11 of 11 episodes seen
The story is bittersweet, dealing with the comforts of friendship and the pain of unrequited love. There is not an excessive amount of drama or romance in the plotline. There are aspects of those genres, but to a subtle extent and it is romantic and dramatic without being overtly so.
There is no heavy story here. Rather, Aoihana is a very character driven series. The whole series is based on character growth, particularly through Fumi. Prior to watching the series, I was expecting more graduated love interest between the two main characters. But the series focuses more on the friendship bond of the characters, which is actually pretty interesting. It overrides the stereotype of childhood friends meeting again and falling in love with each other. Although at the same time, it doesn't override that stereotype exactly, but I won't say why.
The problem I had with the plot flow of the series is that I was expecting more to happen that didn’t. I guess the series could have been longer, because many things aren’t really concluded in the end.
I liked the animation. It was simple in its backgrounds, fluid in motion, and watercolor-esque in the colors. The character designs were aesthetically pleasing. The cast is not all girls, with some guys playing rather prominent roles, and there seems to be only one defined lesbian established in the series at all.
Aoihana is set apart from many other shoujo-ai/yuri series in which it takes the aspect of girls falling in love with other girls in a more tasteful way, rather than the over the top situations you normally would find. The interactions are more realistic than often in other shoujo-ai shows. Some of the main characters are well explored, though some we could get more depth on. I liked Fumi and Akira’s relationship, and I liked their characters well enough. I thought Yasuko was a bit annoying and manipulative.
The music was nice. I liked the opening a lot, the song was very gentle sounding. I had no problem with the voice acting.
This anime was actually more friendship based than romance based, because it revolves around the strong bond of Akira and Fumi. The depiction of their platonic, loving closeness is quite well done.
All in all, the subtleness of this series is what makes it work. It doesn’t leave you racing to watch the next episode in eager anticipation, but it’s not trying to. It was executed quite well. This series may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re looking for a calm slice of life about what it means to fall in love and to start stepping closer to adulthood, then you should try Aoihana. read more
5 of 10 chapters read
The characters are all stereotypes in one form or another, not that this is necessarily a bad thing; whether this was done on purpose or not, it seems to apply true for the guys in the series: the "ladies' man", the "smart guy with glasses", the "easygoing jock guy", and the "young looking droopy eyed kid"...Okay, that last one isn't as much of a stereotype. But besides the main two not many of the characters are given a chance to flesh out and have more depth to them. The manga just seemed to rush everything. That was the main problem, for me. It felt sort of hurried.
The story wasn't too bad. It was based around the premise of the main girl who is rather self conscious (especially of her 'cat' like eyes) Meiko, having a kiss stolen from her in the school's library, and the culprit could be one of a number of guys who just happened to be there at the time. Oh goodness, the drama.
One aspect I found interesting was how it centered around Meiko in the first part of the manga and her dilemma in not knowing which guy had kissed her, and then it became more in the point of view of the other main character in the series, seeing how the events had unfolded in his eyes and what he was thinking.
I liked it. It was a cute read. Not incredibly deep or meaningful, but it wasn't supposed to be. Even though the guy she ends up with is a little typical and I kind of would have rathered a different scenario to unfold, it's a sweet shoujo for someone who's in the mood for it. read more
1 of 1 chapters read
So the story had potential… but ended up being just annoying. Since it was only one chapter, it seems as if the girl falls for the guy way too quickly and felt very unrealistic and false the whole time I was reading. And it wasn’t even cute! You can’t really get to know the characters enough to like them. There is basically no emotional development at all. You don’t want to relate to any of the characters, and you can’t really care about them either.
The art is rather well done, I suppose. It’s not bad, but it’s not amazing either. I can’t write too much about this one because there isn’t much to say…it could have been a sweet read, but it really wasn’t. Take a look if you have nothing better to do.
1 of 1 episodes seen
The main point of it is to have everyone take a trip to this exotic beach and all the girls included in Junichi’s harem (even the ones you barely see, like glasses girl and the what’s her face red head) all of a sudden “become more daring” because of this suspicious sunscreen they put on themselves and they become super horny and try to unzip Junichi’s pants with their teeth and whatnot. Sound enticing?
The thing I found pretty amazing is when they started going into these short little profiles of every girl who tries to jump on Junichi as he is frantically trying not to get excited. They go into their “measurements” and show them in suggestive positions and have them doing random things like splashing ocean water.
Sound is the same, basically…Same opening, different ending as usual. Not all that interesting. The animation is no better or worse really than the series.
If you were in hopes of a continuation after a few months from the end of the series (which frankly wasn’t all that good anyway, so who cares?), I’m afraid this may be a bit of a letdown. However, if you’re looking for something to distract you from the fact you’re not getting any, than go ahead and watch this. Just kidding. Or just watch this for the amusement. read more
20 of 21 chapters read
Anyways. I own all four of these volumes and love them to bits! For starters, Cherry Juice’ story isn’t exactly original (coughMarmaladeBoycough) nor is it generally crowd pleasing. But if you’re in search of a sweet shoujo romantic comedy with touches of drama, then this will sure to satisfy you.
The story begins with Minami and Otome, two adolescents that have happened to begin living with eachother under their parents circumstances. Five years ago, they were made step siblings. However, after Otome and Amane (who just happens to be Minami’s best friend) begin going out. Does jealousy and sexual tension ensue? Why, yes! Yes, it does. The step siblings cling to each other while slowly realizing how they really feel about other people and their relationship itself.
So as you can see, the story had some nice potential. And Miss Fukushima didn’t proceed to let me down. The story is sweet, with poignant moments that don’t make me gag. The whole taboo forbidden relationship concept brings apprehension, though the story is a bit fast paced. I would have liked for a bit more depth in some of the characters, like Otome’s friends. Or Imai, who appears all of a sudden and you don’t really get time to adjust to his part in the story. But Imai comes later so I shall not spoil anything.
The characters are likeable enough. Though for some reason, main main characters of shoujo manga tend to annoy me. I’m not quite sure why that is. Unfortunately it’s not much of an exception for Otome. Her friends are interesting and somewhat unique though (well, not really unique, but interesting to say the least). Otome’s friends are Naru with her cool and unphased personality and boy-crazy, fun-loving Aiko.
The art is flawed, as Haruka Fukushima’s always is, but I enjoy it anyway. It has a unique look that I could always recognize, and it is very pretty and pleasing to look it. She is one of my favorite manga artists for these reasons. Cherry Juice is not amazing, but I love it. It’s lighthearted, but can be serious when it wants to. Give it a try if you want a nice high school romance.
=D read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
The story centers around a seemingly normal guy named Junichi, who rescues a tempered girl named Yuuhi (what is up with that girl’s hair?) from some guys who were trying to pick her up (oh wow, an example of pure originality right there… not), and after misunderstandings arise and a first kiss ensues, it turns out that Yuuhi just happens to be Junichi’s fiancée. So she lives with him in his house under conditions of her father to see if he is a suitable fiancé, along with Junichi’s well-endowed sister Minato, etc, etc, etc. Now, this story has some potential… sort of. But the episodes were filled with so many clichéd moments it was just… bad. You know those moments, the romantic kind maybe where someone “accidentally gropes the girl’s breast” or someone “accidentally falls on top of the other person”. The typical “filler type episodes” are there too, such as a trip to the onsen or the “school festival episode”. These type of things can actually be fun to watch, for though they’re repeated, they’re repeated for the reason that they can bring enjoyment to an audience. However, in Akane-iro, it wasn’t funny or interesting or really…anything.
Now for characters. I am sorry to say there is not one character in this cast that I actually like. I don’t know why exactly, but none of the characters are likeable. None of them are original, though Junichi is a different protagonist than the general guy caught up in a harem of this sort. As the series progresses, you are supposed to either side with Yuuhi or side with Minato. This would make sense, typical love triangle. There is one tiny problem though… Minato is Junichi’s younger sister. Meaning, incest themes abound! For a while I’d thought that Minato was adopted, but I wasn’t sure if it was ever fully explained… so that was pretty stupid. I might have missed something though because sometimes I didn't pay attention. Go watch it yourself and see. Anyway, Yuuhi is the typical tsundere type, which I either really like or just am annoyed by completely. Unfortunately the latter won out the former on that one. Minato is more of a sweet, intelligent, and good at housekeeping type of girl, which also annoys me. Junichi’s friends, the minor characters, were okay, like Fuyuhiko and Tsukasa. The student body president amazed me with her absolutely insane hair. Forget the comment about Yuuhi’s hairstyle, just look at Mitsuki Siina! Seriously, how does she do it? Does she get up at 3 AM and just slap on the hairspray?
Anyway. Moving onto sound, which is the reason I actually started watching this show. I came across it randomly from what I saw a friend was watching and I decided to watch it not only because it was on a whim but because of the popular voice actresses in this series, like Rie Kugimiya, Aya Hirano, Emiri Katou, and Inoue Marina. They all did a good job, all the voices fit their characters. But for some reason, I just could not stand Junichi’s voice at all. I’m not sure why… I guess I just didn’t like it. The music didn’t stand out much, and I don’t really like the opening theme at all, though it could get in your head (regrettably so). I never much paid attention to the many ending themes. They were sung by the various voice actresses I believe.
The animation…it’s okay, but it’s not that good. Movements are generally stiff, the anatomy often looks wrong with people out of proportion. It’s not fluid and it has no flair. It’s nice enough to look at, I suppose.
I was going to give this a 5… but I suppose I shall give it a 6, for I did like watching it most of the time, even though I thought it was terrible.
: D read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
Never have I been so entangled in such a despicable story. I hated it, but at the same time I must admit, I liked it. Is this your typical harem you ask? No. No it isn’t. You’d think it might be if you haven’t heard any spoilers or shocking exclamations over the show, and you just found School Days at random. You’d think it might be the first 5 or so episodes when everything is progressing as a normal harem would. And then… it gets a little shaken up. You see, the story begins with the protagonist Itou Makoto. At first, the basic concept is that he likes a shy girl named Kotonoha. His newly found friend Sekai helps him, and it turns out Kotonoha feels the same way, etc etc. However… Sekai actually has feelings for Makoto as well.
What’s more, may I state that also never have I before hated the protagonist as much as I did while watching this series. Basically every girl he met he found a way to hurt them, while completely disregarding their sentiment and only thinking of his own feelings of covetousness and sexual passion. I mean, honestly, as you watch the series, Makoto pretty much takes any girl he can put to bed easily. And for some reason, quite a few girls like him. Don’t ask me why, it’s incomprehensible. This anime really sets you up for the end so it’s vital to watch the whole series once you get started on it; there’s no point in dropping it beforehand no matter how annoyed you get (and trust me, you will). You possibly will want to shake the screen, so out of safety precaution to your monitor, please scoot your chair back a bit while viewing.
Is it entirely Makoto’s fault, this screwed up chain of events that you may or may not witness, depending on whether you wish to watch this deranged series? Perhaps not. Certainly at one point Sekai was in the blame, especially to Kotonoha. The other girls were at fault as well as Sekai. Kotonoha, throughout the series, was one of the few who didn’t really do anything wrong… she was the only one who actually lost their sanity, too, which graduated slowly from denial to mental illness. Nevertheless, if Makoto wasn’t such a complete jerk then none of this would have happened. There are moments where it seems he feels resentment towards his actions, and regrets what he’s done. But then his further actions prove otherwise.
The animation is nice. I can't say it's beautiful, but it’s pleasing to the eye. They style that the characters are draw in is pretty, and most of the time the animation is consistent and fluid enough. As for sound, the opening was all right, with a somewhat generic sound. I liked the ending themes a little more. But the BGM was very fitting most of the time… I loved the waltz-type piano BGM that played once in a while.
Though this series is absolutely frustrating, I must say it certainly knows how to draw the audience in, to be sure. You want to keep watching and watching, just to see if Makoto gets what he deserves. And does he? Hmm, well, wait and see. School Days reminds me of the review quote on the back of Lord of the Flies, which I just read…
“Evil is inherent in the human mind, whichever innocence may cloak it”. You may like Makoto at first… but watch out…
1 of 1 episodes seen
As a fan of the game Animal Crossing (both Gamecube and DS versions) I was pleasantly surprised to discover an anime adaptation had been made. If you haven’t played the game, Animal Crossing is basically just living your life in a new town, but while you’re a human, the other villagers are all other animals. It’s a nice RPG slice-of-life, and it’s very fun living your life in your town. This experience is different, obviously, considering you’re watching the character living her life in a new town instead of being the character himself/herself.
The main character’s name is Ai, a magnanimous yet somewhat undecided girl who comes to live in the village of animals, moving away from home. As she goes through her days in the new village, she meets new animals and opportunities arise from their influence on her, especially Sally, the fashion-designing elephant who shortly moves away to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer. But she inspires Ai to find her own dream, or, as the two playfully allegorized, her own cherry pie. She does find her ambition by the end of the movie, and also fits in a little more in the village by helping out with what occurred proving to be the mysterious “miracle” on the night of the Winter Festival. Because previously Ai had found bottles with notes explaining that if she planted a fir trees in certain spots, a wonderful miracle would happen on the Winter Festival night.
While you’re watching it, it’s very relaxing and calming, much like its game counterpart. The art is absolutely adorable, keeping the style similar to the game. The colors are bright and the animation flow is fluid and rich; I love especially the beautifully rendered backgrounds. Everything was so nice to look at! I loved the music too, because it’s all the same tunes as in the game, and if you play the game you’ll recognize that immediately.
One thing I didn’t understand that some of the names were different than in the game. I suppose they were the original names in the Japanese, but then again, why would the English translation bother to change them if they were just names like “Sally” (or I should say Sari) or “Bouquet”? That has nothing to do with the enjoyment you get out of the movie.
I really liked it overall; I guess the only thing that irked me was the whole bit concerning the notes and the UFOs. I would have rather if it was just a poignant but sweet story about finding your ambition and at the same time, maintaining a strong friendship. This is recommended if you like the game, or you just want something nearly saccharine to watch.
12 of 12 episodes seen
Hidamari Sketch starts off with Yuno, who, mostly, is the protagonist, but mainly it centers around the four high school girls. There’s not so much of a story, as with all the other slice-of-life high school animes. You’ll get many a laugh out of it though, and it has it’s sweet moments as well. Some shoujo-ai is integrated in, mostly with Sae and Hiro, but it’s definitely not extreme, purely fluff, and it sort of depends on how you look at it. It could be just seem as a very caring friendship.
Speaking of the characters, they were all very likeable. Yuno is kind of the typical airhead who wants to do her best, but she seems introverted; Sae is unquestionably shy as well, blushing a lot (mostly due to Hiro’s teasing) but also levelheaded; Hiro is the gentle and sweet of the girls, but what sets her apart is her weight obsession: she’s constantly dieting and worrying about weight; and finally Miyako, certainly the most inimitable of the bunch, and also the most nonsensical. However, you don’t really delve into the characters lives or relationships that much, but that’s because the setting never strays away from the high school (besides the school trip and going shopping) and the Hidamari Apartments. Which is good, really, because it isn’t about their lives completely, it’s about their lives at Hidamari Apartments. You can’t forget their extremely silly teacher, Yoshinoya-sensei, and as she said in an episode, looks like she’s “enternally seventeen”. Seriously, how old is that woman?? Yoshinoya-sensei often dresses in various outfits which she insists, is most certainly not cosplay. Her childish actions provide a few laughs (and she always ends up being scolded by the frail eccentric principal).
The art, though not outstanding, is completely adorable and the animation is very creative. The angles it’s shown at, and the fast switching of the “camera” makes it more interesting. Also, what I really loved, was how they incorporated quirky things real-life photos, or the wiggling of Hiro’s wavy hair. The characters switch into chibi mode a lot, and their regular expressions are already adorable to begin with.
Oh, and I really loved the music. The opening and ending themes were so adorable! They contrast one another: the opening is peppy and chipper, while the ending theme is a little melancholic and has a sweeter, gentler sound to it. The seiyuu were wonderful, too, and all their voices were cute and fit the personality of the character, providing believable displays of vocal range.
You might think this is one of your typical high school girl lolicon sort of show, but I believe it goes beyond that, ranging from the wonderfully done animation to the relaxing feel to the show overall. read more
52 of 72 chapters read
At times the romantic emotions are portrayed across to the reader as so strong and violent, and passionate. And yet other times it’s really just a sweet beating love between the protagonists, without becoming saccharine. Their struggle to be together makes their love all the more stronger as the series progresses, even though doubt and sorrows is felt.
The art is gorgeous. Just breathtaking. It is done with a crosshatch pen and ink style. The detail put into the large European buildings and landscapes are wonderful. I really love the expressions she put on the characters, and the flow of the panel placements, which is often quite slow as the characters’ countenance would vary. It really brings more to the story.
Character development is splendid. Emma, as the protagonist of the story most of the time, was a good female lead, she was very likeable. She comes off as shy and introverted, and obedient as well, but as the story progresses she becomes a bit more strong-willed, and wants to face her conflicts instead of running away in fear as to hurting the one she loves. William is pretty likeable too, and he’s obviously very spirited in his love towards Emma in the beginning, and later does he realize the sacrifices he must make to make the love survive. However, I also liked Eleanor’s unrequited love to William, despite her being his fiancée for a part of the story. She was always giving more and more love to him, and got none in return, for he was only ever for Emma. The other, smaller characters had their quirks as well, such as Eleanor’s sister, Monica, who obviously adored her little sister to an extent where it could be considered a sister complex, and hated anyone who made her unhappy (namely William, but mostly for taking her away from him). There was also Hakim, William’s womanizing friend from India, who acts as a foil for William. In other words, he contrasts towards William’s character, causing the reader to plainly see William’s certain faces of his personality. Hakim was an interesting character, and added some sort of odd comedy to the story, with his elephants and harem of young Indian woman following him everywhere (who, if I recall don’t say anything at all throughout the entire story). Hakim also had feelings for Emma, but proceeded to encourage Emma and William when he found out their feelings for one another.
Of course, I enjoyed this series to a very high extent (though I suppose I wouldn’t buy them specifically, as I read them from the library and that’s enough for me). This is certainly recommended for the people who want a more realistic drama and romance, with believable characters and their prejudices. Emma, really, is one of the best romance manga I’ve ever come across, and I hope you’ll try reading it.