"No matter how wonderful a memory is, there comes a time when you have to move on and start living in the present. Dwelling on past happiness doesn't bring true happiness. You don't need to fill your arms with happy memories from the past. There's plenty of happiness right in front of you. Just reach out and grab it. I want us to look towards the future together." --- Yaya Hanatsu
First of all, this review may contain spoilers (as this is a One Shot it's quite difficult not to spoil anything), so please read at your own risk. That is all.
Past Heaven, the sequel to
Yaya Hanatsu's masterpiece .traeH, is just as good as its prequel, or maybe even better. This chapter covers the background story of Ayumu's past (or past heaven, which the title probably refers to).
The story begins with Ayumu asking Yuu if she wants to come over to her house, revealing to her that she lives on her own. Arriving at her house, Yuu notices that she has a lot of keys, to which Ayumu responds "Yeah... there are some on there I don't use anymore". These, which we discover later in the story, were given to her by her former "girlfriend" Rei. After a bit of chatting, Yuu comments that Ayumu looks cute when she's enjoying her ice cream so much. Ayumu then asks Yuu if she likes her and if she wants to go out with her. After the flustered Yuu, who is a bit taken aback from those sudden weird questions, says they're both girls, Ayumu kindly asks her to leave. The next day, she completely avoids Yuu and just continues to be her usual cheerful self. Then, when Yuu approaches her and greets her, she gives her a cold "...oh, morning, Yukishiro-san". Later, after school, Yuu notices Ayumu sitting by a tree and hears her talking to herself, talking about how she met a girl who looks just like "her", but that she's not the same as "her" and how she "rejected" her. (Also, it seems she smokes...) Ayumu then decides to tell Yuu all about Rei, telling her about the fact that Yuu looks just like her and that she and Rei used to date and kept it a secret from everyone. But, when Rei's parents found out, they sent her away to live on her own in an apartment in another neighborhood. A month later, she got a letter from Rei, which said that her parents wouldn't let her be herself and how she didn't know what she'd need to become to be able to please them. Ayumu then comments that "she didn't even talk to her before she did it", which refers to the fact that Rei committed suicide soon after, and that it's been exactly 2 years now since that happened. Right under the tree she was sitting at, meaning Rei must have killed herself at that spot; the only spot which she liked in her new neighborhood... In her letter, Rei wrote that she wants to give Ayumu a pair of keys (the key lying on the letter is a hint to that), saying that they'll live together once they get older and they'll have their own matching pairs then. Ayumu thinks she's an idiot for that, since there's no point in having it now that she's dead. Though, she confesses that she's an idiot too, because she can't get over her death. And that that is why she moved into her current neighborhood, where Rei lived, all alone... The same goes for her seeming addiction to ice cream, which Rei gave to her when she was feeling down. After Ayumu's long story, Yuu says that she came here to find something out, namely the difference between a friend and a girlfriend. Ayumu answers that this is when your feelings become one with each other, to which Yuu asks if that's how it was with her and Rei and she responds with "......yeah, it was......". Yuu then says that she can't be like Rei was to her. But, that she wants Ayumu to become one with ´her`. And that she wants them to be so close that nothing could ever separate them. The story ends with Yuu commenting that eating nothing but ice cream will make her sick.
Anyway, sorry for the long summary of the story. I just had to do this! This One Shot just needed a small novel adaptation that covers all the important events that occur during this chapter.
But, to keep a long story short, the background stories of both Yuu and Ayumu were just mindblowing. A little dark and sad, but interesting.
And now, to end my everlasting ramble, a little quote directed especially toward Yuu and Ayumu (also in Japanese to the best of my ability): かもしれないお互いのためのあなたの愛は永遠に延長する | Kamo shirenai otagai no tame no anata no ai wa eien ni enchō suru | May your love for each other extend into eternity.
“Past Heaven” is better then the prequel “.traeH”, but not much better.
The place with the most improvement is the art work. The art work is much crisper then the prequel one-shot, and the characters facial features are more defined. In some ways though one might not recognize the characters as Ayumu's hair style's changes since the first one-shot. I'd normally wonder why the style change occurred, but I also recollect how Ayumu looked to much like a character I saw another writer design and thus Ayumu's style is actually now the writer's own.
Characterization wise there are still problems. In this one-shot Ayumu and Yuu
end up switching roles. Chipper Ayumu ends up with the angst ridden personality and Yuu ends up with a more perky personality. Yuu's attitude change can be explained by Ayumu becoming her friend, but Ayumu's is a bit harder to pin down. Her stalker attitude becomes quite manipulative and she shows a darker side. The way Yuu accepts the truth she finds out as well as the way Ayumu treats her after she rejects Ayumu's confesion.
This one-shot continues the mess from the prequel one-shot and makes it worse.