Hein (fub) wrote,
Hein
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Finished series: Asatte no Houkou

We've watched Asatte no Houkou. My first episode review is here.

Shouko, a young woman, has returned to Japan from her studies in the US. While she was there, she met a Japanese boy and they fell in love... but when his parents died he returned and basically dumped her. So imagine her surprise (and chagrin) when she meets a young girl, Karada, who turns out to be the younger sister of the boy, Hiro -- they are living in the very city she chose to live in.
In spite of herself, Shouko finds herself invited to a trip to the beach. She finds out that Hiro didn't return to the US because he wanted to take care of Karada. Karada hates being treated like a child, and in the evening Shouko deliberately makes a snide comment that she knows will upset Karada.
Karada runs away, and she and Shouko meet again at the shrine with the wishing stone, and they make their wish. Karada's wish is granted, and she is turned into an adult -- but Shouko is turned into a kid! With their ages reversed, they will have to adapt to their new circumstances.

This could have turned into a comedy of sorts, but the whole thing is treated pretty seriously. The focus is not so much on how Shouko and Karada deal with their new circumstances (all we get about that is a shopping trip to get Karada some new clothes), but on their growing relationship and their attitude towards Hiro.
They have to live together: Shouko has the know-how and the funds, but Karada has the adult body needed to conduct business transactions. Shouko is a moody person with a lot of pent-up anger directed at Hiro, while Karada always sees the sunny side of things and adores her big brother. Even though Shouko disliked Karada at first, they come to like eachother.
The linking pin to them is Hiro. At first they try to keep their transformation a secret from Hiro, but eventually they tell him. Things smolder for a while, and then Karada finds out that Hiro left Shouko to care for her. She feels guilty and runs off, prompting Hiro and Shouko to search for her.
Obviously, in the end it all is resolved, thanks to a classmate of Karada and his easygoing friend.

The series has an interesting premise, and the magical aspect is merely used to set the wheels of the relationship drama in motion -- it is not treated like a gimmick to generate comedy. The cast of supporting characters contains a few memorable personalities: some of these 'extras' play a vital role, while not taking much of the spotlight. Somehow the writers pulled that one off without making them seem one-dimensional: everyone has their little quirks without being a stereotype.

Visually, the series is pretty good. Some backgrounds are very detailed, which certainly adds to the atmosphere. The animation is pretty basic: most of it is talking heads, since there is very little action. Character designs are good (though I would advise Hiro to please get a haircut!).
The music is very good. Quiet piano pieces that go well with the mood of the series. The voice acting is good as well.

Good points:
- Interesting relationship drama;
- Good music;
- Great cast of characters.
Bad points:
- Sometimes a bit slow.

All in all, an 8.
Tags: anime, full review
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