Hein (fub) wrote,
Hein
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Finished series: Tokimeki Memorial - Only Love

We've finished watching Tokimeki Memorial - Only Love. My first episode review is here.

Tomkimeki Memorial is a series of bishoujo/dating games by Konami, and obviously an anime had to be made out of it sooner or later. Considering that it came to be 13 years after the first Tokimemo game was released, it turned out to be later. ;)

Riku Aoba enters Tsumugino Private High School, where the motto is "freedom for the students!" This translates into a very active student council -- they organise many events and launch many trends, such as giving students cat-ear diadems as rewards. And most of the events seem to involve such a reward for the person who catches poor Riku!
At his first day at school, the prize is the mail-adress of Sayuri, the most beautiful and most popular girl of the school, and of course the whole school is chasing after Riku to catch that prize! However, in his panic Riku ends up at the island where Sayuri is reading, thereby winning the game himself -- but he doesn't get his prize...

There are two other girls who are interested in Riku: Mina, who is sweet and shy a year younger than he, who is on the school swimming team; and Tsukasa, who is on the volleyball team and single-sidedly decided that Riku should be her boyfriend. The girls are actual characters and not just pretty faces for Riku to chase after -- they do not define themselves through their relationship with Riku (unlike in, say, Gift or Shuffle). I think this is one of the main draws of the series to me.
This series also really shines in the supporting cast, who provide most of the humor: there's the tough guy who threatens to beat Riku into a pulp if he mistreats Sayuri, there is the chick with the bad attitude who helps Riku out, the whimsical student council president, the two otaku 'friends', the money-loving cafetaria-owner, etcetera. Some moments are really funny.

The setting is a high-school (as is usually the case), and this means that the usual high-school stuff happens: student council meetings (Riku enters the student council to spend more time with Sayuri), sports days, cultural festivals, the whole shebang. But the way these events are handled give the series a fresh perspective on these clichés.

Visually, there is nothing to complain about. Animation may be pretty basic in some scenes, the budget went where it counts: the character designs and character animation at key moments. Not overly cute, and with great attention to detail. Voice acting is good too -- not the strained squeaky voices used in some other series, but normal enough to make you believe that an actual girl could have said those lines in that way.

Good points:
- Very competently executed;
- The girls have characters of their own;
- Fresh look at the genre tropes;
- Funny.
Bad points:
- Too random at times;
- Riku's emotions seem to meander for quite a bit.

If you're a fan of the genre, you'll love this. And if you're not a fan of the genre, then maybe you should try watching it anyway, because it lacks in all the things that people tend to hate in the genre. I'll give it an 8.5.
Tags: anime, full review
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