I confess I was unsure about this series after the first episode – not turned off by anything especially, but no attachments to any of the characters and not especially hooked by the premise.
Well, the second episode was definitely better. In large part, I liked Junichi much better after this week. Not only was he thoroughly adorable in his pining for Haruka, but he showed a real sense of humor and quite a bit of intestinal fortitude in his continued pursuit of her. It’s pretty much essential to like the male lead in a series such as this, because the focus is going to shift from girl to girl so often (Kanon is a perfect example of a successful variant). We sort of get a new definition of “puppy love” here – Haruka loves puppies, and Junichi gets further than his sempai had by resembling one in his longing for her. It’s pretty charming stuff.
These adaptations of dating sims are tricky things. Often constrained by the rigid demands of the form, I find myself irritated when the focus shifts just as I’m getting interested in the relationship. And I do find myself getting quite interested in Haruka and in her relationship with Junichi. She’s clearly out of his league, and seems to make quite a habit of turning down confessions. But Junichi seems to have gotten past her guard, just a little. I loved the scenes in the library and the walk home, and I love how Junichi is so straightforward and guileless in his feelings. That’s what’s weakening Haruka’s resolve.
On the other hand, I don’t especially find Miya interesting or likable, and I sincerely hope we don’t see a true brocon situation developing there. And we don’t know enough about any of the other girls to know if their arcs will be as interesting as this one – or more. Inevitably, even in a good example of this form, some will fare much better and some will lag and fritter away some of the series’ momentum. On that note we’ll just have to wait and see, but for now I’m liking what I’m seeing, It’s refreshing to see a series where teenagers actually tell other how they feel about each other.