First Impressions – Kimi no Iru Machi

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Let the raging begin.

There are obviously reasons to be interested in Kimi no iru Machi above and beyond the series itself.  It’s hard to think of another manga that inspires the level of sheer venom from the readers – yet something keeps them coming back for more.  Above and beyond that there’s a certain curiosity factor involved whenever Gonzo takes the lead role in a series, a rarity since their financial meltdown a few years ago.

I’m pretty much an outsider to all the insider rage about A Town Where You Live.  I’ve seen the OVA but that’s it; in terms of the anime, I know it engendered yet more controversy by electing to bypass the entire opening portion of the manga (set in Hiroshima) and focus on the “Tokyo Arc” (which seems to be widely hated more than any other portion of the manga).  I know the bones of the story but the premiere doesn’t give much help in terms of premise; frankly if you’re not a manga reader I think it’s pretty hard to figure out exactly what’s going on, though the broad generalities are clear enough.  Whether that’s enough to get any emotional buy-in to the story, we’ll have to see.

Kirishima Haruto (Yoshimasa Hosoya, who seems to be making a career out of provincial dialect roles) has just moved to Tokyo from Hiroshima when we meet him, where he moves in with his irresponsible older sister Aoi (Takahashi Chiaki).  Neighbor girl Mishima Asuka (Sakura Ayane) when she tries to kill him with a baseball bat, mistaking him for a burglar.  Asuka is also a transplant – from Iwaki – and the two of them feud about (among other things) their respective accents (Asuka is far more self-conscious about hers).  We also meet Asuka’s friend Kyousuke (Ono Daisuke) who seems to play the role of the classic popular kid who takes Haruto under his wing and tries to help him overcome his odd personality and fit in.

The truth of all this, of course, is that Haruto has come to Tokyo more or less in pursuit of an old girlfriend from Hiroshima (who herself had come to Hiroshima from Tokyo) though the premiere suggests all that only in Spartan terms.  Things are going to get messy – that’s where the “rage” part comes in – but without any context (I’m not sure a recap ep is going to cut it) I can’t say whether the events that transpire in Tokyo will carry a lot of emotional weight.  As for the premiere itself I admit I was a bit worried for the first ten minutes or so, which had an odd, stilted manner to them.  But the atmosphere grew on me, and in the end the overall impression was modestly positive.  It’s a remarkably conventional-looking show by Gonzo standards, though the character designs (as befits mangaka Seo Kouji) are quite striking.  Gonzo has gotten the supremely experienced Yamauchi Shigeyasu (Casshern Sins, Yumekui Merry) to direct, and his extensive work as both director and animator reveals a consistently interesting and unorthodox visual style.  I’m not making predictions, because this show could end up anywhere on the map – disaster, mediocrity, sleeper – but I’m certainly curious enough to follow it for a few more episodes.

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15 comments

  1. i

    Rage isn't the right word to describe how the masochists, myself included, return week after week to read more. Seppuku is a better one, for either us or the ultimate troll Seo Kouji, the author

    KnIM has three distinct acts. The original and only one that fans ever liked was the first, Hiroshima arc. The second universally hated one begins with this episode and the third is dithering nonsense following it. I don't really read anymore because I like any characaters and nor does anyone else. I read it to fulfill my weekly ecchi manga slot and many others out of a sense to just see it end after 4.5 years of following.

    I can tell you right away Enzo that this is not Natsuyuki Rendevouz, however if anyone might enjoy it someone not versed in the manga would. Simply put the Hiroshima arc is a pure adolescent romance and for that reason the second arc which makes the characters seem puke worthy in-comparison is the main reason it is hated. Not knowing how the characters used to be you'll enjoy it more than the rest of us. I'm now going to go call Assassins to take down Seo Kouji.

  2. i

    Rage isn't the right word. Seppuku is closer to home, for either the masochists, myself included, who read KnIM or Seo Kouji, the author.

    KnIM has three distinct arcs. The now-never to be animated and only universally liked Hiroshima arc, which is a pure adolescent romance; full of bittersweetness. The second begins with this episode and is universally hated because of how it drags nearly every character into the mud, creates new characters that are mud and forgets all the great characters from Hiroshima. The third and ongoing one is an endless spiral of dithering bullshit filler so the author makes more money (Haha bitch I use MangaFox).

    I don't know yet if I'll put myself through the SM torture that is the second act but I think you would enjoy it more than I would. Simply put as you start the series without knowing how good Hiroshima arc was you'll end up hating the characters less. Now I'm off to find Assassins to kill Seo Kouji,

  3. R

    His new manga "Half & half" is quite interesting and unique.

  4. i

    I read the oneshot for it. It seemed interesting from Kouji, considering how Suzuka, KnIM and Cross over went. Still I find Princess Lucia as a better one from him recently, both in terms of romcom and ecchiness.

  5. S

    Looking at the preview, they will be touching upon the Hiroshima arc. Or at least something within the first 9 volumes. Plucking the books off the shelf and rereading the Hiroshima arc really brought me back. It is hard to believe I have been reading this series for so long.

    While it might not be a full tv arc of Hiroshima, we will definitely be seeing the small moments that make Haruto interested in Yuzuki.

  6. y

    Design wise, this is Yumekui Merry (Yamauchi's storyboard, Keiichi Oku's music, and Kenji Matsumoto's backgrounds) meets Kyou, Koi o Hajimemasu (Junichi Hayama's drawing/animation style).

    The biggest news to me is that Gonzo seems to have hired away Naoko Shiraishi (production producer on Gurren Lagann) from Gainax. I wonder if we'll see an injection of ex-Gainax talent on this show.

  7. S

    Are they seriously starting at the Tokyo arc? OMG that must be the WORST absolute place to start this show! I suppose advantage of this is that we don't get to know Yuzuki before so we can't realize that her character was completely destroyed in this arc.

  8. M

    They probably started from the Tokyo arc because it stirred up the readers the most but I don't know how much impact it'll have without the Hiroshima arc,especially for anime-only viewers.

    I like the manga & all but I don't know if I'll be able to say the same about the anime judging by this 1st episode due to the waaaaaay too depressing atmosphere,the "eh…" animation' and the fact that they're skipping out on the VERY IMPORTANT Hiroshima arc.But hey,if I can watch Free! mainly for people's reactions then I can watch this for at least the same reasons.

    Although since you've decided to blog a few eps though,I think my main reason for watching will now be for your reactions,Enzo 😀

  9. S

    Judging by the previews of next episode, it seems like they might do an episode of the events that lead up to the beginning of the Tokyo arc (midway through volume 9). Before watching, I pulled volume 9 and 10 off the shelf and read them. Gotta say, I like the pacing and the voice actors.

  10. H

    Could we PLEASE pull the camera back? We don't need to be up everyone's nose. Every time we look at someone, the scene shouldn't need to pan to just get all of a person's face in it. And enough of the low to high pans.

    I saw the OVA, and I'm familiar with the gist of the story, and if you know that it's going to be "Haruto treats every other character like dirt while he chases his magical pixie dream girl" I don't know how much you can complain when you get that (that's what the whole story seems like, to me). But for me, the terrible direction of the show ("Let's do another CLOSEUP!!!"), combined with what seemed like low detail animation, just really took over as a concern.

  11. I've seen Yamauchi's work, and if you know it's going to be "let's show close-ups of everyone's face relentlessly for 22 minutes" I don't know how much you can complain when you get that. 😉

  12. H

    I don't recall the OVA being that, tho. It certainly wasn't something that stuck with me like this did (other scenes did).

  13. H

    Plus, the only thing I've seen of Yamauchi's work is whatever episodes of SSY he directed. 😛

  14. Could be because Yamauchi wasn't involved with the OVA in any way.

  15. d

    Whenever the lead speaks I hear Arata's voice. Yoshimasa Hosoya's overall tone for both characters is the same, just different twang.

    Have no idea what this is about, but the mood seems appealing, a bit fevered and dreamlike with that thick damp summer air feel running through it.

    One or two years ago I saw one episode of Suzuka. Something similar, but that felt autumnal.

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