True Tears

December 20, 2008

After finishing watching the anime series True Tears, I still don’t really understand what is going on. At least in the bigger picture. Even when I first read the synopsis, I still didn’t get what it means. Perhaps that was the main reason why I decided to watch it. Because I didn’t understand things, so I was curious to find out more about it. Okay, maybe that wasn’t really the main reason but at least it made me decide to watch a series in which I could’ve easily passed.
 
One thing which I interestingly found about this anime series is that it has no relation to whatsoever with the PC dating simulation game of the same name. Very often, when such games are being adapted to a TV series, surely it either follows some concept entirely or partially. So it was a surprise to me when nothing was related to it. Heck, I haven’t even played the game before. So why name something after which it isn’t totally related to or adapted from? After a little thinking, I feel that the tears here is the theme setting of the series.
 
I was hoping that there would be some supernatural twist somewhere towards the end of this 13 episode series. But to my disappointment there isn’t. Perhaps that was one reason why I didn’t understand things right till the end. All I can say is that this is purely a drama romance genre. That’s right. Heavy drama with heavy intense characterization. What about the comedy part which I always look for when I watch an anime? Close to nil. Well erm, there are little bits at the first few episodes, but those are mainly spontaneous.
 
As seen in episode 1, we are introduced to the main protagonist of the story, Shinichiro Nakagami, who has quite a talent in drawing and is also the sole inherit of the Nakagami household. I’m not sure but he lives together with his dad and mum in an inn which they run (correct me if I’m wrong here). And there seems to be a bald helper boy who also work and live there. I’m not sure about his relation, though. About a year ago, they brought a girl named Hiromi Yuasa (okay, I admit that she is the main reason why I started watching this series. I know I’ve said it many times before, I’m a sucker for a pretty face) to live with them after her parent’s demise. Hiromi’s father and Shinichiro’s father were good friends so I suppose he decides to take her in and care for her.
 
Of course with such a pretty girl around the house, it’s no surprise that Shinichiro has a soft spot for her (or any other guy like yours truly). However, Hiromi puts up 2 faces. At school, she’s the cheery, friendly and athletic kind of person and is even a regular member of the Mugiha school’s basketball club. Back home, she puts on a gloomy and cold outlook. Because of so, Shinichiro has always wondered how he would wipe away her tears if she ever sheds a tear. If she ever sheds one, that is. And my guess that this picture book artist wannabe draws his story in his sketchbook on how to do so. I mean, previously when they were childhood friends, Hiromi used to smile a lot. So it’s no big deal that Shinichiro wants to bring back her smile. But how? Hiromi rarely talks to him and Shinichiro’s mom is always acting hostile and cold towards Hiromi. It’s like she’s protecting her son from that ‘evil girl’. Yeah, she doesn’t like her in short.
 
This episode also introduces Shinichiro’s classmate and best buddy, Miyokichi Nobuse, and his girlfriend, Aiko Andou, or more fondly known as Ai, who also runs some sort of waffle-like cake shop called Imagawayaki Ai-chan. I’m not saying that Ai is very short, but she’s short enough so much so that she needs to stand on Coke crates just to make her waffle-like cakes. Also, we learn that Shinichiro is also taking some traditional dance lessons for an upcoming Mugiha Dance Festival in which he is taking part in. At least this shows that he does have some sort of life rather than just going to school, bumming at Imagawayaki or having artist’s block, trying to come up with his next storyline in his room.
 
One day at school, Shinichiro notices a cute but strange girl, Noe Isurugi, stuck on top of a tree. Since she can’t climb down, there’s only 1 way. To jump. And jump she did onto Shinichiro. Nice landing. Ouch. When one meets Noe, first thing that comes to mind that she is a weird girl. She seems to be infatuated with the 2 chickens in the coop, whom she have named Raigomaru and Jibeta. Not only that, she seems to prefer Raigomaru over Jibeta because the latter show no interest in flying. If I can remember, all chickens are flightless birds, aren’t they? Because Shinichiro teased her about it, Noe puts a curse of misfortunes on him. Well, I did say Noe was a weird girl, right? Yeah, there are rumours going about that when she puts a curse on you, your life is over. And that is what Shinichiro experiences throughout the rest of the day. Mishaps after mishaps. So I think in order to put off the curse, Shinichiro makes a chicken out of a tissue box. Creative.
 
The next day when he decides to give her this artwork of his to Noe so that she could take back the curse, he finds her stuck on top of the same tree again. Like a cat, is she? But first she needs to come down, right? Try to catch her again. Ouch. Deja vu. Though Noe is amazed by Shinichiro’s handy work, she seems to have confidence that he can fly. I know, I’m as stumped as he is of what she meant. Noe decides to show this tissue box to Raigomaru but is devastated to find out that the coop is broken and that Raigomaru is nowhere to be found. Only Jibeta is there happily pecking the seeds on the wooden floor. Shinichiro thinks a raccoon may have got Raigomaru but Noe thinks Raigomaru has flown. I’m not sure why, Noe decides to put a curse on Jibeta because it will stuck 2 people together. Huh? As Shinichiro and Noe walk home, you’ll notice over the series how Noe loves humming some song whereby there is a cockroach on Shinichiro’s head, shoes, somewhere on him. Shinichiro finds out that though Noe is sad, she can’t cry because she gave away her tears.
 
So episode 2 starts off where the previous episode left off. Noe tells how this is the first time that she has told anybody about this and that she insists that Shinichiro should believe that she really did gave away her tears. It’s better to play along for now. Another I-don’t-get-what-that-means scene when Noe says that in order for her to get back her tears, she has chosen Shinichiro as someone who will give back her tears in return. Uh huh. Whatever that means. It has to be Shinichiro. Any other guys won’t do. Isn’t he lucky or what. And I thought the curse was uplifted.
 
Because Noe is so interested in Shinichiro and about the fact that she believes he can fly, rumours are quickly spreading that his petite girl may be trying to be Shinichiro’s girlfriend. I mean, anyone would get annoyed, irritated and then freak out when some little girl starts waving hello to you anywhere. Everywhere you go too. Even Hiromi notices this too and her best buddy, Tomoyo Kurobe, even teases her that she has a competition rival now. Of course Hiromi denies that they’re anything close to like that. To make things worse, Noe starts giving chicken seeds to Shinichiro as though he’s some sort of replacement for Raigomaru! She can’t be serious, can’t she? Later, Hiromi notices how Noe has made a makeshift grave of Raigomaru next to the broken coop. The 2 did have a little conversation, but it wasn’t friendly. They just didn’t click. At home, Shinichiro must be a little surprised that Hiromi goes over to talk to him. It seems she wants Shinichiro to introduce her to Noe as she wants to be friends with her.
 
Shinichiro did tell Noe about it but the next day while Hiromi is at her basketball practice, Noe comes to talk with her after Hiromi’s spacing out causes her to lose concentration and the team to take a short break. Noe gets straight to the point by saying that she knows her intentions were fake and even knows that she doesn’t like her. In short, they can’t be friends. So Noe just walks away. Then back at home as Shinichiro, who doesn’t know about what happened between the duo, goes to talk to Hiromi, who then apologizes for lying to him that she wanted to be friends with Noe. With that, Hiromi notes that Noe is an amazing person because she managed to see right through her.
 
Episode 3 has Shinichiro getting more undesirable ‘gifts’ from Noe. Yup, more chicken seeds from his shoe locker right up to his school’s desk. This has got to stop somehow. Miyokichi even thinks it’s that girl’s way of showing her love. Yeah, she really does see him as a chicken. Shinichiro has had enough of this and decides to confront Noe but soon finds out a young adult picking her up on his bike. So at Imagawayaki, Shinichiro tells Miyokichi that he can’t possibly be Noe’s girlfriend because he saw her clinging all lovey-dovey with some biker guy and concludes that he must be her boyfriend. Ai interrupts their conversation, reminding Shinichiro that they need to deliver food to the community centre. As Shinichiro and Ai walk along, we can see that Ai harbours some feelings for Shinichiro. It’s quite obvious but that dense guy doesn’t see it. Though the conversation was mostly about Ai-Hiromi encounter, due to Shinichiro’s density about unable to comprehend a girl’s feeling of wanting to be close to the one they love, causes Ai to kick Shinichiro in his shin. Shinichiro comes home to find his mom forcing Hiromi to do a late delivery and he isn’t pleased about it. Though his father is more calm and reasoning as he tries to tell mummy to treat Hiromi as one of their child. Unfortunately, she still refuses to accept Hiromi as their daughter and walks away furiously. Shinichiro decides to accompany Hiromi doing the deliver. While walking, Shinichiro remembers how when they were young, they used to walk together during the festival but Hiromi got lost and started crying. Shinichiro then was just playing a prank but when he noticed her crying, he stops and takes her hand as they walk home.
 
The next morning, it seems Noe’s doing has gone to far as there are chicken seeds trail leading from Shinichiro’s classroom right up to that tree. She’s stuck up there again. Yeah, I agree that this has got to stop. As Shinichiro yells for her to stop all this and not get involve with him anymore because he saw her with her boyfriend, Noe asks his help to get her down. Shinichiro doesn’t care anymore and walks away. This prompts Noe to jump down by herself. How does it feel without any soft landing? I guess Shinichiro must be feeling guilty since Noe has hurt her leg a little and gives her a piggy-back ride to the infirmary. Shinichiro must be wondering why Noe is giving him directions to the gym and not the infirmary. So when they arrive at the gym, Shinichiro finds out that a boy’s basketball match is ongoing and that Noe’s boyfriend is playing on the visiting team. Just then, Noe gets off his back and rushes to him. So that injury was fake, huh? But at least something is cleared up. That guy isn’t her boyfriend, but her elder brother, Jun. After the game, Shinichiro tries to find Hiromi so that he can explain that he has no feelings for Noe (well, Hiromi was there watching the game when they came in. So I guess she saw them in that misunderstood position). Around the corner, Shinichiro spots Hiromi talking to Tomoyo. Hiromi is saying how she doesn’t have any feelings for Shinichiro and that the person that she really is interested in is Jun. As Hiromi gets up and walks around the corner, she is surprised to come face to face with Shinichiro. Lesson learned is, be careful of what you say because the walls have ears…
 
Episode 4 sees Hiromi coming clean with Shinichiro as she explains how she got to know Jun and admire him from a distance. I’m sure such news must be heartbreaking for him. Which guy wouldn’t have that pain in his heart after hearing straight right out from the girl he admires that she likes another guy. Because Shinichiro has been spacing out since then, Ai coincidentally meets with him and she conjures up an idea for him to go shopping with her to cheer him up. Seems like Ai is trying to get closer to him but Shinichiro is still spacing out and all he could think is nothing but Hiromi. Ai tries to play the big sister by comforting him with words like in time he’ll forget about her. But Shinichiro says how he introduced her to Miyokichi in which made Ai’s face turn the opposite. When Shinichiro gets home, Hiromi even wonders if he’s avoiding her.
 
The next day, Noe comes to give Shinichiro his usual rations but he’s not in the mood. Shinichiro says he feels like crying and if she wants his tears. But since Noe says his tears are now worthless, she takes him to a public fountain and stuffs his face in it to clean it! Oh the hygiene! Sometimes I don’t understand the way she thinks. After that ‘cleansing’ experience, Noe tells Shinichiro that before her beloved grandma died, she was so sad and couldn’t stop crying. So in order for Noe to stop crying, grandma told her that she will be taking away her tears with her to Heaven. I see. Shinichiro feels a little relieved after hearing her story but it seems Ai and Miyokichi spots them from afar. Since this is first time Ai laid her eyes on Noe, she thinks she’s cute but Miyokichi says Ai is much cuter. Miyokichi then tries to do what lovers do by holding her hand but that startled Ai. She apologizes and soon hold his hand. It’s like she’s so uncomfortable with it. Later, Noe offers Shinichiro to get closer to Hiromi as long as he is happy. He tries to change the subject to get real food and insists that chicken seeds are inedible. Noe is still adamant that they are. So have you tried eating them? Noe puts some in her mouth and she puts up the cutest disgusting face. How’s that for a taste of your own medicine. Hahaha. The next morning, Shinichiro has got his mind preoccupied with last night and accidentally uses face wash as toothpaste. Another horrible combination. Hiromi saw this and gave out a heartily laughter. She even requests to take a picture of him like that. Well, I guess it’s okay if she can smile and laugh. When Shinichiro steps outside his house, he is greeted by Jun who arrives in his bike. He wants Shinichiro to do him a favour. To date Noe, that is. Well, earlier on Noe did talk nothing about Shinichiro to Jun so I guess her positive image of him gives an impression that she likes him.
 
In episode 5, though Shinichiro was initially looking for Noe, when she asks to have lunch together, he changes his mind and rejects the offer and gives some excuse saying that she should only eat lunch with her friends. The ironic thing was Noe went to have lunch with Hiromi on the steps near the school field. And I thought she said they couldn’t be friends. Of course when Tomoyo sees this, she is bloody confused. It’s like oil and water. At Imagawayaki, Miyokichi notices a sweater Ai bought (for Shinichiro actually) and wonders if Ai would knit one for him. Shinichiro bumps into Hiromi at the school gates and walked home together. When they reached home, Shinichiro’s mom isn’t too please to see them talking friendly with each other. The next day when Shinichiro is at his dance practice, Noe comes by to have a look. I guess there is no place safe for Shinichiro to be from Noe. As the duo chat, Noe is amazed by Shinichiro’s dance and thinks he can fly like Raigomaru. This prompts Shinichiro to ask how is he going to give his tears to her. She isn’t sure how and I’m not sure either, Noe soon licks Shinichiro’s face! Here, Shinichiro also starts his picture storybook on Raigomaru. Throughout the rest of the episodes, you’ll get to see the adventures of Raigomaru and Jibeta as they try to fly.
 
That night, Jun pays another visit to Shinichiro about dating Noe. Shinichiro tries to play reverse psychology by saying that if he does, then he too must date Hiromi. Surprisingly, Jun accepts. Oh oh. What has he gotten himself into. So Shinichiro goes to Hiromi’s room (first time he has entered ever since she moved in) and tries to tell her about dating Jun. Hiromi gets annoyed by the fact that he came all the way to her room just to tell her this. We also see a picture of Shinichiro and Hiromi’s parents but Hiromi’s mom’s face has been cut out. Something deep must be running here. The next day, Ai is quite happy to see Shinichiro arriving by himself. Inside, Shinichiro notices the sweater which prompts Ai to note how similar his shoulder is to Miyokichi’s as she takes some measurements. Speaking of the devil, Miyokichi soon shows up and Shinichiro is going to get the door but Ai pleads for him not to answer.
 
Episode 6 starts off with Ai trying to tell her feelings to Shinichiro but is unable to do so as Shinichiro gets the door to let Miyokichi in. Miyokichi spots the sweater and think Ai is knitting one for him but Ai isn’t amused by it. As the guys head back later, Miyokichi finds out to his surprise that Shinichiro had went out shopping with Ai. A short flashback on how Shinichiro introduced childhood friend Ai to Miyokichi, who at that time so wanted a girlfriend. And Miyokichi’s was really happy about it. At that time, Ai didn’t really wanted to have Miyokichi as her boyfriend but seeing Shinichiro supporting them, she can’t back out of it and reluctantly becomes Miyokichi’s girl. The next day after a basketball practice, Jun is seen waiting for Hiromi and tells her that he’ll be waiting for her after school. This led to rumours being spread that the duo are in some sort of relationship. When it reaches Shinichiro, he becomes depressed by it. Wasn’t it his idea in the first place? He meets Noe and pours out his woes. Something about feeling like a trap chicken. But Noe disagrees and thinks he is like Raigomaru and can still reach for the skies. I’m not sure why but Noe proceeds to pull and take off Shinichiro’s belt. No, I don’t think she’s thinking of anything ecchi.
 
At the snowy park, Hiromi and Jun meets. Jun tells straight to Hiromi’s face about how he knows of her crush on him and the deal that they made. Then some talk about snow. Jun dislikes it because he can’t ride his bike while Hiromi has mixed feelings because it was the time that she moved in to Shinichiro’s place. When Shinichiro comes home, he asks Hiromi about her date with Jun, in which she replies that they will have one this coming Sunday and calls him an idiot before going away. So Jun and Hiromi did went out on a date that Sunday but the atmosphere seemed awkward. When Jun sends Hiromi home, after telling her Shinichiro and Noe are going out together, he slowly caresses her face but Hiromi was able to snap out of it. Shinichiro’s mom notices this and well, she isn’t too please about it too. She thinks that there’s a slut in the house now. Meanwhile Ai and Miyokichi are out shopping and Miyokichi thinks of buying a sweater for her. Miyokichi then finds out that Ai bought the sweater for Shinichiro that day on her own free will. Though he wanted to brush it aside, he can’t because Ai hinted that she has feelings for Shinichiro. Back at Shinichiro’s place, Shinichiro overheard his mom and Hiromi in some argument of why she’s always picking on her. Shinichiro comes to defend Hiromi but she runs away. Shinichiro manages to catch up with her and has her explain things. Hiromi says how her birthday is later than his and that would make him her older brother. What does this mean? Hiromi says that his mom told him that her dad might be the same father as hers. Gasp! So the girl he loves could be his little sister?! Wouldn’t that amount to incest?
 
Due to that, Shinichiro has got a lot on his mind in episode 7. He must be thinking this is some sort of a bad joke or dream. At school. Noe is once again ‘bothering’ Shinichiro with her presence and food ration so he tells her not to bug him because he thinks she doesn’t understand the whole situation. Thinking that Hiromi might be the root of the problem, Noe goes to confront her while Hiromi is at her basketball practice. Noe starts blaming Hiromi and the reason why Shinichiro can’t fly. Soon it exploded into a catfight and I think the other guys must be thrilled to see 2 ‘popular’ ladies duking it out. Shinichiro comes by and happen to notice them and stops the fight. Hiromi rushes off while Shinichiro asks Noe what has happened. Noe did say that she wants to understand him better and also help him, which prompts Shinichiro to wonder if Noe likes him. This causes her to blush (or is that a mad face she’s putting on?) and rushes off. After the dance practice, Shinichiro is walking back with Ai as she asks him if he wants her to knit him a sweater but Jun appears and Shinichiro tells Ai to head along first. Jun gets straight to the point by saying that Shinichiro has to live up his end of the deal by dating Noe since he has already done his part. Back at Ai’s home, she gets a call from Miyokichi to meet at the shrine. There, he asks about if she has finished knitting the sweater. Unfortunately, Ai tells him that she can’t knit one for him. Before Ai could say that she loves Shinichiro, Miyokichi stops her and doesn’t want to hear anything further as he takes her hand. Looks like he still strongly believes that he loves her.
 
Back at Shinichiro’s home, he is still thinking about Hiromi and Noe. His feelings are confused between them. At the same time, Shinichiro’s mom continues her coldness towards Hiromi. Likewise, Noe tells Jun that she is in love and is quite embarrassed about it. Jun comforts her by saying that change is necessary. Next day at school, Miyokichi isn’t his usual cheerful self so Shinichiro goes look for Noe at the coop. Noe is still embarrassed about it and tries to escape but Shinichiro has her firmly in his grasp. After Shinichiro asks Noe to go out with him, Noe tells him to prove it by writing on the ground with stones that he loves her. Since there wasn’t enough stones, Noe lend her gloves to finish the words off. She felt happy that she could cry. But she couldn’t. At Imagawayaki, Ai lets in a freezing Shinichiro waiting outside. He tells her that due to strange circumstances, he is going out with Noe. I think Ai couldn’t take it anymore as she throws the towel in his face and then messes up his head and face underneath it. Before Shinichiro knows what is going on, Ai lands him a kiss on his lips. Then she tearfully pleads to him to also look at her too. So it’s going to be a 3-way fight, huh?
 
Though episode 8 starts off with Noe happily telling Jun how Shinichiro confessed to her, Shinichiro now has another thing preoccupying his mind. Yeah, he doesn’t need more trouble than he already has. Back then when Ai kissed him, Shinichiro was still in shock and since he can’t accept the fact his childhood friend kissed him, he told Ai that the kiss never took place. So when Miyokichi suggests for them to go to Imagawayaki, Shinichiro makes up an excuse that he has to go out with Noe. Once again at the chicken coop, Shinichiro tells his woes to her and explains the picture storybook about Raigomaru’s flight, which seems to excite Noe. She wants him to continue drawing. At the same time, Hiromi and Tomoyo spot them together so it confirms their suspicions that they are really dating. More woes back at Shinichiro’s place when Hiromi sarcastically teases him how he’s getting along with Noe. Though Shinichiro’s dad reminds Hiromi that she shouldn’t feel imposed but with mummy around, I guess that won’t help a bit. She’s even saying how Hiromi closely resembles her mother look. Erm… Aren’t all daughters supposed to have some resemblance to their parents? Soon Hiromi meets Jun on another date. Jun asks where she wants to go and Hiromi replies to a place where it doesn’t snow.
 
So the duo had a little basketball competition of their own in which a successful goal would allow he/she to ask a question which is to be answered truthfully. Hiromi gets the 1st goal and asks how many boys has Noe dated. Answer: Nil. Jun further explains that due to Noe’s nature of not trying to quash rumours, that’s the main reason why rumours about her curse got stuck with her and was misunderstood. Hiromi says he has sister complex as she lands the next goal. She asks why is he dating her and Jun tells about the deal he made with Shinichiro. So what happens if 1 of them broke up? Jun says he will not allow that. Thus, he won’t allow Hiromi to break up with him for Noe’s sake. As the duo head outside, they spot Noe and Shinichiro at the coop. Noe starts a friendly conversation with Hiromi but the latter got upset after seeing her smile and thinks she has what it takes to deceive Shinichiro’s heart. Back home, Hiromi finds that her old photo albums have been burnt away by Shinichiro’s mom. Since this is the last straw, she confronts her and apologizes for all the trouble she has caused while living under her care before running out. Hiromi heads to Jun’s place and asks him for a ride on his bike to a place which doesn’t snow. But since it’s snowing, it’ll be dangerous and impossible. Hiromi brings up the fact that he did mention how he’ll do anything for her. No choice, Jun obliges. Shinichiro and Noe are walking together on their date when they spot Jun’s bike passing them by.
 
Episode 9 has Jun and Hiromi crashing their bike when Jun tries to avoid a rabbit. Remember kids, do not speed. Thankfully, the duo are safe as the bike burst into flames (no, it did not explode like those in Hollywood). They can count their blessings tonight because a taxi soon passes them. Why, it’s from Shinichiro and Noe. Since he spot them, it was a good thing they decided to trail them. Noe hugs Jun after knowing that he is safe. Likewise, Shinichiro then hugs Hiromi for the same reason. When they reach home, Shinichiro’s mom is worried sick about them and drags Hiromi off somewhere to have a girl to girl chat. Shinichiro wanted to follow but his dad stops him. He clears all the confusion by saying that whatever his mom told her are lies. Which means, that Shinichiro and Hiromi being siblings is a lie all along! Phew. It’s just some story his mom made up. I don’t know why. Probably she really hates her. The next day at school, another set of rumours about the accident spread throughout school. And I’m not sure why, both Jun and Hiromi are suspended. Then there are some nasty people who are trying to get answers from them but luckily Miyokichi stood up for Shinichiro as Tomoyo did for Hiromi. Eventually, Shinichiro got into a fight with another classmate which was stopped when they spot Noe looking at them angrily before running away. Obviously, she’s confused when Shinichiro hugged Hiromi back then. Later Shinichiro and Noe had a little chat. After telling her his progress of his picture storybook, Noe tells him that Shinichiro can fly but this isn’t the right place. Also, after Shinichiro’s parents and Hiromi met up with the headmaster, it seems Shinichiro’s mom has become much nicer to Hiromi and even reconciles with her. They should’ve been like this in the first place. So where has all that anger and hatred went? Don’t know. Don’t care. Doesn’t matter. After telling that the story about her and Shinichiro are siblings was a lie, she doesn’t expect Hiromi to forgive her for the horrible things she did but she wants to get to know her better now. And Noe seems to be spacing out as she lay awake in her bed. Now she’s feeling it, huh? The pangs of love…
 
In episode 10, Hiromi helps around the household while Jun does part time job repairing bikes as they’re being temporarily suspended. At the same time, Ai has requested to Miyokichi that they break up but he can’t bring himself to accept it. So Miyokichi meets Noe and wants her to put a curse on him so that he won’t fall in love again, in which she does. Shinichiro hands Hiromi the notes he has taken down in class so that she won’t be left behind. Also, Hiromi indicates that she is moving out to live on her on, although it isn’t far away from the Nakagami household. Thus, she goes and meet Jun and wants them to end their fake relationship. However Jun isn’t keen on it because of the trouble it would cause Noe. After Shinichiro finds out that Miyokichi had broken up with Ai, he goes to find Noe at the coop and feels guilty that lately all the happenings was his fault. So he invites her to watch his dance practice. There, Ai and Noe met face to face and chat for the first time. Ai thanks Noe for putting on a curse on Miyokichi but Noe replies that there is no such thing as a curse. After the practice, Shinichiro walks home from Ai, who tells him that although she is to be blamed for what happened, she is also over with him and has ‘graduated’ from him. Dropping out from the race already? Shinichiro gets another bombshell when Hiromi tells him that she’s moving out in a week. Suddenly his harem is collapsing. Just kidding. Then Hiromi tells of that childhood flashback whereby she got lost during the festival. Shinichiro is surprised because he thought she had forgotten about it, but it was a lie that she had forgotten about it. Hmm.. There’re lots of lies in this show even is true is in its title. The day Hiromi moves out arrives as she pack her stuffs into the truck. I’m not sure why but after the truck is gone, Shinichiro suddenly got the urge to chase down Hiromi on his bicycle. Don’t ride recklessly like him. And the road is slippery and snowy too. Hiromi spots Shinichiro through the rear view mirror and well, of course that guy crashes. Hiromi requests the truck driver to stop as she hurriedly goes down to him. Yeah, she slipped too. And fell on him (probably FOR him too. Haha). Is it no difference when Noe fell on him from the tree? As the duo lay out of breath on the ground, Shinichiro tells her that he’ll do everything properly this time.
 
The Mugiha Festival is around the corner in episode 11. Shinichiro goes to visit Hiromi in her apartment and soon takes a stroll on the beach. I don’t remember what they were talking but all I remember was Hiromi kissed Shinichiro! Wow. This guy has been kissed by all the 3 main girls already (yes, I also counted Noe’s face lick as an indirect one). Meanwhile, Ai decides to start all over again with Miyokichi by being friends and I guess the latter is happy to oblige. So the curse from Noe didn’t work I suppose? Miyokichi says she owes him a hand made sweater in which Ai says she’ll improve on her knitting skills. At least it’s good to see 1 relationship working out. With the suspension over, Hiromi goes back to school and the basketball team is having a match with another team in which Jun is the coach. It seems the opposing team has been purposely making fouls on Hiromi, trying to hurt her. This causes Jun to step in the middle of the court and tell them off what is their problem for using such dirty tricks. The spectators must be loving his cool justice behaviour. Shinichiro saw this and leaves only to bump into Miyokichi who tells him that he and Ai are back on good terms again. Later, Hiromi gets a call from an apologizing Jun over that incident and wants to meet up at the park. On the way, Hiromi stops by Shinichiro’s house but he isn’t in but his mom was. In his room, Hiromi spots the picture storybook that Shinichiro drew and takes a peek at it. Shinichiro then comes in but Hiromi quickly puts the book back and leaves.
 
At the park, Hiromi once again wants to break up with Jun but the latter is still persistent. Hiromi says that if they continue, they might get other people involved and that the only person Jun loves is not her (I’m guessing it has to be Noe) and is a fool for not admitting it. Hiromi walks away and Shinichiro spots her from a distance. He wanted to call out to her but when he spot Jun, he decided not to. That night, Hiromi gets a call from Jun. What’s up with this pestering guy? Well, he’s not asking for a date, he’s asking her if she has seen Noe because she hasn’t return home yet. Hiromi soon contacts Shinichiro who instantly goes out looking for her. He starts with the school’s chicken coop (obviously) and though she isn’t there now but he knows she was because her coat is there and Jibeta is missing. Holy crap! Noe was sleeping in the chicken coop! Finally Shinichiro finds Noe with Jibeta in her hands, at the shoreline. Remember Noe’s humming about some cockroach on Shinichiro? Well, she’s still humming it but this time she added the lines "In Shinichiro’s heart is… Hiromi Yuasa". Is she going to kill herself so that she can go to Heaven and take back her tears? Hope not!
 
It seems in episode 12 that Noe is trying to make Jibeta fly against its will. She wasn’t successful. Shinichiro goes home and informs Hiromi about this that Noe is fine and would soon be home and wants her to pass this message to Jun. Soon Noe goes home and her brother is quite relief to see her okay. The day of the festival arrives as Hiromi is prettily dressed in a traditional outfit to help out the dancers. Hiromi speaks to Shinichiro before his dance about the best spot to watch his performance. Shinichiro remembers about telling Noe to come watch him at the best spot so he tells Hiromi not to strain herself doing so because it might be crowded. At Noe’s home, she is sitting dejectedly all alone with that chicken tissue box and is unsure of going to see Shinichiro’s dance. When the dance starts, Ai bumps into Hiromi and had a little chat before they spot Noe peeking around the corner. Ai quips how Noe as Shinichiro’s girlfriend is here to see him but Hiromi says that she is Shinichiro’s girlfriend (she wasn’t hesitating when she said that) and goes after Noe. Once Hiromi does, she tells her that she loves Shinichiro and also knows how much Noe too loves Shinichiro. Thus she is asking for her to stay away from them both as tears trickle down her eyes. Don’t hope for any catfight because Noe notices how pretty Hiromi’s tears are and rushes away without saying anything else. When Noe reaches home, she is greeted by a phone call. Soon she rushes over to where Jun is working part time and wants an explanation why did he get some job application in Tokyo. Jun confesses that he loves Noe more than just a brotherly sense (gasp!). When grandma died, he always wanted to protect Noe but that feeling has gradually changed into something else. Jun asks if he could kiss her and Noe agrees. He starts off by kissing her forehead, then her cheek before proceeding to the lips. But before he can make the third one, Noe backs off in surprise. Jun is glad that she understood as he tells her that it’s been hard for him to be by her side all the while.
 
Noe heads back to the shoreline now pretty much realized a lot of things by now. She is sad that she didn’t understand the feelings of the people close to her like Jun, Shinichiro and Hiromi. The long festival dance finally ends and Shinichiro puts the finishing touches to his picture storybook (I think he changed his previous tragic ending of the chicken died while trying to take flight from a cliff to a happier one). Shinichiro realizes that the reason why he was able to draw this picture was because of Noe’s believe that he could fly. Shinichiro tries to find Noe but bumps into Hiromi instead, who tells him that she had met Noe and told her to leave them alone. But Shinichiro just walk away leaving her behind. Hiromi softly said how not to leave her behind like back during those times as she took off 1 of her shoes. I suppose Shinichiro knows where to look for Noe now as he spots her on top of the tree near the chicken coop. Thing is, Noe jumped off the tree before Shinichiro could arrive to catch her. This girl sure has a dangerous compulsive habit to jump off a tree. But I’m sure her mind wasn’t clear when she pulled off that stunt.
 
Thank goodness that in episode 13, Noe has only fractured her leg. Shinichiro has a chat with Jun on the rooftop of the hospital. Jun says how beautiful the snow is, which partly breaks Noe’s fall. I’m not sure if Jun is serious or not but he did mention how he can’t forgive Shinichiro for causing harm to come to Noe before leaving. When Jun goes back to Noe’s room, she tells him that she was inspired to fly after witnessing Shinichiro’s magnificent dance. She goes on apologizing for not knowing his feelings and hurting him but Jun says otherwise. At school, Shinichiro has got lots of praises from his classmates who thinks his dance was superb. His popularity is on the rise. Even Hiromi asks him to visit her apartment and when he does, he notices how Hiromi has been acting strange before leaving shortly. Back home, Shinichiro goes to talk with his dad on what makes a person cry and his reply is when one’s heart wavers. Hiromi soon shows up and apologizes for not being herself earlier on and to cut things short, she confesses that she has always loved him but at the same time didn’t want to impose it on him. If you ask me, it’s a strange way to show one’s love by holding it back. Furthermore, Hiromi tells him to settle all of it, whether he chooses her or Noe, she’ll accept his decision. Shinichiro visits Noe in hospital and wants to show her his complete picture storybook but Noe refuses to read it. Playing stubborn, Shinichiro decides that if she doesn’t want to, then he has no choice but to throw it away. Noe agrees. Shinichiro tells her that he’ll throw it away at a place where Jibeta decided not to fly, surprising Noe.
 
On the shoreline, Shinichiro is making paper airplanes with his storybook and throwing them into the sea. He then spots Noe coming by on crutches, who takes up and view the paper he threw. Shinichiro rushes to her as they gather all the scattered paper to read at a bus stop. Looks like she wanted to read it in the end. She discover that the last page is missing but notes that she can imagine herself that Raigomaru is able to fly and what happens next. Shinichiro then tells her that he is in love with Hiromi but everytime he sees Noe, he feels like crying even though he likes her too. Noe says she always knew all along that he loves Hiromi and asks him to believe in himself that he can fly before walking back to the hospital while humming that cockroach song. It seems Shinichiro too is humming that song but he gets all emotional and cries out that Hiromi Yuasa is in his heart line. He sounds so pitiful. After Shinichiro’s mom pays a warm visit to Hiromi’s place, Shinichiro goes to her apartment but doesn’t find her there but manages to find her at the bamboo forest path where they used to walk when they were kids during the festival. Anyway Shinichiro wants Hiromi to go out with him but got rejected at first. Eventually, after that short persistence, Hiromi gives in when Shinichiro says he’ll always be by her side and able to wipe away her tears. The duo embraced each other. We also see Hiromi shedding a tear. Tears of joy perhaps?
 
The end scenes show Noe back to her cheerful self and Hiromi continue to play basketball for her team. Shinichiro on the other hand is busy secretly sketching in the middle of class and Jun boards a bus to take up a job in Tokyo. Shinichiro’s dad is seen teaching that bald helper boy things after thinking that Shinichiro is more interested in his picture book drawing ambition and Miyokichi and Ai continue their relationship at their own pace as they meet up. As Shinichiro narrates that tears can come naturally to a person when they think of someone dear and close to them, we see Noe at the chicken coop and all the snow has melted as the stones Shinichiro once wrote to declare his love for Noe, all messed up. She stands there looking up to the sky and for the first time since her grandma’s death, Noe sheds a tear of her own. Yay! She got them back.
 
Uh huh. That’s so much about it. Well I still don’t really understand the deeper meaning of it all. But even though the ending didn’t felt that satisfying but I feel it wasn’t a bad one either. It was expected that Shinichiro ended up with Hiromi at the end. I know that there are some Noe fans out there who detest how it all ended up like this. I’m starting to think that I can classify both Hiromi and Noe as tsundere, don’t you think?
 
With such an ending, there were a few plots in the series which I felt were just, how do I put it, "Just like that only ah?". Like for instance the part where Hiromi and Shinichiro may be siblings. It would’ve been an interesting twist if that rumour was actually true. And probably if that was indeed true, Shinichiro may have ended up with Noe. And I didn’t really understand Shinichiro’s mom’s initially hatred and b*tchiness towards Hiromi in the first place. There was no back story telling about how she came to hate Hiromi’s mom and then all of a sudden when Hiromi nearly lost her life with Jun during the bike accident, she realized how precious her life is even though if she isn’t her daughter and went on good terms with her. I’m sure many viewers would agree with me that she’s a character one would love to hate at first but towards the end, just like her, it’s best to let go that ill feelings for her.
 
As for Shinichiro’s dad, I mean, he doesn’t play much of a role here. Though we see him like a mediator and advisor but at times his presence is just there. Only there. I also can’t believe or understand Ai’s character. It would’ve been interesting if the love triangle becomes a 3 way fight but I was surprised she backed out so early and decide to go back to the guy she ditched and start all over again. Girls, can’t understand them (don’t hate me, please!). But it’s good to see the both of them back on good terms again. Better to move on than forever stuck in the same place, right? Noe on the other hand is another interesting girl. her lively exterior is also what contributes to her weirdness and because of so, she did fail to realize the feelings of others. I’m thinking if she was gloomy when she found out how she never knew the feelings of others or the fact that about dating and romantic feelings for Shinichiro, how come she could handle the situation well when Shinichiro told her that the person he loves was Hiromi? Maybe like she said, she knew but was in denial. Yeah, she was more obsessed about flying and getting back her tears. Speaking of which, there was really nothing supernatural to it which I was hoping for in the first place. So we can make a profile Noe. Favourite place: Chicken coop. Favourite hobby: Jumping down from a tree top. Favourite animal: Chickens. Favourite song: Shinichiro and cockroach song. Favourite person: Erm… depends on how you look at it.
 
One thing which I also liked about this series is that the drawing, art and animation are very detailed and crisped. If you pay a little attention to the visuals, it is indeed breathtaking like when the snow starts falling or when the characters breath during the cold winter, you can see the vapour trails coming out from their mouth. Smooth and fluid. Most of the objects are rendered to near perfection. So if you are looking for animes which provide nice quality animation as eye candy, you should add this one to your list. Of course the most prettiest one is still Hiromi. :)
 
Another thing I also notice is that the sound effects are quite real. For instance when the ocean waves hit the concrete barriers of the shoreline, it does evoke a sense of the real environment. Very nice. Most of the background music I too noticed have that dramatic suspense, if you know what I mean. This is quite suitable for the theme of the series. Likewise, when you hear the opening theme Reflectia by Eufonius, it may give you a sense of a rich and opulent atmosphere because of the way the orchestra strings are played. But I find the song upbeat and dramatic as well. The ending theme is by Aira Yuuki entitled Sekai No Namida, and is a slow pop. The ending credits animation is the only place where you get to see all the characters of the series in chibi form as the walk diagonally downwards across the screen. They didn’t forget the chickens too.
 
On a trivial note, if you keep your ears peeled, you will notice that somewhere in the second half of each of the episode, the characters will say the line of that episode’s title in their dialogue. At first I didn’t notice it but as the series progress and when the characters said that line, it made me go "Isn’t that line from the title?". In short, the episode title is derived from a speech from one of the characters of that particular episode. Though, sometimes it makes me feel how is that really related to that particular episode’s storyline. Yeah, only by that line.
 
I’m sure we humans shed tears for many reasons, be it happy or sad. It’s only natural. Yeah, sadly there are even some with crocodile tears. While I myself remember the last time I really cried my heart out was when my own grandpa’s passing many years ago, on occasion I still shed some tears. You know, when dust gets in your eyes or cutting onions. Hehe. Hey, that counts too, right?
 

True Tears