Posts Tagged ‘Hikikomori’

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (Anime)

July 17, 2011

Japanese title: あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない。
Synonyms: We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That DayAnoHana
Animation Production: A-1 Pictures
Genres: Drama, Slice of Life, Comedy, Romance, Supernatural, Tragedy, Seinen
Number of episodes: 11

Plot Summary: A group of six childhood friends drift apart after one of them, Meiko “Menma” Honma, dies in an accident. Five years later, the leader of the group, Jinta Yadomi, has since become withdrawn and lives as a recluse. One summer day, an older looking Menma appears before him, saying she wants to have a wish granted, though she does not remember what it is. Jinta, remembering his memories of the past, once again attempts to bring his childhood friends together and fulfil his promise with Menma. Wikipedia

To be honest, AnoHana hit me, and likely much of the anime loving community as a bit of a surprise. Anime original works by A-1 Pictures have been somewhat unsuccessful as of late and whilst I enjoyed both Fractale (2011) and Occult Academy (2010), the DVD sales and overall ratings just do not scream success. On top of that, I feel I do not quite fit the target audience of A-1 Pictures more successful adaptations, so I was not expecting much.

AnoHana OP screencap
AnoHana was definitely the sleeper hit of the spring season however, In its first week of release, Blu-ray sales of AnoHana hit rank #1 in Japan, selling over 31,000 copies. It has a very strong rating of 8.84 on MyAnimeList, and a mean rating of 8.9 on ANN. The director, Tatsuyuki Nagai, was responsible for the very successful Honey and Clover II, and the success of AnoHana should probably  be put down to him.

The soundtrack for this show was also pretty fantastic. The opening theme “Aoi Shiori” by Galileo Galilei, and similarly the ending theme were brilliant and very fitting. Additionally, the animation for the show was very fluid and appeared to have a high production value. The animation and soundtrack combined very nicely to produce a very calming experience, and the way the next episode preview was blended into the credits worked a treat. The series is beautiful and unique, with excellent character development that feels consistent throughout. It never drags and I found it relatively easy to watch the entire series back to back without getting bored; every episode was exciting in its own way.

Ano Hana Before and after
The series was very emotional, but it wasn’t until episode 8 and onwards that I started to get a little choked up, and I often found myself on the edge of tears during the final episodes (I don’t actually cry because I am a man). The main drawing point for this anime in particular is of course the characters. But the odd thing is, I found it difficult to find much likeable about any of the characters in question when examined individually. Rather, it is more about the way the characters interact with one another, and how well they each express their emotions. AnoHana did start to feel very melodramatic towards the end, but I think it worked in the shows favour. As an anime original production, and not a manga adaptation, I believe that it shows the advantage anime originals have. You can tell that this was originally produced for the screen and it really shines because of it.

I believe that AnoHana was well worth the watch, but is not quite worth as much praise as it is currently receiving. Part way through AnoHana, it became clear that this show is one very large, complex love polygon. That is not to say that this show is a harem, thank god, but it did serve to frustrate me greatly. I do have a few quirks with the characters of course, and when I thought about it closely this show had a serious knack for annoying me. Saying all that though,I really enjoyed it. It’s the first show in a long time to bring a tear to my eye. If you enjoyed it, I might recommend Honey and Clover, Clannad or Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Download Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai

Me~Teru no Kimochi (Manga)

July 15, 2011

Me~Teru No Kimochi manga

Japanese title: め~てるの気持ち
Synonyms: Maternal Feelings (Maybe?), Maetel’s Feelings or even  Love Laughs at Locksmiths.
Author: Oku Hiroya
Chapters: 28
Volumes: 3
Genres: Adult, Drama, Mature, Romance, Seinen
Serialisation: Young Jump 06-07

Plot Summary: Koizumi Shintarou is 30 years old, a virgin, and has isolated himself in his room for 15 years. He has become a burden on his father, Koizumi Yasujirou. One day, Shintarou makes a proposition that if Yasujirou gets a girlfriend, Shintarou will come out of his room. It turns out that Yasujirou has already made a girlfriend, a young beautiful woman, Yoshinaga Haruka, who is with Yasujirou for her own personal reasons.Yasujirou and Haruka decide to get married, but Yasujirou dies on their honeymoon. Now Haruka decides to take care of Shintarou, and so this weird “mother and son” are now living together. – MangaUpdates

I’ll just stick with the romaji name for this one, no one can seem to agree on a proper translation.

Me~Teru no Kimochi is a relatively short, hidden gem of a manga by the well-known author Oku Hiroya. More well-known as the long time author of Gantz, a manga which I am currently reading, and am quite fond of. Me~Teru is short enough to read in a single sitting and deals with hikikomori as a subject. The main character is an extreme example of a shut in who, since his mother’s death 15 years ago, has locked himself away in his room without once setting foot outside.

Me~Teru No Kimochi Haruka art

When his father dies from cancer his new mother-in-law, a beautiful 22-year-old girl moves in to take care of him out of devotion to his father. The plot summary sounds like the perfect set-up for a questionable hentai or ecchi manga, but do not be put off. The girl is sweet and attractive, and the manga works out to be a very heartfelt romance and drama. There IS a single sex scene in volume 3 but the scene itself was not particularly explicit and it did serve a purpose, additionally, the manga barely showed a single hint of ecchiness up to this point.

The premise for this manga is fairly simple; the reclusive man is slowly helped out of his shell and into a more normal way of life by the beautiful, sweet and caring girl, and eventually becomes happy. The story is a little out there, certainly, in that it is unbelievable that a young and beautiful girl like that would marry an old man and go on to take care of his 30 year son, and the author certainly left his own personality stamped on it, but the struggles of the main character can really be understood and felt. I really empathised with the main character. Whilst I myself am not (strictly speaking in all manner of the word) a hikikomori, I often struggle with the same kind of deprecating thoughts.

Of course, Me~Teru No Kimochi was created by the author of Gantz and the single sex scene in the final volume should have been expected. It did however feel like a slightly unfortunate turn, the beautiful innocence the story portrayed to that point just seemed to crumble, but it felt necessary for the story to move forward. Additionally the ending felt a little rushed, but again with only 28 chapters to work with I think it was unavoidable. It did leave me wondering whether this series got the attention it deserved with the mangaka working on Gantz at the same time, but despite that, the ending, and consequently the manga felt very satisfying as a whole.

Me-Teru No Kimochi chapter 3 Haruka

The artwork is very appealing. Ain't Haruka pretty?

The artwork is definitely appealing, Haruka is drawn particularly beautifully, and it is easy to see why Shintarou fell for her. I particularly enjoyed the way her eyes and hair were drawn. Now, I do not believe that everyone would enjoy this manga. I feel that women would probably not enjoy it, and that neither would properly socially adept males, but, if like me you can relate with the main character, you will certainly find it involving. Additionally, if you are a fan of Gantz, I feel that you should probably check it out.

Download Me~Teru No Kimochi


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