OP: 「センチメンタルラブ 」 (Sentimental Love) by みみめめMIMI (MimimemeMIMI)
「追いかけて」 (Oi kakete)
Kimi no Iru Machi certainly has quite a repute – its popularity is utterly beyond doubt, but the series’ eminence as a romantic drama is often bracketed with the very definition of rage, mania and relentless exasperation. The whine and carp that exists among its fanbase are as clear as a bell, but that doesn’t stop them from coming back for more. In fact, it seems like the series has carved out a niche in its very own right, and the off-the-chart relationship dramas that prevail have undeniably become somewhat of a raison d’etre for A Town Where you Live! It should be made clear though that such bluster-inducing attributes were not especially apparent in its premiere, and the character expositions were surprisingly tranquil and peaceable – no signs of commotion, cattiness or even theatrics just yet! Kirishima Haruto (Hosoya Yoshimasa), the male protagonist of the series, is right at the center of attention and at first glance, he appears to be a fairly run-of-the-mill archetype of the romance genre – he’s attentive, handsome, a great cook and seemingly pretty lucky with the ladies! That said, there’s obviously more to Haruto than meets the eyes and it would not be an exaggeration to call him a man with a baggage – one that most likely weighs a ton! Haruto has recently moved to Tokyo – a five-hour Shinkansen ride from Hiroshima – in search of a girl, Eba Yuzuki (Nakajima Megumi), who is presumably his old flame and someone that he shared an extensive history with back at his hometown! The exact status of their relationship has not been made conspicuous and there’s definitely not a whole lot we can say about them at this stage – a flashback next week should shed some light on the lowdown of their past, and it’s probably safe to assume that the relationship did not end on a particularly amicable note!
Speaking of Yuzuki, the supposed female protagonist of the series was, for the most part, absent from the premiere. While her presence was felt early and throughout – mostly as a subject of verbal exchanges, Yuzuki’s physical advent or any of her substantive characteristic has continued to remain somewhat impalpable for now. Make no mistake about it though, the female side of the story was most definitely alive and kicking, and we have Mishima Asuka (Sakura Ayane) to hold the fort in Yuzuki’s stead – as the second female lead and presumptively a potential love interest for Haruto! Asuka has made quite an impression to say the least and she is unquestionably a fascinating package of contrasts. The softball ace is the embodiment of a tomboy through and through – not only did she arbitrarily attack Haruto with a baseball bat, she also packed a rather sharp tongue, marked with a splitting sense of acidity! But concealed beneath her hard-hitting temperament, therein lies a completely different Asuka – sympathetic, reserved and a bundle of nerves! In fact, Asuka was so self-conscious that she refused to speak for her entire first year, just because she was put out of countenance with her Iwaki accent!
What we saw this week is probably just a simple preface to the stage-setting – the calm before the storm, as the secrets, stupor and melodrama are laid bare one by one! The overall first impression of Kimi no Iru Machi was certainly pleasant – there is no doubt a stylistic throwback to the visual sense and this episode would not have looked amiss if it was aired in the early 2000’s.The director of the series, Yamauchi Shigeyasu (Shin Sekai Yori, Casshern Sins), has always shown a penchant to venture into some pretty unconventional cinematography and I especially like the art direction that was presented here – drips of rain in puddles, reflections from a helmet, sky colors that reflect the emotional backdrop and the ever-so-majestic “food porn”! Speaking as a huge fan of Suzuka and Cross Over – both of which are excellent work by mangaka, Seo Kouji – I’m definitely interested to see where Kimi no Iru Machi goes from here. Haruto and Yuzuki are obviously the focal points of the series, and the “love geometry” that branches out from those two will most likely be the very crux that drives the show forward – Asuka has already taken quite a fascination in Haruto and it’s certainly conceivable that she might turn out to be a viable love interest. Then there’s a slew of side characters – Kirishima Aoi (the beautiful Takahashi Chiaki), Kazama Kyousuke (Ono Daisuke), Kaga Akari (Kouno Nana),Yura Takashi (Masuda Toshiki) and Eba Rin (Fujita Saki) – who could also have prominent roles to play in the ensuing entanglements. Needless to say, that can only lead to more tear-jerkers, commotion and heartbreaks – which are, of course, the very essence of dramatics that a fan of romance revels in!
- Pro tip, learn how to cook if you want to get a girl – It worked for Haruto and I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve impressed more than one with my prowess in cooking!
- Yuzuki and Asuka are both attractive in their own ways – My vote has yet to be cast and I have a feeling the shipping war is going to be exceedingly intense!
- I’ll take Aoi aneki over those two any day – I’m huge sucker for the onee sama type and she’s definitely right down my alley! Plus, Aoi’s voiced by the Takahashi Chiaki (IDOLM@STER’s Azusa), who is not only a looker, but also an excellent singer!
- Yuzuki is voiced by Nakajima Megumi (Macross Frontier’s Ranka Lee), that could give her an edge over Asuka when I finally make up my mind – Yes, I’m a seiyuu nut, sue me!
- White pantsu spotted – I’m not quite sure if the color fits her spitfire-like personality! How about black?
- Asuka looks great no matter what she’s doing, even when she’s drinking miso soup – Positively delicious!
- I sense some malice and cattiness from Rin – A great romantic drama is always in need of the quintessential bitch!
- Sorry for the slight delay in putting up this post. I’m on the road for work at the moment – 6 cities in 2 weeks! Shameless plug – I’ll be visiting my alma mater, Princeton University, this weekend to catch-up with some old friends. If any of my kouhai who reads RandomC wants to meet up, I’m happy to buy you coffee. I can be reached through email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
tl;dr: @SeishunRC – Kimi no Iru Machi 01: The calm before the storm – as the secrets, stupor and melodrama are laid bare one by one! Welcome to “A Town Where You Rage”! #Anime
Full-length images: 06, 09, 11, 13, 14, 16, 25, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34.
ED: 「君のいる町 」 (Kimi no Iru Machi ) by 桐島青大(CV: 細谷佳正) [Kirishima Haruto (CV: Hosoya Yoshimasa)]