Recently translated into English for the first time, Sequence is a highly evocative buried treasure that excels in communicating its simple themes through its audio-visual presentation. Plot wise, it presents an interesting fusion of time-travel, reincarnation and shoujo romance. This makes it somewhat unique, and perhaps more interesting to those who may find straight romance stories to be lacking in imaginative appeal. Knowing nothing about it going in, I was pleasantly surprised; it seems like a lot of care was put into this ova.
Sequence is very melancholic, dealing with longing for lost memories and connections, and using the synergy between its shot composition, art style
and soundtrack to highlight those feelings. The music in particular is breath taking, especially the solo flute scores that were inserted in as being played by one of the main characters. The animation is always competent, but there is little in the way of animation spectacle. All the backgrounds are very understated, but lush and pleasant to look at at the same time. I particularly liked the character designs and their color palettes, which were simple but highly effective – they all consistently looked great and well differentiated from one another so to represent their place in the story.
The story was generally well paced, and only focusing on four characters allowed us to get a pretty good idea of who they all were. Many of their interactions were genuinely touching. The utilization of reincarnation and time travel in the plot spiced things up well, and the way they integrated these elements was very appropriate for the tone of the story and its themes. One criticism I have is that it seems that the plot resolved too quickly. It would have been more emotionally effective if they built up to the conclusion for a bit longer – it felt like a small piece of the story was missing. This would have also allowed us to develop the personalities of the characters more, which would have been a bonus. I also find that the reveal that punctuates the conclusion is fairly predictable, though still quite effective. Sequence is not an amazing story, but it is a coherent and well crafted one.
Fans of shoujo anime and beautiful, slow paced, ovas ought to check this out. It is definitely too short to tell its story as well as it could have. But I imagine that that is just an issue of adapting a 5 volume manga into a 40 minute ova. Perhaps this was something more like a love letter to fans of manga, or an advertisement for it, as some old ovas tended to be. If you have 40 minutes to kill and want to delve into some obscure high quality shoujo you could do much worse than Sequence.
You are probably familiar with the concept of "deja vu", which is that weird feeling you get when you think you may have done or experienced something before...but just can't quite place it.
But you may not have heard of the term "deja reve", which is the same thing...only for events which have happened in the future.
The mystery starts with a high school student that lost all of his memories in a tragic event when he was six. Suddenly a strong-willed transfer student arrives that pushes his boundaries, explaining he has memories of his
past...and future...lives. And that's when the rivalry that he was unaware existed is revived.
It's an interesting twist of a story, but unfortunately at only forty minutes long, there's only enough time to barely outline the concept before and then you are minutes away from the end. As such, you are left lacking. Like there's so much story left to tell, and no time to tell it. And it ends up being just "mah-mah".
If you want a similar anime where this is explored much more in depth, check out Please Save My Earth instead (especially the long-running manga instead of the incomplete anime adaptation).