Asatte no Houkou

Title:Asatte no Houkou
Towards the Day After Tomorrow
Keywords: , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - JC Staff
HINO Satoshi
ITOU Shizuka
Music - MITSUMUNE Shinkichi
R1 Distributor - Section23 Films (ADV)
R1 License - Sentai Filmworks (ADV)
R1 License - Subtitled Only
A girl and a woman – tied together by their secret desires, a young man and a small roadside shrine rumored to be able to grant wishes. Karada is troubled by being looked after by Hiro, her older brother. The death of their parents some four years ago brought an older brother back into her life and since then, he has been looking after her. Nogami Shoko met a Japanese boy in America, they became close and then he suddenly left. Now some four years later, Shoko returned to Japan - feeling a bit lost and empty. And on one hot and fateful summer day, they meet on a lonely rural path next to a small revered shrine.

Be careful of what you wish for. It might have some complicated and unintended results.

Based on a manga by J-ta Yamada, running in Blade Comics. Read the translated manga online at MangaFox.

[TV series, 2006, 12 episodes, 23 min; Animation by JC Staff]

Japanese title: "あさって" = "asatte" (the day after tomorrow), "の" = "no" (genitive particle), "方向" = "houkou" (direction, course, way); a liberal translation might be: "A Path into the Future".
2:05min Series Opening - YouTube Video
Episode Details 
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 6 7 8 8 9 9 Ggultra2764 [series:1469#1552]
This was a worthwhile little hidden gem. Asatte no Houkou explores the problems faced by two young women at different points of their lives with one approaching adolescence and the other being an adult, as well as how the two adapt to their present predicaments. The situation that the two wind up getting into (which occurs at the end of the first episode) literally tosses a wrench into their lives where they try to adjust to this situation they are in. The developments faced by both girls was believably explored as they get to learn different sides of the dilemmas they faced and change for the better as a result. There's no slapstick, fan service or "evil" antagonists to hinder the developments faced by these two characters. The only issues I found with the series were the background art looking washed up compared to the decent character designs and the cop-out ending which made the predicament of the two female leads get resolved too conveniently. Beyond that, Asatte no Houkou was a worthwhile slice-of-life title which kept things down-to-earth with the character developments, even with the fantasy element that affected the female leads.

Last updated Monday, June 21 2010. Created Monday, June 21 2010.
Buy 6 8 9 9 8 9 Devil Doll [series:1469#752]
[Score: 84% = Buy-. Other recommended Silent Drama anime: Haibane Renmei, Uta Kata, Aishiteru Ze Baby, Binbou Shimai Monogatari, Piano, Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto]
  • Drama: Med/High (four people trying to live on a life that has been thrown off course)
  • Comedy: None (not even in those episodes where every other anime would have put the slapstick into)
  • Action: None (well, one scene in episode 2)
  • SciFi: Low/Med (there's this one very significant element...)
  • Ecchi: None (really none, pure and clean)
Or to put it short: This is my kind of anime.

Unfortunately I had been spoiled about the events of the first episode before starting to watch this show, so they didn't have the impact they must have on people who only know the synopsis above. And yet - during the first two episodes this anime shines. It smells like a combination of Aishiteru Ze Baby and Haibane Renmei - and somehow it remains that way. While this impossible premise could easily lead into some silly comedy this story remains dead serious.

Beautiful, calm Music - both the OP (Hikari no Kisetsu by Suara) and ED (Sweet Home Song by Yumao) are soothing and very suitable for this story. What's more, the instrumental (mostly piano solo) themes by Mitsumune Shinkichi during the crucial scenes (such as "Summer Fantasy I" for the starting dialog of each episode or "Negai Ishi" for the wish) are marvelous as well as memorable. Even the commercial break theme ("Pure") is nice.
Interesting Art with a good combination of childish and serious, but with one significant flaw: Karada at the beginning of this series looks and behaves like an 8-year-old while her classmate Tetsu looks as if he were 15 (quote: "I get mistaken for a high-schooler at times") - but it's essential for the story that they're both 12 years old (the story takes place during the summer of their final year in grade school, i. e. three months after the beginning of their 6th school year). That's hard getting used to, as this story relies so much on the credibility of the events - and it somehow kept me from really loving the characters and rooting for them.
Good Animation - perhaps it's more the directing style that I love, covering each and every little detail (Shouko's glasses breaking, showing only feet and shoes during the crucial scene of episode 1, not showing the crucial scenes of episodes 4 and 12 but leaving it to the imagination of the audience...). Downgrade for certain unrealistic "moon walking" scenes in later episodes.

Episode Story shows how I like this series - the first two episodes were fantastic but in the middle section certain problems become obvious: There are so many people to be fooled... They managed to avoid the slapstick trap in both episodes 3 and 8 rather skillfully, and episode 4 avoided the obvious problem of a certain by-chance meeting which episode 9 then made use of as to create a certain story twist. And the ending... well, what else could they do? Series Story can't get a top score given these obstacles.

But the Characters and their subtle dialogs made this anime a great experience for me - even the comical relief guy turns out to be more than you would expect. I like how Shouko handles the situation, she's the driving force of events while not being the lead role. And rest assured that the events of this summer will let none of these characters unaffected - each one of them will "make the next step", as Hiro would name it.

Last updated Monday, October 11 2010. Created Friday, April 06 2007.
Rent Stretch [series:1469#628]
(Rent+ or Buy-)

There's nothing like a strange twist to make an intriguing storyline, even if there's no way in hell it could ever really happen. No, correction, it's because it could never really happen that it's so fascinating. The plot of Asatte no Houkou seems to move slowly at first, probably because I'm impatient to see how these two girls will deal with their wishes being granted (be careful what you wish for...). It's not until the end of the first episode that Shouko and Karada make their changeover, and not until the end of the second that they find themselves obliged to explain what has happened to anybody else. A lot of time passes with just music and artwork, and no serious dialogue. But it's not boring, on the contrary I was sometimes surprised how quickly both the station break and ending of an episode came along. Karada has retained a child's mind in an adult version of her body, whereas Shouko has an adult's mind in her childish body; they could have just traded bodies, but this is turning out to be far more interesting. It seems a good deal easier to remember that Shouko in fact has a mature mind than to remember that Karada has that of a child--she is/was pretty independent for her age. Her age was confusing, too; it took me a long time to realize that Amino-kun and Karada are the same age, because he looks much older (five years, I'd have guessed) than her. But this is neat! I was sometimes giggling with excitement and anticipation as I went into a new episode, and that doesn't happen often. Clearly, Asatte no Houkou is an intelligent, engaging, adult show (and sometimes genuinely funny, too), the episodes of which are over much too soon. Shouko and Karada realize that nobody would believe they are who they might claim to be. As I'd hoped, Since they are in this together, so to speak, they cooperate to adjust to their new lives (like Karada posing as an adult to withdraw money from Shouko's bank account). Something has definitely been done right, as I quickly came to empathize with them and hope things would work out OK. In fact, this may well be my favorite new drama of the fall 2006 season. Character designs are pretty distinctive (but not quite good enough to do without some fairly outlandish hair colors). The OP and ED songs are well-chosen and nice to listen to.

As I neared the end of the series, Asatte no Houkou remained engaging. Episodes would end well with an effective teaser that kept me eager for the next one. They also continued to seemingly go very fast, which again is a sure sign of a fun show. I don't know if a series like this will wind up R1 licensed; other than Karada and Shouko's "wish" being granted, there's no sci-fi or magic, nor is there fanservice or lots of comedy. It's just a sweet (and slightly odd) love triangle involving a guy, his ex-girlfriend, and his little sister. Of course I've sometimes been surprised at what series have gotten licensed. I had mixed feelings about the short, 12 episode length of this one. On the one hand, I wouldn't want any show to overstay it's welcome and lose my interest, and it's generally a good idea to quit while you're ahead; on the other hand, I'd have loved 26 episodes if AnH could maintain the quality it has shown reliably. I like the Ureshi fansubs version, because it has interesting cultural notes and the translation of Shouko and Karada's opening monologues make more sense.

I must admit I was a little disappointed by the conclusion. I've got a feeling this will be one of those "Oh, the manga was so much better" shows, because the final episode seemed kind of confusing and rushed (or maybe time was not spent as wisely as it should have been). I was surprised when Shouko said that Karada had fallen in love; like I said, she seemed so young to me (10 or 12?) that love seemd out of the question, and my impression had been that she was just being nice to this fellow so as not to hurt his feelings. As the episode neared it's end, I was thinking that Shouko and Karada never would return to their original appearances (which would be awkward given the romances they'd developed). Let's just say that in the final 30 seconds or so we get an answer of sorts; as usual for anime, it was one of those "I think I know what just happened, but I can't be certain" endings. It's a pity that the final episode didn't work better (maybe it will, if I watch it a second time), but it won't change the fact that Asatte no Houkou is a charming, thoughtful show which begins with a strange twist but for the most part makes perfect sense afterwards. A sweet, fun show which I'm glad I watched.

P.S: This marks my 300th Series/Movie review! Yaay!

P.P.S: After seeing this show mentioned here at Mikomi, the thought occured to me that it was overdue to be rewatched. Moving, intriguing shows with a strange twist aren't very common--I can't think of another example of a similar one, except maybe Blue Drop. I loved rewatching episode three, especially where Shouko, posing as her own "little sister", describes Hiro to himself. One note which caught my attention was Shouko making it clear that she hadn't wished to revert to childhood--I'll keep an eye out for an explanation of that. "That show is awesome" I said to myself at the end.

Last updated Monday, January 25 2010. Created Thursday, October 19 2006.
Rent Jan-Chan [series:1469#967]
RENT+ or a BUY-

A slow moving dramatic story paired with some great animation.

This is very much an story of the heart, lost loves and childhood dreams. Two girls bound to one guy who find themselves trading places which allows them learn more about themselves. Drama, drama and then more drama - no monsters or battles - just a great dramatic story.

Last updated Friday, January 22 2010. Created Saturday, October 14 2006.

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