Episodes: 2 (OVA)
Company: Hal Film Maker
Genre(s): Romance, Drama
Air Dates: 29 February 2008 – 28 March 2008
Synopsis: Makoto, Nono, Iori, and Matsuri had been best friends for ten years when it was announced that their school would be shut down and that all of them would have to relocate to new schools. Before the four went their separate ways, they agreed to bury a time capsule with their precious memories under a tree on school grounds and to meet again in three years. Three years have passed and there had been little contact between the four friends, but somehow, all of them found their way back to their old school, only to find that the time capsule was missing. As they set about to find it, the feelings the four had for one another would surface and the time they spent there would allow them to resolve their past issues with one another.
- Decent presentation of the storyline
- The ending was actually handled well
- Many parts of the plot in which I shook my head in disbelief
- Characters are cardboard cutout clichés and their motivations doesn’t always make sense
- Nono’s voice actress got annoying at times
Review: There have been quite a few shows out there that deal with taboo topics and each of them has had various degrees of success. For good or for ill, the lolicon taboo has not had a decent show to its name. While Yotsunoha takes a step in the right direction, the constraints of its length as well as its other pressing concerns makes it fall short, rendering it merely as a passable romance anime series. It isn’t downright terrible by any stretch, but there are enough glaring issues with this OVA to make the viewer cringe.
Part of the problem with this series is its origin as an eroge, which the viewer can readily identify based on its cast. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of the better ones as far as characters go because by and large, most of the cast is made up of shallow character archetypes. The girls include Iori, a large-breasted but air-headed and clumsy girl, Matsuri, the token tsundere, and Nono, the loli who’s overly devoted to the main character for some unknown reason. It also does not help that Makoto, the male protagonist, is a thick-headed pervert who is so dense and unappealing that it begs the question as to why the girls enjoy his company so much. I suppose that the answer lies in the fact that this is an eroge adaptation where anything’s possible. Unfortunately, it does not change the fact that the characters lacked depth beyond their superficial clichés, making it difficult to really connect with them as characters.
The flow of the story was bit fragmented because the plot relies on flashbacks to give the proper context to the dialogue. Once the viewer has a good grasp of the past events that shape each character’s feelings towards one another, the story becomes a little bit more palatable due to its presentation. My hopes had been pretty low after watching the first episode because of how ridiculous the character interactions were, but I was surprised to find how well the second episode managed to make up for it. The producers did an excellent job of taking the plot progression and working it in such a way that the series flowed smoothly without feeling forced. The way they eased into the ending felt natural and did an excellent job of tying up enough loose ends to make it all satisfactory.
As far as sound direction goes, Nono’s voice very annoying because of how grating it was. Every time she tried to endear herself to Makoto, I just winced in pain at her high-pitched, unconvincing delivery. Thankfully, only her voice was an issue because the rest of the characters were decently voiced. The music also doesn’t stand out too much either, but because it was so short, there was never really much time to develop memorable melodies.
In spite of all the issues that plagued the series, Yotsunoha manages to do a decent job with the material that it has to work with. It was not enough to make it a remarkable series, but given what could have gone wrong, it was not as terrible as it could have been. For a series that presents a loli character as the male character’s love interest, it succeeds at being a simplistic romance series that is neither outstanding nor terrible. Anyone looking for a compelling romance should look elsewhere.