The protagonist, Kouda Mikako, is a student of "Yaza Gaku". Specialising in fashion design, Mikako dreams of becoming a fashion designer with her own brand. Living next to her is her childhood friend, Yamaguchi Tsutomu. Even though they have been close since they were young, they share a platonic friendship. However, Tsutomu has been gaining popularity, especially with the girls, because he seems to resemble a popular vocalist from a band and somehow, Mikako begins to see him in a different light. This is a story about how youths cope with dreams, love and friendship.
I might as well write a review of this anime since I was the one who provided (most of) the raws, translated it and reviewed each episode at least three times before it was released, which in my opinion counts for at least something.
Well, as much as I am loathed to put labels on what are clearly three-dimensional characters, here we have a show where Ai Yazawa pretty much presented us with what could be a psychological profile of a tsundere before such a term even came to existence. She's brassy, full of herself and can sometimes be unfairly cruel, but that is
just a front she she feels she has to put up in order to shield her vulnerable side.
Yes, it would be convenient to say Mikako is the way she is because of the childhood trauma of a divorce (and what her Mom did afterwards). But alas, the reason behind her disagreeable personality is artistically anticlimatic. That is simply the way she is, as is evident from the flashbacks from her childhood and later when she becomes "honest with herself." This is the place where I feel the anime succeeds because we become too used to seeing the lead female character who is cutesy, klutsy, timid, moe or whatever stereotype that is supposed to appeal to the regular anime audience. She is truly one of the more variated full-rounded characters you'd find in any narrative.
The main drawback from this show, like a lot of the shoujo anime that aired around that time (Marmalade Boy, Kodocha) is the number of episodes. I really believe they could have more effectively told the story that they presented if they instead aired around half the episodes. Of course I am talking about filler episodes that sometimes introduced inconsistencies (***spoiler****e.g. why would Mikako be unable to sell her wrong-sized clothes at the second flea market if she was able to sell out all those exact same clothes at the first flea market?***spoiler***), but that is a minor quibble compared to the parade of episodes that occupied the middle featuring a love triangle between three supporting characters. They could have easily settled that matter in a handful of episodes, but they stretched it out over at least ten episodes, padding those with situations based on uselessly masochistic self-abnegations so contrived that my suspension of disbelief almost never recovered.
But thankfully, it didn't overtake the main story of the show, which was the real draw in the first place. It's clear the creator had a lot of fun with her inaugural anime adaptation and it shows through her somewhat unconventional artwork and character designs. The whole thing sort of reminds me of "Doug". The animation certainly shows its age, although it's pretty solid for what was shown at the time. For those who are expecting the quality put into Yazawa's other two animes by Madhouse Studio, be warned that you've been spoiled.
The music, mostly provided by Mikako's seiyuu Rumi Shishido might be an acquired taste for some (for those who don't like unsteady singing voices), but it grows on you, at least it did for me. The story, as long as it focuses on the two main characters, is pretty solid-grade work as it navigates you through the ups and downs of a teenage girl trying to cope with her contrary personality. As for enjoyment - well I wouldn't have spent at least 62 total hours going over the series if I didn't enjoy it. So in the end it would have received a higher grade for the story and characterization if it weren't for the mostly repetitive fillers.
I started watching this because I am a fan of Yazawa Ai. I was so happy to know that she has done a number of manga's and anime's other than NANA or Paradise Kiss. I loved Paradise Kiss so much but did not know that it is a sequel of Neighborhood Story or Gokinjo Monogatari. I had to rewatch it because Mikako, Tsutomu, Rika and Norijii were all in Paradise Kiss. I love how the character's Yazawa creates are all in the same dimension because you really feel like your favorite characters are getting older but still living their lives as if they are real
people. Such uniqueness from Yazawa.
Now I wasn't too thrilled with seeing the opening of this anime because it looks so old, the characters are drawn in a funny way, none of the female characters have boobs and the music was kind of blah. But, somehow, you get hooked on the show and start to enjoy it without realizing.
Story is great. I love that everyone is in a Art school. Each character has goals and aspirations that are different from typical anime out here so I enjoyed that. Also because I can relate to most of the characters as well. Mikako wants to have her own brand and sell her handmade clothes. Her friends study, work hard and make everything that they by hand to sell at the flee market. It just goes to show that hard work really pays off! There's a lot of love triangles that takes place in this anime. It might become too much at times but just follow along. Great story. You see the characters unfold when the time is right and you get to learn a lot from this anime too.
Of course the art isn't all that great but it doesn't matter because the story and plot is what keeps you watching. Also, I realized that even though the females are drawn a certain way and don't seem to have womanly features such as breasts, hips and thighs, they are still beautiful in their own way. Especially with the several fashion ideas and clothes they wear. I kind of liked that because you don't have to draw a busty woman just to make her look sexy. It's all about the personality of the person, or in this case, the characters.
Many of you aren't going to like the music. it took me awhile to get used to it but I grew to like it.
I love the characters mainly because it's a creation of Yazawa Ai. But also since I am a big NANA lover, i like to think that Mikako is Hachi and Risa is Nana, Risa's boyfriend is Ren and Yuusuke is Takumi.. But that's just me and my fantasies lol I grew to love all the characters even though some of them annoyed me. Mikako annoyed me through half of the show because she is actually a tsundere character to the fullest. But I learned to appreciate and love her and her personality because most girls go through the same feelings and thoughts. Everyone has thought of something that isn't true or loved a person so much but couldn't tell him so you be mean to them for no reason. Or when you see your lover talking to someone else you get jealous. Mikako goes through so many emotions that you learn to love because she is like most people, even yourself. There's a lot of ups and downs in this anime and in the end, it will be all worth it.
I enjoyed this very much. I liked the story, I liked the characters, I like how creative everything is and the journey of a young girl trying to sell her fashion brand clothes, with the conflicts of relationships and family. Yet she still tries her best to become successful. Her and everyone else in her group. It's a bitter sweet kind of anime. The one thing I hate about this anime is the filler episodes and the constant flashbacks. Sometimes it would be so long and so repetitive that it can take up half of an episode! So, its ok when you know when to skip a few minutes but all in all its a pretty good watch.
I was going to rate it a 7 at first but after finishing the show and looking back on it, the story was really great. Especially for an anime back in the 90s with a story like this. I really enjoyed it and to everyone that has seen Paradise Kiss, please watch this anime and watch Paradise Kiss again. You will enjoy it 10xs more because now you fully understand each character and the message being sent about women, aspirations and goals, and conflict with love and family. Thank You.
Randomly found this anime while I was browsing through the old ones (before the year 2000). While the art style seems to turn me off, I still give it a try because it also felt unique at the same time.
When I first started this anime, it felt so weird seeing that they all look like stick figures that just got a little bit more touch and all, but after a while I got use to it. It didn't take that long either for me to get hooked to this anime.
It's simply addicting, it is not cringeworthy to watch but maybe you will find it weird
for how some characters talk, but that is their character. The story itself is funny, not too serious but at the same time, you can feel what they feel, they really bring out your emotions and suddenly feel empathy with this character. As you dig in through the anime, you will notice that they have a misunderstanding from the beginning, this makes us, the viewers, to continue watching further. Just to see how the story ends. While I may have issues how Mikako talks, but that goes the same for the older ones that I have watched as well.
This anime also teaches us some morals like, "Don't judge a book by its cover". Although we already know this so many times, this one emphasizes that more, like Mikako's friend Risa, who likes to wear goth clothes, it's actually kind-hearted person, or that the fact Jiro who looks like someone that does disco, is actually a gamer and a programmer.
Aside from their personalities, the way they used the music fits way too much. When I first started, I was surprised that they used an English song that pretty much fits the atmosphere. Think that was the one that got stuck with me the most, and I just couldn't wait to finish this anime.