Title: True Tears
Company: P.A. Works
Genre(s): Romance, Drama
Air Dates: 6 January 2008 – 30 March 2008
Synopsis: Shinichiro Nakagami is an ordinary high school student except for his talent at drawing. There’s something about his artistic vision that keeps him going back to a teary motif, most likely stemming from a Hiromi Yuasa’s circumstances. Outwardly, Hiromi seems to show no sorrow and is very upbeat and energetic at school, but at home, her demeanor is much more solemn. Her behavior towards Shinichiro is already causing him quite a bit of frustration, and a meeting with Noe Isurugi only increases it further. Noe is different from most other girls in that she’s eccentric, mysterious, and is rumored to have the power to curse others, and yet, she and Shinichiro form a bond rather quickly. As their relationship develops, a tug-of-war ensues, and in the end, Shinichiro must decide what direction his artistic vision should go as well as which girl to open his heart to.
- Excellent use of symbolism to detail the plot’s direction
- Visuals are absolutely stunning
- Music is really absorbing and enjoyable
- Characters are largely unsympathetic and weak
- Noticeable plot bomb near the series’ end
- Ending was poorly executed as it used every cliché in the book to resolve it
Review: True Tears starts out really well and it shows all the promise of being a top tier romance series. Its characters are well-defined, the music does an excellent job of absorbing the audience into the series, and the visuals are beautiful and detailed. The plot is solid halfway through until its execution falters off and the series gets doused in cliché after cliché. While there are a lot of things True Tears does right, its shoddy execution towards the end almost undermines all it had set out to do early on, turning what could have been an excellent show into one that is merely passable.
The characters are fairly well presented because they are defined by the issues that they must contend with. Hiromi has to deal with Shinichiro’s mother’s cold, uncaring attitude, Noe must reconcile her inner feelings and determine what it means to cry, and Shinichiro must decide which of the two girls he loves more. While this plot isn’t exactly innovative, True Tears succeeds at catching the viewer’s interest through the way they frame the characters. Noe, in particular, is fun to watch because of her eccentricities, making her a fresh face in a tired sea of female character archetypes. Her struggles are pretty endearing, especially when she tries to come to terms with her feelings for Shinichiro and when she realizes that his feelings aren’t completely aligned with hers.
Unfortunately, the other characters aren’t up to par. Shinichiro’s indecisiveness ends up hurting both girls and does him no favors. While that sort of behavior is understandable for a kid his age, it’s still frustrating to watch. Even more irritating was Hiromi’s behavior and how catastrophe-prone it is at times. For example, she lied about who she really likes and showed an outward lack of sympathy to the motorcycle owner when his bike got into an accident. Her reaction to that incident was just cold and heartless, and her dishonesty towards her feelings for Shinichiro does little to make me sympathize with her plight.
The writers also make a few missteps along the way with some of the other characters. For example, Shinichiro’s mother’s coldness towards Hiromi inexplicably melts away and Aiko seemed to have been an afterthought because of how little of an impact she had on Shinichiro and the overall storyline. What they did manage to do right was to pace the story well and their judicious use of symbolism ranging from the plot of Shinichiro’s picture book, which served as a parallel to the storyline to the part where Noe’s finger bled, symbolizing how hurt she felt on the inside because of her glove, representing Shinichiro, did not protect her from the elements. Their approach to symbolism really showed a great deal of forethought and it succeeded admirably in complementing the storyline.
Furthermore, True Tears’s animation is extremely fluid and the background art is colorful and detailed. The series doesn’t disappoint in the music either with a lot of background piano melodies blending in seamlessly with the action on screen. And of course, the opening Reflectia performed by eufonius bears mention because it is a soothing and enjoyable piece.
In spite of its flaws, True Tears isn’t entirely without merit. However, they are still problematic enough that I would not recommend True Tears to any but the most ardent romance fans. And even then, it’s not even going to be at the top of the list because there are just far better romance shows to watch.