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Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete – 01

「失われた未来」 (Ushinawareta Mirai)
“Lost Future”

The first thing that willll strike you about Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete is how generic it is. It’s a visual novel adaptation and is keenly aware of it, playing on all the tropes we have come to know and (perhaps) love. Most of this episode was dedicated to character introductions, specifically, the Astronomy Club (which, curiously enough, seems to do very little astronomy). By order of appearance: our cookie-cutter male lead is Akiyama Sou (Terashima Takuma), who’s the only member with any interest (and only interest) in stars. Sasaki Kaori (Takada Hatsumi) is the unfortunate childhood friend with an unhealthy strawberry addiction. Hasekura Airi (Mizusawa Kei) is the club president who solves problems with violence because it has no repercussions. Hanamiya Nagisa (Tamiyasu Tomoe) is the manipulative senior with social influence. Taidarou ‘Kenny’ Osafune (Yamaguchi Kappei) is the luckless male wingman defined entirely by his foreign status. Of course, there’s also the semi-relevant supporting cast who struggle to even have names. Those of you familiar with Japanese entertainment media, especially visual novels, will have seen all these archetypes before. Even the fanservice is uninspiring fare. But really, the tried and true is not a bad way to start. Things go predictably, but solidly. The character designs are pleasing and personalities fun. The budget is modest, with the art going slightly QUALITY now and then, but generally adequately animated. With the orientation nailed, we can start doing development, introduce a love triangle, all that good jazz.

That’s until they run over a female lead with a bus.

The first 21 minutes of the episode was essentially bait, a ploy to lull the viewer into a false sense of security. A fake-out? Of sorts. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien immediately comes to mind, but in that anime the accident defines the entire narrative of the show. In Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete death seems to be a condition easily reversible. Or maybe it’s time that’s easily reversible. Steins;Gate, anyone? Well, we don’t have definitive proof of a Groundhog Day scenario yet so it could also be something like the Little Busters! route structure. But that would mean…wait, was that the entirety of the Kaori route? Surely not! I know we only have twelve episodes to work with and that’s not a lot of time, but an entire route in less than an episode would surely be a record breaker. Not to mention we’ve had no actual closure on Kaori as a character. This won’t be the first time a visual novel adaptation has brushed over a character in favour of the main route, though. As if to drive that point home, yet another rival appears, in a fashion that really is reminiscent of Steins;Gate. That, or Terminator, once she makes demands for Kaori’s clothesIsn’t it sad, Kaori? This is the fate of all childhood-friend-types. You get the confession in first and you still lose. Your competition cheats.

Searching for the future

I know I flagged it somewhat in the preview, but I’ll say it clearly this time: Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete is likely more than it would seem at first blush. This first episode should make that apparent, and not just because of the sudden traffic mortality. The episode is bookended with hints of science-fiction elements, but I don’t think this anime is going to focus on sci-fi. I haven’t read the original visual novel so I don’t actually know, but a story with time travel, no matter how it’s done, does not necessarily need to be sci-fi, in the way one shouldn’t consider a story like, say, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time to be sci-fi. Yes, let’s not beat around the brush—time travel is our big conceit for this narrative. The science isn’t important, but time will be a major theme. Consider the prominence of dates (assuming it’s not just an artefact held over from the VN) and the focus on clocks. And let’s not forget the metaphor on stars that Sou casually drops near the beginning of the episode. Even though we see the light of stars shining in the present, they may already have passed away long ago. And Sou? He loves stars.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「Le jour」 by 佐藤聡美 (Satou Satomi)

Preview

End Card

October 5, 2014 at 10:28 am
40 comments »
  • October 5, 2014 at 10:58 amcruiser2710

    Ok… I’ve seen the H scenes and normal scenes from the VN screen caps and I must say, all the 3 girls except for Kaori pretty much behaved the polar opposite of what I thought them to be. Thought Nagisa acted more like Airi and vice versa.

    Next episode… Furukawa Yui appears. I have this feeling she’ll be Yuki Nagato type character.

    Anyway, just asking, do you guys find that the artwork to be rather weird? Can’t exactly put my finger to it. Also, the transition from Misaki Kurehito artwork to the screen is really backward. Transition from Huke and redjuice artworks to the screen feels that it does justice to the original artwork

    • October 5, 2014 at 12:40 pmMgMaster

      Anyway, just asking, do you guys find that the artwork to be rather weird? Can’t exactly put my finger to it.

      With the male characters mostly. Then there’s the animation which made me wonder at times if it was actually a well-done CGI.

    • October 5, 2014 at 1:33 pmHanover Fist

      The artwork felt a bit off to me as well; I also had the occasional feeling I was watching CGI.

      Admittedly, not every show gets Production I.G on visuals, but this seemed worse than average for even feel’s animation. Compared to, say, Outbreak Company or like last season’s Jinsei this looks like a show on a tiny shoestring budget.

      However, I’m still quite intrigued and very interested to see where the show will take us. I just wish they allocated a bit more resources to the art.

    • October 5, 2014 at 1:41 pmShiden

      Anyway, just asking, do you guys find that the artwork to be rather weird? Can’t exactly put my finger to it.

      My anime club has been calling it “half CGI”. But yes, it is very odd.

    • October 5, 2014 at 7:36 pmMakise Kuristina

      I highly doubt it’s half CGI

      • October 6, 2014 at 3:24 amSayberdess

        Perhaps it’s CGi that’s traced over? It looks far too much like CGi for that to be unrelated to this whatsoever.

  • October 5, 2014 at 11:00 amanonymous

    First! I enjoyed this episode and am looking forward to next week!

  • October 5, 2014 at 11:19 amAnemone

    To be honest, I’m pretty disappointed with the visuals. I think it’s the combination of thick lines, lack of details in the character designs, bright colors and lazy animation, but it looks more like an anime from 2004 rather than 2014.

    Not like that is necessarily a bad thing per se, but the original artwork is among some of the most stunning I’ve come across in visual novels, so I guess I was expecting a bit more?

    • October 5, 2014 at 11:40 amanonymous

      That’s exactly what I thought! That the animation quality looks like something from 2004 not 2014. I hope the story makes up for it.

      At least we got some action in the first episode. Those were some nice kicks :D

  • October 5, 2014 at 11:25 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    Definitely a lot of QUALITY, but my curiosity will be keeping me watching for now.

  • October 5, 2014 at 11:33 ambelatkuro

    Childhood friends almost never win ;_;

    • October 5, 2014 at 11:45 amanonymous

      Okay, so I get that they are childhood friends. But why are they living together?!

      • October 5, 2014 at 11:51 ambelatkuro

        Standard anime reasons I guess. Either parents are dead or overseas and neighbors opted to take him in. We’ll probably find out later on.

  • October 5, 2014 at 11:45 ammikazuki loser

    this is from an old Vn right ?

    • October 5, 2014 at 1:59 pmRatamono

      Only if you already consider 2010 a long time ago
      http://vndb.org/v4880
      I’d recommend checking out the VN for the visuals alone.

      • October 5, 2014 at 4:36 pmmikazuki loser

        Thanks

        wow the visuals are really different…

  • October 5, 2014 at 12:19 pmLexus

    Love Airi <3
    Just pick her Sou!

    • October 5, 2014 at 10:12 pmcelebrinen

      I’m a fan of Mizusawa Kei too. A lot of love for Airi.

  • October 5, 2014 at 12:43 pmMgMaster

    What can I say? I liked it but I’m rather disappointed at the low production values and the fact that it’s a bit TOO generic since I kind of hoped that this would be a hidden gem but it sure doesn’t look like one from this premiere.

    Should still be a good show though,or at least I hope so and will stick with it till the end.

    • October 5, 2014 at 1:07 pmlaaa

      Was very generic at for most of episode and then death time turned back and got very mixed feelings about it
      Well lets see what next episode brings

    • October 5, 2014 at 1:56 pmYogghii

      Even though the quality kinda sucks, the characters keep their appeal, which is most important IMO.
      But it seems like this is the season with big budget differences. We have this and Sora no Method (terrible audio) and on the other hand we have Fate/stay UBW.

      • October 8, 2014 at 10:53 pmTechnopolis

        Grisaia no Kajitsu and World Trigger as well. I actually think the drop in art quality maybe even more in those shows. Kinda sucks…I’d rather them not make the animes if they aren’t going to give them a proper budget.

  • October 5, 2014 at 2:42 pmLitho

    The dude’s a shoe in for the seasonal Most Insipidly Annoying Protagonist Award, that’s for sure.

  • October 5, 2014 at 3:01 pmPatchy

    WTF is with the art. A good story is wasted on it.

    • October 7, 2014 at 12:47 pmKF

      Is it that bad? It seems fine too me. I actually think it was kinda good. Why did you say that?

  • October 5, 2014 at 4:00 pmMormegil

    Well, the hook at the end sure forces people to watch the second episode. If it weren’t for that, it would have been a boring first episode.

    • October 7, 2014 at 2:04 amTripleSRank

      To be honest, I may have dropped it outright if it wasn’t for the end. I thought it was a bit much to be throwing such a plot-significant event at us before we even know the characters, but eh. It is what it is.

      I do appreciate the optimism in the blog post, though. I’d like to think I’m being too harsh and it’ll turn out better than I expect.

  • October 5, 2014 at 4:38 pmlegwkio

    Man. The art is BAD. It looks like it was made in Flash or something. I hope that it’s just a one episode thing because the preview picture for this was gorgeous.

    Well, I did watch UBW right before this so I may be a little harsh.

    • October 5, 2014 at 6:58 pmName (required)

      agreed especialy when you compare to the CG

  • October 5, 2014 at 6:00 pmRyuuzaki

    err. eeh? what? did she really die? that ending sequence made me confused. i guess watching this at midnight is not good for your mind, and by the way, the art is just terrible.

  • October 5, 2014 at 6:57 pmOchomo

    I thought I was watching Rumbling Hearts at first and then became Stein’s Gate… guess I’ll see this anime to the end, it was pretty interesting.

  • October 5, 2014 at 8:53 pmProfChaos

    Ofcourse she gets hit by a bus at the end. A confession in the first episode never goes well. I was hoping it would too, Sou’s reaction to the confession was great, although his character was kind of… boring? I really didn’t see any “special” from him, he felt like an average guy who should had been in a support role instead. Overall I’m going to continue watching.

    Oh yeah and animation is low quality…. got to endure

  • October 6, 2014 at 7:32 amSkarfang81

    Going to go out against the grain here and say I actually liked the art style in this one – it felt different. Something hard to put your finger on but I found it refreshingly different

    Going to make this one a weekly watch

  • October 6, 2014 at 4:23 pmDivinelite

    I enjoy the first episode, the art is good for me, in fact I love it

    Only the downer is the sharp turn after hospital scene then it changes to last scene that it makes me, “what? What happened here?” it has no transasion at all

    • October 6, 2014 at 4:24 pmDivinelite

      *transition

  • October 6, 2014 at 7:14 pmJuan

    Kimi ga Nozomu Eien <— The show really felt like it, and not just the infamous bus accident but the tenor leading up to it

  • October 7, 2014 at 8:50 amKazuki

    i kinda like the art, although I didn’t quite understand the ending. can anyone help and explain what happened?

  • October 7, 2014 at 12:39 pmKF

    Wow! This is amazing! You got me!

  • October 7, 2014 at 10:01 pmAnnyms

    My first impression of Sou was meh. I can understand why Kaori likes him, but I have a hard time understanding what would make him a love interest for the other female characters. He doesn’t really have anything about him that really sticks out to make him appealing I guess.

    As for that bus accident, about halfway through the episode I had this eerie feeling that someone was going to die. The way the events unfolded was just off to me and I just got this death flag vibe in my gut. Once the confession scene happened, I just knew something would happen to Kaori…and well she got stabbed by that death flag real good.

    The pseudo-CG is a little distracting at points. I can see how it would be more cost efficient to animate it this way, and it’s done fairly well. The only issue is there are points where it’s really obvious and it sticks out because it’s usually a cut in between two shots that look very non-CG.

  • October 8, 2014 at 7:02 amSalbazier

    Well, I’m dissapointed in the change in the visual design -because the VN art is what draw my attention to it the first place- but still, I’ve been curious for so long about this VN’s story (lack of japanese and some amount of laziness in playing hamper me from finding it from the first source) so I’m really glad to she this getting an anime. From the first episode this seems going to be live up to my expectations.