Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi

Title:Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi
A Bridge to the Starry Skies
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: AOBA Ringo
ASANUMA Shintaro
Kazuma has moved to a small town in the country. On his first day at school, he meets Ui when he is lost his way. They go to school together, but Kazuma accidentally slips and kisses Ui.... To make matters worse, Ibuki, Ui's close friend, sees it.... Well, what will happen to his new school life...?
(Source: My Anime List)

[TV series, 2011, 12 episodes; Animation Production by Dogakobo and Go ZAPPA; see also: Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi: Kakaru ka? Gakuensai ni Koi no Hashi]
Episode Details 
Ibuk, Hina, Ui, Senk, Toud, Kuri, Tsum, Mado
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch 8 7 8 6 7 7 Devil Doll [series:2424#752]
[Score: 72% = maximum "Watch+"; similar ecchi comedy: Girls Bravo; similar scenario without ecchi: Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku wo]

More pantsu shots, bouncing breasts and erotic jokes than romance through the first half but the arcs gear into each other seamlessly, giving the show a feeling of development, albeit only a slow one. And during the last third the harem story takes over, replacing much of the fan-service by real competition; in the end you get what you asked for: A standard harem comedy with neither fantasy nor sci-fi, and no big drama either but an ending that worked quite well.

Generic OP song, horrible ED song, so Music gets the lowest grade; Animation has little chance to shine, Art isn't that great either with those high-schoolers looking way too young like in so many anime. Story can't be more than average with so many unnecessary ingredients. So the Characters would have to save the day for this show; unfortunately I happen to dislike the winning girl but the two losers in tears and the girl who was wrongly assumed to be Kazuma's wife-to-be all showed an interesting performance, so watching them was worth the time for me.
  • Episode 1 (-): Arrival. Too many accidents of all kinds, too many slapstick scenes, and the "seeing" and "being seen" scenes aren't my taste either. Plus the childhood memory tends to be an obstacle for a decent harem show.
  • Episode 2 (0): Visiting the Town. More characters, none of them really bothersome but Ui and Ibuki aren't sufficient for carrying this show along as female leads. Some nice references to other recent anime titles, and the "tasted like cheese" scene was funny as well; apparently we're out of "Avoid" territory by now.
  • Episode 3 (0): The Shrine. Two more girls, of which Madoka the miko looks promising; she and Ui are the likely candidates to compete for the boy, all others are little more than nuisances.
  • Episode 4 (0): Training. The last girl has entered the stage, and Hina-senpai may well be the most likable one. I still have my issues with the landlady whereas the miko shows decent development, and the announced theater play may be her chance.
  • Episode 5 (-): Sports Festival. Too many T&A scenes for most of this episode; a few nice ones such as Ui's mother and the (predictable) outcome of the race don't make up for this.
  • Episode 6 (-): Cramming Session. Actually the onsen episode of this series with lots of embarrassing scenes plus Hina succumbing to her moe fetish and dropping out of the race. The last few minutes focus on the remaining triangle; still, too much noise and not enough content.
  • Episode 7 (0): Kyūdō Tournament. The arcades part was weak with silly jokes and innuendos but the tournament plus its aftermath turned this into one of the better episodes of this series, with Ibuki opening up a bit.
  • Episode 8 (0): At the Beach. Despite certain outbursts of violence by Ibuki, a surprisingly good episode, the first one to actually call for the "Harem" keyword for this anime.
  • Episode 9 (+): Tug of War. My favorite character's signature episode, and low on fan-service; despite looking like a side story this will be the catalyst for events to come.
  • Episode 10 (0): Amusement Park. The first contender places her bid; note how differently her rivals are reacting. An episode with a predictably slow start and a surprising second chance for the girl. This show has entered the home stretch, the competition is underway.
  • Episode 11 (++): Rain Falling. If only the whole series had been like this! That's how a harem series is supposed to be: One girl starting to make up her mind, and another one's hopes going down in flames, the latter one's development being the highlight of this show.
  • Episode 12 (0): Ceremony. A predictable ending that still leaves open questions: When and how did Kazuma make his decision? Mugi-nee's ploy was nice though.
The first half of this series didn't provide any decent episode, the second half would have made it into "Rent" territory. Sometimes this is the reward you get for not giving up early.

Last updated Friday, September 02 2011. Created Monday, July 11 2011.
Watch Stretch [series:2424#628]
(All episodes watched):

I had very low expectations going into this show. The familiar character designs, with their brightly colored hairdos, reminded me of a number of so-so shows; shows that were never spectacularly good, but generally could be relied on to deliver a little silliness and humor. The stereotypical awkward situations--tripping and falling on a girl, seeing her panties, being seen in the nude--made me roll my eyes. I have seen these never-in-a-million-years things happen time after time, yet somehow I can't help laughing. I'm partly laughing with the show and partly at it. It's as if the makers decided that they would simply pile these cheap tricks on, and somehow their volume and the apparently complete disdain for "quality" makes the show a parody of itself--whether that was intended or not is anybody's guess. Surely Hoshizora will be no more than a 'Watch', but going in I was ready to write it off as an 'Avoid'. Sometimes low expectations work to our advantage.

Watching a second episode helped crystalize my opinion of Hoshizora: a generic, dating simulation sort of show which makes little effort to be deep or realistic, has numerous thinly developed characters, yet manages to be fairly funny, isn't overtly perverted, and thereby leaves me feeling that this is something harmless which I need not feel ashamed of myself for enjoying. The girls do not flock to the main male protagonist as they would in many harem series, which makes the story fairly believable. The chibi charicatures of the cast at the station break seemed to personify the attitude which the show as a whole was taking--cute, simple, and sort of fun.

For some reason I liked episode nine, in which the purple-haired girl (I can't remember her name) suddenly finds herself homeless and moves in with Kazuma. It almost seemed like an episode of a different series, since it caused my interest to perk up all of a sudden. Perhaps that was because it was a change from the usual cheap anime comedy formula of sport festivals/trips to the beach/hot springs, etc. A new theme seems to develop from this point--the show gets more serious and deals with the romantic feelings of different girls in Kazuma's harem, one girl per episode. I hadn't thought that the girl in episode ten was an important enough character to warrant something like this, but that's what happens. These new type episodes are hardly brilliant ('We met as children and promised that we would always be friends!'), but they seem more interesting than the formulaic episodes from earlier in the series. With time it becomes clear that the losers in the struggle for Kazuma’s heart are bowing out. In a way, I’m pleased that this harem series has a distinct winner (guess who!) since that doesn’t happen very often, and the makers would usually rather leave us in a shallow fantasy land of girls, girls, and more girls instead of there being a serious commitment. On the other hand, the way things worked out wasn’t hard to predict. In a simplistic show like this, you know that if the makers bother to tell you that a misunderstanding of certain scrolls might take place, they undoubtably will. Still, the climax had a touch of being touching, and things seem to have worked out for the best.

I’m sure that before long I will have forgotten the title of this series, but Hoshizora was worth a watch. One more attempt to describe this show: Cute characters amid a simple, somewhat idealized life in a small town, and a likewise simple plot. Hoshizora employs familiar themes--like the 'let's go to the beach!' episode--rather than attempting original ones. It does get a little serious towards the end, however. It was pretty clear from the beginning that this would not be anything more than a Watch quality show; it sets it's sights low, and therefore seldom misses its modest targets.

Last updated Thursday, September 22 2011. Created Friday, April 29 2011.

Other Sites
Official website http://www.mmv.co.jp/special/hoshikaka/

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