|Mult, Lemm, Aoi, Shih, Akar, Tomo, Seri, Koto|
|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Let me be perfectly upfront and say that it was hard for me to care about To Heart. Sure, I've seen enough dating sim titles lately and I do like watching slice-of-life anime titles now and then. But the way things work out in this title with the plot and characters was quite problematic for me.|
My biggest issue with the characters was that they lacked a great amount of personality. Akari was always cheerful. Hiroyuki was always mellow in his interactions with others. The characters of Key's dating-sim based titles like Kanon and Clannad (TV) showed much more variety in emotions towards various situations than the characters in this series. Then there were also a couple gals thrown into this series that felt out of place with the slice-of-life feel for the series such as the android Multi and the psychic girl, Kotone.
This series is mostly episodic focused around a different event that took place either at school/ home or with one of the girls that Hiroyuki and Akari meet up with. I didn't have a problem with the episodic approach of the series since I've seen such a show before in the form of Seraphim Call. The handling of the plotting in these episodes is a mixed bag. On the plus side, the series mixes around either Hiroyuki, Akari, or both handling the situation that occurs in each episode thus preventing too much focus on the male lead which Key's titles have a habit of doing. On the bad end though, the situations don't have much in the way of tension, conflict, or setback which seemed like sugarcoating for me, especially with how chaotic life as a high school student can be. If I were Akari, I would be concerned if any of the girls my romantic interest interacted with had any romantic interest in him.
I'll give kudos to To Heart for attempting an episodic, slice-of-life approach for its anime adaptation. But the lack of believability with aspects to its plot and characters made me have to endure finishing the series.
Last updated Monday, July 14 2008. Created Monday, July 14 2008.
|Rent 4||8||8||9||8||7||9||Devil Doll||[series:142#752]|
[Score: 82% = Rent+ but the sequel is better. Other recommended Romance Drama animes with a touch of SciFi: Video Girl Ai, Chobits, Shuffle!]
Art & Animation are fine, despite the heavy use of stills in certain scenes; I like the faces (Lemmy and Akari remind me of Kareha and Kaede from Shuffle!), and no awkward movement (even the action sequence of episode 4 worked). The Music is completely unimpressive most of the time, including both J-Pop songs of which the ED's vocals are particularly horrible while the OP at least ends with a decent howling guitar solo. But during the later episodes there were several scenes where suddenly the music begins to play exactly at the right moment to emphasize the climax of the instant, which is something I like very much.
Amongst the Characters, Shiho is quite unnerving - but all the other sidekicks are likable at least, and unlike other game adaptions they're not completely forgotten once their dedicated episode is over. As for the leads, Hiroyuki may be sleepy most of the time (not unlike Lamune's Kenji) but he has a heart of gold, helping out anyone who's in trouble; Akari-chan got excited about a triviality in episode 1 but acts quite maturely later on. Despite Hiroyuki being "surrounded by girls" this is far from being a normal harem scenario, mostly because of both leads being late bloomers.
We get to see lots of Slice of Life at school, driven by the side character's feature stories and with the Romance just occasionally hinted at until very late in the series. One main reason why this scenario feels so "fluffy" for me is that it's so un-Japanese: Many of the side characters "stick out" in one way or another, be that Miyauchi Lemmi (the blonde female Semi-American transfer student and Kyudo athlete with the high-pitch voice - a younger Tina Foster without breast fondling), Kurusugawa-senpai (the silent industry empire heiress running the school's black magic club), Aoi-chan (the cute little founder of the school's Extreme Fighting club - sic!) or Kotone-chan (the loner with the psychic ability of predicting misfortune for her friends). These characters tend to be shunned by their schoolmates but receive support and encouragement by the lead characters of this series. (My favourite episode of this part is the one about the class rep.)
During the "Multi" arc this story enters the maid/artificial girl territory but unlike Chobits or DearS this subject is handled completely tastefully and with a slight dose of philosophy without feeling out of place. And the final two episodes gave this series what it was lacking for so long - a focus on the leads and a bit more of drama and romance. Not enough to fix the Series Story from being the weakest aspect of this episodic and barely focused story... but exactly enough to increase my rating to the minimum score for a "Buy". This is a series I will enjoy rewatching, even though Lamune is a bit better.
And if Romance, Drama and Story Continuity is what you're looking for, fear not - the much less episodic sequel To Heart ~Remember My Memories~ will focus a lot more on these aspects than the first season. As for the relation between Akari and Hiroyuki (and for Multi's role in all of this), you haven't seen more than one third of the whole story up to this point, and there's 13 more episodes to come. The real story has only just begun.
Last updated Friday, June 25 2010. Created Sunday, March 02 2008.
Being a Tenchi 'mark' (wrestling term meaning a big fan) and the harem genre, I took a chance on a drama/slice of life series, To Heart. I usually try and convince myself that it was time for me to move out of the comedic/action/off the wall type of anime and try to get a bit serious with the drama type of anime. This is a perfect example of not what to get. To simplify my review, it breaks down to three parts: 1) Story, 2) Continuity, and 3) Character balance. All three I follow to watch a series, fairly. If one of those three have been dropped, I don't continue the series. Two out of the three have been dropped after episode 7. The story is nothing more that a bunch of different episodes with a lot of different characters. Not every episode was following the same theme in which Akari loves Hiroyuki, blah, blah, blah. None of the characters in the series I have seen have really made an inspiring impact. I know that To Heart isn't a harem type, however to add all these characters (especially the fact that it's an uneven balance of girls to boys) without one standing out besides the two protagonists really dull out the story.|
If you're into light-hearted dramas or just some romantic/off-beat type of a series, then I guess this works. However, if you're a harem/comedy type like myself, avoid this at all cost, or at least watch it. I unfortunately found it lacking in story after a few episodes. As far as drama genre fans go, you can keep it. If I want to see a drama unfold, I'll watch Days of Our Lives. In the meantime, this is an 'avoid'.
Last updated Monday, September 03 2007. Created Thursday, August 30 2007.
Mmmm...a title like this one won't be for everyone, but for those who like a little romance mixed with some slice-of-life drama, this is one to catch. For an adaptation of a dating-sim game, it is a good one.
The series centers around Hiroyuki and Akari. From there we get two other good friend Shiho and Masashi. A whole slew of girls are introduced and become friends with Hiroyuki-tachi (tachi= group or friends). As expected for a dating sim spinoff, the girls have a bit of a problem or issue which Hiroyuki, Akari, or both help solve. I think that was a nice aspect of the series. In Kanon, the male lead is the one to solve all of the problems. With Akari there helping solve some problems, it feels more natural, and certainly fits her personality. Plus, despite her feelings for Hiroyuki, she never shows jealousy when he's with other women. I really liked that.
Speaking of the romance, it is not very heavy. We know right away Akari's feelings for Hiroyuki. Hiroyuki enjoys Akari's company, but any feelings he has beyond that don't come through. So primarily we have a story of friendship that over time becomes a little more when Hiroyuki attempts to figure out why certain things are so important to Akari (like things they've done together in the past). Because of this, we get a slow, sweet ride.
I guess the odd thing would be the addition of the android Multi. Horie Yui does her normal good job at injecting cute into the character, but considering the real-world feel to the series, it was odd having a human-looking android coming to school. Still, I liked Multi as well as the rest of the girls that we meet throughout the series.
The artwork is very nice and much of the time, backgrounds are like very good watercolor paintings. It really fit the mood of the series. The animation is average and the music is nice. Everything fits well and matches the series well.Bottom line: an enjoyable, light slice-of-life title that made me smile.
Last updated Sunday, October 17 2004. Created Friday, June 25 2004.
|Buy 4||10||7||10||8||9||9||Kaitou Juliet||[series:142#137]|
This fall (2001), I've been looking for series that are cheerful and comforting, and To Heart is one of the best. It's slow-paced and sweet, with tons of sympathetic characters and no really hateful ones. There's not much angst and even the romance is very understated.
Some people feel that this show is boring because it doesn't have a lot of action or an overarching plot. If those things are essential to you, then you might as well skip this show. It's more like a series of character studies painted in little strokes, and a mostly-realistic look at day-to-day life in a high school. However, there are touches of fantasy that keep it from being totally mundane, from the lonely psychic girl to the cute android maid.
This would be a great series to watch on those days when nothing seems to go right. By the end of each episode, I'd find that I had a goofy grin on my face. And the ending (a two-part Christmas story) strikes just the right note, between a sniffle and a sigh of contentment.
I liked the artwork very much; it was like an animated watercolor, similar to Koko wa Greenwood in that sense.
Bottom line: As others have said, if you're looking for action, don't look here. But for low-key sweetness, this series can't be beat.
Last updated Friday, March 15 2002. Created Friday, December 14 2001.
|Buy 4||8||8||8||8||7||Anonymous #130||[series:142#130]|
Well first of all, I must agree with Jenn-chan, this anime isn't for everyone. To Heart is an anime based on the dating-sim game and stuff. I actually liked this anime, it's not something that is super good or anything (since it doesn't have a real story in it). It's really mostly about a guy and his relationship with all these girls (and they all just seem to be at the smae time). This is a light hearted nice anime and Multi-chan made me feel that way. Dorryyyyyaa~~~
Last updated Saturday, January 27 2001. Created Saturday, January 27 2001.
To Heart definitely takes things at its own pace. It almost defines its own style for slow, languid delivery. A character in Joseph Heller's "Catch-22" said that he wanted to live the most boring, static existence possible. That way his life would seem longer. Well, I think I now know where he went to High School.
Ok, that's a little harsh. To tell the truth, I love this show! Sure, it is slow, but it is a really pleasant, good natured anime. I first saw it at Animazement back in March, 2000. I couldn't believe the pacing, it was great. The colorful and varied character designs were, I must admit, quite nice as well. Since then I've ordered the volumes as they've been subbed from Sachi's distribution.
The main characters are Fujita Hiroyuki, Nagaoka Shiho and Akari Kamigishi. Hiroyuki and Akari have known each other since they were in grade school. She's a sort of young Martha Stewart. Hiro is, well, tired most of the time. I think the guy has mono. Anyway, the 6 or 7 other females who are briefly introduced in the series all interact with Hiroyuki in some way during one or two episodes.
I was told at the time that this was based on a "dating simulation". This makes sense as the series has a sort of modular feel to it. With the exception of the first and last episodes you could pretty much show this in any order and not lose much. Well, Multi-chan got two episodes, so not quite. Personally I liked Aoi-chan (fight-o!)
From a purely technical standpoint, I found the scene-changes to be quite distracting. The frame would jump a little bit when it changed. At times this was hardly noticeable, at other times it made the video hard to watch. I don't know if this has to do with the fansub process or if it was like this on the masters. Animation quality was pretty much late 90's low budget TV. There were a lot of long conversations where the only movement was a slow pan. I mean a lot. It seemed at times that they would just show a telephone pole or a starry sky and then ask the voice actors to improvise for a minute or two. The music was fair. A catchy op and ed. There were a couple of orchestral pieces that I really enjoyed.
Oh yes, the next time you have to clean a really big hallway, remember:
Last updated Tuesday, August 08 2000. Created Tuesday, August 08 2000.
Only buy this series if you are an open-minded otaku, otherwise you will be very bored. I however was not bored with this 13 episode series in the least. 4 high school students, Akari, Hiroyuki, Shiho, and Masashi, have been friends for a long time and go to school together. Akari has a thing for Hiroyuki, Shiho seems to know EVERYTHING about EVERYONE in the school, Masashi is the school's track star, and Hiroyuki is bascially clueless and sleepy most of the time...though he does have a certain sweetness about him. In almost every episode, we are introduced to a new female character, which Hiroyuki helps in some way, resulting in them liking him. However, this isn't like Ranma or Tenchi where the girls fawn all over him and beat each other up in the process. It's more of a "cheer for him at the track meet and wish him luck" type deal. No real romance at all. The personalities of each girl varies GREATLY, from Serika who is obsessed with black magic and doesn't talk above a whisper, to Remmy who is so bubbly all the time that she even gets excited when opening up a soda bottle. There's also a psychic, an introvert, a martial artist, and an android named Multi (whose picture is above). Here's little "To Heart" factoid for you: It was originally a hentai video game! I find this so hard to believe, but it's true. There's no hentai at all, there's not even any touching! Of course, I'm rooting for Hiroyuki to look in Akari's direction because she seems to be the best match for him being that they've been friends since they were little. I personally think that Ah! My Goddess fans will like this show, being that it's light-hearted and simple. The action doesn't get above a cat getting hit by a car, nor the romance more than some endearing stares between Hiro and Akari..but I say check it out if you're open to any type of anime.
Last updated Tuesday, April 25 2000. Created Tuesday, April 25 2000.