Yuuhi Katagiri is not your average girl – she's the treasured daughter of the Katagiri family. She's generally kept under strict supervision, but one day ends up walking home from school on her own. This proves to be instant trouble when a group of boys start harassing her. Junichi Nagase, who was on his way home from a convenience store, sees the troubled Yuuhi and comes to her rescue. One of the boys recognized Junichi as the famed "Geno Killer" and they dash off. Yuuhi thanks Junichi and when she asked for his name, he just waves and leaves. Of course, he regrets trying to act cool in front of the beautiful girl right away, wishing he asked her name.
The following day, a transfer student joins Junichi's class – it's Yuuhi! She calls Junichi out as the "Geno Killer", the only name she remembers him by, and rumors about the two spread quickly. Matters are made worse when Junichi kisses Yuuhi due to a misunderstanding. And on top of all that, it turns out that Junichi is Yuuhi's fiancé!
Yuuhi doesn't see Junichi as someone worthy. But, she could not go against her father's wishes. The only thing that Yuuhi can do is live with Junichi in the house he shares with his little sister Minato, and prove that Junichi is not worthy to be her husband. Will she succeed in proving his unworthiness, or will she fall in love on the way?
Seriously, is it that bad to find this show entertaining? One can argue this is a typical slice of life, school, harem anime with typical character types and predictable story and you would not be far off. But, if you don't LIKE watching things like this, why are you watching it in the first place? Akane-iro is geared to the 'veteran' otaku who love specific voice actors or character types, or enjoy when different flags get triggered (like hot springs, school festivals, or costume changes) aka: fanservice. You can only watch so many different slice of life harem comedy titles to realize if you
like this particular genre or not. This genre lends itself to a lot of off the wall stories and anyone expecting something "realistic" will realize a true "anime" (aka normal anime) is not realistic at all. Which is why certain things feel obvious after you watch title after title. Why do you think there are 1000's of anime titles, but only about a few dozen genres. As for me I am a fan (not a raging fan mind you) of these types of anime. I am pretty sure I am not the only one in the world that found this entertaining for what its worth.
Just like in life, if you expect one thing and get something else, you're bound to be disappointed. Watching this with an open mind, you will realize that Akane-Iro ni Somaru Saka is actually a very entertaining and funny anime. Like most slice of life school comedy harems, a premise is presented at the beginning of the show, which is usually far fetched but bound for some form of entertainment. If you read the anime summary you'll get the gist, but it does generate enough laughs and surprises to keep you entertained for 12 episodes. An amazing feat that many fail to miss is that 8 of the 10 characters get relatively large amounts of airtime for every episode. With that, the story seems to progress relatively quick and seamless. Sometimes you won't realize the episode is over before you know it.
A big reason you get sucked into this anime are the character-types and voice actors lined up for this show. Alot of A-list seiyuu like Rie Kugimiya, Aya Hirano, and Wataru Hatano, headline the cast of characters. Big fan's of seiyuu like these, will be surprised at how well they lend their voices to these characters. Its inevitable that one will grow attached to one or some (all?) of these characters. Yeah yeah, you've seen these character types everywhere else, who the hell cares? The whole point of having these character types is to have a great chemistry between all the characters and this exceeded my expectations with flying colors (whatever that means). Fang-tan, ahoge-san, and company are all there, the comedy is pretty good and and the drama is just as good as well. The drama doesn't show itself too much to get in the way of the comedy aspect of this series but it is a warm welcome from the 'incomplete' dramas like the ones that never come to fruition (Honey and Clover, 5cm/s, etc). Characters progress perfectly fine in this story. You'll feel happy for some and sad for others, that is the nature of drama. In other titles that may get annoying but its perfectly fine in this series. One other thing that I highly enjoyed about this series is that the main character in the center of the harem, Junichi Nagase, was actually not a bad guy. Sure he might have his moments, but overall he was very outgoing and more "realistic" compared to most other male harem leads. Even the scenes when he's battling his conscience were especially funny.
The production value is actually very high compared to your typical anime. The art design hardly ever faltered and never felt like a rushed product. Some people might be put off by the floating hairstyle of some of the girls, but I didn't mind it one bit. The details they put in to all the characters including the background characters is something to be commended. Every scene is filled with either characters or static objects. What does that even mean? That means when there isn't a close up of characters talking to each other, theres usually a large amount of detail to panning or zoomed out shots. Passed out cooks in a kitchen, well placed furniture in Minato's room, or Nagomi''s computer setup are good examples that show enough detail to keep every scene busy and with some depth. The art is far form being perfect but for what its worth, it more than does the job. On top of the great voice acting and art direction, they even have character music cd's available for each character and even give previews of their songs in the form of a new ending song for each episode. Sure it may be a gimmick, but you can't deny how great they can sing and how they managed to conjure up a few dozen songs just for this show. There are also a few drama cd's to supplement your fix of akane-iro after you're done with the series. It seems like the producers thought of everything short of a video game for this show.
I never felt this was a waste of my time or got annoyed by the characters. Actually this is one of the more complete cast of characters that I have seen (out of 400 titles). I don't think I need to mention Code Geass, Hayate, TTGL, and Death Note but I will anyway since most of those characters made me rage at how many of them left many cliffhangers or a feeling of "needing something". Despite being a typical harem comedy anime, it's the small things that kept me wanting to watch more. The segments of Junichi's conscience and the analogy between Junichi's parents and the gang's current situation were pretty funny imo.
As far as slice of life/harem/comedies go this is easily one of the better ones. Its compete in almost every way. Great character chemistry and seiyuu Amazing amount of detail (down to the nipple, har). All crammed in a 12 episode package. What is not to like? If you don't like harem comedy this will obviously become fodder for low scoring. Especially for the fools who try to find seriousness in comedy... THEY WILL LOSE THE GAME.
Hell, hearing Rie Kugimiya say "Stop licking already and eat me" is well worth the price of admission.
One of the best lines is uttered in this anime too: "If you want to dream, go dream while you're sleeping" Priceless.
Akane-iro ni Somaru Saka is an anime that hurts itself by raising expectations and failing to meet them like clockwork. It goes out of its way to repeatedly build from mediocrity only to plunge itself back down to the point where you wonder why you even gave it much of a chance. It's someone jumping out of a 3 story building and landing on concrete, only to climb back up and jump over and over again. Until the person's bones are mush and the series limps to its god-awful ending.
As a series in general, Akane-iro ni Somaru Saka (from here on, Akasaka) is passable, I
would go as far to say it's decent and occasionally enjoyable. Its gaping flaws are grossly magnified, rightly, by its constant, flagrant disappointment of its viewers. Basically Akasaka is not pure bad (far from it) but the parts that are actually good makes the parts that are bad look really bad.
Akasaka is based off Feng's visual novel released back in 2007. The plot revolves around a boy by the name of Jun'ichi Nagase, who attends a prestigious high school and seems to bear some kind of tough reputation from middle school. Think typical harem school comedy male protagonist. There, I just developed the character to the same degree 12 episodes of Akasaka did. Anyhow, a naive aloof rich girl, Katagiri Yuuhi (CV: Kugimiya Rie), transfers to Jun'ichi's school and Jun'ichi, out of some act of divine inspiration kisses her, causing unspeakable chaos. Then, to close out a rather promising first episode and establish a quite original premise, it turns out that Yuuhi is Junichi's fiancee due to an arranged marriage.
Akasaka's female cast is chock full eye-catching and potentially interesting characters. Expectations: high. The series proceeds to do nothing with all but two of the girls. Expectations: failed.
Like many similar anime, Akasaka's plot (the plot is essentially just the premise) takes a back seat episodes 3-10 for some good unrelated episodes of fun. That's fine! It's a structure that has worked countless times. And by all means it can work here. But instead, Akasaka is filled extremely cliche situations solved in extremely cliche ways. For example, Jun'ichi's sister Minato (CV: Hirano Aya) takes Yuuhi shopping in a supermarket to make dinner. Six minutes of pointless dialogue about how amazed Yuuhi is of instant curry follows. We get it after the first few lines! Yuuhi talks about how she eats at home as Kugimiya Rie butchers French Japanese transliteration. She's rich, naive, aloof, we get that. Is it supposed to be funny that Yuuhi doesn't know about instant curry and thinks that her cooks and servants don't either? How overblown does the reaction and enlightenment need to be? There are lots of girls in this anime, some who look pretty interesting. Are we going to get episodes about them? With curry? That actually would be pretty awesome...
Watching anime should never be physically painful, but that's what I felt as this series slowly killed itself. It's the pain you feel a promising show wastes all the good things it had going for it and falls into mediocrity. Akasaka occasionally strikes silver (no gold in this show, sorry) with a few lines of interesting dialogue and good animation, but after every good or decent episode or plot development the series feels as if it has some obligation to make up for it by spewing crap at our face. It's like you're at an amusement park and every time you have some fun, a burly security guard has to give you a swift punch in the gut. The ending begins suddenly in the last 3 episodes and was likewise promising. Too bad the conclusion of the series was so predictable that I might as well have drawn the storyboards myself and the things that you didn't predict either have no relevance to the plot or are so cheesy and/or wrong you're better off not predicting it.
I'm a little harsh on this series because it really is a shame. Akasaka goes to show you how bad writing can absolutely destroy a series with everything else going for it. The art is good, the characters and landscapes are well drawn and fun to look at. Akasaka has a voice acting cast that would remind you of the New York Yankees, with the resulting mediocrity to match. When we have Kugimiya Rie (Shana, Louise, Taiga), Inoue Marina (Chiri from Zetsubou Sensei, Yoko from TTGL), Aya Hirano (Haruhi, Konata, Misa from Death Note) and Tanaka Rie (Chi from Chobits, Sugintou) in the same anime, we're going to be excited. I had my eye on this series ever since voice actors were announced and some art was available.
In the end, the voice acting was pretty good but by itself it cannot save a series. The music (besides the terrible OP) is good. It better be good when you have five voice actors with best selling seiyuu albums on your staff. Should there be an OVA about the supporting characters I would most likely flock to it with expectations held high. I've heard that the game this is based off was really cool. Too bad I can't say the same for the anime adaptation.
There are some shows that really have no business being bad. Akane-iro ni Somaru Saka is one of those. When you look at the talent gathered for this series it practically reads as a who’s who of seiyuu talent. Unfortunately it is that talent that is one of the few bright spots in what is otherwise a pretty dismal series.
The story unfolds as your standard harem anime. I always find some of the ridiculous situations these writers come up with quite hilarious. A spoiled rich girl ends up living with a pair of siblings (not related by blood of course,
more on that later) who just happen to not have any parents around because they are busy being John Steed and Emma Peel. Of course our rich girl, Yuuhi Katagiri hates our hero Junichi but announces anyway that they are now fiancées. I wonder if this kind of stuff really happens in Japan, because it happens an awful damn lot in anime and manga. So despite me really wanting to like this at the beginning, this show has managed to get itself off to a bad start with me.
However I did start to become pleasantly surprised as the story unfolded. Slowly we are treated to a pretty sweet little romance as Yuuhi and Junichi develop feelings for one another, confess and start down a path I felt was leading to a lovely romantic ending. That’s when they screwed it all up to hell. It’s going to be damn hard for me to express my disappointment with the turn this show made about halfway through without giving away too many spoilers. But it involves the ultra moe sister Minato and Japan's obsession with incestuous relationships involving close family members. Yes the anime does take great pains to point out that Minato and Junichi are not biological siblings. That’s not the point; your blood isn’t the only thing that makes you family. If you’re raised as brother/sister you're brother/sister, regardless of what your birth certificate says. In no way should siblings who know they are siblings be romantic interests. Even though this is a harem romance with many possible choices for the lead to make it very clearly becomes a choice between Minato and Yuuhi. It’s creepy, disturbing, and completely disgusting.
As characters, there is nothing particularly interesting about the three leads. If you have one harem you’ve seen this one. I only found the mains compelling for about the first half of the series before Minato became a love interest. I did find most of them likable in the beginning just not original or inspiring. The supporting cast has little to recommend either and is largely just background scenery. Probably the silliest characters of all are Minato and Junichi's parents as their various spy stories are told throughout the series. These have nothing to do with the main plot and feel totally out of place and stupid. I think it was supposed to be clever and witty. Fail.
As I mentioned, Akane-iro does a great job with its voice cast and music. We are treated to quite a bit of songs, as there are a lot of ending themes sung by almost all of the seiyuu who do singing work. It’s a shame that the story and dialogue were not on par with their talent. I am not a huge fan of the art though. It reminds me a lot of CLAMP, tall way to thin characters that are just too "beautiful". Big eyes, cutesy hair accessories, and gravity defying bosoms and boys who could easily double as girls if you have those boobs and skirts dominate.
In the end this series was a prime example of how to waste great acting talent with a clichéd story, lackluster production values, and creepy plot elements. Giving it a 6 is probably generous to how disappointing I found this series as a whole, but I really did enjoy the first half of this anime a lot. If you simply must see every harem romance out there and are not bothered by incest then by all means watch this. Everyone else should just steer clear and avoid the disappointment.
Director [clapping his hands]: Okay, people. The next anime we're going to produce is Akane-iro ni somaru saka. Now, before we start production, I want everyone to play the visual novel and list out every event and trope that you believe should be included into the anime version. You have one week to complete this game.
[One Week Later]
Director [looking around the room]: Alright. I want everyone to hand in their lists. [Everyone begins to pass their list to the director.] Okay, thank you. Now, here’s what will happen. A few assistants and I will now tally up the tropes that
should be included into the anime version. The tropes with the most tallies will be included into the series. Only the top 20 tropes will be included. Thank you, we will see you in a few hours.
[Several Hours Later]
Director [clearing his throat]: After, tallying the results, we have found 20 tropes that everyone in this room can agree with. Here are the tropes:
– Bland and Boring Protagonist.
– Your Soon-to-Become-Fiance Living at the Protagonist’s House.
– Younger Sister in Love with Protagonist.
– Childhood Friend in Love with Protagonist.
– Rich Ojou-Sama in love with Protagonist.
– Best Friend Helping the Protagonist.
– The Student Council Involved with Protagonist.
– Violent Tsundere Character abusing the Protagonist.
– Dinner Involving Curry and Rice.
– Supernatural Events.
– Typical ‘Test of Courage’ Event.
– 'Resisting the Urge to Look at Naked Girls’ Event
– Random Mechs and Action Scenes.
– Lots of Fanservice (i.e. swimsuits, boobs, underwear).
– Home Sick Event.
– Hidden Porn Magazines.
– Cultural Festivals.
– Maid Cafe.
– Mountain Resort with Hot Spring.
– Incest Ending.
Director: I want all these events and tropes into this anime series. Next, I want the tsundere character, Yuuhi Katagiri, to be voiced by Rie Rugimiya. Also known as the ‘Queen of Tsundere’.
[The Head Producer looks at him with an unsurprised face.]
Director: Don't look at me like that. I mean, come on, Yuuhi Katagiri is rude, abusive, and not very honest with her feelings. The only seiyuu that performs tsundere characters perfectly is Rie Rugimiya. Then, I want Aya Hirano to be on board, as she's a famous seiyuu with high credibility and does excellent voice overs for both soft-spoken and loud-spoken characters. In this case, she will play as the soft-spoken character Minato Nagase with special hidden abilities and talents.
Head Producer [raising his hand]: What about animation and story?
Director [thinking]: Have little background details as possible, mainly focus on the school, Nagase's home, and lots of random scenes with snow. Next, have minimal facial details for each character, make them almost similar to each other. Keep it simple. Then, I want each of the girls to have a different hair-style with bright hair colors, mostly brown, pink, yellow, gray, etc. But, lastly, I want every character to produce an exaggerated expression for every action.
Director [taking a deep breath]: Now, for the story, I want it to be simple. Nothing too complex or deep, make it sightly predictable, except towards the end. I wants lots of random filler episodes in the middle and then, add many main story points towards the end. Keep the dialogue and interactions simple, mainly discussing about food, love, and reasons for why all the girls love the protagonist. Finally, add some stupid comedy that might or might not make the viewers laugh and then, add many random supernatural events to which there is have no reasonable explanation.
Head Producer [looking shocked]: If that is what you want, then I’ll do it.
[He stands up and heads towards the door with everyone else. Suddenly, the director stops him.]
Director: I forgot to say. Keep it to only one season, no sequels. And have one OVA, which is mainly filled with fanservice material, so we can pander to the fans.
Head Producer [looking relief]: Now, that is what I want to hear. I’ll get to work, right away.