Tokyo University Story

December 14, 2007

Contrary to the name of its title, Tokyo University Story doesn’t actually take place at Tokyo University. In fact, the story takes place even before the main protagonists enter the prestigious academy. Maybe they should’ve named it some high school story but I think it’s because the main characters aim to enter Toudai, the abbreviated Japanese term for Tokyo University.
 
Though this is just an OVA with just as little as 2 episodes, I read that this is based on a long running manga of the same name. How contrasting is that? But I suppose there must be lots of teenage stories going on like love and jealousy, you know, those typical teenager stuffs. And probably why it didn’t last more than 2 episodes when they adapted this into an anime series is because there’s too many of such shows around. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Hey, I’m just telling from my own point of view.
 
Anyway this story tells of a smart kid Naoki Murakami who is in love with Haruka Mizuno. Of course the 2 became an item but somehow it went downhill from there. Not that they’re fighting or quarrelling but you get the feeling that their relationship is on the rocks and going no where. Some would say it’s a doomed romance. Since the university entrance exam is just around the corner, their relationship will face an even stiffer test if only 1 of them gets to admit into Toudai. How will they fare? Let’s find out in this love romance comedy with a little ecchiness.
 
Episode 1
The episode starts off with some weird vague flashbacks and sayings of "I’m home" and "Welcome home". Back in present time, Naoki is riding a train with his buddy Sasano (who looks like a gangster at first). Naoki’s saying though it’s been a hot summer, it’s a short one in Hokkaido. Then a flashback at a tennis tournament whereby Naoki and Sasano spots Haruka playing in 1. Naoki notices that she’s a student from their school and fell in love with her at first sight. Of course he’s nervous and is doing some self emotion analysis on himself.
 
Haruka wins the set which gets Naoki really excited. She eventually wins the game. Sasano at the stand says to Naoki that he didn’t expect to see such a cute girl in their school but Naoki’s just staring at her. Haruka is congratulated by her friends as she tells them she’ll go change. Haruka bows to the crowd to acknowledge them.
 
Naoki and Sasano are walking to school when Sasano says how he wants to make Haruka his and blabs about her. Naoki spaces out, indecisive and worried because he knows Sasano will take action as he wonders what he’ll do. Yeah, Sasano still laughing like an idiot. Naoki then tells him that he shouldn’t befriend her because she’s got an infectious disease called Severe Sexually Transmitted Disease and almost 99.9% of those who have sex with her will die from the disease. Really? I haven’t heard of such STD before. Well, if you want to make up a lie, at least do a good one. Naoki continues that there isn’t any cure, how the minister is keeping the figures low and away from public. Sasano then suggests using the condom but Naoki counter replies by saying bacteria could infect him if condom breaks. Naoki concludes that Sasano could only talk with her but the latter decides to confirm with Haruka herself, much to Naoki’s horror. Yeah, Sasano’s rushes off with Naoki giving chase.
 
Sasano is asking Haruka’s 2 pals about these before 1 of them, Motoi, punches in his face and tells him not to go spread lies about Haruka. She seems pissed off. Who wouldn’t if somebody says bad about your friend. She then asks him who he heard it from. Naoki confesses and apologizes. Sasano than grabs him in his fury when Haruka arrives. Some chat with her friends before she asks who the 2 guys are. They told her about that weird disease thing. Uh oh.
 
Back home, Naoki lying on his bed and reflecting today’s event. It seems Sasano’s only joking and that Naoki’s being too serious that’s why the plan failed and Sasano wanted to punish him. Naoki has a hard time sleeping as his heart is still beating fast. Then some blabbings about Sasano’s good points which’ll attract girls always and his own jealousy, weakness, bla bla bla. Looks like it’s already morning, much to Naoki’s disbelief and thinking what’s been doing last night. This guy thinks too much. I wonder if he’s that smart or just smart in this sense.
 
At school, Naoki and Haruka coincidentally met at the bicycle parking area. They stare at each other as Naoki’s into his usual deep thinking about that bad mouthing incident and that he’s a bad person who doesn’t care for other’s feelings. He then thinks the next step is to be respectful to her. Haruka wishes good morning and asks if he’s Naoki. More analysis of what to say and should I answer that from Naoki. He then says "Will you be with me?". Is that a slip of a tongue? Haruka’s surprised and Naoki’s fearing the worst but Haruko replied okay. This surprised Naoki very much. Meanwhile a bespectacled girl is seen eavesdropping on them and runs away in tears soon after.
 
In Haruka’s class, 3-D, nobody’s there and it seems it’s Sasano’s plan to let Naoki apologize to Haruka and even gives him a small present to give to her. In Sasano’s mind, this is some sort of punishment for what he did to him. The girls then suddenly return and Naoki goes into hiding under the teachers desk. To make things worse, the girls are changing their clothes. By the time Naoki decides to take a peek, all the girls changed back to their uniforms already. Should’ve done it faster. Before he could rush out, the next teacher comes in and starts class. Trapped. Again he thinks something will happen to him like getting exposed in the newspapers and going to jail. He’s thinking of what to do.
 
Haruka then gets called up to do a maths problem on the blackboard. Naoki is peeping from underneath the table and is trying to help Haruka solve the problem but his whispering caught the teacher’s attention who said "Who said that". Some more self analysis from Naoki like there’s a mischievous student here who’s a peeping tom, this student’s a role model, teacher’s pet, independent, etc. Before you know it, Naoki rolls out in style and stood in front of the teacher who’s asking who he is. Haruka’s 2 friends recognize him as the guy yesterday. Naoki then says he’s attending his lesson because he heard that he’s a good teacher and have enlightened him. Naoki soon thanks him, apologizes and leaves. As Naoki walks pass Haruka, she whispers thank you to him. Once outside, Naoki heard the teacher saying when did he get in. A student says when no one was around. The teacher continues then probably it’s when the girl’s were changing. All the girls realized and is in a little commotion. Motoi then decides to teach him a lesson. Naoki quickly runs away. What about Sasano? He fell asleep in the broom closet at the back of the class while hiding. Yeah, that guy’s kissing the broom thinking it’s Haruka.
 
The next few scenes see Naoki and Haruka having their fun together, dating. I suppose they’re an item now. At Haruka’s home, she receives a call from Naoki and chats about Haruka going to University Of Education because she wants to become a primary school teacher. She asks about Naoki too but he asks her to come to Toudai as her results are good since any university will do if she wants to be a teacher. Haruka agrees. At the school rooftop, Haruka excitedly sketching and drawing how will things be at Toudai and showing it to Naoki. Some chat about getting admitted into it when Haruka says to let’s try their best energetically. But it seems Naoki isn’t too fond of it and wonders how long can she endure.
 
At Haruka’s class, the teacher calls her to solve a quiz on Japan’s history but since Haruka’s sleeping, she has to be awaken by her friends. Haruka of course in an instant stood up to answer. Good thing is she got it all right. Bad thing is, this is a maths quiz. Bummer. At recess, Naoki is surprised to know that Haruka studied overnight for 4 days for 60 hours! Now that’s really burning the midnight oil. Naoki says not to force herself but she says if she perseveres she’ll make it because there’re so many interesting things and happy moments to look forward there. Now that’s the way to look things at, positively. Some concern talk from Naoki but Haruka says no and she must get into Toudai as she’s determined to spend her university life with him. Then some staring before they kissed. Naoki then says her special training starts now and will help her attain her goal.
 
They’re both cycling home when they passed Haruka’s pals. One of the friend asking what’s wrong when Motoi says that she feels that Naoki isn’t compatible with Haruka. The day of the exam results are out and it seems Naoki gets 752/800 points while Haruka gets 640 points. Haruka compliments him while hers is just a borderline score. Naoki says she must do better next time to get in. Haruka replies she’s got a feeling she’ll get in and still look happy. Naoki seems worried because if she doesn’t, they’ll be separated in April. However Haruka is still that optimistic girl she is. She then remembered she left something in the class room and decides to go get it. That bespectacled girl seems to be watching them at the next table.
 
At the bicycle parking area, that specky girl confronts Naoki and wants him to help her unlock her bicycle chain. Naoki is successful and she thanks him. She introduces herself as Eri Suzuki and is Haruka’s classmate. Soon Eri leaves with a happy feeling because she gets to chat with Naoki. I see that girl has crush on Naoki. Haruka seems to have find her whatever she’s looking for in her desk. Later Naoki goes to search for her in class but nobody’s there. Then Naoki’s thinking that if Haruka fails to get into Toudai and if Eri gets into Keio University, then he could spend time with Eri in Tokyo and says sorry Haruka. Wait a minute? This guy is planning on two-timing Haruka? What the? But Haruka then replied "Yes?", shocking him. Haruka reminded him how he appeared suddenly in class, the part whereby he rolled out from underneath the teacher’s desk, and wonders how he managed to stay under there for 1/2 hour. Because of that, she asks him to let’s talk in that special place. Uh huh. So the 2 cramped up underneath the desk and chat like how he likes her a lot and wants to spend his study life with her. Soon Haruka kisses him and confesses she loves him.
 
However, the teacher then comes in and asks if anybody’s in there. Dang. They could’ve got creative if you know what I mean. Looks like Naoki has already fainted. They’re in a bind. Haruka then rolls out from underneath the desk in style just like how Naoki did back then and stood in front of the teacher. Haruka writes on the blackboard the answers to the questions she couldn’t solve in September. Since she wanted to solve them, she came back to look for him. The teacher says since she has answers already, there’s nothing further he can do for her but asks why is she bare footed. She apologizes that she can’t answer that question and asks him to let this be her homework. The teacher leaves and reminds her there’s only maths regarding useful knowledge. Naoki seems to be back to his senses and quickly tells Haruka to get out before the teacher changes his mind. But since that perverted guy saw her slip from the back, he got ‘frozen’.
 
Something still bugs me. I wonder why the teacher showed up at the classroom at that time. I mean if he was doing his usual checking rounds, then why did he call out to see if anybody was there? I like the part where Haruka rolled out from the desk as it shows you that she did learn something right? Hahaha.
 
Episode 2
The results for Toudai entry are out. Speaking of fast forwarding time. Naoki and Haruka are there and the former is relieved when he got chosen but unfortunately Haruka did not. Haruka’s apologizing that she didn’t get admitted and says her dream of spending university life is dashed. Naoki says that she can take the exam next year and try again as there are exams every year.
 
Naoki narrates how he’ll be studying away from Haruka for some time despite their promise. Plus, he gave up football to get better results. He seems happy and satisfied when a football comes his way. Naoki managed to handle it well, showing off his skills. While he’s boasting to himself and how he wants to be a qualified medicine practioner and not interested in Toudai amateur football because it’s boring. He soon spots a cute girl there and before you know it, he’s playing football and scores a goal. Naoki meets Sasano who’s playing on the opposing team. Sasano didn’t expect him to join a football team and gives some talk about showing his true potential. But Naoki says he has more important dreams to pursue as he thanks Sasano for being able to play with him for a short time and runs off. That cute girl is saddened by his departure as Naoki jumps over the fence. Erm… What’s going on actually?
 
The next scene shows Naoki in bed with Eri. So this guy decides to go with his earlier plan, huh? He’s going over his report card filled with A’s to the brim. Then some prideful talk before he grabs Eri and kisses her. Soon we see Naoki playing in some live band and Eri is part of it. Later the other band members disagree that Naoki’s disbanding the group as they’re discussing a world tour performance. Naoki left with Eri following behind. Naoki says it feels different and it isn’t what he’s after. Eri asks what are his future plans but Naoki says he isn’t sure. Naoki sure has become more arrogant.
 
Is job hopping the ‘in’ thing? I dunno. Seems that Naoki has written a best selling book but refuses to do a sequel as the publisher tries to persuade him to do so. Naoki gives an excuse that he has many exams before leaving. In an airplane, Naoki reads a letter from Haruka saying that she’s surprised to have read his book. Also, Haruka’s 2nd attempt to enter Toudai failed and she’s studying at University Of Education. Naoki thinking what should he do and thinks this way she’ll forget him. Yeah Haruka, better forget this guy fast. It seems that the letter is asking for Naoki to meet her. When they finally do, they hugged each other. Then a voice saying "Naoki, you made the decision alone. Isn’t that very selfish of you?". Naoki wakes up and freaks out that this was all just a dream. Yeah, it was so real that I nearly believed he actually achieved all those. Now this is more like it and down to earth.
 
Naoki wakes up with another girl, Maki Koizumi by his side. Oh now he’s got another girl. Back a bit to the time of the Toudai exam results, we see what actually happened. Haruka is jumping with joy that she passed and mentions that Naoki passed too. But upon closer look, she saw the wrong name Hideki. Looks like Naoki didn’t pass, to his horror. Poof! His dreams are all up in smoke. Haruka tries to be optimistic by saying there’re other result boards but there isn’t any 1 with his name on it. Naoki is freaking out and runs away crying with Haruka chasing close behind. I notice the way they draw the tears… It’s so ‘overflowing’. She manages to grab him as they both crashed. Naoki tells her that he’s not what she think he is and he has betrayed her once. That is, before the exams, he was with Eri. A short flashback how this guy made love with Eri. Now he’s overcome with guilt, huh? Naoki continues that is he not a terrible and unfaithful man (yeah you are), isn’t she disgusted (yes I am), that this is the real him, despicable, disgusting, disloyal (I can think a few more terrible adjectives). But Haruka hugs him by putting his head on her chest and says no matter how much he hate himself, she still loves him and let’s strive towards Toudai together again. Aw… This girl… However, Naoki says he can’t and tells her to go ahead first.
 
So back to the part whereby Naoki’s in bed with Maki. He’s saying how useless he is, bla bla bla. Maki then says she loves him very much and his despicable and stubborn side. She asks him to do whatever he wants with her and some talk like that which is ‘tempting’. Lights off. I think you can guess what happens next. Later the phone rings and Haruka is looking for Naoki on the other end of the line. But it’s Maki who picks it up and says Naoki can’t come to the phone right now. Maki then yells at her that Naoki doesn’t want to speak to her and tells her to stop calling from now on. Since Naoki’s with her, he doesn’t need Haruka anymore and hangs up the phone. A shocked Haruka softly says sorry. Naoki comes out of the bathroom and asks Maki who she’s talking to but she replies no one. Oh great. The 2 continue to make love. So over the next few scenes we see Naoki and Maki on their date, enjoying themselves.
 
Then in a room, Naoki is surprised to hear that Maki may be pregnant. Oh the horror! She asks what he wants her to do now and if he wants to abort it. Before Naoki could say anything, Maki chides him that is he threatening her, that this child was the labour of love between them, and for his convenience he wants her to abort it and goes on blabbing about abortion and pain. She then says he don’t love her because he still loves Haruka. Naoki tells her to keep the baby as she’ll be a good mom. Maki asks then how to take care of the baby. Naoki replies that he’ll take part time jobs, will take turn looking after and after graduating they can work and provide for the child. Talking is sure easy. Maki continues her grilling "What are you thinking of… Of course we can’t keep it". Now she’s changing her mind? Naoki’s shocked as he’s serious about it. Maki gets up and leaves while Naoki pleads he’ll do his best and not trouble her too much. Maki then says he dare not face responsibility and never cared for her feelings. If she keeps the baby, her 20 years of youth and happiness will be taken away by the baby and she’ll be weak and become a fulltime housewife suffering every month. She’s got a point too. Maki continues scolding him.
 
Naoki pleads to her not to harm the baby but Maki grabs him and is gonna slap him but backs off. She says she understands the real Naoki now. She doesn’t want to see him again and scolds him some more before leaving. Yeah, she mentions regretting being with him. I wonder if this would be Haruka’s fate if she was with him. Naoki just stood there and saying to himself that she should know his character and his relationship with Haruka was developed during the exams, that she threatened him and such. Therefore, he wants to… wants to… Erm… did he just masturbate? Oh my goodness! But anyway, he’s sad that whatever it was it didn’t work (short term relief only lah) as he rushes out of the room.
 
We soon find out that this whole pregnant thing is just a lie. Sasano is smoking a cigarette and looks more like a mafia now, watching from afar with Maki. Looks like it was a setup to teach Naoki a lesson. Maki wonders if Naoki is looking for her (Maki, that is) but Sasano says he isn’t because he’s panicking and can’t think of anything else than running away. He continues that she lied to him that she’s pregnant and he believed he and he’ll feel to guilty to face Haruka. He’s going to a place where someone will reprimand him. Maki then say isn’t Sasano his friend? Sasano answers that though he is his friend, he should’ve understand how a girl feels.
 
I guess that said person to reprimand Naoki is supposedly Eri as he arrives at her doorstep. He’s thinking she’s the one he feels comfortable with and can mend his broken heart. What the? Naoki gets another surprise to see Eri, looking a little different, with a tough looking boyfriend. Eri sees him and says it’s been a long time. I suppose that jerk has to back off now as he says that he was doing something nearby and wanted to see how she’s getting on. Better not mess with a guy who is physically bigger and stronger than you. Eri invites him in but he declines and leaves.
 
Naoki is sitting dejectedly on the steps with smoke coming out of his head. He soon rushes off and yells "Eri… you idiot!". What? Is he blaming her now? Naoki eavesdrop at Eri’s door. Uh-huh. Sounds of making love. Naoki deserves to feel sad alright. He’s saying to himself the Eri she love was an innocent girl 1/2 years ago. Things change pal.
 
Meanwhile, Motoi is having some dinner with several construction workers at the construction site when she saw Naoki passing by and calls him to come over to share his woes. As they chat, Motoi mentions how she wants to be an engineer so she study by day and practice by night. Naoki tells her how only Haruka got admitted to Toudai and because he failed, he got admitted to Waseda University instead. Motoi says it’s good enough and Haruka’s waiting for him. But Naoki says he has given up hope, his priority to enter Toudai, his hopes to work in a finance department, his hopes that he’ll pass his legal exam to be a lawyer. Wow that’s a lot. But to give up this early? Motoi chides him for being too naive and says once he enters society, will he still yearn for a companion and has he ever spare a thought for others. Though she heard that didn’t enter Toudai from Yoshiri (I’m thinking must be Haruka’s other pal and the one always seen with Motoi), doesn’t he know how much he has hurt Haruka? She grabs him and pushes him off and continues that after he’s lost his dignity, he wants others to console him. She says though she doesn’t understand why must it be him, she wants him to stop causing Haruka misery. Yeah, Naoki really gets some good proper grilling alright.
 
Later Motoi meets with Haruka and tells her all that has happened and asks her if she still wants to be by Naoki’s side. Haruka responded she still do but have to suppress the thought for now since he’s decided not to meet before he passes the exam because she likes him and everything about him (I guess love does work in a funny way that sometimes when you love a person, you tend to love his/her bad traits too). Haruka respects Naoki’s decision as she shed a tear.
 
It’s spring time and once again the posting of the exam results are out. We see Naoki’s name there. But Naoki isn’t arrogant, prideful nor boastful. Maki comes up to him and says why isn’t he happy since he has always wanted to get into Toudai. Naoki says he has another more important promise. When Naoki asks about her baby, Maki apologizes and says it was all a lie. Naoki doesn’t seem mad but just relieved it’s just that. It could’ve been much worse if it was for real. Naoki then says he’s leaving as he’s made her wait for too long and walks away. Sasano comes up to Maki and says can she bear to let him go just like that. Maki replies that she has her own pride. Sasano then jokingly invites her to sit in his Ferrari. I wonder what that means.
 
We see Naoki increasing his pace when he sees Haruka at the far end. Finally when he manages to reach her, Naoki hugs her as Haruka says "Welcome back" and Naoki replies "I’m back". I guess this is the part where all the weird vague flashbacks were shown at the start of the first episode. As expected, they both kissed with the beautiful cherry blossoms in the background. Naoki then narrates how the cherry blossoms are much more beautiful this time and that he’s embracing reality.
 
Graduation Day
Overall, I’m glad how things ended on a happy note. At first, I’m really disgusted with the way Naoki goes about two-timing Haruka like as though he takes everything for granted. So it really serves him right all those scary experiences he went through to realize things. Good thing he’s opened his eyes. I suppose some people need to go through this for them to get both their feet back on the ground. As for Haruka, she’s a girl who keeps looking at things the positive way and though she may not be as bright as Naoki (in high school at least) but she has a nice personality any guy would want to have as his girlfriend. I felt that Eri’s role was just a side character. Nothing much of her.
 
Because there are only a couple of episodes, the story time line seems a little ‘fast’. But it’s better than dragging on for several episodes through long-winded flashbacks. Yeah, just straight to the point and show only what matters. Though this is a year 2004 production, the quality of the anime isn’t something to shout about. The drawing and art may look simple at times. The voice acting? Just okay. Can’t find any famous voice actors or actresses on this one besides Naoki (Shoutaro Morikubo who does Shikamaru of Naruto, Kirihara of The Prince Of Tennis, Saji of Ikkitousen and Robert of Hare+Guu) and Haruka (Atsuko Enomoto who does Yukino of Kare Kano, Misaki of Angelic Layer an Kurumi of Steel Angel Kurumi).
 
It’s a good thing that I managed to watch this OVA so that I could learn from Naoki’s mistakes and make sure that I myself don’t repeat them. And it’s not just before one enters college or university but throughout life itself. It doesn’t take a university degree or college diploma to be successful in life but the important things is even if you don’t 100% achieve your dream, at least live happily and to the fullest. I still can’t get over that Severe Sexually Transmitted Disease line. Don’t ever try this as a warning note. Or even a pick up line! Just don’t.
 
Tokyo University Story