I present to you Kimi no Iru Machi, the romance mindfuck series at its greatest.
Kirishima Haruto is a Hiroshima local who suddenly has to deal with a freeloading Tokyo girl staying at his house – Eba Yuzuki. Over time and after many complications, the two profess their love for each other on the day Yuzuki has to move back to Tokyo, promising to stay in a long distance relationship, something which Yuzuki’s sister Rin doesn’t believe will work. When Haruto visits Tokyo along with the rest of his class, he tries to meet up with Yuzuki, but finds it hard to do so given their difficult schedules. Kanzaki Nanami, Haruto’s previous crush asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend to impress another friend, but when Yuzuki sees them holding hands, she breaks off the relationship, realizing it will never work.
Kimi no Iru Machi is one of my favourite manga series, as well as being the series with the most complicated love situation I’ve ever seen in an anime or manga, so I had to cover this no matter what. Anyway, at one point almost every chapter was a major mindfuck that resulted in some amazing plot twists, but it’s been pretty mellow for some time now – even so, I was very interested in seeing how they’d create a two-episode OVA with an incredible amount of material that would all be worth animating as a proper seasonal show. So I’m assuming that anyone reading this post is a fan of the manga, since you won’t understand much otherwise. And if you don’t, then go read it right now! You won’t be disappointed.
Anyway, their method is…interesting. Starting off with the ice flowers scene (a redux was done a few manga chapters ago) then moving to the first Tokyo trip while using flashbacks to tell the story in Hiroshima was pretty clever. I loved the inclusion of the famous bike riding scene, complete with Yuzuki’s hair blowing in the wind as the calm music played. Kanzaki’s slapping incident (mmm, Kanzaki) was done pretty nicely, though I think a bit more development on Haruto’s former crush on her would have helped. And though it might have been hard to do, I would have had immense respect if they managed to describe the love situation at the time.
Here, I’ll show you: Yuzuki liked Haruto, who liked Kanzaki, who was unsure of herself at the time. Akari liked Kanzaki’s brother, who liked Yuzuki, who was also liked by Takashi. No I think it might have been a bit more complicated than that, but my memory isn’t so good now. *Highlight for Spoiler* In Tokyo, Haruto, who eventually grew to like Asuka, liked Yuzuki who liked Kazama who died, meaning Haruto could dump Asuka for Yuzuki. He did.
Their tendency to focus on scenery shots with people zoomed out in the middle was slightly annoying as well as the sometimes dodgy art, since it meant it was harder to take good screencaps. I got a few nice ones though, of Yuzuki and Kanzaki in particular. Also to non-manga people, I felt the portrayal of some characters wasn’t what they could have been. Rin got more of a cameo than anything, Kanzaki was shown as an annoyance (though she isn’t really) and Yuzuki isn’t that much of a saint. I understand there’s only a limited time though, so hopefully this gets built on more in the 2nd OVA.
Similar to works like 5 Centimetres per Second, the main focus of the OVA was the highlighting of how difficult a long-distance relationship is. Even a simple thing like meeting up near the Tokyo Dome can be messed up, and it’s a pretty realistic incident even though this is an anime. I knew the unexpected train meeting was going to happen before it did, and Yuzuki’s smile then was pretty painful. It doesn’t end up affecting too much in the course of events; just another misunderstanding that got resolved in the end.
The main thing missing was Asuka-chan, who I still believe should be paired up with Haruto no matter what. I won’t spoil it, but she’s such a good girl, even after all the complications involving Yuzuki that Haruto gets into. I forgave Yuzuki in the end actually, so you won’t be getting any Yuzuki rage from me. It depends on how far they want to go with the 2nd OVA, it can be pretty much anything if they jump a bit more ahead and keep using flashbacks. The OST in particular was stunning, and quite reminiscent of Tenmon’s music style actually, with that epic nostalgic feel. Overall a good start, definitely looking forward to seeing more get animated.