I may have said it before, but for the past few months, I’ve been checking out several 13ish-episode series I’ve been wanting to check out for a long time. I went to AniDB and made a list of all anime that looked interesting to me. Right now, I’m working through this list, with the ones that look the least interesting to go first. Because of this, I saw many great things, such as Figure 17, while series such as Aquarian age turned out to be pure pain.
Right now, I’ve put my interest to three case-based series. Sentimental Journey is the first of them (let’s see if you can guess the others ^^). I’ve always been a fan of case-based series such as Mushishi and Kino no Tabi. About these three I had some doubts, though, as they’re all kindof slice-of-lifey. Especially Sentimental Journey had me worried, since the description said that it consisted out of 12 episodes, all dedicated to the relationship of a girl to a boy.
Thankfully, this anime turned out much more interesting than that. It’s true that each episode focuses on the relationship of a girl with a boy, but for starters, all these relations were past relationships. All couples got separated at one moment, mostly due to moving away. The boy never really is put in the spotlight. Heck, we never even get to see their faces. What this anime really focuses about is how this boy changed the girl. Each of these boys had some kind of influence, and the anime features these girls, years after they said goodbye, dealing with these experiences.
I must say that I’ve never been a really big fan of slice-of-life romances, but this anime felt like a very pleasant surprise. Each of the twelve tales are heart-warming stories, some better than the others. While I would normally find stories like these rather boring, the fact that each episode took a different focus was really refreshing. I therefore can say that I really enjoyed the calm and peaceful mood for this series.
The first episode serves as a nice introduction to the general premise of the story. It already shows that this anime can come up with some original twists to make each case unique, and it showcases the typical quiet mood. The second episode comes with a totally different girl, and it’s one of the few in which the girl actually managed to find a new boyfriend. The third episode was one of the lesser episodes. The premise was nice, though I felt that it lacked something. Episode 4 asked nice questions about life and memories, though I didn’t like how everything was based on one huge misunderstanding. With episode 5, however, this anime captured me for the first time when it features a greatly emotional tale about two best friends, about to be separated.
The definite highlight for me came with episode six, where the slice-of-life elements take a small step back, and the anime turns more into a crossing between a documentary and a case-study, where it features a fascinating discussion about earthly desires. Definitely recommendable. Episode 7 proposed some very interesting questions about lying, and how the girl has experienced this. Episode 8 showed nicely how influenceable a human could really be. Episode 9 was one of the more thought-provoking episodes, when it provides a very good twist to the arranged-marriage-plot. Episode 10 was another highlight for me, when it comes with an actual ghost story, or something similar. Episode 11 comes with a love-triangle, I expected it to be rather uninteresting, but somehow it managed to hold my interest throughout the entire episode. Episode 12, finally comes with a rather peculiar case. Even though the execution was nothing special when compared to the others, it remained very interesting to watch.
One of the things I like about case-based series is that the creators just can’t get away with cases in which nothing happens. They have to actually put some work into making each case unique. Furthermore, because all cases only take one episode, it’ll rarely drag. Sentimental Journey is a great example of this, even though it covered a genre I mostly find boring. Nearly each case has something unique. It’s also not always the girl’s viewpoint we see. One story gets told by an adult, one story doesn’t really have a main perspective, heck, one story even gets told by an empty soda-bottle. If I had to mention one down-point, it’s that some stories are too much focused on a misunderstanding. It made things a bit too repetitive for the stories-in-question.
In terms of graphics, you shouldn’t expect too much from this, though. The animation is nice, but the fact remains that this anime comes from 1998. Add that to the fact that it wanted to create a rather “old” feeling. The music, however, fits perfectly for the show. It really gave a feeling of the first years of the nineties. Especially because of the OP and ED.
If you happen to read this, and you also happed to see this anime as well, I’m interested in your favourite episodes. For me, it were episode 6, with episode 10 as a second place, though I feel that this an anime that can appeal in lots of different ways to lots of different people. I’m suspecting that everyone will probably have his or her own highlight of this series. I’m curious to see if that indeed is the case.