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Oct 29, 2020
A UNIQUE SLICE OF LIFE

It's a quiet story that takes place in a modest Japanese household around the middle of the 20th Century (deduced from the stuff in the manga). It's very gentle and delicately drawn, and in it a sensitive book-loving girl approaches the end of middle or high school (probably the latter), and is soon to transition to work. As the big change begins to loom, she is reading a tranlated 19th Century novel. She reads it everywhere, at home, at school, and on the way between, and finds it captivating.

All around the girl as she reads, ordinary life plays out, and the read more
Aug 13, 2020
I read the manga about 5 years ago and found it delightful in the beginning and deeply moving later. I was glad to see the many details of the traditional life of ordinary Japanese people in the period leading up to and encompassing WWII, and I loved little Suzu and her artistic development and sensibility.

The art is memorably sweet and evocative of the fragility of young girlhood, and the main character is one of the most lovable I've experienced in manga simply because she is so honest, simple, and unaffected. The manga's depiction of the way of life of ordinary Japanese people in the period read more
Aug 13, 2020
I liked the manga better.

I read the manga about 5 years ago and found it heartbreaking. I was glad to see the traditional life of ordinary Japanese people in the period leading up to and encompassing WWII, and I loved little Suzu and her artistic development and sensibility. I recommend the manga most highly.

The anime retains most of those virtues in its introductory portion, but much truncated and disjointed, so that there is little time to get to know Suzu, in actuality one of the most lovable and humble characters in manga and anime. But I couldn't tell that in the anime version, maybe read more
Jan 31, 2020
Haibane Renmei is something really unusual in the anime world.

Anime is almost always created with fun for the audience as its prime goal. That's fine. That's it's media niche. But sometimes an unusual creator get to realize a private vision of his in an anime, and something extraordinary results.

This anime is one of those times. And it does nothing less than take on fundamental recurring issues of human life—in this case, how do we deal with the Awful Threesome: shame, guilt, and despair. I couldn't believe all that could have been gotten into a fun genre, but here it really has been.

At the same time, read more
Dec 30, 2019
It's a jewel!

There are two broad kinds of stories in the world. Fun ones and realistic ones. The second kind is rare in manga because most of it that gets translated is aimed at children and teenagers, and is meant only to amuse. Sometimes, though, someone translates a bit of real seinen, and this is one of those rare cases.

This is the story of a teenage boy coming of age during one steamy summer, and it's fascinating because it demonstrates how innocent Japapese boys are! We all know that, really, due to the fact that most of the boys in manga are completely passive in read more
Dec 4, 2019
This series is great in a unique way.

It's about a shy and quiet girl who likes to draw, and so joins her high school art club, and finds a bunch of friends as a result. That's the whole story. On the surface, that is—but there's a lot more to it really. The true story of this manga is of the feelings that come and go, Sora's and the other characters', as they go through the most sensitive period of their lives.

In other words, this is a slice of life manga of the most sweet and delicate kind. Only manga, and no other form of read more
Nov 28, 2019
THE most touching anime I've ever seen. I first discovered it almost a decade ago, and recently re-encountered it on YouTube. It's power comes essentially from the contrast between the lil robot's fragility, known from the beginning, and her clearly parental feeling for the male character. (Note the generic name given for these robots in the anime sub.)

The terrible fact that we and all our loved ones are going to die makes all of us humans, even the young who are the main watchers of anime, carry a hidden wellspring of sorrow at that fact of inevitable loss, whether past, of our parents, or future read more
Sep 28, 2018
This is an entry in the "cute girls doing cute things" category, but deviates from that category in several ways that make it special. First, they're really little girls, not yet in school I think. Second, they have a really neat fantasy that the share: They're protectors of the town, specifically of Ueno Park and environs. Put these two factors together and you get the rare "kids say the darnedist things" result.

It's a great result. At first I though this would just be a CGDCT standard, but pretty soon instead of just lying back and watching the cuteness, after a couple of episodes I was read more
Sep 22, 2018
I read a lot of Japanese manga and watch some anime, but the trouble with most of the anime is that it falls into various familiar formulae designed to appeal to teenagers and young adults. Since I'm an old adult, not much of the anime appeals to me. However this is one very big exception!

If you happen to be interested in astronomy I think you'll find it very moving. Ditto if you often read post-apocalyptic stories in any form, and also if you've been doing any thinking about how life will be when robots routinely move among us.

It's a little jewel, and I still read more
Aug 2, 2018
I revived my MyAnimeList account just to write this review after just having finished the manga, because I think some manga lovers will skip it through misunderstanding of what it is, and as a result will miss a great story.

This is not a standard manga, whose purpose is to provide fun light reading, mainly for kids and teenagers. It's more like a long serious novel, whose purpose is to move adults emotionally—in this case by telling the story of how several characters grow into adulthood. That's a big job, and I imagine Toume Kei took it on in part because she knew her drawing skills read more