Living under the same roof with the girl he has a crush on should be a dream for Shinichirou Nakagami, but the reality is closer to a nightmare. At school, Hiromi is bright, academically successful, athletic, and popular. But at home, Hiromi is a completely different person; she's cold, distant, and encased in the protective shell she's erected around herself after a painful childhood.
At school, a strange girl named Isurugi Noe suddenly takes an interest in Shinichirou. Noe loves the school's chickens, especially Raigomaru, who she's convinced can fly. Thus begins a strange relationship where Shinichirou helps Noe resolve her problems, even as he tries to figure out his own feelings about Noe, Hiromi, and his childhood friend, Andou Aiko. All the while Shinichirou is also trying to find the key to unlock Hiromi's heart, and to finish the children's picture book he's been writing. Surprisingly, it's Noe who proves critical to both...
While technically based on a visual novel with the same name, True Tears has an almost entirely anime-original story. The anime is set in Jouhana, Toyama (where P.A. Works Studio is located) and locations from throughout Toyama Prefecture are used as models for the anime.
That was the line that first introduced me to True Tears. Now I would like to use this same line to introduce you all to this realistic romance series. The True Tears legacy began with very disappointing visual novel sales that ranked it as 41 among the 50 newly released visual novels at the time. Shortly after the visual novel came a live action film of True Tears that resembles closely to the game. So now you must thinking the anime is naturally just another adaptation to the visual novel as well right? Wrong!
The anime version of True Tears shares
nothing in common with the visual novel or the film (beside the name). It has its own independent plot, its own independent setting, and its own independent set of characters. Thus why use the name True Tears and give credit to the original visual novel creator when there is virtually nothing in common is beyond my understanding. However, what I do understand is that True Tears is an attempt by Lantis to produce a similar anime type to Air/Kanon/Clannad by Kyoto Animation. The purpose of this review is not to compare and criticize True Tears with the above anime, but I personally feel True Tears is worthy of such comparison if there is one.
Many viewers may find the story of True Tears resembling Kanon or Clannad in lots of ways, such as the usual touching scenes that make us cry a river. However due to the nature of the story, instead of dealing with half a dozen heroines we only have three. Thus allowing more time to better develop their characters. One may be tempted to call True Tears a harem anime due to all the females “ganging” up on our protagonist, but I see this as an essential part to developing a love-triangle (and NO, there’s nothing ecchi in the anime). The anime takes a rather different approach to the regular love story and one can say it truly brings out the realism to this matter through the careful use of wordings. However it should be noted that, like most other story with a certain degree of depth, True Tears incorporates a great deal of metaphoric comparison. While it is not difficult to understand what those metaphors imply, some viewers may be discouraged by them.
The relationships between all the characters are expertly developed. In addition to the multi layer relations that are common in most romance genre, we also see a great deal of interactions between the younger and older generation of characters and how they affect one another. The protagonist’s parents certainly played a more central role compare with most animation from this genre. However, what I like best is the perfect illustration of a young boy’s heart when confronted with two (or three) possible lovers. I, for one, instantly saw a reflection of myself from Shinichirou (not that I am two-timing or anything, but I find his actions highly logical for a boy his age). I think I would most likely be as confused (if not more confused) than he is if I were in his situation especially after all those shocking events.
Animation-wise it certainly lives up to fans expectations. This is especially true for the key scenes of the show. As evident from the title of the anime, tears do truly seem different in here. Tears in True Tears are very beautiful, the glittering salty water look exceptionally real when running down the cheeks of various characters. In addition to tears, the fluidity of the character movements, the detailed shadows on the face of the characters as they speak, the camera angles used to illustrate certain key aspects such as the 3D walking scene etc.; everything adds up little by little and before you know it you will find yourself having a hard time reverting back to watching lower quality animations. I still have a difficult time trying to find a show with superior animation quality compare to True Tears.
Like the awesome animation production, True Tears’ music is also not to belittled with. The music was effectively used both in terms of BGM and OP/ED as they all served their purposes well. BGM creates the mood just needed to make some scenes touching enough to make people go teary-eyed. The OP is by eufonius whom Clannad fans should be familiar with. I personally find True Tears’ OP much better than Clannad’s though. Unlike most anime, True Tears’ seiyu did not interest me much (nor did they play any role in my decision to watching it). The biggest name out of the main casts is probably Kaori Nazuka (Nunnally in Code Geass, Eureka in Eureka Seven, Lynette in Strike Witches). With that note, I would like to truly thank the Lantis production crew for bringing us (the anime fans) a wonderful romance series that will forever have a place in my anime romance list.
True tears is a story that focuses on the life of a high school student and his interactions with the three heroines of the story. The story focuses on the romance and drama in the lives of the characters.
I think that the storyline was one of the best i have seen for a 13 episode anime. It was just the right length for such a story. The anime incorporates a lot of realism and really brings out the drama of a love triangle. The story looks at love from a path less ventured on and is different from your typical love story. Some may call
this a harem because all the main girls fall in love with the main character but it is very different from your usual harem because it looks at it from a more realistic and serious angle. Expect a lot of drama and meaning in this show. Though a word of caution that this show is a bit enigmatic due to its metaphorical usage of "chickens flying" and a strange and unique theme of tears. But you'll catch on eventually so do not fret even if you do not understand at first.
The art was simply amazing. The backgrounds and sceneries were drawn with such vibrance and the colours were vivid and easy on the eyes. The use of watercolour in the show by the main character also brings out a very nice animation feel to the show. One of the best artworks in anime.
The sound was so-so. What really stood out were the voice actors. Especially the four main characters. They played the characters so well and i think it really contributed to the feel of the anime. Inserts were made towards the end which helped to create the atmosphere and i think the OP song was very suited for this anime. It's good but not the best.
The characters were also very well done. Each having a good deal of depth for such a short anime series. Espcially since there were quite a few main characters, to cover such a wide range of characters in such a short span is quite good. Perhaps a bit more focus on the side characters like the two best friends of the lead girl and guy would have been good, but considering the time span i guess it's still ok. The characters were also not your usual cliche characters in a romance anime, especially Noe, to have such a character in the show makes it more unique and unpredictable.
I enjoyed the anime for its romance and drama. But it was lacking in the comedy area. But i guess it's ok since the drama was brought out pretty well as a result. Thus the story may appear a bit gloomy. It was also a bit slow at the start but the pace picks up as the story goes, so for those who are impatient you might have trouble with this anime at the start. However, i think the anime was very meaningful because you can sympathize with the characters and is thus very attention grabbing at times.
Overall, This anime is not to be missed. Especially if you are a romance-drama fan. The anime managed to portray many key elements in the show within the short time span and i think that the anime will leave a lasting impression on all who watch it. However, patience may be needed in the course of undertsanding the story and the characters. If you are looking for something more light-hearted then perhaps you may not find this to you liking.
True Tears is a fairly typical Slice of Life, Romance, Comedy, Drama based on an unusual theme of tears (amongst other things); nonetheless it’s just another “visual novel” – to – “anime adaptation”. From the beginning the story is pretty ordinary, for this type of anime, as it has a male protagonist (Shinichirou) and it introduces him, his surroundings and the heroines involved in the story (Noe, Hiromi & Aiko). However it is really difficult to tell what the story is entirely about or where it is headed, until things reach a certain point. That is when some major developments arise but it’s a shame
that the series is almost half over by that point.
Here we have the usual stock of high school boys and girls for characters and there’s nothing really particularly special about them. However a few of them have something unique about them that allows them stand out (Noe). But the character relations are what make the characters interesting because other than the simple-minded guys; the girls add a bit of perplexity to the mix as you cannot be entirely sure of what their true and honest feelings are.
After watching the series I can definitely say that the animation is the most outstanding aspect of this anime series, as it utilizes superb environments, well-drawn characters and well placed but somewhat overused CG effects/models. The most noticeable feature is the backgrounds, which looks like it was painted using soft water colours and it seamlessly blends well with the fluid foreground animations.
The music is composed of a variety of piano and violin symphonies that works well with the laid-back nature of the show. It also does a good job in setting the mood for some drama but the weak dialogue doesn’t help whatsoever.
Overall True Tears proved to be a great romance anime, for all the romance anime lovers who need their seasonal fix. There are some surprisingly good aspects to the show, which allow it to easily overshadow the major downfalls like the male cast. The humour in the beginning does help set this up to be an enjoyable series but like always expect to see some major drama. So if you’re into this type of romance anime then make sure you check it out.
True Tears was an anime adaptation of visual novel of the same name. Although, I’m hesitant in calling it an adaptation as True Tears the anime has nothing in common with the game. The story, characters, setting, and even the themes employed are different from the game version, with the exception of the name. I was initially excited a few years ago when I heard about it, but when I heard how poorly the game was received I had extremely low expectations. Thankfully, the anime was also extremely different in terms of quality.
The story itself is extremely
typical of the romance genre. However, it is told in an extremely realistic and down-to-earth manner. Just reading the summary of True Tears gives one this impression. In addition, so are the characters, you won’t find any goddess, aliens, espers, or time travelers (and no, I’m not making a Haruhi reference) here, instead our cast is filled with normal people. I sometimes forget that I’m watching an anime as they rarely use animation conventions, such as speed lines, exaggerated expressions, etc. So one may wonder, “why should I watch this, the summary and even you are saying that it isn’t a very unique story?” Well, it is true, I won’t deny that, but what makes True Tears are the incredibly deep and complex character as well as the extremely subtlety in which the story is told.
First, True Tears is told in an extremely consistent manner with near perfect pacing. After a few episodes, once the introductions are done, the story builds upon itself and has a satisfying conclusion. However, True Tears has an interesting story structure. For True Tears the climax and the falling action, or the ride down, didn’t happen all in the last 2 episodes. Instead the climax of the various story threads happened around episodes 6-8 thus, giving them plenty of time to resolve everything. However, not all of the story threads exhibited a very smooth falling action in particular, the main one and thus True Tears suffered a bit near the end. Nevertheless during episodes 9-13, all of those threads were resolved, with the major ones being resolved during the last episode. Although this can be seen as a negative as it doesn’t keep the excitement up till the end. For many single kour anime series the climax happens in the 2nd to last episode (2-3 before the end for 2 kour series). Once again this makes thing exciting up to the end but it puts too much stress on the last episode to resolve everything. Because of the way the story was told, True Tears didn’t end with a bang, instead it ends with on a whimper. It is possible for True Tears to end on an extremely dramatic note, but it wouldn’t be true to itself. That is a very down to earth, subtle anime.
As for the characters, True Tears is more of an ensemble than a harem, as there are 6 major characters (3 male, 3 female) with a focus on Shinichiro, Hiromi, and Noe. Also, despite there being 6 major character and 13 episodes they all had sufficient character development and depth. In addition, all the characters are flawed and very much human. These are characters I can identify with and understand. However, because of this it makes some characters not as likeable. In a way, the characters are painfully too human. In addition, the character that really surprised me was Miyokichi, the seemingly token male friend. Characters like this are primarily used as comedic side characters, for example Sunohara in Clannad. Miyokichi is nothing like this, he received quite a bit of depth and complexity reserved only for main characters in most other series.
Another big surprise was the quality of the animation. PA works was a completely unknown studio and produced something on the level of KyoAni. In some ways surpass them on certain aspects. For example, in the basketball scene in Clannad (by KyoAni) uses many speed lines, a perfectly normal anime convention to convey high speed/movement, not just KyoAni, most studios do this. In True Tears the players actually move and the use of the camera is something akin to what I like to call, Itano circus for basketball. Not only that the world in True tears is very much alive, as there are people, animals, etc that are constantly moving in the background. Sure they use CG for the people walking in the background but it is done in a way where its hardly noticeable. Also, the attention to detail that PA works put into True Tears is beyond ridiculous. For example, the snow, the way it is spread is extremely realistic as well as being realistically dirty. However, the most definitive scene for me was the dance near the end of the series. Not only are all the dancers different they are just slightly and realistic out of sync. As for the art, it was actually pretty unique, most of the time there is a slight softness in the backgrounds. Not on the same level as Honey and Clover but enough to give it a slight picture book feel. Another distinct point in the art was the use of dramatized shots that look exactly like Shinichiro’s art book. This is something that kind of bothers me, as it stood out too much. It is possible that it is relates to the picture book Shinichiro is writing, either way I wasn’t too fond of it. Is PA Works another KyoAni? Maybe, we’ll have to see if they can keep up the quality.
Sound and Voice work was quite exceptional and kept with the overall subtlety of the series. Music is held back and is rarely in-your-face. The OP Reflictia by Eufonius has officially made me a fan of her work. As for the ending, nothing special, the chibi characters walking across the screen was…interesting. It feels a bit out of place considering the overall tone of the series. The voice actors did an amazing job and in particular I was quite impressed with Hiromi’s VA. Her VA did an amazing job conveying the sadness and restrain of Hiromi.
I only have one real complaint for True Tears. As I mentioned above the falling action for the main story thread wasn’t very smooth. This is because I believe the writers got trapped into a classic romance convention. That is holding off who the main character picks until the very end and this is perfectly understandable as they want to keep the viewer excited till the end. This is not necessary be a bad thing but it damages Shinichiro’s character by making him indecisive and thus hurting the ones around him. That’s why I wasn’t as happy with the one or two episodes before the final episode. However, its not like we didn’t know what he was thinking and there were clues point in one direction, its just that they kept it a bit too ambiguous. This resulted in mixed interpretation and frustration when one’s predictions failed.
If I had to describe True Tears, I would say “subtle.” Just about everything about this anime is subtle, from the way the characters talk to their actions. This anime will have you constantly thinking between the lines to really understand what is going on. Once again this is both a strength and weakness as some viewers may simply miss important clues. In addition, they employ several interesting themes and metaphors, for example, Shinichiro’s picture book, flying, and ‘true tears.’ I could easily write pages analyzing these themes but, since this is a review on the anime I won’t. So if you are the type to watch anime for relaxation purposes or with your brain turned off, then cross True Tears off your “to watch or interested list”, this anime is not for you. Ok, let me rephrase that, the beauty of True Tears comes from it’s subtly and depth, something that cannot be appreciated by watching on a superficial level.
Finally, let me say that this review is at least twice as long as I planned. I guess it only shows how much I enjoyed this series as I couldn’t stop typing.
If you ask the general public to name anyone associated with anime, they’re almost certain to name a certain director – Miyazaki Hayao. But for anime fans themselves, the director is a crucial component of anime success that’s too often overlooked.
As a genre, romance has been one of the few constants in anime history - fashions and styles may change, but love stories always find their way onto the schedule. But finding a great one is a lot harder than you'd think.