Kimi no Iru Machi – 02

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And so, a taste of the source of rage at last…

Given that my only exposure to this mythology – which includes the earlier manga/anime Suzuka, set in the same universe – is the two-episode OVA from Tatsunoko, the way the first two episodes of Gonzo’s anime were presented is quite off.  Now, when I say “only” that doesn’t include the mountain of complaints from angry fans of the series, which have proved more entertaining on their own than many an anime itself.  But that’s a different thing, and it seems an odd choice not just to distill many volumes of manga into one flashback episode, but to run it after one set in the present.

My big concern – based strictly on my own intuition – is that by depriving the events in Tokyo from all the angst that led up to them, Gonzo will make it hard for new viewers to have emotional buy-in to what’s happening now.  I didn’t have a powerful reaction to the OVA but I do remember liking Kanzaki Nanami (Takao Yuki) better than the female lead, Eba Yuzuki (Nakajima Megumi).  I fully realize that with Kimi no Iru Machi – especially where the TV series begins – that’s like being asked your favorite flavor of ice cream and saying “The Empire Strikes Back”.  Not only is she seemingly irrelevant to the current drama but frankly, it was obvious even to me that she was never in the game even in Hiroshima.  But for whatever reason Eba never did much for me – which makes her presence in Tokyo a bit of a problem, as at this point the story seems to boil down to a triangle featuring she and Asuka (with Haruto of course the third corner).

Fundamentally the question for me as a viewer is whether I’ll care enough to make this adaptation really engaging emotionally.  In its own terms it’s certainly not bad so far, though Yamauchi Shigeyasu’s in-your-face directing style takes a bit of getting used to.  In reality I think he’s a good choice because while the character designs and some of the art are lovely, it’s pretty obvious that this series is being done on the cheap (hardly a surprise, with Gonzo in their current limbo – though Lawson clearly pitched in with a contribution).  At the very least Yamauchi is going to bring a distinct sense of style to A Town Where You Live, which can be a Godsend for a low-budget series.

I think it’s a long shot I’ll blog this show (airing on the weekend doesn’t help this season), but I am going to watch for at least a few more eps to see if I can get a handle on the legendary rage – and if it really grabs me I might even keep blogging it.  Fact is, true, unabashed romantic dramas are relatively rare in anime these days, for all the noise they make – we certainly get interesting romance in series’ like Chihayafuru, but not that many shows where the romance is the whole point.  And overtly shounen romances (not silly romantic comedies) are even more rare.  There are big unanswered questions here, many stemming from the as-yet unannounced length of this adaptation – no one really seems to know what Gonzo’s ultimate plans for Kimi no Iru Machi.  But while I haven’t exactly been entranced by the first two episodes, they’re good enough to keep me trying to get a feel for what all the fuss is about.

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  1. S

    People make the manga out to be a rage fest. I never had that problem, sure there is SOME drama and really stupid deceisions, but the characters are young. I'm sure I've done waaaay stupider things.

    This episode was of course as you say… the "buy-in" to why we should care about Yuzuki. I don't really think they did her justice, nor did they show the charm of the countryside that was talked about in episode 1 of Asuka also coming form the countryside and having a beautiful accent.

    To me, Yuzuki really stood out as "damn shes cute" is when she was getting into the countryside things. Doing stuff like 田植え (Taue / Rice planting) at the beginning of volume 2. Don't worry, the above isn't a spoiler, nothing really happens. Just her being cute.

    I am very happy how they covered the 5/8 of volume 1. Paint me happy but not ecstatic about this show, I'll keep watching.

  2. i

    I have only once ever dropped a show because of animation and in that case it was Sayonnara Zetsubo Sensei which I immediately picked back up. I have never a dropped a show because it had a low budget in the animation department. With KNIM that changes. I don't think I can go through another episode of those close-ups. I love Seo Kouji's art and I wanted the anime to do justice to it but this it too far. It's disorientating.

    I thought the story would force me out but it hasn't been as bad as the animation. Nonetheless I expect this to be a loyal adaptation and so I'm out. If they do actually add an original ending to fix what went wrong in Tokyo I'll pick it back up.

  3. M

    Well,the art is nice but those lip movements are pretty annoying,especially with so many close-ups.But not like that's gonna change so from now on,I'm gonna shut up about that and just try to get used to it.

    However,putting that aside,I thought this episode was pretty good and it gives all the more reason why they should’ve started from the beginning of the series.It reminded me of the time when Yuzuki was pretty liked.If I was an anime-only viewer,she would’ve left a pretty good 1st impression on me.To be honest she was my favorite girl in the Hiroshima arc so it was actually hard for me to hate her even during that infamous part that makes people rage but it still succeeded.Nowadays in the 100% slice of life way of the manga(that won't be animated anyway) I've come to accept her for who she is but that probably goes for most people who are still reading, else we probably wouldn't be able to continue it.

  4. P

    My only concern with this show would be the pacing since they are shuffling around with about 150 chapters into 12 episodes. This episode managed to animate just over 10 chapters, so I think it maybe fine.

  5. I don't think it's been confirmed one cour, has it?

  6. y

    The exact length isn't confirmed, but Blu-Ray solicitations suggest that it'll be a single cour show.

    So far, Reiko Yoshida's adaptation is quite excellent, IMO.

  7. E

    The problem with the anime adaption is, the viewers have no emotional string attached to the characters because of how short timed it is. But I expect it to deliver some rage, at least. Because just like in Suzuka, the characters in KNIM are real bitches.

  8. R

    Yamauchi Shigeyasu's directing style does take me a while to get used to, but it works on me — somehow it gives me a different experience and makes it easier for me to connect with what the characters actually feel. I know nothing about the manga and have very vague memories of the OVAs. I am coming at this show with a clean slate, and I like the subtle narrative and focus on characters this week. Having said that, I am still at the stage of getting to know the characters and will need a couple more episodes to decide if I will stick with this show.

  9. I would say Yamauchi-sensei's direction here is a "whole is more than the sum of the parts" scenario. The individual aspects don't impress – the relentless close-ups, the animation, the background, the strangely stilted pacing. But somehow it ends up being pretty engaging.

  10. R

    That's it, Enzo. I don't know why it works but just knowing that it works — thanks for explaining :).

  11. y

    Yamauchi draws attention to small movements and gestures, which works well in a drama like this. These bits are well animated, but they don't seem to be appreciated by many viewers given how close up they are to the camera.

  12. s

    I was raging alright when they replaced Yuuki and Hayami for no fucking reason.

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