|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
H2O: Footprints in the Sand
I was really enjoying the characters and the mystery at the beginning of this series, but the more things that were revealed, the less believable the underlying premises of the story seemed to be. And then I got to the ending and it was even worse. I've noticed that in a lot of anime, there seems to be a real problem with bringing a series to an end and providing a sense of closure -- maybe this is from the serial nature of manga on which many series are based, and having to come up with something for the next issue. In any case, H2O is one of the worst examples I've seen of this symptom, and the 'WTH?!' ending pretty much ruined the whole thing for me. Too bad, it was fun there for a while.
Last updated Wednesday, October 15 2008. Created Wednesday, October 15 2008.
H2O: Footprints in the Sand
I checked this title out because I thought it would be some type of comedy/harem series. H2O: FITS is far from it. After looking for something to watch, I ended up checking out the forums and read something from Xenoknight about this series. Out of sheer curiosity (and lack of anything else to do) I decided to take a chance. The story revolves around a young man, Takuma, who’s also blind. He ends up staying in a village from his home in Tokyo to live with his uncle. That’s because he’s trying to recover from a traumatic experience (his mom dying) and so he’s sent to his mom’s hometown (the village) to start anew. From there, I’d say watch it cause it gets a bit complicated.|
So far, the series story got me from the first episode. Not to spoil anything, it’s kind of hard to explain how someone who’s blind from trauma ends up seeing again by the end of the first episode. That’s where the real story begins. Just about every episode explains almost all the characters in the story. What it also did was reveal the story bit by bit without spoiling the entire plot. It also kept things interesting by having a little side story between two of the girls he meets, Kohinata and Hinata. That’s a separate story that melds the main plot together. Like I said, it doesn’t reveal much but just enough to keep your interest.
I wouldn’t call it a harem type series because there wasn’t really a true harem approach to it. Although, it’s mostly girls surrounding themselves over one guy, there was no real interaction except between Kohinata and Hinata. The story between them is what can probably justify it being labeled as a harem. What I did find interesting was the title, H2O: Footprints in the Sand. If you’re not familiar with the title, it’s actually a poem. It’s recited in the first episode and recited again in the last, but the entire poem this time. The first time it stopped at a certain point. That actually was the hook for me. It just reveals the dilemma from the get go. It’s easy to spot if you pay attention to the first episode.
The ending of the series I didn’t really feel at all. Instead of a realistic ending which was appropriate IMHO, it gave a happy ending, which was more like a gimme. It just doesn’t feel right because even for a story that ends in tragedy, it’s better to give more of realistic POV than make it a feel good ending. I know it’s part fantasy as well, but to do an ending like that really makes it a little too hard to except. All in all though, it was a good story from start to end and this would be probably my third series that I sat and watched the whole thing straight through without stopping in one setting. I’d rent this title if it ever came out on US soil dubbed to see if it can still be interesting. For harem freaks, this isn’t the series I would recommend but if you like deep and tragic stories, then give it a shot.
Last updated Monday, September 22 2008. Created Monday, September 22 2008.
H2O: Footprints in the Sand
HONORABLE MENTION ANIME WINNER - Most Enticing|
A truly blessed anime series. Its brilliance can only be called a MASTERPIECE.
Times I rewatched this series... 6 times...
The first couple of episodes was reason enough for me to claim this title as the "Most Enticing anime series". The "high-caliber" story flow continues from there with no hesitation.
This story is solid and I noticed immediately that it would flourish beautifully down the line. This is a keeper for sure. Even after watching it again years later, I still feel that this story was far ahead of its time.
It's rare to find a story that has such "enticing" qualities like this story. I'm talking in terms of "extremely high-caliber" storyline here. Every single episode was memorable and extremely interesting. Whether it be the naturally blind main lead, the school being allowed to abuse and physically assault one of the main female leads, or just how corrupt the village in which this story takes place in really is - this title is one that should stand above the average Joes of anime and stand in the winner's circle of masterpieces.
The entire first half of this title is like the whole last half of most animes today. We usually have a heart-warming intro filled with getting to know the characters and having laughs with the usual (small-to-large) amount of fan-service just to reel in the fans, while the ending half is usually filled with drama and action. This title combines the ending half "high-level" drama while still giving the viewer the heart-warming intro. Truly an unprecedented move on the writer's part because now that the viewer is "hooked" and they have every intention of watching through to the end, they realize that there is still this title's ending half to consider!!! Drama in every essence of the word.
Episode 8 is an exception (thus taking away it's perfect episode story score) but even so, it made me "laugh out loud" with the sudden slap-stick comedy (even a title as strong as this one needs a chance to go wild with slap-stick) and by the last portion of the ep, it came back to the story I love with an extremely well done ending that marks the new beginning of the main lead's journey now that a certain character is gone from his life.
Episode 9 brings back the story with a vengeance!! This particular ep shows just how insane the story can get with the excellently portrayed foreshadowing while still showing the most heart-warming scene I've seen since Ai Yori Aoshi. It brought a tear to my eye to see that the most deserving person finally finds happiness.
The ending string of episodes proves just what I've been proclaiming. From one extreme to the next, the story hits its peak at episode 10 and the issues presented there begin to spiral out of control. No one is safe from the dilemmas that present themselves and everyone gets involved one way or another. Just when all hope seems lost, the plot takes another shot at the viewer and delivers one final cryptic blow to the heart with one last situation that had me at the edge of my seat! Only my top tier of titles comes to mind that could possibly represent such a beautifully written story "all the way through" like this one. A prime comparison would be Da Capo Second Season where every episode had me shocked, intrigued, and amazed just like this title has. This truly is a MASTERPIECE if I ever saw one.
The ending was most certainly "forced" to a certain degree and I won't deny that, but if the viewer keeps an open mind through it all, they will be rewarded with a scene that will surely cause some H20 to shed from the eyes. Instead of just rushing an ending with little-to-no explanation or satisfaction like Chokotto Sister for instance, this title fills in every gap that would have been unfilled by some animes and the level of ending "satisfaction" was enough for me to give this anime a nearly perfect series score!
I would love to watch this series again anytime with a friend or loved one after recommending it to them. This is a perfect "movie-style" anime where you can gather a group of people to enjoy it together on the big screen!
I can only dream for the makers of this "rare diamond" of a series to make a sequel. I wouldn't mind a spin-off sequel either as long as the writers never stop making anime stories of this caliber. The rest of the world could take some serious notes from this anime on how an exceptional story could (should) be told.
Encore...Bravo...Magnificent...so on and so on - indefinitely...
H2O: Footprints in the Sand
(All episodes watched):|
I watched two new series of the Winter 2008 season last night, and whereas one seemed to be appallingly bad, I was initially left with mixed feelings about this one. I didn't write down anything, but here are a few impressions that remain in my mind. As I edited this first episode for burning onto a DVD, I got some glimpses of what to expect. Seeing the typical boy-and/or-girl-trips-and-falls-into-embarassing-position scene, I thought "Oh, it's gonna be one of those shows". Actually, as I watched the episode in it's entirety (and knew about Hiro being blind), I couldn't help finding the same scene to be genuinely amusing and laughing at it. Odd, trauma induced problems like memory loss are commonplace in anime these days, and I can't help worrying about whether Hiro's blindness will be handled in a convincing manner; or maybe it will be gone before long (yep--gone in episode two!). The Otoha character makes me wonder if there will be a supernatural element to the plot. I have little idea what the opening monologue was about. I was startled to see Kohinata getting beaten up by two boys--that's not supposed to happen in Japan! Three of the four principal actors/actresses seem to be newcomers. Anyway, at the end of the first episode I was left neither loving nor hating this show. I guess I'm mildly optimistic, perhaps because for all it's average-ness H2O was a hell of a lot better than R+V!
After watching a second episode, the single biggest question on my mind was why Kohinata seems to be at best ignored and at worst treated like crap by everybody else besides Hiro. Even more perplexing, why does she seem perfectly satisfied with this situation and refuse Hiro's help? The point at which Hiro declares his reasons for wanting to help her was surprisingly touching. I've got a feeling this will be one of those Kanon/Clannad sort of shows where there's a supernatural explanation to a mystery. Whatever the case may be, I'm fairly intrigued and just pray that the makers won't forget to offer some decent hints before too long, and some sort of credible answer sooner or later. Hinata engineering a scene that will trick Kohinata into thinking that Hiro is her boyfriend is certain to stir up trouble. I can't help sympathizing with Kohinata and hoping she's the girl Hiro chooses in the end. Episode four surprised me in that the show seems to have largely set the long-term plotline aside and gone for the usual goofy teens-at-the-beach episode. It was fairly amusing, but I liked things the way they were and don't know if this bodes well for H2O as a whole. The story seemed to get back on track at the end. It wasn't until episode six that the reason Kohinata has become an outcast is revealled; it makes some sense, but why didn't Hiro ask anybody what was going on? So far, H2O strikes me as a show which balances halfway between goofy teen romance and a deeper, dramatic series. It must be doing something right, because I look forward to new episodes.
Hinata's admission that she's been living a lie in episode seven was intriguing and touching--it's a lot easier to sympathize with her all of a sudden. I'm pleasantly surprised with the way this show is keeping me interested and entertained. Otoha, who appears unexpectedly every now and then, is another fun character. Seeing as Hiro has just regained his sight after being blind for a good while, you'd think he'd be a little emotional about the beauty of the world around him. Episode eight was a riot as Hiro finds himself in some sort of alternate world, with Otoha as his guide. I thought he was dreaming at first, then I thought the H2O staff were blowing off some steam with a nonsensical (but hilarious) episode--except it made sense at the end. Definitely my favorite episode of the series so far. The fact that I'm writing so much about the series as a whole is indicative of how much I'm enjoying it.
I liked the way H2O remained fairly unpredictable and intriguing most of the way through, but I was left confused at the end. Why did the village elder want Hiro to marry Hinata? Who or what was Otoha anyway? What was the deal with Hiro's psychosomatic blindness? Why did he revert to a childlike state of mind? To avoid the truth about his mother's death (which would have actually been more beneficial than harmful)? The measures taken by Hinata and her friends to deal with the paparazzi reporters seemed painfully corny. This show definitely found a strange way to pull a happy ending out of a hat, though it may seem a cop-out to some. So, did this show have deep spiritual significance, or was it a run-of-the-mill quasi-harem series? I don't know. It was worth a watch (I might even watch it again someday), but I can't see paying for it.
Last updated Wednesday, March 26 2008. Created Sunday, January 06 2008.
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