rehearsal went but Hotaru seems not sure what they’re talking about. Tomoe then told her that Ken’s helping her with her rehearsal and rehearsed her lines in front of them. Hotaru looking very worried. In addition, Tomoe is asking Ken if he’s free this Sunday to help her out with another job. Since Hotaru has piano lessons, she can’t go but allowed Ken to go help out in exchange that Ken treats her to something more high class than Ressac.
 
Sunday arrives and we see Hotaru receiving an SMS from Tomoe that she’s ‘borrowing’ Ken and will be at the beach. It looks like Tomoe’s other job is as some contestant in some beach couple contest. Ken seems uneasy and unnatural but Tomoe is a total opposite, quite natural and enjoying it. And their interview is being played live over the local radio, in which Hotaru’s tuning in. Soon, Hotaru shuts off the radio and says and unenergetic "Baka".
 
Later after the contest, Ken and Tomoe are resting at the beach, Tomoe explained that she initially wanted him and Hotaru to enter and the pay is actually the prize of the contest. Ken must have felt ‘conned’ in a way, huh. Tomoe says that they didn’t win because of his bad acting. Meanwhile, Hotaru’s playing he piano but her heart’s not in it. Then her sister, Shizuru, comes in and talks with her and noticed the sad tone of her playing. When Shizuru asked if Hotaru and Ken had a fight, Hotaru denies and says how nice Ken is and he plays with her a lot. But her sis told her that what she needs now isn’t practice.
 
Shin and Ken leaves work that evening and Shin asking if he’s gonna come to the fireworks celebration next week. Ken pretends he doesn’t know but Shin saud he eavesdropped on their telephone conversation that he and Hotaru are going. Plus, Shin’s asking Ken to bring Shizuru along, much to Ken’s uneasiness. Then, they both saw Hotaru sitting along down at the beach. Shin walks up to her and asked her to bring Shizuru along for next week’s festival and promised that he won’t disturb them both. Hotaru isn’t sure what Shin’s talking about and Ken’s looking worried. When Shin apologized for eavesdropping, Ken says he must be mistaken and says Hotaru doesn’t like fireworks. Shin then asked who was it on the phone when Ken says no one and runs off. See how far a lie can stretch. Hotaru spacing out there.
 
At the festival, Ken and Tomoe are together there. Tomoe apologized to him for asking him to accompany her as she’s scared of the perverts in the area. So she thought if she’d come with a boyfriend, she won’t have anything to worry about. A brief shock from Ken. Tomoe then continues that it’s just the look part and not that she really means it. She also asked if Hotaru’s mad because they both seemed like a couple. Ken says he didn’t tell her. Tomoe replied that it’s no good and there seems to be feelings of unfaithfulness between them. Ken says it doesn’t look like cheating and is only being a good friend. Tomoe doesn’t feel right and says he should tell her. Some chat here and there like how it’s only been a month but felt like they’ve known each other for a long time.
 
Then they turned and faced each other. Tomoe asking why isn’t he talking and why isn’t he looking at the fireworks. Ken’s answer is why isn’t she too. Some long stare before the both of them kissed! I knew it would all come down to this. Tomoe then dropped some gift she bought for Hotaru earlier on. When the gift breaks and the both of them pushed each other away and Tomoe says "You’re bad… I’m bad too". Ken apologizes but she says he shouldn’t apologize to her. Tomoe then decides to go home and rushes off. Though Ken says he’ll walk her home, she says he can’t and told him to forget this and think of it all as some midnight summer dream before she goes off.
 
Meanwhile, Hotaru is seen waiting outside Ken’s dorm. Shin, who’s walking back, caught a glimpse of her. Hotaru seems to be looking at some wish doll hanging on the balcony. Also some deep thoughts from Ken as he walks back alone. The next day, as Hotaru’s playing the piano, she looked so sad, no mood and heart. She’s thinking about Ken and says to herself that she can’t go on. Oh, the cracks in the relationship are starting to crack even further.
 
Episode 3
The episode starts off with Ken and Hotaru dating. Hotaru seems energetic and happy. Later, she spots some item in a shape of some music note at the store and wants Ken to buy it for her as a good luck charm for her piano recital. After he buys it, Hotaru says it’s her turn to give him a present and asked him to close his eyes. Well, what do you expect? She kissed him, of course.
 
Then a change of scene as we see Ken and Tomoe kissing at that festival. Back at Ressac, Ken can’t seem to concentrate on his work, checking his handphone inbox, much to Shin and Megumi’s displeasure. Uh-huh. Shin’s saying how disrespectful it is to customers. True. You wouldn’t want that as a customer, right? Then we see Hotaru lying on her bed, looking at pictures in her handphone of herself and Ken. That usual sad look from her face so much so she can’t concentrate on her piano practice as she looks at the charm.
 
Meanwhile, Tomoe’s rehearsing but can’t concentrate either as is being scolded by the director. Yeah, she has her spacing out too. Next day, Ken’s walking by the park and caught Tomoe rehearsing that I-know-he’s-my-best-friend’s-boyfriend line. But Ken’s handphone rings which caught Tomoe off guard and her attention. She quickly recovers by saying hi and how he should’ve sounded that he’s here. Ken says he doesn’t wanna interrupt when his handphone rings again. When he answers, it looks like it’s from Shizuru, asking him to ask Hotaru to come home and also she can’t play the piano well since the recital’s tomorrow. Ken says he’ll tell her and goes off to find her with Tomoe deciding to look for her too. At the train station, Hotaru seems spaced out and has some flashback about cheering on Ken in his football match and him listening to her playing the piano. Later, Hotaru’s standing in the rain outside the dorm. Shin saw her sitting on the steps spacing out as she faints and drops the charm. The scene then changes with Tsubame nursing Hotaru in the dorm and Shin saying that he’s leaving Hotaru in her care as he has to leave for work.
 
At the same time, Ken and Tomoe arrived at the backdoor of Ressac. Tomoe apologized that she’s bad and it’s her fault that Hotaru’s missing, but Ken disagrees and that it’s his fault. Yeah, it’s both your fault. Anyway, Ken asked her to dry herself and go home while he searches for Hotaru and lends her his umbrella once again. Tomoe then says he’s nice and said that it would be better if they didn’t meet on that day. A teary Tomoe runs off without taking the umbrella. Shin, who’s eavesdropping came out and told Ken that Tomoe cried so that her can realize something important about whether he likes Hotaru or not. Some more talk of realization before Shin tells him about Hotaru’s condition and where she is now. He continues that if he goes to Hotaru then he chooses her and if he thinks Tomoe is more important, then don’t go or else he’ll cause 2 people to cry. Tough decision kid. Which is it gonna be. Ken then runs off.
 
Back at the dorm, Hotaru seems a little better as Tsubame gave her some medicine. Hotaru mentions that she’ll go home once her fever subsides but Tsubame asked if anyone in her house knows she’s here or not. Hotaru says she told her sis but Tsubame knew she’s lying and she didn’t tell anyone (oh, she’s a lie detector now). Hotaru asked if she could stay here for 1 night as her piano recital’s tomorrow and after that, she won’t play the piano anymore because she loves piano as much as Ken. Then some sad lovers talk before Tsubame asked her why can’t she hate him because if she does, she would be happy. What’s this? Ken’s eavesdropping outside the room.
 
The next day at the piano recital, Hotaru’s getting ready and Shizuru gave her some words of encouragement. But would that suffice? Well, Hotaru seems spacing out. Ken arrives at the entrace but walks away spacing out as Hotaru begins her recital. Then Tomoe arrives and asked Ken what’s he doing and why isn’t he inside. Ken replied that it’s Hotaru’s last time time playing the piano and she wants to break up with him. At the same time, we see Hotaru’s sad facial expression while playing and some flashback of fun times together with Ken. She’s not concetrating. She can’t.
 
Tomoe than says that’s enough and that his acting is really bad though Ken says he isn’t acting. Tomoe says it’s his body language and she’ll show him true acting. Uh-huh, Tomoe rehearsed that I-know-he’s-my-best-friend’s-boyfriend line again. But looks like Hotaru’s case is getting serious. She suddenly stops playing halfway and the crowd’s thinking something must be wrong. Then some words of realization from Tomoe like "Not saying anything isn’t kind" and "If you don’t, you’ll continue hurting more people".
 
With that, Ken got his confidence back ant rushes into the hall. Inside, he shouts her name and everybody looked at that mad idiot who’s doing that (just kidding about the mad idiot part). Hotaru looked surprised. Ken then said some inaudible words (perhaps the producers couldn’t think of the appropriate words to put here) which lifted her spirits as she started playing lively once more. Tomoe then looks up at the sky and cries. She shouts out that she has to try her best too and runs off.
 
That night, Hotaru and Ken are at the bridge where they first met. Ken said he forgot something important that day, that is, when Hotaru confessed, he didn’t reply to her. So he wants to do it again just like that day. Thus, the reacted that moment when Hotaru mentions how his acting still isn’t there and that he must say it with all his heart. Ken does so which made Hotaru happy and relieved. Finally, Hotaru answered that she’ll go out with him. In the last scene, we see Hotaru and Ken attending Tomoe’s play. And that line again from Tomoe. You know which line lah. I’ve heard enough of it already.
 
Conclusion
Overall, I guess it’s kinda okay for a short romance drama and that everything ended in a happy note. Well, I suppose in real life there’re cases which are similar to this and some which are far worse than this. Who says you can’t learn a thing or two from watching animes. See, even if you’re best friends, there’s a danger and risk that your boyfriend/girlfriend may be ‘stolen/snatched’. All because of the mysterious workings of love.
 
One thing I’d like to note is that, when I first heard the opening theme song, Nocturne, which is sung by Mizuki Nana, the opening tune reminded me of that ending song, Rage Your Dream, from Initial D. Well, that’s just the beginning part. The drawing, art and animation are all okay, though I felt that it could’ve been a little better. I must say that I’m quite amused by Tsubame’s voice acting. Though she sounds ominous, but I kinda ‘like it’.
 
As for the other characters, well since it’s a short series, they’re just enough to help the series go by since the series mainly revolves around the uncertainty of the love triangle between Ken, Hotaru and Tomoe. Speaking of which, I find it funny that they called and nicknamed Hotaru, Taru-taru and Tomoe, Toto during the show. Sounds cute but odd too.
 
So next time if you have doubts with your boyfriend/girlfriend, don’t jump to conclusions first. Of course, cheating is bad, real bad. And see how one lie can lead to another. Once it’s too big, it’ll all go out of control. Hey, maybe I should try my hands at being a counsellor. But then again, I might be doing more damage than the current situation. ;p