Toradora – review

Toradora

Toradora is a fine anime series about high school life. No the ordinary sort of high school life, but when is high school in anime ever ordinary? Toradora closely follows the life of the two main characters Taiga Aisaka and Ryuji Takasu who happen to be classmates. Also bundled in with the two are their friends Minori Kushieda, Yusaku Kitamura and Ami Kawashima.

The series starts off revealing that Taiga is crushing on Yusaku and Ryuji is crushing on Minori. It so happens that Ryuji is a close friend of Yusaku and Taiga is a close friend of Minori. After getting into some trouble, Ryuji and Taiga agree to help each other reach their love interests. The series follows their life as each try to get the other going with his/her crush but it seems that Ryuji is helping Taiga much more than she is helping him.

After a while, we are introduced to Ami, a childhood friend of Yusaku and the group of four becomes a group of five. At first, Ami comes off as a cold and heartless person with no regard for the feelings of those around her. Also, it is revealed that she puts on a mature face because everybody thinks of her as a mature adult even though she is the same age.

As the story progresses, we see that Ami is starting to develop feelings for Ryuji. She gives it off on multiple occasions but no one around her picks it up. Eventually though, she decides not to interfere with Ryuji’s life and decides not to tell anyone about her feelings.

In the beginning, it seems like Minori is not at all interested in Ryuji. Nearing the end of the series however, it is revealed that Minori does really love Ryuji but is keeping her distance because Taiga needs Ryuji far more than her. Also, at one point, she reveals her feelings for Ryuji, shouting it while running through the school.

Finally, Ruiji and Taiga come to terms with their feelings for one another and almost confesses it but gets interrupted. They decide to run away and Ami, Yusaku and Minori helps them to run away. They go to Ruiji’s grandparent’s house where they meet Ryuji’s mother and come back to their home. At this point, Taiga chooses to leave Ryuji behind to sort out some family problems. The series ends on the note that Taiga also switches school.

If one were to stop watching at this point, it would seem kind of odd and sad that Taiga chose to leave Ryuji. But, at the end of the credits, we see that the two of them are reunited at their graduation day and Ryuji finally gets to confess to Taiga. The series finally ends at this point.

It would seem that the two got reunited and carried forward their plan of marrying. But it’s left to the imagination of the viewer. I certainly like to imagine that they got married and lived a happy life.

Toradora comes to a full closure at the end so I doubt there being a second season. I do however wish that there be an OVA clarifying the events after their reunion. But until then, I’ll keep imagining that they got reunited and eventually married.

Toradora is a fine piece of art and I recommend everyone to watch it. It’s also a good watch for those new to the world of anime and those with a thing for drama. I wouldn’t say that it’s all drama and no comedy but the drama portion sure is weaved wonderfully into it.

Have fun watching.

Your Lie in April – review

Your Lie in April

Your Lie in April is an anime series centered around an aspiring pianist, Kosei Arima, who can no longer play the piano due to a very unique hearing disability, he cannot hear his own playing. Throughout the course of the series, Arima meets and befriends an aspiring violinist, Kaori Miyazono, and learns to play the piano despite his disability. We come to learn about Arima’s childhood, how he inspired several people into music with his piano at a very early age. At-least 3 different people were inspired into music by his playing the piano. We learn that in the beginning, his playing was “magical” and moved everyone. But as he continued to learn under the tutorship of his mother, Arima lost his magic as his mother forced him to play only what is written in the sheet and play it exactly as it was written.

Arima’s mother was suffering from some fatal disease and dies while Arima is very young. Soon after that, he stops playing the piano as he discovers he cannot hear his own playing. Using his disability as an excuse, Arima managed to stay away from the piano although he can never get rid of it completely. In the course of time, Arima becomes friends with Kaori and attends a violin competition she takes part in. He is inspired by her playing and begins to change slowly. Shortly afterwards, Kaori forces Arima to play with her at the second stage of the competition. Although it goes horribly wrong half way through, they manage to put on a spectacular performance.

Kaori manages to force Arima to enter a piano competition, thereby restarting his path as a pianist. At the competition, we are introduced to two of Arima’s rivals, Emi Igawa and Takeshi Aiza, both amazing pianists in their own right. Although Arima is unable to qualify the prelims of the competition, he finds a reason to play the piano during his performance. Arima decides to play for the sake of Kaori and his “magic” starts to return to him. It is later revealed that Emi was inspired to be a pianist by Arima when he played in a recital at a very young age.

After his attempt at the competition, he enters another piano competition where he faces off against his rivals Emi and Takeshi. It is revealed that Kaori suffers from a fatal disease and is hospitalized permanently soon after Arima’s first competition. During the time Kaori is hospitalized, Arima begins to teach a girl piano, it is later revealed that she is the younger sister of Takeshi. During the competition, Arima, Emi and Takeshi becomes very good friends despite their rivalry and helps one another become better.

Nearing the end of the series, Kaori passes away and takes with her Arima’s reason to play. It’s not revealed whether she dies before or after the competition but my guess is the she died before, which is why Arima plays such a sad and lonely song. Before she dies, she leaves a letter for Arima which explains a lot of things that were left unexplained.

Throughout the course of the series, we learn that Tsubaki, Arima’s neighbor and childhood friend, is in love with him. Although everyone else knows about it, the only two people who don’t know it are Arima and Tsubaki themselves. Although throughout the series it was said the Kaori likes Watari, the biggest surprise was yet to be revealed.

The true meaning of the anime’s title “Your Lie in April” was revealed in Kaori’s letter to Arima after she dies. In the letter, Kaori reveals that she was in love with Arima and not Watari. She lied to get close to Arima because she knew that Tsubaki was in love with Arima and also that she does not have much time on her hands. It is also revealed that she was a pianist at first but switched to a violin when she heard Arima play at the recital when they were young. In this way, she could play a duet with Arima on the piano and her on the violin.

At the end of the series, we see Tsubaki confess her love to Arima directly; she did sort of confess her love long before but not directly. It is clear from Arma’s reaction that he also feels the same for her. The series concludes after they promise to be together like they were covered in superglue.

In all, I’d say this is a fantastic series for those who love a bit of drama with comedy. I’d recommend watching Your Lie in April to hardcore fans of anime and those starting out on the road of anime. I personally loved how the series kept us in the dark about the “lie” all the way till the very end.

Your Lie in April is a series with full closure and I do not expect there to be a second season. I would however like to see a few OVAs covering some side stories about the characters or the series in general. I will conclude by review here, and, as always, every anime is great in their own right.

Charlotte – review

Charlotte

Charlotte is a light hearted anime series and a good watch for any time. Nothing bad (except for one permanent death) happens in the series and it won’t too much strain on your tender little heart. I would recommend it for anyone starting out on the anime world. But it’s just as good for seasoned anime fans as well.

Charlotte depicts the story of Yuu Otosaka in a world where adolescent teens have special abilities. Yuu is a part of a group that locates others with abilities and protects them from scientists wanting to experiment on them. In the beginning, it is revealed that Yuu has the power to take over another person’s body for 5 seconds; an ability that is seemingly useless, is revealed to be the most powerful ability as taking over an ability wielder results in Yuu gaining the subject’s ability.

The story progresses fairly similarly in the beginning episodes. The group will go about locating new ability wielders and stop them from using their ability in whichever way they deem necessary. In most cases, the ability is taken away by Yuu when he takes over their body for one reason or another. Some episodes into the series, we see Yuu’s younger sister Ayumi die when her ability becomes unstable. However, a few episodes later, Yuu travels back to the past and saves his sister from that fate. If the effects were permanent, the death of Ayumi could be seen as a tragic event. We see Yuu get his memory, of a life that he lived in another timeline, back (which should be impossible) and find out about his real power (plundering other’s ability). He then meets his older brother, who has time leap and uses his ability to save his sister.

We experience some heartbreaking in the last episode when Yuu, in his mission to save every ability wielder, forgets about everyone. The effect is compounded when he is unable to even recognize Nao Tomori. But the fact that he returned unharmed (other than his memory loss) and that he had the gift Tomori gave him makes us ever so happy. In the end, we see that the whole group is reunited and enjoying the return of Yuu.

In short, Charlotte has a happy story with full closure and we can rest our hearts and minds that everything turned out just fine. Yuu and Tomori is back together, and according to their promise, they are now a couple. I would also imagine that Yusa and Takajou will form a cute couple some time in the future. And, since there are no more ability wielders left, Yuu, Ayumi and their brother Shunsuke would be able to live together as a family once again.

I would like to see an OVA of their lives after the events of the series. But, even if that does not happen, I can have peace of mind that the story has ended in all right and everyone is living a happy life.

The feeling that Charlotte leaves behind is quite different than that of Angel Beats. Whereas in Angel Beats, we are left with an overwhelming heartbroken feeling mixed with happiness; Charlotte leaves us with a general feeling of happiness and fulfillment.

 

Image is taken from the Wikipedia page of Charlotte.

Angel Beats – review

Angel Beats

Angel Beats is an anime that is a must watch for any anime lover out there. It takes one on a very bumpy feels journey through it’s 13 episodes and leaves the viewer in an extremely heartbroken state. Do not watch if you recently had a breakup or anything like that. I don’t judge between different anime and I believe that each and every one is extremely well made and amazing in it’s own right, but I have to say, I really liked Angel Beats. This review is a few years late but meh, whatever.

Angel Beats starts off pretty abruptly. Otonashi wakes up with an amnesia and he finds Yurippe who asks him to join her battlefront. The viewer, at this point, will scratch their heads and try to make sense of what’s going on, just like Otonashi does. Also, a lot of background information is missing in the first few episodes but one gets a general idea pretty soon. The first 2 episodes are fairly normal, just like any other anime. We get an idea of some of the character’s past. Yurippe’s past is the most disturbing of all the characters whose past has been revealed in the anime. By episode 3, the big feels guns are pulled out with Iwasawa disappearing at the end of the episode. Although we were not given enough time to get attached to Iwasawa up to the extent where we would feel really bad though.

Soon after the disappearance of Iwasawa, we are introduces to Yui, actually, at the very beginning of episode 4. Her first impression was not as effective as one might expect but, time has it’s way of changing things. I was happy to see Kanade being accepted as a friend by the battlefront despite the past differences.

Soon after Otonashi gets his memories back, he vows to put everyone at ease with their past. At first, this doesn’t seem like a very bad idea. They were all stuck there because they weren’t at ease with their past. What’s the harm in helping everyone attain peace with their past one would ask. The problem becomes apparent once Otonashi actually manages to complete Yui’s dreams and put her to rest. We experience the first major heartbreak in the series with Yui disappearing from the world. By this time, we had more than enough time to form a strong attachment with Yui and the circumstances of her disappearance combined with the song at the end of episode 10 is enough to put anyone into tears. FUCK YOU FEELS. I’M A MAN. A MAAANNN I TELL YOU.

From this point, the series becomes somewhat fast paced and we see some combat with “ghosts”. Nothing very special happens from this point till the end of the series. The ending puts us all in an extremely high speed feels train. The feels go from being very happy for the 5 remaining members to extremely heartbroken in about 30 seconds. At the end of the series, after Yurippe, Hinata and Neoi have left, we see Otonashi confess his feelings for Kanade. (Note: We are still feeling somewhat happy at this point despite seeing 3 members disappear.) At this point, Kanade reveals that she’s here to say thank you to Otonashi for giving her a heart and allowing her to live longer. This is where we board the mother of all feels train and witness Kanade reveal her feelings for Otonashi and then disappear, leaving behind a crying Otonashi. (Note: We are extremely heartbroken at this point). The series seemingly ends with Otonashi staying behind. It’s not until after the credits and the song (don’t listen to the ending song of the last episode if you don’t have a box of tissue nearby. And, again, I AM A MAN.) It’s at the very end that we find out that Otonashi did pass on at some point after the events of the episode. This is indicated by him disappearing from the group the last and after some delay. Also, after the credits end, we see a reincarnated Kanade and Otonashi walk past each other and Otonashi seem to recognize (for lack of a better word) Kanade by the song she’s humming (“My Song”, Iwasawa’s last song).

The ending of Angel Beats was particularly sad, however, we do get some comfort from the fact that all of them passed on and was at ease with their past and that Otonashi and Kanade were given a chance to live a life together. I would also like to think that Hinata and Yui were also given that chance and all the members of the battlefront were reincarnated and living a happy life. But, since the main ending was pretty heartbreaking, it’s difficult not to feel sad when you think about it.

Angel Beats is a series with full closure and I don’t think there will be a second season that will continue the story. I would like to see some OVA or movie that takes place between episodes 12 and 13. We never got to find out the life stories of the other core members of the battlefront and how they passed on. This is something I would like seeing developed in the near future. This is something I’m waiting with great anticipation for.

Sometimes I will open up a few episodes to watch, particularly episode 5. But I don’t think I can re-watch the entire series any more, even though I’M A MAN.

 

Hope you all have a great day, and a box of tissue if you plan on watching this amazing series. Also, click here to go to my Angel Beats playlist on YouTube.